1967 Sunset Strip Fashion with Charles Lange — En Route to Joshua Tree & Beyond

I first discovered Charles Lange when I stumbled on this video on youtube 15 or so years ago:

Who was this Tony Curtis/Larry Hagman of “I Dream of Jeannie” lookalike straight out of the 1967 Summer of Love on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles? Who seemed the ultimate spokesman for mod fashion, with a bit of tongue-in-cheek playfulness?

“Yes we can make it shorter we do make everything here. But I have a suggestion for you — we have a dress that has completely backless cutouts, why don’t you try it on.”

Charles owned a small boutique on Sunset Strip in Hollywood — Belinda’s — as he says in the video:

“Hi I’m Charles Lange. I own a small boutique on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood and Believe you me it’s been very exciting. The idea came to us about 6 months ago to have a small shop going, run as a boutique. We then raced around downtown and discovered that there was really nothing around that we wanted to place in our shop, so we decided to make our own.”

“Approximately after that we had enough money for the rent, and about 11 pieces made up and we opened the front door. Since then things have been rather jumping. We have a lot of lively music going on and some of the wild-ous things you can possibly find.”

Charles Was Philosophical

But the more I watched the video — and I’ve watched it several times — the more I realized that Charles was not so much playful as he was philosophical.

“You know in New York now they’re wearing slips to parties. In London they’re wearing old World War I uniforms. And fashion can really be exciting,” says Charles.

“I believe the kids today are flying and the world has never been — in history — moved so fast or progressed so quickly. This I believe is reflected by their choice of look. I also believe that this look comes from a world race thru periods of history, and individually.¬†Individualism can be expressed privately or publicly by the mood of your look.”

Those are powerful words that ring true about personal style, and quite philosophical words as well.

Those who have read the book “Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon” — or listened to the author Dave McGowan being interviewed — might be suspicious of the whole Sunset Strip and hippie scene, as being one huge false flag event to derail real efforts to end the Vietnam War.

But even if one believed that, it would seem Charles Lange was innocent to it all.

In Search of Charles Lange

After seeing that video above — in around 2005 — I sought out to find Charles Lange. What happened to him; what was his story?

Amazingly I found out that Lange had a TV show on Chicago TV in the early 1970’s called Deadlock. It was a talk show where Charles took his philosophical views to a bigger stage, interviewing people about the world around them.

Deadlock

Charles was the host, writer and creative director of Deadlock, which aired in prime time on WTTW, PBS Chicago during the summer of 1971. Lange was nominated for two Emmys for the show.

I found a video of some snippets of some of the show on a youtube channel — run by Charles Lange himself!

According to the video description, Executive Producer John Banahan obtained sponsorship for the show from the Archdiocese of Chicago during the summer of 1971. The clips above show Urban Revolution in the City Streets, Dealing with Death and Dying, Art of Meditation, Society Drop-outs, Sensual Awareness Training.

Moreover, I found that Charles had a Facebook channel. I followed him. He friended me back.

Crazy world that this is Charles Lange and I were now friends.

I did this through the pneum-de-plume Facebook account I use to run all of these website accounts — so Charles was friends with the clandestine me. And maybe I was friends with the clandestine Charles.

This was circa 2005. At the time Facebook was new and Charles didn’t have many followers. His follower count grew to 1.9K followers by 2023.

I exchanged a number of pleasantries with Charles — commenting on his posts, etc, through the years.

His Facebook page says Charles is from Chicago, and studied Painting at the Art Institute of Chicago, attending from 1957 to 1959.

Joshua Tree

Charles ran Lange Media for years — this was his media marketing business. He was holed up in the California desert in a place called Joshua Tree — I thought it might be some sort of modern day Hippie commune from the pictures and videos Charles would post.

This was the perfect place for Charles — who always remained so philosophical — just like in the video above on the Sunset Strip in 1967.

Here are some:

and

It took me YEARS to realize what Joshua Tree is — a town by a National Park of the same name that features the Joshua tree — and where one of my favorite guitarists — Josh Homme — held desert concerts in the early 1990’s with his band Kyuss before forming Queens of the Stone Age. These were concerts I’d heard about for 15 years and wished I could go back in time to attend! Josh Homme who was born in nearby Palm Springs and may have been named after the Joshua Tree. And of course there was that album by U2, Joshua Tree.

Puzzle pieces were coming together to a puzzle I didn’t know existed.

Charles Lange: 1941-2023

I don’t use my nom-de-plume Facebook account much and didn’t interact with Charles much the last 5 years.

I should have. I recently went to see what he was up to — and found out he passed away 7 months ago, in July, 2023.

Here is a post from him a few years back:

 

Coincidence?

After discovering what Joshua Tree actually was last week when I wrote the article on Josh Homme and Kyuss, and then looking up Charles Lange on Facebook and finding he had passed 7 months ago — I told the family all about Joshua Tree — where by the way Real Estate prices have been zooming the last few years — with prices almost doubling between 2020 and 2022 — as the world has apparently discovered this enchanting place.

Since last Sunday:

  • On Monday our daughter came home from interning at the hospital and said a guy there said he had just returned from California — she asked where? and he said Joshua Tree.
  • Just today, good buddy John Morra said he and his wife were at the airport in Seattle (where they live) heading to Palm Springs, California (right by Joshua Tree).
  • And this morning my screen saver first thing in the morning when I turned this computer on was this: a Joshua Tree in the desert of Joshua Tree:

Thank you for all of your wonderful work and view on life, Charles. See you up there someday.

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