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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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California Vacation: 1956

California Vacation: 1956

Marineland of the Pacific on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in 1956. Left to right are my two cousins visiting from Texas, myself, and my brother. Inside the 1955 DeSoto are my Granny and my Aunt. We are all enjoying our ice cream at the end of a day of watching the fishes. All but my little brother, that is. His ice cream has rolled out of the cone and can just barely be seen on the ground at his feet on the right. It wasn't the first or the last time that would happen to him. View full size.

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I fish off the site of the former Marineland and above is how it looks now.

Below a post card and the name of the resort that is there now amidst some of the priciest high rent districts in California.


The big difference

I love these nostalgic pics of families with their cars. It does show up the big difference between America and South Africa in this era -- the cars. The cars in the old photos of my parents and grandparents are generally smaller British and German cars like Morris and Opel, nice and yet somehow not as glamorous as those fantastic "yank tanks."

Marineland From the Air

Late 50's aerial view. The wife and I were married on the former Marineland site, several years after it closed. It's now Terranea Resort.


Memories of my late father are always intertwined with his string of DeSotos. From the '47 (Fluid Drive semi-automatic) of my early childhood through the fire-breathing red '61 Firedome (383 Hemi) of my teen years, in which I learned to drive and became a man. Thanks for bringing up a lot of memories, pointedrocks.

[The last Firedomes were 1959 cars. For 1961, which was DeSoto's final year, the only models were a nameless sedan and coupe. - Dave]

Booty cuffs.

Those are just like the way we used to cuff our pants as kids. Then some kid transferred to our school with his cuffs tucked under and inside the pant leg, and we never looked back.

My sister, grandmother and aunt would venture down from the Bay Area to Southern California two years after this to enjoy Disneyland and surrounding attractions, Marineland being one of the stops. With no interstate highways at the time, it was the longest trip I'd ever been on, and seemed like it would never end. We did get a chance to see some Hollywood magic, as they were filming some of the new hit show "Sea Hunt". One of my favorite shows, it was so cool to see the footage of the scenes I'd watch them film later on. Yeah, I guess this photo is bringing back a few memories.

Fashion youngsters

Boy, those clothes are just so typical of the era. Love the turned up denims.

Come on pointedrocks, tell me you gave your brother some of your ice cream after his "whoops".

Cars like shown here are alive and well here in New Zealand, friends of mine have '57 Fairlanes, '57 Oldsmobile, '58 Buick Special and one mate has three Chevy Bel Airs -- 1955, 56 and 57. Great cars.

Submarine Races?

Couples watching submarine races? Is this a 1950s euphemism, or was this an actual, literal event?

[Yes. - Dave]


Probably a Fireflite, may be a Coronado.


I remember a visit in the late 50's. The walruses (walri?) were making awesomely flatulant noises inside their cement shelter - almost outweighing the famous leaping porpoises in my impressionable 12-year old mind. It was fascinating to watch the porpoises build up speed through the underwater portholes, racing individually in seemingly random circles until they suddenly came together and burst out of the water in formation leaps. And we too observed the now-forgotten discipline of only enjoying treats OUTSIDE the car, to preserve the upholstery. We would have arrived in our 1957 Mercury Colony Park station wagon with the Turnpike Cruiser V8, complete with pillarless hardtop construction, vinyl siding and red "spear" inset into white body - a major milestone in the lurid styling race that erupted in the late fifties. As hastily as this car seemed to be designed and built, not many made it into the sixties.

Silver Lining?

At least you get to eat the cone. Been there and done that.


In 1956 I had a new drivers license and on the weekends I could be found on those hills directly behind the cars. There was a Nike Missile site up there and my friends and I would explore it. It was also prime hunting territory for rattlesnakes. We would catch them live and sell them to a lab in L.A. All of this within view of the big blue pool at Marineland. And at night, the Palos Verdes Peninsula (P.V.) came alive with the arrival of hundreds of young couples to watch the submarine races.

Chrysler products

As a kid of 8 & 9, just about my favorite cars were DeSotos and Chryslers of 1955-56. And they keep on following me. Just the other day via Netflix Streaming I watched Hot Cars, which is full of them, and tonight whilst exiting a shopping center parking lot I came nearly face-to-face with a vintage restored 1955 Chrysler.

The station wagon at right

It's a handsome car and definitely a rival of Pontiac's, but my money is on it being a 1955 or 1956 Mercury. Sadly, in just a few years younger people won't recognize those names anymore (or other old Detroit friends like Plymouth & Oldsmobile.)

Boy! Do I remember that!

Especially losing a triple decker. Oh, the pain of youth.

Delightful, Delovely

I love the photo! It is so very 50ish!!! Love the joy of the ice cream and the sadness of losing your cone to the pavement!!!

Missing dessert

Love the chrome on that DeSoto. I learned to drive in my grandma's '55. What memories this pic brings back. Looks to me like a '55 Chevy station wagon in the background.

[Almost -- the wagon is a Pontiac. (Oops, actually a Mercury, as noted by A Californian.) - Dave]


WOW what a great car.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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