Wednesday, January 27, 2016

More Vintage Postcards - Kings Dominion

Welcome to the NINETEENTH installment of GDB featuring Ken Martinez's collection of vintage amusement park postcards! Let's get right to it with Ken:

Kings Dominion, Doswell, Virginia

Kings Island's sister park "Kings Dominion" opened in Doswell, Virginia in 1975. The Brady Bunch of Partridge Family didn't visit here, but George Segal, Richard Widmark and Timothy Bottoms did in the 1977 motion picture "Rollercoaster". It was one of the main set pieces along with Magic Mountain in California and Ocean View Amusement Park in Virginia. Like its sister park, it utilized Hanna-Barbera characters to interact with park guests. Themed sections in the park included International Street, Old Virginia, Candy Apple Grove, Happyland of Hanna-Barbera, and Safari Village.

International Street serves as the main thoroughfare at the entrance to Kings Dominion. I love the beautiful central fountain and gardens.

The Galaxi coaster was a portable model made by S.D.C.  It was probably considered temporary until budget allowed for better coasters later on. Towering over the park in the backdrop is the Eiffel Tower, similar to the Kings Island edifice in Ohio.

Here's another one of those cards with the Hanna-Barbera cartoon character placed in the photo. It looks like one of the Banana Splits gang, but I'm not sure who. Featured are the Turnpike auto ride and the kid-sized wood coaster Scooby-Doo in the background. (Major Pepperidge here... this looks like "Bingo" to me!).

The Mason Dixon Music Hall was a theater showcasing live show productions like "Give My Regards to Broadway" which played several times daily. I remember these types of shows at Marriot's Great America in the 1970's.

Rebel Yell, another John Allen out-and-back classic woody was one of the three roller coasters featured in the film "Rollercoaster" along with the Revolution at Magic Mountain and the Rocket at Ocean View Park. I love the classic PTC trains featured here.

I love these color border cards. Interesting in this card is that the park name "Kings Dominion" is displayed on the top of the lift hill and on the front of the coaster trains, but absent in the previous cards.

King Kobra, which opened in 1977, was one of the first Intamin (weight drop) Shuttle Loops to open along with the White Lightnin' shuttle loop in Carowinds theme park. Later versions opened up using the fly wheel method like Montezooma's Revenge at Knott's Berry Farm.

Kings Dominion is still going strong today and has passed through many owners during its colorful history. It's now part of the Cedar Fair chain which also owns Cedar Point and Kings Island in Ohio, Knott's Berry Farm, and California's Great America in California and Worlds of Fun in Kansas City. I hope you enjoyed your 1970's vintage visit to Kings Dominion.

Information source material:
The Great American Amusement Park - copyright 1976 by Gary Kyriazi
Finland U.S.A. - copyright 1978 by Tim Onosko



TokyoMagic! said...

My brother visited this park in 1978 and brought me back a souvenir map which I still have today. I've looked at current maps of the park and like so many other parks today, it looks like it has lost a lot of it's original charm....along with many of it's original rides. Although, I did read somewhere that the park was restoring some things for one of it's major anniversaries...perhaps it's 40th last year. I think one of the things that was brought back were the singing mushrooms that we get a glimpse of in the movie, Rollercoaster. By the way, I love that movie! "This summer, watch for the man watching the Rollercoaster!" IN SENSURROUND!

Scott Lane said...

Extra thanks for this one, Major and Ken! Rollercoaster has always been a favorite of mine, especially since my parents and I did a road trip that hit Kings Island, Carowinds, and Kings Dominion (all owned by the same company) in the summer of '77. I even have a picture of the singing mushrooms! ("Hello to Yogi, hello to BooBoo, hello to Scooby Doo....Barney and Fred say Hi....")
For some time the souvenir maps hung on my bedroom wall right across from my DL and WDW ones.

And Sensurround was just plain cool! And very loud. So much so that not only was Rollercoaster in Sensurround but so was The Deep playing in the theater next door.
Hmm...seems to me there was another big movie out that same summer. Can't quite remember what it was called but it rocked my world and became very, very, very popular. I think the word "Star" was in the title somewhere...

The 70's were a great time to be a kid.

Chuck said...

You said it, Kenneth Lane. 70's kid-dom rocked.

I haven't seen "Rollercoaster" since probably 1982, but have been hankering to see it again for several years. This was the final push I needed to put it in the Netflix queue today.

Thanks, Ken, for another great post!

K. Martinez said...

Ah! SENSURROUND!! I saw them all in a theater in the 1970's, "Earthquake", "Midway", "Rollercoaster" and "Battlestar Galactica"! I have to say that for me "Midway" with Charlton Heston was my favorite of the four and the most intense in using the technology.

TokyoMagic!. your brother visited Kings Dominion and you didn't get to go? That's a bummer! Both Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens Virginia ("The Old Country" when I visited it) were beautiful parks and I hear they still are.

Kenneth Lane, I'm glad you enjoyed these and they struck a chord with you. Yes, Taft's parks were unique when they first started. I actually prefer the Hanna-Barbera characters as costumed characters in the parks over the Warner Bros. characters. While I love Warner Bros. vintage cartoons, I don't think they translate well as costumed characters.

Chuck, the 70's rocked at any age. I was a teenager during the 70's and most of my favorite bands are from that era. I've had "Rollercoaster" on DVD for ages and watch it once in a great while. I still enjoy it and love the footage of Magic Mountain's Revolution when it was brand new. What an era!

TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, the last time I checked (about a year ago), Rollercoaster was on YouTube, but I'm not sure if it would still be know how it goes with YouTube. In addition to the stars that Ken mentioned, it also has a young Helen Hunt playing George Segal's daughter. You also get some footage of the band Sparks performing on stage, and local (Los Angeles) D.J. Charlie Tuna. If anyone remembers the CBS and ABC film reviewer, Gary Franklin ("On the Franklin scale of one to ten, I give it a....."), he can also be seen near the end of the film as a reporter trying to ask George Segal a question.

Ken, I forgot to mention that that is Bingo in the auto ride pic. "Tra la la, la la la la......" I remember in the late seventies when Marineland of the Pacific, became Hanna-Barbera's Marineland and featured walk-around characters like Scooby Doo, Yogi Bear, and even Hong Kong Phooey!

TokyoMagic! said...

Ooops, I meant to ask in my last comment if there are any amusement parks out there that currently use the Hanna-Barbera characters?

Chuck said...

TM!, according to Wikipedia the Omniscient (, there are no Hanna-Barbera characters in amusement parks in the US and Canada anymore, with the possible exception of the Bedrock City south of the Grand Canyon; it was put up for sale last year (, but it's unclear whether or not it's still open.

There is a Scooby-Doo-themed roller coaster in Queensland, Australia, and the article says there are Flintstones characters in small theme parks in Mexico, Argentina, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, and New Zealand.

It's a shame that Warner has allowed the H-B brand presence to dry up, but I guess the brand stopped producing new programs under their own name after the mergers of the late '90s and early 2000s. It's sad to think that a company that literally dominated the world of TV cartoons for our entire childhood and then some is now nothing more than a licensing arm of a mega media conglomerate, and who knows how long those characters will remain commercially viable? My kids know Yogi Bear, Scooby-Doo, and Jonny Quest, but they've never heard of Topcat, Snagglepuss, or Jester. With an upcoming generation that has no frame of reference for Huckleberry Hound, Quickdraw McGraw, and the Hair Bear Bunch, I fear those characters are doomed to the animation history books.

TokyoMagic! said...

Kenneth Lane, I want the soundtrack for those singing mushrooms. I want to know how the rest of the song goes...we only get to hear that much in the movie.

Ken, I forgot to answer you.....sorry. Yes, my brother got to go and I didn't. He was visiting relatives on the east coast. In all fairness, I was supposed to go back the following summer, but I chose not to.

Chuck, thanks for the info on the Hanna-Barbera characters. Such a shame that they aren't used more. I didn't know there had been a merger with Warner Bros. It's too bad then, that Six Flags hasn't tried to use the H.B. characters in their parks.

K. Martinez said...

TokyoMagic!, Thanks for the extra details on "Rollercoaster". I always wondered who the performers were. So it's Bingo! Thanks. I only remember Snorky who I think was the elephant.

Chuck, I was talking with a friend the other night who's younger than I am and he only remembers Yogi Bear, Flintstones and Scooby-Doo, but not the more obscure or older titles like Top Cat, Jonny Quest, Atom Ant Show or Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles. If I had to pick a favorite HB creation I watched as a kid it would be Wacky Races and the spin-offs with Dick Dastardly and Penelope Pitstop. Who knows how they'd hold up to viewing as an adult.

Anonymous said...

These are so great. Thank you, Ken & Major.

Several years ago, I saw some Cartoon Channel for the first time, I had forgotten snagglepuss and top cat. Uproarious stuff, not strictly for kids either. Fun to see it all again, but not on-line anywhere that I know of now. That's kind of sad.


Scott Lane said...

I know Wacky Races (a fav of mine too, Ken!), Dick Dastardly, Penelope Pitstop and Top Cat were released on dvd.(and, yes, of course Rollercoaster was too - I have that myself) If you can't find the episodes on YouTube try Amazon.

walterworld said...

Wow, this is a lot of fun. ‘Rollercoaster’ came out when I was 8 and I watched it on HBO about 20 times I guess. Got the DVD in the early 2000’s and introduced it to my kids. It’s now an every- 4th of July viewing-tradition, along with ‘Jaws’.

I want a full transcript of the singing mushrooms song too!
Ken: Thanks so much for these great posts. To quote Special Agent Hoyt: “You deserve a Letter of Commendation…”

And let’s always remember that, for all we know, the bomber could be targeting Coney Island or a hundred other ‘fish-fry’s’ doing it up for the 4th!! :D

K. Martinez said...

Kenneth, I'll have to check out. For sure Wacky Races.

walterworld, Glad you're enjoying these. That sounds like some great 4th of July viewing. Especially 'Jaws'.

Dean Finder said...

Your bell-bottoms must be this wide to enter the Mason Dixon Music Hall

BTW, if you're a fan of 1970s HB cartoons, you should check out Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law. It's basically a set of "where are they now jokes" based on those characters:

Nanook said...


Sorry I'm so late to the party. I was at Kings Dominion in 1977 and did ride the Rebel Yell. I don't remember too much about this park, as on the same trip we also went to Carowinds, and I think they sorta blurred together - whether worthy of doing so or not. And besides, I've visited Kings Island many, many times - so that park really stands out in my mind.

Thanks, once again, for sharing your collection.

K. Martinez said...

Dean Finder, Thanks for the link. I'll have to check that out.

Nanook, Better late than never as they say. Yes, sometimes these parks blur together for me too and as those memories move further away (well over 30 years for me now) it happens more often. I think I have a memory detail down about a specific park in my mind that I actually mix it up with some other park. Glad you enjoyed these.