Be prepared for your Disneyland-loving spirit to soar when the Ambassador of Americana embarks on a fun-filled, time-travel adventure extravaganza in this live comedy performance celebrating the Magic Kingdom of the ‘50s and ‘60s. With his spectacular collection of “found” mid-century-era slides, unbridled enthusiasm and keen expertise, Charles shares the backstories and glories of the early days of Disneyland.
There are few things I love more than Disneyland, but one thing that comes close is Americana. Charles Phoenix has become the King of Americana with his books and slideshows on the subject and I was excited to see one of his performances.
In his shows he recounts how he first stumbled upon a box of old slides in an antique shop. These slides not only provided a window into lives long gone, but into a past that people still find fascinating. Not to mention they're great fun to look at!
The Performing Arts Center At Cal Poly San Luis Obispo was packed when my Disney-loving friend Jason and I arrived for the Retro Disneyland Slideshow. Many people were wearing Disney-inspired outfits or Hawaiian shirts. Charles came onstage to raucous applause in an flashy orange suit. His perfectly coiffed hair shone under the lights and his smile flashed out across the crowd.
What followed was an hour of slides taken by mostly unknown families, at Disneyland, throughout the fifties and sixties. Mr. Phoenix would pepper them with commentary and anecdotes and share with us some of the people he had nicknamed (one was called Daddy Long Legs) and punctuate them all with his trademark, "I knoooow!"
It was a fun afternoon, full of laughs and amazing color shots of the Happiest Place on Earth. It was a hoot to see how the park had changed over the years. I really think they should bring back the Space Man and Space Girl, don't you? I know! One of the best parts of the show came toward the end when a woman in the crowd recognized some of the people in the photos. What are the chances!
"Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the sooner we will be able to treat life as art."