Pink Flamingo? Oh yeah…

Do you know the history behind the plastic pink flamingo?

First designed in 1957, the fake birds are natives not of Florida but of Leominster, Massachusetts, which bills itself as the Plastics Capital of the World. At a nearby art school, sculptor Don Featherstone was hired by the plastics company Union Products, where his second assignment was to sculpt a pink flamingo. 

…A flamingo-friendly trend was the sameness of post-World War II construction. Units in new subdivisions sometimes looked virtually identical. “You had to mark your house somehow,” Featherstone says. “A woman could pick up a flamingo at the store and come home with a piece of tropical elegance under her arm to change her humdrum house.” Also, “people just thought it was pretty,” adds Featherstone’s wife, Nancy.

from The Smithsonian

Part of this amazing story is that Don Featherstone’s net worth was about 5 million dollars.

4' high beautiful tin, pink  flamingo sculpture at Bahoukas in Havre de Grace
Our beautiful, pink flamingo TIN sculpture stands 4′ high.

By the mid-1960s, the environmental back-to-nature movement more-or-less declared the very word ‘plastic’ an adjective for fake, and the American Dream was exposed as an empty ideal based in consumerism.

from BBC TRAVEL

The plastic flamingo became a bit of a class symbol as in, “Oh I’d never have that in MY yard!” The whole idea of ‘plastics’ was now gauche.

Enter John Waters of Baltimore

In 1972, Waters released the film Pink Flamingos, which was called both an abomination and an instant classic. The movie has almost nothing to do with the tropical fowl that stand sentinel during the opening credits…

from The Smithsonian

Optimism to Tacky to Nearly Banned and Back Again

The plastic pink flamingo following WWII was received as a symbol of the American Dream and optimism. Later it became the ridicule of all things plastic! Only to be revived as a kind of cult acceptance.

The plastic pink flamingo is a perfect example of perceived style going ‘out’ and returning years later. Sometimes tongue-in-cheek, sometimes with genuine appreciation, the pink flamingo seems to be a mainstay in American Culture, often just to be a bit silly or even contrarian!

But OUR PINK FLAMINGO is the creme de la creme – she’s a beautiful tin (not plastic) sculpture.

So whatever reason you might have to own a pink flamingo, you’ll definitely want to consider ours!

Pink Flamingo Movie Trivia

from Wikipedia

In the media and fiction, plastic flamingos are often used as a symbol of kitsch, bad taste and cheapness.

  • The movie Pink Flamingos is named after them and helped them become an icon of trash and kitsch.
  • In the television sitcom ALF, jokes about the garden flamingos of the neighboring Ochmonek couple are a running gag.
  • In the computer game The Sims, plastic flamingos are the cheapest garden decoration.
  • The animated film Gnomeo & Juliet features a garden flamingo named after its inventor, Featherstone, voiced by Jim Cummings.
  • In the television show The X-Files episode Arcadia (The X-Files), Mulder places one on the lawn of his rented house, contrary to the neighbourhood rules.

Here at Bahoukas, we try to be able to share a bit of trivia with our collections. As you can tell from this article, we work to discover little tidbits that will make your purchase extra special! Don’t forget, we’re hear and ready to say, “Welcome” (and maybe share a bit of trivia with you)!