Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Vintage Magic Mountain Postcards

It's time for more vintage postcard fun, courtesy of Ken Martinez! Once again, he has done all of the work. Ken says:

Today's set consists of three continental and two jumbo color border postcards from the Southern California theme park "Magic Mountain". What I love about early images of the pre-Six Flags era of Magic Mountain is the parched and dry terrain that surrounds the park.

Here's a 1970's psychedelic style postcard featuring the "Galaxy" double-arm wheel, "Circus Wheel" (Chance Trabant) and fountain at the bottom of Valencia Falls.

Featured in this color border card are Bloop, Bleep and King Troll point with the Founders statue. Although an original creation and unique to Magic Mountain, the trolls and Wizard were not the first characters at the park. It was the Warner Bros characters that were utilized during Magic Mountain's inaugural year. The trolls were introduced in 1972. Bugs Bunny and company would return later in 1985, about six years after Six Flags took over Magic Mountain.

Here's an overview of part of the back area of Magic Mountain featuring the "El Bumpo" bumper boats. In the background are the "Gold Rusher" runaway mine train coaster track hugging the terrain, the Metro Monorail and the two "Eagle's Flight" sky rides that ran between the Galaxy, Shangri-La and El Dorado stations.

Featuring in another color border card are Bloop, Bleep, King Troll and the Wizard entertaining children in front of the "Das Alpenhaus" restaurant which opened in 1974.

Here's another 1970's psychedelic style postcard featuring The Grand Carousel. The two psychedelic styled cards shown in today's post are some of my favorites from this collection.

While I still enjoy Six Flags Magic Mountain today with its extreme thrills and mature vegetation, there's something special about the 1970's era of Magic Mountain with its trolls, barren landscape, and original "white-knucklers". Hope you enjoyed your postcard visit back in time to the 1970's at Magic Mountain.

Information source material:
Funland U.S.A. copyright 1978 by Tim Onosko
Santa Clarita Valley History - Photo & Text Archive -

THANKS to Ken for 


TokyoMagic! said...

G-R-O-O-O-O-V-Y, man! I love the psychedelic designs. Sometimes I forget that Disneyland and Knott's aren't the only ones THAT RUIN EVERYTHING! Sadly, so much of what is shown in those pictures is long gone. I wonder what they did with that statue of the troll on the horse? I saw some pics online of a private collection of Magic Mt. items including an Eagle's Flight gondola and s Crazy Barrel a whole lot more. I can't remember if this person had that statue or not.

TokyoMagic! said...

I found the site that I mentioned above. Yep, this guy has the horse statue, but unfortunately, it wasn't a happy ending for the troll that used to be riding on the horse. Here's that site:

Nancy said...

very cool!! these postcards are great. I love the double-arm Ferris very 70s in its style and colors.

I have to say that the first one is my fave, but I love the one in the middle as well, featuring the monorail and sky ride. so much going on here. maybe water would have been the answer for Disneyland's Flying Saucers....looks like fun!

thanks for the fun look! :-)

Melissa said...

These are too cool! Thanks, Ken!

What really tickles me about this era of magic Mountain is the no-nonsense efficiency of nomenclature. No need to be clever and cutesy with fanypants names that most people aren't going to remember. "El Bumpo," "Bleep," and "Blorp," are good, solid, simple names everybody can get down with. None of your "Gran Fiesta Tour Featuring the Three Caballeros" nonsense.

Melissa said...

And how do we know he's King Troll? BECAUSE HE'S WEARING A CROWN. Even Grandma can figure that one out.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I know what you mean! While MM has lots of amazing roller coasters, it has lost the charm that it had in those early days. I was lucky to visit that park shortly after it opened. Remember “Spillikin Corners”?!

TokyoMagic! again, thanks for the link to the photos of that guy’s collection. Wow! He has some amazing stuff. It is a bummer that the troll was replaced with Bugs Bunny, since the troll was the best part.

Nancy, unfortunately the things you like the best have all been removed. No more sky ride or monorail or bumper boats; who knows, maybe the public really wouldn’t like those anymore.

Melissa, “El Bumpo” was always a favorite. I still remember seeing the trolls and the wizard walking around, and miss them to this day. Visitors seem happy to see Bugs and Tweety, or Wonder Woman and the Green Lantern - but it’s just not the same.

Melissa again, he might be a king, but he is humble and lovable. He still eats children, though.

K. Martinez said...

TokyoMagic!, Thanks for the article link. I loved it! There are some great images of stuff I recognize there. While Magic Mountain isn't what it used to be in the charm department, I think it would've been long gone if Six Flags didn't build it up and establish the place as a mega-thrills park. Most sizeable amusement/theme parks went this route. It’s too bad they didn’t retain some of those early attractions to balance out the park. To my dismay, I was surprised by the removal of the “Log Jammer” (one of the few remaining original attractions) for another coaster which there seems to be no shortage of at SFMM.

Nancy, Glad you enjoyed these. The monorails and sky rides are long gone. It seems SFMM isn’t into scenic rides anymore unless you consider zooming by at high speeds in a coaster train scenic. Stay tuned, as there's probably a local favorite park of yours showing up here soon.

Melissa, Those trolls and their names were Magic Mountain all the way. I'm not a fan of the nomenclature Disney uses on their attractions these days either. Short and sweet is best.

Major, I sure do remember Spillikin’ Corners. I also remember the Trollywood train, Grand Centennial Excursion Railroad and Magic Pagoda. It’s too bad they didn’t keep those. Maybe they were too high cost in maintenance and operation to justify the rider count. Who knows! As for Bugs and Tweety, I loved seeing them when they roamed the park at Marriott's Great America. They seemed to fit in perfectly there. Not so at Magic Mountain. Thanks again.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I do remember Spilikin' Corners. It seemed to always be popular when I went back there.....people dipping their own candles and watching the candy making demonstrations. I guess stuff like that isn't popular anymore? Or maybe it just doesn't bring in the customers like another mega coaster does.

K. Martinez, I also remember both of those trains. When you think about how many attractions they had like Disneyland that are now gone.....a large scale train to transfer guests from one area of the park to another, and a smaller scale train that goes past a fictitious village (Trollywood)....TWO "Skyway" rides.....TWO flume rides (granted one is still there....for now) "Autopia" style attraction....a monorail around the park....a motorboat-type ride.....and a "teacup" ride where the turntable lifts up and tilts! Not to mention that the Dragon cars were very much like a slow/slower moving PeopleMover. All gone. I wonder if attendance was dropping, or was replacing everything with rollercoasters what somebody thought the public wanted.

Oh, and I loved the Magic Pagoda funhouse!

Anonymous said...

I visited MM maybe 3 times, all in the early '70's. It was a fun trip and we could go and come back in the same day, not possible with Disneyland.

I recall it as a nice place without much care for theming and detail, but enjoyable rides for a variety of ages. I think they suffered a bit for not having the movie/media tie-ins, it was more like going to the fair, except clean.

Sad to hear that most of the things I enjoyed are gone. Oh well, I've gotten used to it.

Cool postcards with the Peter Max thing going on. Can you believe I was talking to a hipster "graphic designer" the other day who had never heard of Peter Max? Kids these days.


K. Martinez said...

TokyoMagic!, Magic Mountain had a rough start in those early years so they began booking big name entertainment to drive attendance up. That along with increasing their attraction count helped, but it was when they opened their first big coaster "The Revolution" that things really took off.

The coaster renaissance that began in the early 1970's with Kings Island's "Racer" in 1972 and Six Flags Over Georgia's "Great American Scream Machine" in 1973 proved that adding roller coasters to the park roster increased attendance substantially at the new modern theme parks. Magic Mountain was just following the proven success and trend of adding big coasters to drive attendance up. So, it was not that Magic Mountain management thought the public wanted it. It was previously proven that it was what the public wanted.

Even Disney has done this. Since Space Mountain opened in 1977, all the major "E" ticket level attractions have been primarily thrill attractions or contained thrill elements within them. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Star Tours, Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones Adventure, Tower of Terror and California Screamin' are examples. Even at Walt Disney World Horizons was taken out for Mission Space, World of Motion for Test Track and Snow White's Scary Adventures was exchanged for the "thrills" of the Seven Dwarfs Mine coaster. Ironically it's the older sedate rides I appreciate more, now that I'm older.

K. Martinez said...

JG, it is strange that a hipster "graphic designer" has never heard of Peter Max. I remember his work well in my youth. There are lots of youngsters I've talked to about things that were popular in the 1950's, 60's and 70's. and they haven't a clue what I'm talking about. Even my parents shared with us things popular in their youth of the 1930's and 40's that I knew about things that were popular before I was born. Glad you enjoyed these.

Dean Finder said...

Those trolls have a very Sid & Marty Krofft (Lidsville, Sigmund the Sea Monster) look to them.

Nanook said...

@ Dean Finder-

I seem to recall some time back in the late 1970's a Sid & Marty Krofft puppet show at Magic Mountain - using blacklight - and the puppets were 'dancing' to Hot Butter's 1972 version of the tune Popcorn. Coincidentally, the song was written by Gershon Kingsley - one-half of the team (Jean-Jacques Perrey-Gershon Kingsley) who wrote Baroque Hoedown, famously adapted by Disney as the main theme for The Main Street Electrical Parade.

Anonymous said...

@Ken, that's why i had "graphic designer" in quotes...LOL,