Thursday, March 30, 2017
It's one thing to find photos from Pacific Ocean Park ("POP"), but it's even better when the photos include one of the GDB regulars - in this case, Steve Stuart. Today's photos are especially great! Here's Steve:
POP – JULY 1962
Here again is our group of six guys, with Bill being almost completely-obscured by Dick’s head. There’s some interloper in front of us chomping down on his cotton candy. Looming in the background is the base of the [originally-named] Mr. Dolphin – then changed to Mahi-Mahi. It’s a “nautically-themed” Stantzel Strat-O-Liner, of which only six were manufactured. We’re standing in-line for the [originally-named] Dancing Flowers – then renamed The Jungle Whip. (What’s up with all the name changes-?) It’s a stock Scrambler ride, manufactured by the Eli Bridge Company, beginning back in 1955. I ran across an ad in the pages of Billboard Magazine, from the March 24th 1958 issue, where a “Scrambler Wanted” ad was placed “… for the Multi-Million Dollar PACIFIC OCEAN PARK - Ocean Park, California. WILL BUY – AND PAY BONUS...” Ahhh, the ‘salad days’ for POP.
In this shot we can see the “happy fish theming” of one of the Strat-O-Liner vehicles. Why - it looks just like a Mahi-Mahi-! Oh, sure. And on the left, we can catch a glimpse of the structure announcing the entryway to the Mystic Isles, its Polynesian theming, and arguably POP’s greatest attraction: The Mystery Island Banana Train.
And finally, an image almost worthy of publication in an official guidebook – Don and myself being perfectly-captured while our Scrambler (Jungle Whip) vehicle hits one of several ‘apexes’ of its travel, allowing for a crystal-clear moment contained within all the swirling background action. I believe it’s expressions such as the ones displayed on our faces that sell tickets and drive attendance. This image is a worthy tribute to the virtues of the Kodak 35 Rangefinder camera.
All of these are awesome, but I agree with Steve, that last one is especially fun. A few years ago I rode a "Scrambler"-type ride at the Santa Monica Pier, and learned the hard way that the heavier person should sit against the outside edge - the centrifugal force was so strong that I had to use all my strength to not crush my young niece!
The next Steve Stuart installment will be the last from his family archives - I'll let it be a surprise. But we will almost certainly be seeing more from Steve - the photos just might not be so "vintage"!