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Photo of Calvin Black with Possum Trot dolls

Calvin & Ruby Black

(1903–1972) & (1913–1980)

Calvin and Ruby Black began building the Possum Trot Shop and Fantasy Doll Show in 1954 as an attraction to lure tourists off the main highways and to their small rock shop in Possum Trot, California, in the Mojave Desert. Possum Trot fast became the couple's artistic obsession.

Calvin ultimately carved over 80 dolls, each representing someone important in his life. Ruby made clothes for each doll. Calvin also built the "Bird Cage Theater" to install doll players that performed and sang in voices recorded by the husband and wife. Their animated displays were designed to attract as well as entertain visitors. Outside the shop, wind-powered dolls animated the home and attraction while alerting motorists that something awfully specially was happening inside.

Famed husband and wife filmmakers Allie Light and Irving Saraf became enchanted with the Blacks and their one-of-a-kind, homemade, roadside marvel, and lucky for us, documented Possum Trot at the zenith of its gloried existence.


To learn more about Calvin & Ruby Black & Possum Trot, visit: http://www.spacesarchives.org/explore/collection/environment/possum-trot/

Ruby Black & Possum Trot, photo by Seymour Rosen, Courtesy Spaces Archives

Renee, Calvin and Ruby Black, c. 1953-1969, Collection of Roberta Stewart