Saturday, January 14, 2012

Anything Goes Saturday - Pleasure Island

Today I have four photos (from October 1968) Pleasure Island, in Wakefield Massachusetts! This park opened in 1959; and who gets the credit for designing it? None other than C.V. Wood, the same man who helped Walt build Disneyland, and then tried to take most of the credit for it!

Pleasure Island was even billed as "The Disneyland of the Northeast" - Walt must have loved that. The park was 80 acres, and offered such things as a Space Rocket ride, a Pirate ride, a Moby Dick ride, a Western Land (complete with the "Diamond Lil Theater", sponsored by Pepsi - sound familiar?), a narrow gauge railroad, and best of all, Monkey Island. I defy you to name anything that isn't improved with the presence of monkeys! Can't do it, can you?

This first photo shows the fun (but modest) entrance, including a sign informing visitors that state law prohibits the park from opening until 1:00 PM on Sunday.

Here's another shot of the entrance, and ticket booths. Notice the giant rocket... I wonder how similar that attraction was to Disneyland's "Rocket to the Moon"?

Unfortunately, the pix I have from inside the park are not great. Sorry! This looks to me like it was the equivalent of Town Square, only there's nothing there. Except for the Shutterbug Shoppe which I guess sold bugs.

This wonderful attraction featuring a barn with a slide is called "Barn and Slide". BAM! Fun Fact: some scenes from the Cliff Robertson movie "Charly" were filmed here? Check out all of the orbs in this photo, each one is a real ghost. All buildings over 2 stories should have a slide (on each level) for emergency evac. Who's with me?

You know what's funny about Massachusetts? It has long, cold winters, which makes it hard to run an amusement park and stay profitable. Sadly, Pleasure Island went belly-up in 1969, to be replaced with an equally fun office park.


nthsh01 said...

Great post!

I grew up hearing the train whistle from Pleasure Island echoing through town, and remember being a bit scared on the funky Moby Dick ride.

They actually moved one of the old Victorian train stations in town right to serve as the depot for the train ride.

I saw many famous celebrities over the years there including the Three Stooges, Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger), Popeye, and Lassie!

Local legend has it that the Moby Dick whale is still at the bottom of the lagoon.

Thanks for posting these!

Connie Moreno said...

If those are FLYING monkeys, I am so jumping into my time machine!