Tuesday, November 07, 2006

An American Icon May Be Going Extinct

Here's a heads up for all you collectors out there, this article is in the Neosho Daily News.
As Time Goes By
By Kay Hively
Published: Monday, November 6, 2006 5:04 PM CST

Are pink flamingos in front yards extinct?
I read some sad news this past week. The once-popular pink plastic flamingos which once decorated so many lawns may be on its (literal) last leg. Thanks to high production costs, the company which started making this piece of American pop culture is closing its doors.

Will the pink flamingo survive? There are some talks under way with other lawn ornament companies about taking over the flamingo production but it doesn't look like the production will stay in Leominster, Massachusetts, where the flamingo was born and produced by the millions.

The reason I took an interest in this news is because I am a pink flamingo aficionado and anyone who knows my house in warm weather has seen the pair that hang about under my dining room window. Over the years, I have gotten many comments on my pink flamingos. And, in fact, they were noted as part of Newton County history when Billie Stewart used some features of my house for the 1950s section of the big mural in the local courthouse. Although she changed some features of my 1952 house, she gave my flamingos a very prominent place out in the front yard!

Finding the original pink flamingos is getting more difficult all the time. The pair I have came out of an about-to-be-closed hardware store in North Dakota. They were still wrapped in their package and covered with a nice coating of dust when Russell dragged them off a top shelf.

It's tempting to say I wish I had kept them in their package now that they will become big-time collectors items, but I really am glad I have displayed them for many years. They have brought many smiles to many faces over the years.

But now that they may become extinct I suspect my flamingo will be retired to the inside of the house to ward off any possibility of theft.

In the news item I read about these plastic birds, I learned that an artist in Leominster, Massachusetts, used clay to sculpt his famous birds in 1957. He worked on them from a photograph he found in National Geographic magazine.

Will the famous birds survive? My guess is they will be continued by another company and, very likely, in another country. So, if you have some good old American made pink flamingos I would suggest you take good care of them.

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