October 20, 2006

The End of an Era

Say it ain't so! From the LA Times:
Kitschy Pink Flamingo Faces Extinction
The plastic bird, found on lawns across the U.S., ceases production. Its maker looks for a buyer.

The plastic pink flamingo, a front-lawn icon that has been reviled as kitschy bad taste and revered as retro cool, is dead at age 49.

The pop culture symbol met its demise after its manufacturer, Union Products of Leominster, Mass., was socked with a triple economic threat increases in costs of electricity and plastic resin combined with loss of financing. Production ended in June, and the plant is scheduled to close Nov. 1, according to the president and chief executive, Dennis Plante.

Union Products made 250,000 of its patented plastic pink flamingos a year in addition to other garden products.

Robert Thompson, professor of popular culture at Syracuse University, paid tribute to the bird that has been immortalized everywhere in the 1970s John Waters movie "Pink Flamingos" and on lawns across America.

"Let's face it," he said, "as iconic emblems of kitsch, there are two pillars of cheesy, campiness in the American pantheon. One is the velvet Elvis. The other is the pink flamingo."

The birth of the plastic pink flamingo in 1957 coincided with a booming interest in Florida, Thompson said, making it possible for those in other parts of the country to have a little piece of the Sunshine State's mystique in their yard.

By the late '70s, according to Thompson, the pink flamingo became a symbol of bad taste. It was considered trash culture and embraced by folks with a wise-guy attitude.
But there is some hope:
Featherstone and President Plante are hoping for a resurrection. Plante has been seeking another company to buy the molds. So far, two companies in the U.S. and one in Canada have expressed interest.

"I am hoping that someone will come forward and save the plastic pink flamingo from extinction," Plante said.
Hat tip to BoingBoing for the link... Posted by DaveH at October 20, 2006 2:28 PM