Thursday, October 15, 2015

Special Guest Post - Kings Island Postcards!

Today I am proud to present part NINE of Ken Martinez's scans of his vintage postcard collection! This time Kings Island in Ohio is the star of the show.

Here's Ken:

After Coney Island There Was Kings Island

Kings Island was opened in 1972 by Coney Island's last owners, Taft Broadcasting. Many of the attractions from the closed Coney Island were moved to the new theme park. The park featured six theme areas: International Street, Oktoberfest, Animal Safari, Coney Island, Rivertown, and Happyland of Hanna-Barbera. Kings Island was also featured in the Season 5 episode of The Brady Bunch, titled "The Cincinnati Kids".

The first theme area upon entering Kings Island is International Street, which features the Royal Fountain and the 300 foot-tall Sherwin-Williams Eiffel Tower built by Intamin (International Amusement Installations).

Here's a nice aerial of the park featuring the antique car ride, part of the Racer coaster, and Haley's Comet (Round Up).

The Racer coaster, which opened with the park in 1972, is significant in that it's often been credited with starting the coaster renaissance of the 1970's. The twin racing wooden roller coaster was built by PTC and designed by John C. Allen who would create three other theme park wood coaster classics in the following years; The Great American Scream Machine (1973) in Six Flags Over Georgia, Rebel Yell (1975) in Kings Dominion, and the Screamin' Eagle (1976) in Six Flags Over Mid-America (St. Louis).

The Happyland of Hanna-Barbera area was the children's section of the park. I love the character overlay here, but still haven't figured out which Hanna-Barbera character the wolf's supposed to be.

(Note from Major Pepperidge: I think it is Hokey Wolf, though it isn't a good likeness)

Another coaster renaissance classic, The Beast would remain the park headliner for years to come (this is a teaser in back of a pictorial souvenir booklet).

Here's a classic photo view of The Beast with riders heading into the first drop and the second lift leading into the covered helix finale.

Kings Island has had various owners throughout its history, including Taft, KECO, Paramount and now Cedar Fair. The park always has and continues to be a place known for its innovative coasters. I hope you enjoyed today's post.

Information Source Material: 
The Great American Amusement Park, copyright 1976 by Gary Kyriazi
Funland U.S.A. copyright 1978 by Tim Onosko



TokyoMagic! said...

I accidentally left my Yogi Bear poster in one of the canoes at Kings Island. I thought I had left it in one of the antique autos, but I was mistaken. As it turns out, it wasn't my Yogi Bear poster after all, but rather a set of blueprints that belonged to my architect father.

Pegleg Pete said...

Never mind the Yogi Bear poster, Jan, I'm still shaken by all that funny business with the tiki Bobby found at the construction site on last year's trip to Hawaii. These family vacations aren't worth the drama! Let's ask mom and dad if next year we can just stay in Southern California and go to Disneyland. I can never get enough of those groovy Kids of the Kingdom!

Chuck said...

Ahhh...King's Island in the '70's. I remember playing a concert gig there once with my brothers, sisters, and my mom. Johnny Bench was moonlighting as waiter at our motel. Good times.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, it all sounds like a wacky adventure, but I’ll bet your father and mother were frantic!

Pegleg Pete, I still remember watching those shows with my family when I was a kid. Especially the Hawaii episode, and another where they went to the Grand Canyon. The show is beloved, but I have watched a few recently and MAN, it is pretty hacky!

Chuck, was your voice changing at about that time?

Chuck said...

Major, not yet - I was too young. In fact, I only got to say a couple of things during the whole trip. It was hard to get a word in edgewise with Keith and Danny always yammering and that strange, disembodied laughter that came out of nowhere every time somebody said something marginally funny.

Pete said...

This is the park I remember going to as a kid!

The Cincinnati Kids did get a chance to return to King's Island 40 years after that episode aired. You can check it out on youtube...

Melissa said...

And the moral of the story was: Vincent Price Gets a Paycheck to Go Buy Some Art

Tom said...

Now all I can hear in my head is Hokey Wolf saying "Quiet, Ding boy! I'll just sneak in and grab a sheep!"

Hanna-Barbera cartoons dug deep roots into my developing brain, I guess.

Great pics!

Nanook said...


The shot of The Beast as it's preparing to descend the first hill is one of my favorite moments of that coaster. The view, especially from the very front seat, only hinting at the thrills lying ahead, says it all. (Now... where is my Beast tee shirt-?)

K. Martinez said...

TokyoMagic!, If you went back today you wouldn’t even be able to look for your poster on the canoes or antique autos.

Pegleg Pete, The Brady family was notoriously cheap when it came to their vacations, so Disneyland was off the list of places to go. I remember just coming back from visiting relatives in Hawaii when I watched the premier of the Hawaii episode. It was kind of cool recognizing some of the hotels and locales in the backdrop, but for some reason I don’t remember seeing that cave. I think my favorite “travelogue” episode was the three-part Grand Canyon trip.

Chuck, I used to watch the Partridge Family religiously as a kid, but watched an episode recently and wondered how I could of ever liked it. It must’ve been the childhood crush I had on Susan Dey.

Major, thanks for figuring out the character. It looks like Hokey Wolf slimmed down a little.
I can still appreciate the Brady Bunch on a certain nostalgic level, but I have read that Robert Reed had issues with many of the scripts and fought many times with the producer to change them without success. Even Sherwood Schwartz’ other celebrated show “Gilligan’s Island” has its problems when viewed today.

Chuck, It’s hard to believe the actors who played Danny and Chris 2 were less than a year apart in age.

Pete, was the reunion show in the format of their variety show or an actual story?

Melissa, Vincent Price was a childhood favorite. My sisters and I used to watch his Roger Corman movies on tv when we were little kids. We especially loved the Edgar Alan Poe series. And speaking of his art collection, I’ve always wanted to visit the Vincent Price Art Museum at the East Los Angeles College. Hopefully some day soon.

Tom, I think Hanna-Barbera dug deep roots into the brains of a lot of us. Ironically it was Warner Bros. and Hanna-Barbera that saturated Saturday Morning TV when I was a kid in the 1960’s, not Disney. I didn’t get heavy exposure to the Walt Disney cartoon shorts until watching them on the Disney Channel in the 1980’s.

K. Martinez said...

Nanook, I only rode it once, but man did I love it. There was something about that era of coaster riding for me. I loved your story about the break-less run you experienced on the Beast. Glad you enjoyed.

Chuck said...

Ken, I'm also scratching my head as to why I liked "The Partridge Family" so much as a child. I watched the "I Left My Heart in Cincinnati" episode today for the first time in at least 40 years, and it was a painful experience even with the King's Island and Johnny Bench tie-ins. My favorite part of the whole episode was the end credits - "Featuring Johnny Bench saying 'Would you care for a drink?'" I can't believe that show had better Nielsen ratings than "The Brady Bunch."

A junior high classmate of mine was one of the small children in the concert scene at the beginning. I'm not sure which one she was, but she had very clear memories of it when I interviewed her in Speech class in 9th grade. Another brush with stardom...

I have read that Robert Reed refused to ride the Racer when filming "The Cincinnati Kids" episode. He didn't think the camera looked securely mounted and he asked the crew to do a practice run/safety check. When they did and the camera came off the mount, landing in one of the seats, that was enough for him. If you watch the episode, he's the only Brady not visible on the coaster.

Another funny thing about that episode is the final "William Tell Overture" relay run across the park. If you know the layout of King's Island, it doesn't make any sense at all unless the Bradys had some sort of secret teleportation power that the writers never bothered to mention. That's not outside the realm of possibility, however - they also never explained how nine people managed to live for five years in a house with no toilet.

And for you coaster fans, the last shot in the park, when Robert Reed finally gets the plans back that TokyoMagic! left in the canoe, you can just make out what was then known as the "Scooby Doo," a wooden family coaster located in the "Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera" children's area. This John Allen-designed coaster was built by Philadelphia Tobboggan Coasters (PTC) in 1972 and is still operating today. The coaster has been renamed a couple of times, operating as "The Beastie" from 1980-2005, the "Fairly Odd Coaster" (seriously?) from 2006-2009, and "The Woodstock Express" since 2010.

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, after watching the Brady episode a couple years ago, I looked at a satellite view of the park and was very disappointed to see how much of what you see in the episode seemed to be gone today.

There is a great "Pop-Up Video" version of the episode. Someone on YouTube has a version of it that has been edited down to just under 7 minutes, but in the "pop-ups" they give you some fun facts about the rides and the park.

Forget the Yogi poster, now I want a pair of plaid pants like Jan wears in the episode.

Brady Bunch - Pop Up Video

TokyoMagic! said...

Oh, and Ken, that Antique Auto ride looks cool....and kind of elaborate. It looks like it was two tracks intertwined and loaded on opposite sides of the track layout from each other. I hate that parks like Kings Island, Magic Mountain and Knott's have taken out their "car rides"....Knott's had three of them at one time and now they have none! :-(

Chuck said...

That antique auto ride was one of our favorites when I would go with friends in junior high. Not only could we drive an actual, fume-belching automobile - something we all knew was juuuust around the corner but never seemed to get any closer - but we could also have fun just being goofy teenagers.

One of our favorite tricks was to get far out into the system, then stop the car and switch drivers. Or, if we had friends in the next car, switch cars. Or go out in six cars with two people each and come back with one car full of four and two with one.

I was always tempted to stop the car at one of the points where the track got close to a fence, get out and exit the ride altogether, but I was always afraid of getting caught and being "ejected from the park" as the anti-line-jumping signs put it. I never had the foresight to bring a parachute with me.

K. Martinez said...

TokyoMagic!, I have seen that video before. Some of those pop-ups are pretty funny. I love when Jan and Marcia stop in the middle of the exit of a ride and the kid is irritated that they are blocking his way. Apparently the producers thought it cheaper not to hire extras for the filming.

The antique auto ride also had two different load areas, one was in the Coney Island section and the other in the Rivertown section. One was called "Les Taxis" and the other "Ohio Overland Auto Livery".

One of the reasons my favorite era of theme parks was the 1970's is because the theme parks had a nice variety of slow and scenic rides and theming seemed more prevalent. Nowadays it's imbalanced in favor of speed and thrills.

Chuck, again, I love reading your stories about the adventures you had as a youth. I can just imagine you and your friend on the antique autos plotting when to switch when you were far enough from watchful eyes.

SPOILER: As for filming discrepancies, if you've ever seen Clint Eastwood's "Sudden Impact" which was filmed in Santa Cruz, there is a death scene in which they took liberties with the locations. It's when the bad guy tumbles off the Giant Dipper and ends up impaled on a unicorn on the carousel. First of all there's no unicorn and second the carousel is not next door to the coaster. The victim would have had to fly pretty far to get to the carousel as it's too far way from the coaster in real life for that to happen.

Glad you all enjoyed these.

Melissa said...

We liked those shows because we didn't have any choice - they were all that was on! These kids today with their cables and their sattelites and their youtubeses!

There was an antique auto ride at Darien Lake I used to enjoy. Somewhere I have a picture of me on it as a teen, in one of those little souvenir keychain Viewmaster things.

Joe said...

Actually, that is Mildew Wolf, not Hokey Wolf. He was voiced by Paul Lynde and was part of the Cattanooga Cats TV Show.

Major Pepperidge said...

Joe... Mildew Wolf! Never heard of him! He must have come along after I stopped watching saturday morning cartoons. They actually got Paul Lynde to do the voice? I'm surprised they didn't just get good old Daws Butler to imitate him.