Thursday, February 14, 2013

Queen's Park, Long Beach California

Today's post is a tribute to a SoCal amusement park that I have heard almost nothing about, which is pretty unusual; we love our amusement parks! 

So, here is one postcard for Queen's Park in Long Beach. Since the early 1900's, the Long Beach Municipal Pier was home to a waterfront boardwalk and park known as "The Pike". As the years passed and competition for people's amusement dollars increased, The Pike was given a facelift and renamed "Nu-Pike" in 1954. One of Bud Hurlbut's famous miniature trains was added! In 1971, the named was changed to Queen's Park to coincide with the arrival of the RMS Queen Mary.

Considering that I lived in nearby Huntington Beach and my Navy dad worked in Long Beach, I am astounded that my family never went to Queen's Park. It looks like it would have been a lot of fun!

I was even more amazed to learn that Queen's Park lasted until 1980. Apparently it was featured in old episodes of Emergency!, S.W.A.T, and The Six Million Dollar Man... it would be fun to see those scenes!

At a recent paper show, I found this strip of tickets (on Globe paper, hooray!) from QP's first year. This would have kept you busy for a while! Presumably a guest handed this to the ticket taker who was armed with a special paper punch.

Goodbye, Queen's Park!


Nanook said...

I'm so confused. Everyone seems to be in agreement that The Pike (or Nu Pike) changed its name to Queen's Park in 1971, to coincide with the Queen Mary being its new neighbor. And the famous Cyclone Racer Roller Coaster, designed and built by the equally famous team of Harry G. Traver & Frank Church, was torn down beginning on September 15, 1968.

So how to explain the beautiful set of tickets clearly showing a section for the Cyclone Racer. Was that referring to some 'other' attraction-?

And if you want to see some great color footage of the Pike, from 1964, there's always the infamous film with the infamous title: The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies-!!?, from none other than cheesy director Ray Dennis Steckler.

TokyoMagic! said...

There was also a Charlie's Angels episode from season one that had some scenes filmed at the Pike.

Nanook, I visited the Pike only was in the late seventies and there was a metal roller coaster that was called The Cyclone Racer.....probably as a tribute the wooden one that was torn down.

Melissa said...

TISCWSLABMUZ is one of my favorite MST3K episodes.

Queen's Park was also home to the mummified remains of Elmer McCurdy:

K. Martinez said...

I love stuff on Long Beach Pike. Never went, but collected lots of postcards of the amusement park.

I'm always on the lookout for movies showing footage of the Pike. 1953's Beast from 20,000 Fathoms features the Pike and Cylcone Racer with its entrance ramp, loading platform and structure.

Here's the roller coaster history of The Pike from one of my favorite sites RCDB (Roller Coaster Database). It lists the metal coaster "Cyclone" TokyoMagic! mentioned.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I think I have still managed to avoid any of Mr. Steckler's masterpieces, in spite of reading about them in books like "The 50 Worst Movies of All Time". It might be on YouTube, maybe I need to check this one out.

TokyoMagic!, thanks for the clarification on the Cyclone Racer… as I said, I know darn little about Queen's Park/The NuPike/The Pike, and it IS a bit confusing.

Melissa, I don't know if you know who Ralph Story was, but he did a lot of TV features about local California landmarks. I think I first heard about Elmer McCurdy from Ralph's show. Amazing!

K. Martinez, I think I have one additional decent photo of the Pike, I need to dig it up and post it here someday. Funny that the Pike showed up in so many movies and TV shows, I'm sure the owners loved the shot of income that they brought. Thanks for the link about the coaster!

Nanook said...

A HA! Thank you TokyoMagic! I knew one of you 'brains' out there would solve the mystery.

Anonymous said...

I seem to remember visiting the "Nu-Pike" Park after a visit to the Queen Mary, since that was what took us to Long Beach.

But that was so long ago, maybe we went before the QM arrived and it's just telescoped in my mind. I also remember going by and finding this park had closed, but maybe that's a fever dream too.

Anyway, I remember that it was crowded and smelled of hot grease, and everything was dirty, especially the restrooms. A huge contrast to Disneyland where we were the day before.

I also recall that Mom would not go on the double ferris wheel, which hung out over the end of the pier during part of it's cycle.

You can see the wheel in the night photo in the post. There were two small wheels on each end of a big beam, both wheels rotated, and the beam went around it's center pivot too, so there was a lot of spinning going on...

Wow, thats a lot of memory for one day. Thank you Major, for the trip back.


Connie Moreno said...

Son of a gun, I have never heard of that park!

Clyde Hughes said...

Great photos of Queen's Park.
I've seen that "Emergency!" episode that features Queen's
There was a ride, sometimes called a "Sky Hook"
(basically two cranes with baskets that would take you up
high above the park), which had become stuck (the cables
had jammed), and the paramedics, Roy and John, et al,
had to rescue a man on the ride who had had a heart attack!
Wow, I'm not sure I would want to go there after seeing that,
but it was pretty impressive! I remember they had mechanical
dancing figures over the entrance of the park.
Here's a page (Six Flags Over Texas) with screenshots
from that episode:

Clyde Hughes said...

Here's the episode of "Emergency!"
called "Transitions" you can watch
for free on Hulu. There are 2 scenes with
Queen's Park, and the one with the
dancing figures and 'skyhook'
is at about 35 minutes into the

Anonymous said...

We called the place NuPike or 'The Pike' back then. I have memories of riding the Cyclone Racer at night near its closure. No lines and for 25 cents you could pay the attendant and just stay on for another ride. It was a cheesy area back in 1968 but still, the place seemed like an adventure for a 17 year old. Even the drive back to Costa Mesa on PCH (when we really had fog back then) just can't duplicate the experience today.

Anonymous said...

I found a photo of the Nu Pike on this link: This particular photo has the caption ''Overhead View of Nu-Pike with new Auditorium in Background
1967''. There is one thing that conflicts with the caption, the Cyclone Racer was torn down on September 1968, and in said photo there is no Cyclone Racer. Did the Nu Pike still operate while the Cyclone Racer was demolished, and what year would you place the photo? I'd say somewhere between 1968-71.