Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Random Stuff From Steve Stuart

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.


K. Martinez said...

Every time I see a picture of or pass by the Tail 'O the Pup, obscene thoughts pop into my head. Can't help it.

I absolutely love the Beverly Park photo of the kiddie roto-jet. I'm sure you know that's right up my alley and I used to know all the old flat ride manufacturers whether kiddie, family or thrill type back in the day.

Today's post is so good it almost felt like a finale. Very glad to hear there's more coming.

Thanks again, Steve.

P.S. The giant sea turtle is awesome too!

TokyoMagic! said...

The Tail O' The Pup is supposedly in storage, just awaiting a return someday. I hope it experiences a more successful reincarnation than the Brown Derby or Angel's Flight!

Steve, that's such a cool little ride with the forward and backward facing seats. Did the ride only turn in one direction?

I never got to see Beverly Park, but I was able to visit Marineland a few times before it closed. Oh and by the way, Sea World just had their last killer whale show over the weekend!

DrGoat said...

Never got to Beverly Park either. Marineland was a regular stop on our summer excursions. Thanks Steve, great photos and great memories.

K. Martinez said...

TokyoMagic!, I hadn't been to Tail O' the Pup in quite a while but didn't realize it was put it in storage. Major bummer. It's an L.A. landmark. They really do ruin everything!

Chuck said...

Steve, judging by your photos, you were quite the ladies' man. Pretty sure I thought all girls had cooties when I was that age. It was my favorite Schaper game.

Scott Lane said...

I remember riding those "petite astro-jets" when I was a kid. Yes, TM, they only "flew" in the one direction but sitting backwards was cool. Great memories, Steve.

TokyoMagic! said...

Scott, thanks for that info. It does look like it would have been fun to "fly" backwards!

Chuck said... long as you don't have to crawl down a long, aluminum tube over the bomb bay, walk through another crew compartment, and stumble trough the empennage to squeeze yourself into your rear-facing personal compartment for a 12-hour flight. ;-)

Chuck said...

Make that "through the empennage."

Proper spelling is the key to airpower. Or something like that.

Nanook said...

Dear All-

Again, thanks for taking the time to add your comments.

Ahhh - the poor Tail 'O the Pup - hopefully it can be [properly] resurrected.

Ken, Wow - I definitely hit a home run with today's post. (I'm beginning to understand how David O. Selznick felt following the huge success of Gone With the Wind - where do I go from here-?) And to think I did it all with a mere single view-!

Well, there are a number of other views on the horizon, one of which is easily post card/guidebook-worthy.

Unknown said...

Ah, Marineland. I like the the various accoutrements of the the show lying about the stage there. There's the flaming hoop and a basketball hoop, and maybe that stucco structure had a slide for a seal show? Is that even possible. Good times were had up there. I'm pretty sure the turtle is in the big oval tank that had the underwater viewing windows. No news, I'm sure, to this crowd...

Debbie V. said...

Thank you. Enjoyed reading your memories - it brings it back - the era.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Nanook / Steve for sharing these wonderful pictures. I definitely remember those
jets with the backward facing ordnance, and the thrill of our one trip to Marineland.

I've heard of the hot dog stand, but never saw it in person.

Really enjoying these.