Sunday, February 22, 2009

3 Classic Amusement Parks

It's time for a little break from Disneyland! There were lots of other fun things to do in Southern California, and here are three of them.

This photo is from a slide that was labeled "Bob Barker". That certainly could be him holding the microphone. I have no idea what he's doing at Marineland, but I'm guessing it might have something to do with the TV game show, "Truth or Consequences", which made Bob a household name (before "The Price is Right" made him even MORE of a household name). Bob is about to push that other gentleman into the water, where he will be eaten by rare flying Manta Sharks.

For many people, the Christmas holiday season is long enough. But there are those among us who crave that yuletide experience all year long. Let's all go to Santa's Village! If I am reading that calendar/clock correctly, it is August, and it was probably a real treat to escape the city heat and head on over to Lake Arrowhead, where there were pine trees and hopefully cooler air. The mushrooms grew very large up there, as you can see. And Saint Nick himself looks like he could use a break.

Here's a random shot from the Universal Studios backlot, circa 1971. You can see the PT-73 from the TV show "McHale's Navy" (1962-1966), which starred Ernest Borgnine and Tim Conway. By 1971, the PT boat was on dry land, and from the looks of things, starting to fall apart. According to Wikipedia, "PT-73 was later sold to the mayor of Hawthorne, California, and was converted to a sport fishing boat. It was later destroyed when it broke loose of its mooring near Santa Barbara and washed up on the beach during a storm." So now you know.


TokyoMagic! said...

Great shots today, Major! I wish I had gotten a chance to visit Santa's Village. I remember driving by it, but we never stopped. :-(

Katella Gate said...

Back in the day, Santa's Village really was a great place for kids. The park was tailor-made for children in scale, theme, and activity. The high-water mark was probably in the early-mid 60's.

By the early 70's the place was getting kind of creaky. A lot of closed shops, and attractions that seemed neglected. Also, I was in my early teens at the time so much of childhood enchantment had evaporated.

Anonymous said...

As a kid, I loved the Santa's Village near Santa Cruz. My four most vivid memories:

1. Climbing on the giant mushrooms. The nearby Chevron station had 'em, too.

2. The Alice In Wonderland Maze. A cool little funhouse. The rabbit hole was a short slide. A dark hall had a spongy mattress flooring to simulate shrinking -- Then you passed a huge version of a smaller table you'd passed earlier. The glass maze section in the middle (sort of simulating Disney's Tulgey Wood) was reeeeeally easy.

3. Best Gingerbread Man cookies ever. They had red-hots for eyes.

4. The Lollypop Tree. It was just a small living tree with suckers hanging from it. Each child was allowed to enter its fenced enclosure and pick one. Possibly the cheapest theme park attraction ever, but--to me--this was a dream come true.

The place had a kiddie coaster "bobsled" ride through an "ice" tunnel, a Christmas Tree Dumbo imitation (you rode in ornaments)and a snowball themed Teacup clone at the park's edge--visible from the highwway.

I loved it. Set in the local redwoods, it really seemed magical.

Nancy said...

these are great images! i remember McHale's Navy being a favorite show as a kid :D

as for the Christmas season...never long enough! i still have my silver tree with the plastic ornaments up in my office (working at home has some great advantages).

i have a pretty cool collection of 60s and 70s stuff and i may keep it up all year!

Kelly Short said...

ohh I LOVED Santa's Village!

Anonymous said...

Just to help, your picture is of the full scale plywood mockup that was used on-set for McHale's Navy.

The story is correct, but concerns the real boat used in the credits.