Speaking of Helvetica—I was at the Point Vicente lighthouse yesterday and stumbled across an awe-inspiring, dilapidated sign/map that used to belong to Marineland of the Pacific, a sort of 1950s Sea World that used to inhabit the Palos Verdes peninsula. The park was apparently designed by William L. Pereira, a very notable modernist architect who later went on to design the Transamerica building in San Francisco, and was one of the designers responsible for the ridiculously cool, “Googie” style “Theme Building” at LAX airport. It’s difficult to be sure exactly when this sign panel was created, since Marineland was open from 1954 to 1987. But with Helvetica being born (as Die Neue Haas Grotesk) in 1957, the illustration style, and the level of decay, I’d imagine that this was probably crafted during the typeface’s early 1960s heyday1.

I’m considering making some of these into higher-resolution desktop wallpaper—if anybody’s interested, leave a comment.

  1. See the comments for the answer to this mystery; turns out I was off by about ten years. []

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5 Responses to “Marineland”

  1. Patrick November 17, 2009 at 5:59 pm #

    Hi Josh: The sign in question was made in the early 1970’s when Marineland went to that font style across all signage at the park, as well as marketing and collateral pieces produced. Pereira was the architect for the main building in 1954 as well as the Sea Arena complex that opened in 1958. but had no involvement with type fonts.

  2. Josh Korwin November 17, 2009 at 6:18 pm #

    Fantastic… thank you for the insight, Patrick! I love learning about this stuff.

  3. tina aka forrestina vintage July 19, 2010 at 10:02 am #

    what a great sign–your photos are very nice, too. I’ve been researching Marineland for a few week–ever since I found 3 vintage postcards from the attraction at a yard sale. Such a fantastic place, wish it was still there to enjoy!

  4. Jason October 25, 2010 at 2:14 pm #

    Nice find. I used to go to Marine Land every year for my birthday when I was younger. I moved not to long ago and came across a stuffed Shamu from Marine Land. I’m guessing it has to be at least 25 years old now. Still in pretty good shape, minus one eye missing.

  5. Saquina April 7, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

    Thank you for sharing and enjoyed the comments as well. I love learning new information about all types of things too from Quantum Medicine to the old Marineland Park. I also went to the park many times as a child for my birthday and other events. My mom loved the park. It was painful to know Shamu was gone!

    Sending Blessings, Love and Light
    Saquina Akanni
    The Prosperity Doctor

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