Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Here are more photos from Nanook - I mean, Steve Stuart! It's a mini-mix this time. Let's hear it from Steve:
Well, here I am sometime in 1954 at the famous Beverly Park with another childhood friend, Bonnie. And we seem to be riding in the petite version of the Astro Jets – but these are beautifully equipped with front & rear-facing, on-board weaponry-! Now we’re talking.
For those unfamiliar with Beverly Park, it occupied less than once acre, on the SW corner of Beverly Blvd & La Cienega Blvd in Los Angeles, and operated from 1943 to 1974. (Adjacent to Beverly Park was the separately-operated Beverly Ponyland or just plain Ponyland - which opened in 1945, but remained there thru 1979). Ultimately both properties, along with others contained within the entire block were razed to make way for The Beverly Center Shopping Center. I need not mention all the memories and birthday parties, along with divorced Dads having a weekend fling with their kids, held in this little oasis right in the middle of the big city...
The connection between David Bradley (the owner) and Walt Disney was more than just casual, and an internet search will yield many tidbits about David, Walt and of course, Disneyland. And if the name Bradley seems to ring a bell, it’s the same one as in ‘Bradley & Kaye Amusements’ – famous for manufacturing children’s rides. [It was purchased by Chance Rides Manufacturing back in 1986]. I encourage those with interest to search it out. David Bradley made a lasting impression in the amusement park business.
In the meantime – here’s a wonderful quote about Beverly Park from a 1993, LA Times article describing David: “Bradley was everywhere in the little park, switching on the tiny motorcycles on the minibike race course, running the kid-sized roller coaster, and, through a remote microphone, projecting the voice of the blue hippopotamus that talked to children outside the Haunted Castle. Inside the castle, two giant freak faces rolled their eyes, and a bat flapped up and down in front of visitors. Young children sometimes came out sobbing.”
Now that’s what I call a man after my own heart-! It’s not that I think children should live a life in fear, but in today’s world, which seems to be brimming-to-overflowing with ‘disingenuous unctuous good cheer’, a few more young children sobbing would help right the ship. There’s entirely too much ‘forced happiness’ for my taste.
If we could widen-out the image just a bit, we’d spy that “nasty” Haunted Castle, off to the right. And on the opposite side of the red & white striped food stand (evidently featuring Coca-Cola and Dad’s Old Fashioned Root Beer), would be a small oil derrick and Smokey Joe’s Hickory Wood Barbeque, seemingly sandwiched-in beneath it. I believe the last time I ate there was in late 1969, with my aunt (who you might remember from her days lounging on a raft in the cool blue waters of the Howard Manor Hotel pool), and we were on our way to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre to see Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. And if the image in the distance were just a bit sharper, I’m betting that barely-discernable ‘tan orb’ sandwiched between the white pole & dark utility pole, popping-up behind the “Standard Stations Inc.” sign, we could more-clearly make out the end of the “bun” of the original location of the Tail ‘O the Pup hot dog stand – not to mention the Islander Restaurant – if it was open in 1954.
Unfortunately this seems to be the only image I found from Beverly Park, but I spent many a sunny day there, not to mention having and attending birthday parties there, too.
Jump forward to April, 1962, and we’re now at Marineland of the Pacific. And just who might this dolphin be-? Were they into naming them back then-? I suppose so.
This turtle looks downright gigantic. I blame it on the magic glass surrounding the tank, designed to keep us dry – or so they promised. But I always managed to get wet somehow.
THANK YOU to Steve Stuart for sharing his photos, and for all the Beverly Park research, which I would have been way to lazy to do! Stay tuned for more from Steve.