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Old 05-06-2004, 01:51 PM   #1
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The history of the Plastic Pink Flamingo

From the web:

The Flamingo Boom


During the 1920's, Florida was the hottest vacation spot in the United States. Tens of thousands of real estate speculators and tourists swarmed to the semitropical state...and many brought home souvenirs bearing pictures of a bizarre pink bird that lived there - the flamingo.

In the north, these items - proof that the owners were rich enough to travel to exotic places - became status symbols. Everyone wanted them. So manufacturers started incorporating flamingos into a variety of new product designs.

They were so popular that by the 1950s, the image of a flamingo was as much a part of the middle-class America as Wonder Bread or poodles.
The Lawn Flamingo


In 1952, the Union Plastics Company of Massachusetts introduced the first flamingo lawn ornament. It was "flat and unappealing."

To boost sales, the company decided to offer a more lifelike, three-dimensional flamingo. But the second generation of lawn flamingos "was made of construction foam and fell apart rather quickly," recalls a company executive. "Dogs loved to chew it up."
Finally, in 1956, Union Plastics hired a 21-year-old art student named Don Featherstone to sculpt a new lawn flamingo. "I got a bunch of nature books and started studying them," says Featherstone. "Finally, I sculpted one, I must say it was a beautiful looking thing."
The first atomic-pink molded plastic lawn flamingo went on sale in 1957. It was an immediate success; in the next decade, Americans bought millions of them. But by the 1970s, lawn flamingos were "gathering dust on the hardware store shelves along with other out-of-date lawn ornaments such as the scorned sleeping Mexican peasant and the black jockey." In 1983, the New York Times ran an article title "Where Did All Those (Plastic) Flamingos Go?"
Then suddenly, lawn flamingos were flying again. 1985 was a record year, with 450,000 sold in the United States. Why the resurgence? Critics suggest a combination of nostalgia and the popularity of the television show "Miami Vice." "They are a must for the hottest new social events - 'Miami Vice' parties," reported a California newspaper in 1986.
Featherstone never got any royalties for his creation. But he did become a vice president of Union Plastics... and in 1987, he was honored when the company started embossing its flamingos with his signature. "I'm getting my name pressed into the rump of every flamingo that goes out that door," he announced proudly.
from : http://www.geocities.com/pcypages/flamingo.html

The ones sold in a box of two from the Airstream store are the current "original" Pink Flamingos.

Union Products site (maker of the bird)
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Old 05-06-2004, 02:10 PM   #2
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You may want to check this thread out as well for some cool links:

What's the deal with those pink flamingos?

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Old 05-06-2004, 03:02 PM   #3
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A hundred plastic pink flamingoes

Here in the Austin area there was a nursery or garden center of some kind in an affluent suburb which used to sell (maybe still does, not sure) these plastic pink flamingoes. They literally had close to maybe 100 or so stuck in the ground out front, right on the road. It turned up in the Austin paper and sort of lent itself to the whole "Keep Austin Weird" funky-folk lifestyle, (which Austin now precariously clings to in futility, I might add). Anyway, some of the more hoity-toity folks who lived in the area thought that this place with all the flamingoes was an eyesore and hurt their property values or something, and moved to take legal action to get them removed.

I'm not sure they were altogether successful because the place is still there, and even at one point replaced all the pink flamingoes with an equal number of plastic penguins, and even intermingled them. To this day I find that whole episode funny, but I have to feel bad for folks who get so worked up and "sent around the bend" over something as harmless as a hundred plastic pink flamingoes. Ah well....
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Old 05-06-2004, 03:17 PM   #4
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We had a neighbor in Milwaukee that played a practical joke on some friends that bought a house in an upscale neighborhood.

The house warming was set and the invites went out. My neighbor got close to 100 guests to all bring at least on pink flamingo and stick it in the new homeowners yard upon arrival. The party was held in the fall, and on a Friday night, so the party started after dark. No mention of the pink flamingos were made during the party. Imagine the new homeowners surprise the next AM when they opened the drapes, looked out, and saw their yard

BTW the first person they called was my neighbor! They could not believe that someone had instigated the prank and wanted to know if he knew who started it.
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Old 05-06-2004, 03:30 PM   #5
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Wink

Quote:
Originally Posted by thenewkid64
We had a neighbor in Milwaukee that played a practical joke on some friends that bought a house in an upscale neighborhood.

The house warming was set and the invites went out. My neighbor got close to 100 guests to all bring at least on pink flamingo and stick it in the new homeowners yard upon arrival. The party was held in the fall, and on a Friday night, so the party started after dark. No mention of the pink flamingos were made during the party. Imagine the new homeowners surprise the next AM when they opened the drapes, looked out, and saw their yard

BTW the first person they called was my neighbor! They could not believe that someone had instigated the prank and wanted to know if he knew who started it.

They are available for $195.00 for 50 Flamingos or 100 or more for $3.80 each. http://specialdelivery.bizhosting.co...flamingos.html
Buy many, buy often.
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Old 11-26-2005, 02:55 PM   #6
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There are lots and lots of businesses that can be hired to go decorate someone's yard with flamingos or other lawn ornaments, like for birthdays or special occasions.

There's a big directory of these businesses online, and I've used it to track down businesses close to my family members when we're on the road, so I could hire them to deliver surprises.

The directory of these businesses is http://flamingoed.com/
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Old 06-29-2008, 03:02 PM   #7
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It's just Kitsch

It's very simple .... Pink Flamingos = uber Kitsch. Some folks love to be goofy and kitsch -
bless their hearts. As for me, give me a real live blooming plant over a plastic anything - any day of week and put me in the category of "can't stand 'em".
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