Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Fantasy Island, New York - June 1966

Today's slides date from 1966, and were hand-labeled "Fantasy Island". The only U.S. amusement park I can find by that name is known as "Martin's Fantasy Island", in Grand Island, New York... not too far from Niagara Falls. It opened in 1961, and was a mere 12 acres (until it expanded in 1974).

This first view, from the parking lot, shows a series of shops (and restaurants, presumably), in buildings that have a somewhat "fairy tale" look to them, like so many other regional amusement parks of that era. 

The Western Street reminds me of Freedomland in a way. Notice that kids are crowding around several rough looking characters who appear to be handing out some sort of goodie. A pinback button? Sheriff's badge? Cigarettes?

More "Western Street", with a small crowd of visitors gathered to our left. I'll bet they are watching a gunfight!

Here's a better look at one of the shops. Mother Goose can be seen on one of the gables. That gal gets around.

Stay tuned for part 2!


TokyoMagic! said...

Who hung those shutters!?!?

Nanook said...

Wow-! That's quite the bevy of autos. It would appear the second, little white car, mostly obscured by the white, 1960 Ford Station Wagon is none other than a Renault Dauphine. ♫ Renault, Renault, Renault Dauphine - with the city horn - and the country horn...

And as for the free goodies, my vote is for free cigarettes - not the candy ones, oh no - but the real deal. "Smoke 'em if you got 'em".

K. Martinez said...

Da Plane! Da Plane!

These images remind me a lot of those smaller parks like Storytown USA and Gaslight Village in the Lake George, New York area. Very nice set. Thanks for posting.

Melissa said...

I've been to Grand island many times, but never knew this place existed! (We usually went to Darien Lake for amusement parking, or occasionally to Canada's Wonderland.)

I wonder what was going on in that pavilion that looks like an American flag wedding cake in the second picture,

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, ha ha, I didn't even notice that all of the shutters are crooked.

Nanook, how the heck do you know a jingle from a 1960 Renault car commercial?!?!

K. Martinez, well it was only a matter of time before somebody said it! And yes, this looks very much like so many other little "story book" parks.

Melissa, good question, I wonder if that is a fancy ticket booth. Seems a little out of place on an "Old West" street though.

Nanook said...


Here's one spot... The jingle went like this.

"Renault, Renault, Renault Dauphine.
With a city horn. (softer auto horn sound effect)
And a country horn (louder auto horn sound effect)
It goes for miles and miles and miles on a gallon of regular gas.
That's Renault, Renault,
All those Frenchmen can't be wrong!

(Well - they were essentially wrong about Jerry Lewis...)

CoxPilot said...

My Father had a Renault Dauphine as a second work car. It got so few miles on it that the radiator (which was in the back) filled full of foam from the rust. We tried to drain it out, but it was the only thing keeping the thing together. Ounce we filled it with fresh anti-freeze, the whole core fell out and had to be replaced. I remember my dad kept a couple of cinder blocks in the front "trunk" to give it balance because if anyone sat in the back seat, the front wheels would bounce off the ground when we hit a bump. A lot of great memories about that car.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, the concept of a city horn and a country horn is new to me. I would think that the city horn would need to be louder.

CoxPilot, can you even buy a Renault in the US anymore? Your dad's car sounds like it was a real piece of work! I love the detail of keeping cinder blocks in the front.

CoxPilot said...

That was back about 1965 when he got it. He later (about 1970) replaced it with a used type II VW, which ran forever. It finally got sold off when he retired, but ran great. Air cooled, of course.

Nanook said...


For crying out loud - if the two selling points of the Renault Dauphine (and, BTW - pronounced Ren-ALT, for "us dumb Americans" back then) are 39 MPG & a two-tone horn - who's to say which one was louder-? I may be remembering it wrong. A part, no doubt, of my 'mis-spent youth' allowing me to remember the jingle in the first place-!

The bigger issue, it seems to me, would be the lack of traction when too many bodies inhabit its innards.

CoxPilot said...

It was a rear engined, rear wheel drive, create. Traction was not an issue, but steering was.