Love them or despise them, they have gained and lost popularity several times. Pink Flamingo yard and lawn ornaments have enjoyed several resurrections in popularity over the decades...
Pink Flamingo Lawn Ornaments: Quirky Yard Decorations Since 1957
Love 'em or despise 'em, there are probably few who are unfamiliar with these lawn ornaments in at least some capacity. A pair of pink flamingos with long slender wire legs picking and poking around the hedges and flower gardens of residential homes in the sunbelt. Their disgustingly Pepto-Bismol coloration would be hard to dismiss or ignore.
They first emerged in 1957 and were especially popular in the U.S. state of Florida and sunbelt states among the retiree and snowbird sect. These singularly unique ornaments have oddly enough enjoyed several resurgences of popularity over the years. Notable again during the early 1970s, these obsequiously colorful waterfowl returned to a generation whose parents probably wished they had disappeared forever.
Created by designer Don Featherstone, these brilliant fuchsia-pink plastic lawn ornaments are purportedly designed based upon the dimensions of genuine flamingos.
Pink Flamingos Ornaments Originally Sold in Pairs
Originally sold in pairs with one standing upright and the other in a feeding position with head down, they are difficult to find in any normal retail outlet these days. The classic yard flamingoes are likely secreted away over family garages and in old steamer trunks in attics all over America, appearing all too infrequently in estate sales or upon sites like e-Bay and etsy.
One's best luck can come from yard sales. Here, previously-owned yard flamingos can be bought for much less than the new ones and certainly less than the 'bidding' sites, where competition can become fierce.
Anyone growing up in the 1970s remembers the resurgence of popularity these ostentatiously tacky ornaments had. They were seemingly everywhere! You were nobody unless you had at least a pair of pink yard flamingoes.
A 1972 movie "Pink Flamingos" had a lot to do with these quirky ornaments attaining their weird stigma as being tasteless and pandering.
Sometimes modified by the owner to reflect the local culture or satire, it was not uncommon to see a colorful pair of Hawaiian-themed Bermuda shorts worn over the spindly legs of the bird or a short walking cane affixed to the body as if being carried under the wing among other minor tongue-in-cheek modifications.
Sentimentality surely plays a role for the adult children of people whom had these in their yards must be cited. My mother had once told me that her parents had a set of these in their yard and she abhorred them then, but years later wished to own a pair to display in her daffodil and Japanese Lantern flowerbed.
The classic pink flamingos are highly sought after by the loyal fanciers of these kitsch items, especially the sun-faded ones. They were deemed 'more authentic' than the post-modern issue. Certainly, venerable at any rate because they wear the sun-faded patina from exposure to many summers. Not so gaudy. They are classic.
The early pink flamingo yard ornaments by creator Don Featherstone did not bear his signature name-stamp but ones made after 1987 did. Therefore, the flamingos lacking the trademark signature (located under the tail) are considered to be antiques and are of a more collectible value.
These older pink flamingo ornaments might be found in out of the way antique shops these days, hanging in a corner more-of-less out of sight. Be prepared to pay a higher price for the older versions though due to their venerable vintage.
The design of pink flamingo yard ornaments has changed very little over the years. Their plastic bodies are quite durable and can withstand many seasons in the sun. They have been around for more than 42 years but can we stand yet another resurrection of these putrid pink flamingos?
I might suggest that yes, we can.
UPDATE: Found; transcript of a phone interview with Don Featherstone, creator of Pink Flamingo lawn ornaments (and other plastic products.)
P.S. -Note the large frond-like dark leaves in the foreground, these are the very toxic CASTOR BEAN ornamental plants that surround the pink flamingos in this image. -A touch of irony, perhaps?