Saturday, February 29, 2020

More From the Ohio State Fair, September 1969

Happy Leap Day, everybody! Did you know another term for leap year is a "bissextile year"? Listen, as long as they're happy.

Anyhoo, it's time to share the remaining photos from the Ohio State Fair, circa September 1969. See the first batch HERE. Why did it take me over a year to get around to "part 2"? One word: drugs, and lots of them.

I'll start with this fun interior, with two cute gals; they can tell you anything you need to know about Ohio highways. Is road kill available on a "first come, first serve" basis? Unlike Russia, the answer is  YES! Why don't they make roads out of diamonds so that we never have potholes? Because diamonds are rare and expensive, you silly goose!

Like my previous Ohio State Fair post, Ken Martinez was kind enough to help out, because he knows lots about these old rides. Thanks Ken! Ken says that this one is called the "Sky Wheel", manufactured by Chance Rides. 

And Ken told me that this is a "Trabant", also from Chance Rides. It looks like my sister's Japanese parasol! Ken said that the Ferris Wheel in the background is known as the "Skydiver", presumably because it threw riders high into the air, and they floated gently to the earth via parachute.

The next three photos all feature the Sky Glider - once again, I only know what this is thanks to Ken Martinez's help. I would ride that thing all day long, back and forth, taking in the sights and smells of the Fair! Check out the bright pink ostrich feathers surrounding the hat stand. It's guaranteed good luck.

Our photographer was obviously mighty taken with the Sky Glider. I'm sure it was the color, and the smooth kinetic motion of the ride that drew his (or her) eye to it. Interesting that the souvenir stand in the lower right sold American flags, the old skull and crossbones, and Confederate flags (since Ohio was on the side of the Union). 

At each end of this ride, the gondolas tilted, dumping passengers onto a large pile of dryer lint. Hey, I just report the facts. I wish I was at the Ohio State Fair on this beautiful day in 1969!


Nanook said...

Evidently, the Ohio Highway Department was the center of high fashion - with those fabulous patches, Peter Pan-like collars and rolled-up sleeves. (Where are the packs of cigarettes-?) I don't think the Sky Glider has been so heavily-documented before. It seems so graceful and serene.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Apparently, some of the Sky Glider vehicles had their safety bars pop-up in mid-flight and had already dumped their riders out.

As a kid, I wasn't afraid to ride the Skyway at Disneyland, but those vehicles were mostly enclosed. I remember visiting The Pike in Long Beach and seeing a sky ride very similar to this one, where your legs just "dangle." I was too afraid to go on something like that, back then.

I spy Mickey Mouse balloons in that last pic!

Thanks, Major! (And Ken, for the additional info!)

JC Shannon said...

Well, there go my funnel cakes. Who knew Ken was a ride expert? He is a man of many talents, I tell ya. I always seem to woof my cookies on midway rides. Probably all that deep fried food. I wonder if Walt attended a fair in his youth and said something like "I bet I could class this up a bit." Thanks Major.

Budblade said...

Wow. The Ohio highway department employees don’t look anything like that today.

Andrew said...

Love all the flat ride pictures today! Ken beat me to the punch on the IDs, but I'll still weigh in. The Sky Wheel is probably the flat highest on my "bucket list," but unless I go to one of the few fairs where a model is still traveling, it's unlikely that I'll ever get to ride one. The roller coaster in the background of that pic is a "Galaxi" model, and I HAVE been on one identical to that. Ditto with Trabant and Sky Glider, which has quite a solid number of look-alikes left across the country.

For those who don't know, a Sky Diver is like a Ferris Wheel where your car is on a fixed horizontal axis. You are given a control inside your cage, so you can flip from left to right as little or as much as you please. Of course, since the car is stuck on an axis, you'll automatically invert when you reach the top or bottom if you don't use your control at all. Hope that made sense. It's another ride that I'd love to experience solely for the sensation, even though it sometimes gets flack for being uncomfortable. Great post today!

Melissa said...

For some strange reason I suddenly want to buy some hats. Weird.

I have a long-standing grudge against Ohio for not adding a silent h to the name to make it a palindrome. Come on, it would be so easy! It's not like it's a practical option for us to become New Yorkroy wen. That doesn't even make sense.

Kennywood has a ski-lift type apparatus to bring guests in from the overflow parking lots, but it only operates when the main lots are full. Someday!

Andrew said...

Melissa, I've been to Kennywood 20+ times over the years and have NEVER seen "Kenny's Parkway" (an interesting name that should be "Skyway") operating. One time, my dad and I pulled into the parking lot and were floored to see it moving, so we sped all the way up the hill to the third-level parking, only to find it completely deserted! Weird...

You're honestly much bettter off just going to a ski resort or another park, but maybe that's just because I try to go to Kwd on less-crowded days. Apparently one of the few days it ran last season was for the opening of the park's new 200+ foot tall roller coaster. If you can't tell from this ramble, I really do want to ride it someday!

Chuck said...

Hooray! My home state's Fair!

I'm sure those gals also explained the caveats - road kill raccoons, skunks, opossums, squirrels, pheasants and other game animals can only be collected during hunting season, and you'll need a current Ohio hunting license to do so. Deer and turkeys do not require a hunting license, although you'll need to contact your local wildlife officer to obtain a special receipt to possess the carcass.

I don't remember ever seeing a Sky Wheel at the Ohio State fair, but Cedar Point had one just inside the entrance turnstiles. It was fun to watch, but I was too scared to ride it (it was over pavement, and if you fell out you could break your bones; such is little kid logic). After my fear-busting 1979 trip to Florida at age 10 in which I broke the Coaster Inversion Barrier, I was all fired up to ride the Sky Wheel (and every other thrill ride they had) on my 1984 visit to CP. Sadly, I was four years too late.

1969 was the year the Sky Glider opened and it's still there today. Definitely a different experience from the Skyway, but good training for getting on a ski lift.

I remember seeing a similar, limited assortment of flags at a number of parks and fairs throughout the '70s. I wonder if they set up the printing process during the Civil War Centennial and then just didn't expand the variety for a decade or more because what they were offering was selling?

In that same photo with the flags, you can see the corner of the grandstand, which is where the Wonders famously performed on the 1964 PlayTone tour. It's also where I saw Sha Na Na live on August 20th, 1981. It was torn down in 1990.

Thanks, Major, for another trip to Columbus!

Chuck said...

Melissa, there actually is a silent h in Ohio. It's also invisible. A 1987 study concluded that using an invisible letter saved the State of Ohio $28 million dollars a year in ink costs alone. Using the Disney Parks admission inflation calculator, that would equal $4.8 trillion today.

K. Martinez said...

Major, Love your fanciful and humorous descriptions of the flat rides and Sky Glider. Also love the multiple images of the Sky Glider. I miss the sky rides at amusement and theme parks as they added color and fantasy to the skyline of the parks and kinetic energy. Luckily we still have our Sky Glider at the Boardwalk and Von Roll sky ride at Great America up here in NorCal.

Thanks for a wonderful post, Major. I love classic flat rides.

Andrew, I've ridden all the rides featured in today's post whether it was at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, county fair or local carnival in town. I was also a ride operator at the Boardwalk for several years back in the 1970's so I have worked on the Trabant and Sky Glider as well as other flat rides, coasters, dark rides and now vintage attractions.

Kathy! said...

I feel like having some 7Up and a footlong hotdog while wearing a hat with a long feather. The last picture is so attractive, even at the un-enlarged size.

Sunday Night said...

Regarding that first pic...oh the days of brochures. I miss them. Look at those neatly displayed brochures! Probably highlighting things to do in Ohio. Outside of going to the library, that was how you got detailed information in those days. You want information? Send for our free brochure! (makes me think of that Tom Waits song Step Right Up. The only song I know that mentions a "free brochure"!) One of my memories as a kid was going to sport shows with my dad and collecting all the free paper brochures in a bag (didn't matter what they were advertising, I just grabbed them) and then checking them all out once we got home.

Regarding pic 3: Wonder what kind of speakers those were that they had spry pained with squirrely lines? There is a name on one but I can't make it out.

Thanks Major and Ken for today's journey to the fair.

"Lou and Sue" said...

I've enjoyed this trip back in time to the Ohio State Fair - thanks Major! I've also enjoyed all the interesting info everyone else has shared today, too.

I just looked back at Part 1 that was posted last year . . . I used to love a lot of those upside down and spinning rides, as a teenager, but can't do them anymore. I got to thinking that Andrew may possibly(??) be one of the few (or maybe only one) on GDB that can still handle those rides. We'll 'live through you' - Andrew!

On today's post, last picture - it looks like the gondolas are coming straight down that front support pole - and getting smaller as they get closer to the ground. Sort of like how the atomobiles got smaller as they went into the microscope on Adventure Thru Inner Space.

Major Pepperidge said...

Once again, Blogger has determined that I need to post a smaller comment, so I'm dividing it into two:

Nanook, I always like a good Peter Pan collar. Fashion being the way it is, I believe that in a year or two it will be the style for men to have large Peter Pan collars and neckties.

TokyoMagic!, it is kind of amazing how little is there to prevent anybody from falling out. My brother told me that he took my niece on a small Ferris Wheel, and that she was so small she almost slid under the lap bar to her doom. Just the thought of that gives me goosebumps. It’s funny about how Mickey Mouse balloons show up in other places; Sue sent me some photos of a place in Chicago that has Mickey Mouse balloons - not only the ears, but actually Mickey’s face printed on them.

Jonathan, Ken has been a fan and student of amusement parks for years, he probably has forgotten more than I know! It’s very handy for me to go to him for info instead of actually doing work. ;-)

Budblade, even those ladies don’t look like that today!

Andrew, it’s sad to me that so many of these legendary flat rides are getting too old to operate anymore - rides that have been around for 70, 80 years, even more in some cases. Amazing. I am very impressed with your knowledge of these rides, something that only a true fan would learn. I’ve seen those “Sky Diver”-style Ferris Wheels, do they have you strapped in some way so that you don’t break your skull as your car flips upside down?

Melissa, I love an early version of a Devo song in which they sing, “I’ve got a rhyme that comes with a riddle (O-hi-o); what’s round on the ends, high in the middle (O-hi-o!)”. I think that the Santa Cruz Boardwalk still has a Sky Glider.

Andrew, if they’re not going to operate their Sky Glider (“Kenny’s Parkway”) ride when it’s crowded, it sounds like they might remove it. Which is a bummer.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, I can’t tell if you’re kidding, do you really require a license or similar documentation to collect roadkill?? Not that I want to, but that seems ridiculous. I think your little-kid logic regarding the Sky Wheel makes perfect sense to me. I wish I had a specific memory of when I first enjoyed a real roller coaster; it might have been the Matterhorn (with my grandpa) but I just can’t say for sure. I might have been on a small “Wild Mouse” coaster at a county fair. Your theory about the Civil War centennial is a good one, although it seems like a lot of people are just drawn to the Confederate Flag’s design. Did The Wonders “actually” play at the Ohio State Fair? Sha Na Na, how in the world did they wind up playing at Woodstock of all places? Jimi, meet Bowser.

Chuck, this is why I should have studied economics.

K. Martinez, aha, you have confirmed my comment to Melissa about the Boardwalk still having their Sky Glider. Thanks. I wanted to go to Great America years ago, but it was closed for the off season much to my surprise. Do they still only open it seasonally?

Kathy!, yes, imagine being at that fair on a sunny day, with the sounds and the smells, eating all that great food, and as you said, wearing a feathered hat. What could be better.

Sunday Night, we used to love to go to car dealerships with my grandfather, especially a Rolls Royce dealer in Encino. My brother was obsessed with Rolls Royces from when he was a kid. They once gave him a beautiful poster with every model of Rolls going back to the early days. We also would go to the L.A. Car Show and come home with stacks and stacks of neat brochures and booklets from every make and model. Good times. I can’t think of ANY song that mentions a “free brochure” other than the Tom Waits one that you mentioned! I am hoping that Nanook can answer your question about the speakers, since he seems to be knowledgeable about such things.

Lou and Sue, we still have an annual carnival that comes to Thousand Oaks (“Conejo Valley Days”), though I haven’t been for years. I still remember running into my sister, she must have been about 12, and she said that she rode some ride with a boy that she didn’t know and that he kept trying to kiss her. My older brother spent the rest of the visit hoping to find that guy so that he could punch him in the face!

steve2wdw said...

The Skydiver is also made by Chance!

Melissa said...

Steve, it looks like it was made on purpose!