Books by Charles Phoenix

Americana The Beautiful book cover

Americana the Beautiful:
Mid-Century Culture in Kodachrome

While feverishly putting together Americana the Beautiful: Mid-Century Culture in Kodachrome, I was forced to ask myself the question: What is Americana anyway? Yes, its baseball and apple pie but we all know there’s a lot more to it than that! So I took a stab at trying to explain it in the book…

“Americana doesn’t discriminate between classic and kitsch, high-tech or homespun, mass produced or one-of-a-kind, the authentic or make-believe. It draws no borders between town and country. It embraces Mother Nature and man-made, the future and the past. Americana is the essence of American culture.”

Available from Angel City Press! or


Southern Californialand:
Mid-Century Culture in Kodachrome

More than 170 spectacular images in living color. The best of Phoenix’s collection of other people’s old slides show off “the land of plenty” as the locals saw it through the lenses of their cameras in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s.

Enjoy the stories and images of the Luer Quality Meat Rocket, Jalopy races, monorails, Disneyland’s House of the Future, and the starfish entrance at Pacific Ocean Park. See the Vista Dunes Trailer Park in Indio, The Covina Bowl, Compton Drive-in Theater, Shriner’s Arabian Bazaar, fast food stands, Muscle Beach, Tiki parties, and Mayor Motor City Used Car Lot. You’ll even go behind the scenes of Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” and much, much more.

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Southern California in the 50s:
Sun, Fun, and Fantasy

The mood is up, prosperity rules, and the standard of living is flying high. With spectacular vintage brochures, postcards, graphics and incredible never before seen color photos, you’ll see and learn about Southern California’s golden era.

Experience the car-crazy culture, suburbia, shopping centers, drive-ins, town & country, and space-age style. Tour Hollywood, exotic places, animal attractions, mountain, desert and seaside resorts, fairs, festivals, pageants and parades. Visit Knott’s Berry Farm, Santa’s Village, Marineland, Pacific Ocean Park and Disneyland when they were brand new.

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Fabulous Las Vegas in the 50s:
Glitz, Glamour, and Games

with co-author Fred E. Basten

Never-seen before vintage color photos, rare memorabilia, the best of the old postcards and brochures with inspiring graphics take you on an action packed, fun-filled tour of the glamorous early days of Las Vegas.

Experience the sex appeal, neon lights and hit the jackpot. See the casinos, swimming pools, chuckwagon buffets, dining rooms, and showrooms of all the legendary resort-casinos on Fremont Street and Las Vegas Strip when they were brand new. Catch performances by Judy Garland, Louis Prima and Keely Smith, Elvis, Liberace, Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack.

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Leis, Luaus, and Alohas:
The Lure of Hawaii in the 50s

with co-author Fred E. Basten

Travel back in time and see all the famous places in pre-jet age Hawaii, from after World War II until statehood in 1959.

With amazing colorful and lush vintage photos and memorabilia, you’ll relive glamour filled trips to the Islands. Enjoy Hawaiian hospitality, fun in the sun, shopping, tiki gods, eating places, entertainment and luaus in the days when tourists arrived in style by steamship or 9 1/2 hour flight from the West Coast. $40.

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Cruising the Pomona Valley 1930-1970

With over 160 sites and 200 vintage photos, advertisements and illustrations, Charles Phoenix takes you on a personal tour of his “home valley.”

Rediscover classic 1930′s, 40′s, 50′s, and 60′s modern and roadside architecture, art, and attractions in the Southern California cities of Pomona, Ontario, Claremont, and Rancho Cucamonga. Complete with maps, this guide book shows you the way to the best of the Pomona Valley’s landmarks, leftovers, and places that aren’t here anymore. $24.95

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God Bless Americana
A Retro Vacation Slide Show Tour of the USA

Inspired by Charles Phoenix’s popular live RETRO VACATION TOUR OF THE USA slide show, this colorful book was created with Kodachrome slides taken by tourists on vacations and road trips in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s.

Time travel by plane, train, ocean liner and automobile. See the classic sights, hilarious scenes, and bizarre situations that inspired a generation of camera totin’ tourists to snap and click their way across town and country. Visit kitschy tourist attractions, classic roadside attractions, big cities, America’s heartland, national parks, tropical shores, and “long lost relatives” along the way.

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