Saturday, May 06, 2017

Wurstulprater, Vienna

Today I have two interesting scans from an amusement park in Vienna. Austria, that is!

The park is called Wurstulprater; it was opened by Joseph II in 1766, starting as an ordinary park. Snack bars, stalls and bowling alleys eventually were added - this looks like one of those stalls. "Max and Moritz" are popular German storybook characters ("A Story of Seven Boyish Pranks") and were probably an inspiration for The Katzenjammer Kids; I'm not sure what "Die goldenen dosen" ("the golden cans") was some sort of carnival-style game of skill? A snack? Either way, it is a popular spot.

Eventually traditional carnival rides such as bumper cars and roller coasters were added to Wurstulprater. Something resembling a "Tilt-a-Whirl" can just be seen to our right.

Here's a nice photo of the "Wiener Riesenrad" ("Vienna Giant Wheel") - a Ferris Wheel constructed in 1897, often referred to as the "Prater Wheel". It was scheduled to be torn down in 1916, but lack of funds at the time means that it is still with us today - and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Vienna. It is 212 feet tall; from 1920 to 1985, it was the world's tallest Ferris Wheel. 

The Prater Wheel was made forever famous when it was featured in Carol Reed's wonderful 1949 film, "The Third Man". Joseph Cotten confronts his old friend Harry Lime (Orson Wells in one of his greatest roles) aboard the ride, and Orson gets to deliver one of the most indelible lines in movie history. If you like old movies and have never seen "The Third Man", do yourself a favor and watch it!


Nanook said...


I was hoping you would work-in The Third Man into your commentary. I'm afraid after seeing the name "Vienna Giant Wheel" in print, all I can think of is a giant Ferris Wheel constructed entirely out of Vienna Cocktail Franks-! (Just imagine how large those toothpicks would have to be-!!)

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, these are interesting! Will we see more pics from this park in the future or do you just have the two? And thanks, now I have a zither playing in my head.

Anonymous said...

Die Goldenen Dosen does mean the golden cans, and Zählen doppelt means that they count for twice the points, so I would assume they are aiming at cans, and the gold ones are worth twice the points towards prizes.

K. Martinez said...

I really like the first image in today's post. Especially for the clothing styles and uniforms. I first became aware of the "Wiener Riesenrad" from an article I read in a National Geographic magazine when I was a kid. And yes, "The Third Man" is a wonderful film. Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

Based on the Soviet Army uniforms in the first photo, these were taken no later than 1955. Wurstelprater is located in the Leopoldstadt district of Vienna, which was part of the Soviet zone of occupation until the Allied powers withdrew their last troops in October 1955.

And now I need to watch The Third Man again.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, from now on, I’m going to work “The Third Man” into ALL of my posts. Yes, it’s hard to read the word “Wiener” and not think of hot dogs.

TokyoMagic!, nope, just these two, unfortunately. I wish there were more! And be honest, you always have zither music playing in your head.

Anonymous, makes sense! Thanks for the translations.

K. Martinez, these photos have a definite feel of “post war”, but not VERY post. It’s so ironic that lack of funds and WWI helped to preserve this amazing landmark.

Chuck, I had no idea that those were Soviet uniforms, but the info you provided is VERY interesting!! Meanwhile, I'll loan you my DVD.

K. Martinez said...

Chuck, I was actually wondering about the uniforms. Thanks for sharing that tidbit of information about them.

Major, The giant Ferris Wheels that have been erected in the various world cities today seem so common now, but the Prater Wheel is something special. It's got a history.

Anonymous said...

Major, this is a fantastic post.

I visited the park in 1985 and we rode the huge wheel. This was before I knew how famous it was or had even heard of the Third Man film, which I just watched recently. The disk is available from Netflix I think.

It's a fantastic film, a wonderful park and a beautiful city. Thank you!


walterworld said...

When Harry Lime finally shows up in the cabin of the 'Prater' Wheel...what a scene! Wells at his best.

Thanks Major

walterworld said...

The world needs more Zither music..! Right Holly?

Great post, thanks Major