Pismo Beach is a city in San Luis Obispo County, in the Central Coast area of California, United States. The estimate population was 7,931 at 2014, up from 7,655 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Five Cities Area, a cluster of cities in that area of San Luis Obispo County. Its motto is “Clam Capital of the World”.
The Pismo clam was named for the long, wide beach where so many were once found. Once so abundant they were harvested with plows on the beach. Clamming once drew thousands of clammers to the beach during low tides and is still legal; however, due to over-harvesting by humans and the protected sea otter (which feasts on clams), few clams are to be found. Pismo Beach adopted the name “Clam Capital of the World” in the 1950s, though this motto is no longer used. The city still holds the Clam Festival every October, complete with clam chowder competitions and a clam-themed parade. At the southern end of Price Street upon first entering Pismo Beach, a gigantic concrete clam statue greets visitors. The oldest Surf Shop on the Central Coast (Pismo Beach Surf Shop) is seen from the Pismo Clam. An eight-inch shell of the Pismo clam (Tivela stultorum) is on display at the Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce.
The city has received a substantial number of mentions in popular culture, including the films The Big Lebowski, Clueless, and A Night at the Roxbury, the TV show United States of Tara, and the animated series Futurama, Robot Chicken, and The Critic. The W. C. Fields comedy The Bank Dick (1940), set in Lompoc, includes a character listed in the film’s credits as “A. Pismo Clam”. In Ali Baba Bunny, Bugs Bunny and his traveling companion Daffy Duck emerge from a burrow, believing they have arrived at Pismo Beach “and all the clams we can eat”. In the TV movie Dragnet 1966 (1969), Bill Gannon (Harry Morgan) takes disability retirement and moves to Pismo Beach. After eight months and three weeks of eating Pismo Beach clam chowder, Bill’s health returns, his teeth stop falling out, and he is able to be reinstated with the L.A.P.D. Explaining to Joe Friday (Jack Webb) the reason for his restored health, he states, “The clams, Joe. The clams.”
In The Monkees TV series episode ‘The Wild Monkees’ (aired 11-13-67), Pismo Beach in mentioned a few times. Mike Nesmith states ‘You remember the Massacre at Pismo Beach?’ when told the motocycle gang the black angels will be staying at the hotel they are working at. To which the rest of the group replies ‘Pismo Beach?’ In the movie Clueless (1995), the fictitious “Pismo Beach disaster” is referred to. In the I Love Lucy TV series episode ‘Lucy Gets In Pictures’ (aired 02-21-55), Lucy (Lucille Ball) mentions Pismo Beach as one of the locations that she and her best friend, Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance), want to visit.
Content courtesy of Wikipedia.org