The Great Plotnik

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

If I Could Talk to the Animals

Around the corner from The Great Plotnik World Headquarters is the most bizarre place. It was, or is, the home of ad-man Robert Pritikin and is about to become a museum of some sort. It is the largest piece of private property within the city limits of Saint Plotniko and it is built in the middle of a large city block, with an elementary school on one side, set of condos on another and who knows what on the last two sides. One thing for sure is you can't see it from the street, unless you know what you're looking for.

Plottie has been passing by this place for years, and wondered if he could ever get in to see it. Then, last Sunday, as he and his friend Peter were walking by, they noticed an old, beat-up Packard Clipper parked on the street, with a big black dog sitting in the passenger seat. The windows were not open, and Plotnik started to wonder if that wasn't kind of cruel to the dog. When he walked over to look closer he realized the dog was made out of fabric.

Then, he noticed that one of the garage doors was open and looking through you could see a sign in the back that said PRITIKIN MUSEUM with an arrow pointing to the right.

"Now's the time," said Plottie, and they walked in. The place was locked, behind an iron fence, but a Latino guy walked out at that moment with a pretty girl and said: "We're opening in a few months, but you can walk in and look around if you like."

So they did. The first thing you see, after your eyes adjust to a small glade filled with absolutely awful metal sculptures of rhinos and rats and mythical beasts, and your ears adjust to the fact that you just tripped some electronic eye which is now wailing a song called "If I Could Talk to the Animals," is a mural painted against one of the walls of the house. It appears to be a tribute to Saint Plotniko circa 1968.

There's Jack Kerouac and there's Jim Jones and there's the Golden Gate Bridge and City Hall and there's Diane Feinstein, I think, on a wall waving a flag, and there's this ape walking on all fours next to a CBS camera crew, and that might be Emperor Norton and that HAS to be Carole Doda with her best attributes facing forward, riding on a zebra. Don't know the two on the giraffe, but one looks a lot like Marilyn Monroe so the other just might be Joe DiMaggio.

There are other murals too. Peeking through the windows into the house you see a tiny red-felt pool table, in a library with so many books you couldn't possibly have room to use a pool cue, and classic guitars on the walls, and a dining table that looks like they just had a huge cocktail party the night before and the staff hasn't come in to clean up yet, except it happened in 1975.

And fake buildings surrounding it all. And astro turf - no, not astro turf but some curly variety of blue-ish astro-ground covering. And the statue of the founder, next to whom is his most famous book: "Jesus Was an Ad-Man: A History of Miraculous Ad Campaigns." This place is an ad-man's dream: nothing is real. Except the elementary school next door.

The hidden mansion next to the elementary school. Forgive Plotnik, but it FEELS like...well, a 60's period piece. A little Neverland, where you get to hide out and get loaded with all your celebrity friends and pretend you are nine years old.

Creepy? Artsy? Plotnik isn't sure. Maybe he's missing something. Maybe it's something else. Like that stuffed dog.


At 3:02 PM, Blogger mary ann said...

Oh, how interesting!

At 12:30 PM, Anonymous HankyGirl said...

After working on a photo shoot of Bob playing the saw (he's considered one of the best handsaw players around), I was lucky enough to be invited to Labor Day parties at his amazing place, one with Eddie Fisher as guest of honor, the other with Carol Channing.

If you could get into the mansion, you'd also be wowed by the sculpted metal tree that drips water while flames flicker from all the branches, not to mention the swimming pool off the second-floor parlor and the full-sized replica of Rembrandt's "Night Watch" that covered one wall. OMG, what a place that is.


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