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Cabazon Dinosaurs

The yellowed newspaper clipping in the belly of a brontosaurus tells the tale of a man named Claude K. Bell and his life-long fascination with the massive reptiles of the Mesozoic Age.

  In 1964, 67-year-old Bell broke ground and started erecting the150 ton concrete, Dinney the Dinosaur “without the help of a construction company or investors.” 11 years, and nearly a quarter of a million dollars later, Mr. Bell’s vision wasn’t even halfway completed. Next was the Tyrannosaurus Rex––the undisputed king of the concrete colossals. The huge T-Rex, complete with a sliding board down its tail was finished shortly after Bell’s death in 1987. Remaining on the drawing board were concept sketches and models of a huge Woolly Mammoth, and a saber-toothed tiger or two.

During the 80’s people nation wide were introduced to the dynastic duo from their cameos in commercials, music videos, and mostly notably the movie, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, but hard times hit the massive beasts in the 90’s. The property was up for sale shortly after Carl Bell’s death, and for a time it looked like the museum slash gift shop slash enormous kitschy homage to the prehistoric

creatures might be bulldozed in order to accommodate a bigger, more ferocious modern day monster ––the stripmall.

The dinosaurs are still in place today. They now however have been forced to co-exist with a Burger King and a Denny’s Restaurant.

 Dinney and Rex also have had a recent touch up. For the total sum of one dollar and a case of Dr. Pepper, a painting contractor applied a more realistic coat of paint down Rex’s back, and altered Dinney from cartoony green to a more authentic grey. There are plans of having an electrical engineer install lighting so it will appear that the eyes are glowing fire-red at night.

 These external modifications sound fairly modest in comparison to some of the local wealthy narcissists in nearby Palm Springs.  –Joe O.

 

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