Thursday, March 16, 2017

Steve Stuart at P.O.P., July 1962

Hi guys and gals... I just wanted to let you know that I will be out of town for the next few days - as always there will be new posts for you, and I will try to respond to comments when I can. Meanwhile, on with today's post!

Here are three great photos from the personal collection of Steve Stuart, from a visit to Pacific Ocean Park. These are very rare views! As always, Steve has also generously provided some great commentary as well.

Here I am [I believe] beginning a ‘harrowing ride’ on POP’s-version of the Autopia - The Ocean Highway – sponsored by Union 76.  Although some of the vehicles of the Ocean Highway were manufactured in Germany, and had a front end more resembling that of a bullet-nosed Studebaker, my “stylish beauty” – the Streco Turnpike Cruiser – was made stateside by the Streifthau Manufacturing Company of Middletown, Ohio.  Off to the right appears to be a rubber-tired version of a “train”, the Union Flyer – also sponsored by Union 76 – but I’ll be damned if I can find any info on it, whatsoever.  

Portions of the trackage for the Sea Serpent Roller Coaster (the former High Boy) can be seen in the background, along with a “cast member” apparently lounging on the job...  The High Boy was seen in many a TV show and movie, most-famously, I suppose, was its inclusion in the 1953, 3D film Man In the Dark.  (And oddly-enough, it’s available on Blu-ray in 3D.  Definitely fun to watch for the opportunity to see the sights of a 1953 Ocean Park Pier, complete with a wonderful Laffing Sal, and the 3D effect used to great results while capturing the action on The Whip).

In this shot it looks as if Jeff was just released on his journey, with Don still being restrained by the “big, long, white/black arm”.  It’s sort of an odd design, quite-obviously pushing the cars off to the right side of the “roadway” to prevent them from moving forward, necessitating each driver to ‘correct’ his steering before proceeding.

In this final image of the Ocean Highway, the only question I have is – just what does that woman who is walking next to my cruiser have in her hair, or covering her ears-??  Could it be a ‘stylized version’ of a tin foil hat; and if so, just how is that working out for her-?

Those miniature automobiles are quite a bit clunkier than their Disneyland counterparts, but that just makes them all the more charming in my opinion. And if that lady needs a bit of tinfoil to keep the Russkies from beaming bad thoughts directly into her head, what's the harm? 

Thank you to Steve Stuart for sharing these awesome photos.


TokyoMagic! said...

Those cars look a little futuristic. And then the fact that we can't see the tires, makes the cars look like they could be hovering! Thanks for sharing more P.O.P. with us, Steve!

Debbie V. said...

I remember kids in elementary school (late 50's early 60's) talking about going to POP. It sounded like so much fun but my parents never took me. But Disneyland - we went every summer for my birthday.
The lady with the Foil - those might be those little clip-on bows that girls wore back then. Although I don't remember any adults wearing them. Women did not like their hair to move out of place back then.

K. Martinez said...

That woman was on her way to "Flight to Mars" and wanted the latest Martian fashion for her trip there.

Wow!! These are so awesome, Steve! The autos are indeed charming and I love the low-tech mechanism for holding the vehicles in place. As for that guy lounging on the job, I remember many a day lounging on the job as a ride operator at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on an off-season day.

Thanks again for sharing more of your family photos with us, Steve. These are pure gold!

DrGoat said...

Nice going Steve. Thanks for sharing. Only got to POP once back in 63 I think. Since we drove to the coast from Tucson, we more or less had a set agenda formulated by my parents. Disneyland, Knotts, Marineland and the beach. And a stop in Solvang to get split pea soup from Anderson's. Then on the way back it was a national park or two. Never got to enjoy the more local variety of entertainment.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Steve and Major, terrific you-are-there... or somewhere...

It's fun to see these pictures of rides at other parks and how similar to some of Disney's early attractions they were. undoubtedly motivation for Disney to do things no one else had done; monorails, submarines, pirates and riverboats etc.

Like Debbie V, my parents were focused on Disneyland, with a few trips to early Knotts before the coasters took over. I got only one visit to a SoCal boardwalk when very young and I'm not even sure which one that was.

I don't think it was this park, the waterfront park in my memories seems to be the Long Beach Nu-Pike, based on the information gleaned from my amusement park consultancy on GDB.


K. Martinez said...

I wanted to add that I love the color palette in these photos. The shades of maroon, plum, teal and gray make it very surreal and dreamlike! Thanks again, Steve.

Nanook said...

Dear All-

I have no idea the likelihood of the number of times we might have gone to POP had we lived a great distance away, as for most of its existence, we were about a 20 minute drive away. I have a number of general memories of the times I spent there, and in some instances - more specific ones. Such as the unique smell of the ocean and salt water combined with older, large structures, which themselves had their own 'musty' aromas. That easily-recognizable smell could be had at many sea side structures and certainly those in the amusement biz. Many of POP's enclosed attractions had that wonderful smell.

I don't know if the "bullet-nosed" German-made vehicles were gone by the time these images were shot, or if there simply weren't any of them at this point in the ride's rotation, but they clearly seemed out of place compared to these "wheelless" beauties.