Saturday, May 24, 2014

Steel Pier, Atlantic City - August 1960

Today I have a few photos from Atlantic City, New Jersey, over at the famous "Steel Pier". Built in 1898, the pier has been a destination for fun and recreation for millions of people. You could dance, watch world-class singers like Frank Sinatra or Al Jolson, see the "Miss America" pageant, and enjoy all manner of classic amusement park attractions. 

This first picture is neat, you really get a feel for the sheer size of the Steel Pier (though a fire in 1970 shortened it by 1/3). Nearby are rows of beach chairs for folks who have come from all over to enjoy a day at the shore. 

I like this guy's style! Wouldn't you love to be able to ride the "Spooks Shangri La Steelplechase"?? If it was even half as cool as I imagine, it would have been amazing. Just to the right of that ride is what appears to be a carbon-copy of the ride known as the "Astro Jets" at Disneyland. I wish the rockets were up so that we could get a look at them.

One of the more famous and popular acts seen on the pier was the high-diving horse. Somehow a horse was coaxed up a long ramp. At the end (waaaaay up high), the floor literally dropped from beneath the horse and it would plummet into a pool below. Maybe they got used to it? You can see that the horse in this photo is still streaming with water. Notice the spotlights for evening performances!

There were also death-defying aerialists. Just looking at this picture makes me dizzy. That guy doing the handstand - oh man. And the rocket presumably orbited the tower, with a pretty lady to act as a counterbalance.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to the Steel Pier!


Nanook said...


Wonderful images from a great American destination.

I'm not entirely certain what you mean by "liking the guy's style" in the second image, as I'm unclear just what exactly he's attempting "to hide" underneath his polo shirt... Perhaps it's merely an unfortunate "disfigurement", as opposed to a poor attempt at smuggling contraband surreptitiously.

Thanks, Major.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Cool pics. Now I'm inspired to watch "Back to School" with Rodney Dangerfield so I can see Thornton Mellon do the amazing Triple Lindy dive!

Anonymous said...

Nice set today Major, but that high-diving horse...seriously, who thought of that act? It sure wasn't the horse.

Are you sure that horse isn't wetting himself at the idea of yet another trip up that ramp and hurtling several stories into a pool??

Bill in Denver

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, now don't be jealous of that guy's savoir-faire. Some people have just "got it". Also, he is smuggling hamsters.

Alonzo, I guess I need to watch that movie again,.. was Rodney "Thornton Mellon"?

Bill in Denver, I know; you can find photos of the horses in mid-plummet, and there is no way that they are enjoying it!

Alonzo P Hawk said...

The one and only. To save 2 hours here's the dive itself at the end. About 2 mins instead.

Anonymous said...

Alonzo - the Triple Lindy should be an Olympic sport...and here's footage of the actual Steel Pier horse-diving spectacle!!

Bill in Denver

K. Martinez said...

No smoking, please! It's bad for the horse's health.

That last image reminds me of my days working at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in the early 1970s. There's was always some sort of aerial act or Wheel-of-Death type act going on in the summer.

Now let's go for a ride on the Astro-jet!

Gnometrek said...

I remember going to the Steel Pier in the late 60's. By then it was a shadow of its former self. But the horse was still diving and you could still play tick tac toe with a live chicken for a dime.

plwood said...

I'm working for a TV production company out of NYC and we're looking for people who grew up riding the rides and amusements at Steel Pier! Please contact me if you're interested!