Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Magic Mountain Postcards

Today we're going to visit Magic Mountain (in Valencia, California) for a look at one of the earlier looping 'coasters... The Revolution! Courtesy of Ken Martinez and his voluminous collection of vintage postcards, of course. Here's Ken:

Magic Mountain Part 7 – The Revolution

Today’s post features postcards of Magic Mountain’s classic roller coaster the Revolution.  It was the world’s first modern 360 degree looping coaster similar to how Knott’s down the road introduced the first inverted coaster.  Unlike Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain kept their historic ride and even recently revamped it.

This classic shot shows The Revolution with the Skytower in the backdrop.  It’s strange to see it open here without the tree growth hiding a lot of the track and Tatsu hovering above the Revolution’s loop. 

This multi-scene shows off the coaster trains nicely.  I like the vintage “Magic Mountain” name placed on the top of the front coaster car.  Later on OTSR (over the shoulder restraints) would be added to the coaster trains.

This image is nice in which the coaster train is traveling on the loop portion of the track while another coaster train passes through the loop on another part of the track.  How often did this happen?  I’m not even sure the track layout would even allow this to happen during normal operation.  This element would sort of be repeated in a different way when Knott’s opened its Jaguar coaster with the track passing through the center of the Montezooma’s Revenge loop.  It’s sort of like threading the eye of a needle.

Here’s a nighttime shot of the Revolution with its lift, various hills and loop.  Back in the 1970’s this was a pretty spectacular sight.

Whether it’s called The Great American Revolution, Revolution, Revolucion or New Revolution, it’s still a fun coaster and an historic one at that.  Hope you enjoyed today’s post.

Thank you, Ken Martinez! I still remember the thrill of riding The Revolution, before loops on a roller coaster were a common thing. It was awesome!



I remember when The Revolution opened - it was a big deal and people were talking about the loop. The advertising slogan and campaign of the day was “WATCH YOUR SOCKS FALL OFF!”
Some of the commercials showed visitors standing below near a viewing platform : when the coaster went into the loop, the passengers socks “rained” down over the spectators below. There was no sign or explanation as to what happened to the passengers shoes.

Nanook said...


I have very fond memories of the Revolution - from the joy of a simple lap bar [OH the horrors-!] as the only restraint system, to the wonderful track layout, all the way to the ingenious single motor driving both the lift chain and the chain moving the trains through the load/unload platform. The [perhaps unintended] effect allowed the already rapid-pace of travel up the lift chain to accelerate when the clutch de-coupled from the chain moving the next train thru the platform, helping to 'propel' the first cars of the train over the crest of the hill: The genius design of Anton Schwarzkopf. (That method of locomotion would be modified in later years, eliminating the clutch and adding a separate motor for the load/unload platform).

And please don't tell anyone... but by carefully preventing the lap bar from completely snugging-up to my waist, I was able to stand-up (as much as possible) throughout the rest of the ride. Well, with the exception of the loop itself - I'm not a total idiot; and I'm still here to share it with you-! And no one ever said boo. Boy, those were the days. It was intensely thrilling to ride it that way, as you might imagine - especially at night, when the air was cool.

Thanks, Ken, for the memories - again.

TokyoMagic! said...

These images reinforce my earliest memories of "Revolution." They also show how it appeared in the 1977 film, "Rollercoaster" (presented in "Sensurround").

Mike, I remember a similar slogan, "It'll Knock Your Socks Off!" They would include that at the very end of their commercials, with a snippet of animation showing the words "Magic Mountain's Revolution" twisting themselves into a loop while little animated socks would go flying through the air.

Here's a link to a vintage "Revolution" commercial with that animation at the very end. The guy with the guitar sings, "It'll Knock Your Socks FLAT Off!", but I seem to remember print ads in the newspaper with that slogan, minus the word "Flat."

I also remember that viewing platform underneath the loop. I'm not sure that's open to the public anymore. It was located above the "Trollhouse" cottage that sold ice cream and Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies.

Thanks for sharing these, Ken and Major. They bring back some great memories!

Scott Lane said...

It WAS awesome! Thanks for the memories again, Ken!

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Thanks for sharing these! We got to go to Magic Mountain as our 8th grade graduation field trip from Catholic school. Being mid-week and before the schools got out for the summer it was not yet crowded. I can remember that Revolution was only out for less than a year so it was very new (if not first time)for us. Rode it over and over!
Great memories.

So long ago the Gold Rusher's chewing/bubble gum wad was just starting to grow.

Stefano said...

Thanks Ken and Major, this park was really fun and attractive back then; and that that witty Revolution TV commercial with the old prophet pointing at a looping train and saying "Man was not made to do that!"

I was a little disappointed that the tracks ran over Valencia Falls, marring its beauty a bit; but it still seems magical that going up a single not very high lift manages to propel one through the rest of the layout. I still remember my first ride in 1976, everyone on the train laughing "Oh, no!" at the TRACKS UNDER CONSTRUCTION sign just past the big loop. It looks like a ghostly red vehicle is about the thread the needle in the last picture.

K. Martinez said...

MIKE COZART, I remember some of the commercials similar to that. Now this memory may be false, but I also seem to remember near the bottom of the loop, a tree that had socks strewn on it to support the "It'll knock your socks off" slogan. Now I can't remember if I saw that in person at the park or in a commercial.

Nanook, I remember you sharing with us how you gave The Revolution a standing ovation. Weren't those OTS bars installed in honor of your unique talent? ;-)

TokyoMagic!, Thanks for the link to that commercial. That is the one I remember mostly. I think you are correct about the viewing area. Still those memories are so fuzzy to me now that sometimes I doubt myself, unlike Disneyland where I went so many times, the memories are much stronger.

Scott Lane, glad you enjoyed. It truly was awesome!

Alonzo P Hawk, Ah, the infamous bubble gum wall! I think every theme park has one of those. As a ride operator at the Boardwalk I remember seeing parking lots full of 30 to 40 school buses around May and early June. It was a sea of yellow. Those were actually my favorite days to work at the Boardwalk as the kids were always enthusiastic and wide eyed and actually well behaved compared to regular patrons that showed up in the full force of summer.

Stefano, Magic Mountain really was beautiful back then. I actually loved the barren landscape when it first opened. Now it seems overtaken by the gargantuan coasters dominating the park's skyline. As much of a fan I am of roller coasters, I do think they have overtaken the theme parks to the point where it feels out of balance.

K. Martinez said...

Nanook, forgot to mention to you that I hate OTSR with a passion. Being 6'4 in height, they are extremely uncomfortable and have also prevented me from riding several roller coasters for that reason. I'd think a lap bar would suffice in most cases. I'm unable to ride the old Arrow corkscrew/loop coasters anymore because of OTSR which won't come all the way down for me.

Anonymous said...

Ken, these are fun postcards, I enjoy the old original MM. I don't recall this coaster at all, though. From the comments in this thread, it appears that it must have opened after my era of visits.

I'm always fascinated by the commentary from coaster aficionados on GDB, there's so much engineering in these things, and so much of it done before 3D CAD modeling. How did we ever do it?

Thanks Major, for posting the pics and hosting the discussion.


Melissa said...

My cold and bony ankles
Seem somehow sadly bare.
I find at times it rankles
To know there's nothing there.
I've been terribly alone,
People mocking my no stockings;
I'm going home to my loop up in the air.

I left my socks at Magic Mountain,
High on a loop, they call to me,
To be where little coaster cars
Climb halfway to the stars.
The morning fog may chill my toes, I don't know.

My socks wait there, at Magic Mountain,
Hanging in a well-placed tree.
When I come home to you, Magic Mountain,
I'll wear three pair for securiteee...

Steve DeGaetano said...

After riding the Matterhorn and other area roller coasters, I was amazed at how smooth the Revolution was the first time I rode it. You would feel nary a bump going up the lift.

Anonymous said...

Ah...the Revolution. It WAS quite the thing to do when it arrived. And it made MM worth the trip from Orange County. At my age now I think that single loop is about all I could handle today. KS

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Tuesday Nat King Cole and today Tony Bennett. Woo hoo...GDB's resident tunesmith is in overtime mode. Me likey.

steve2wdw said...

Call me CrAzY, but I believe that last image appears to be altered.....It seems that they doubled the Revolution to make it look even more impressive than it already was!

Nanook said...

@ Melissa-
It seems somehow inconceivable that the Magic Mountain marketing department would bypass your lyrics. Clearly something was terribly a-miss.

@ Steve DeGaetano-
You ain't kidding about how smooth that ride was [is-?]. The only disruption from the smoothness on the lift hill was the series of rapid-fire sounds from each grouping of the fixed sets of ratchets, while the pawls passed over each section - a distinct departure from the method employed on 'traditional' wooden coasters, and their ilk. Again - that great design of Anton Schwarzkopf.

Melissa said...

I ended up having major emergency surgery while visiting friends down south. I was on such high doses of painkillers that I've forgotten most of the words to my masterpiece, "I Left My Womb in West Virginia."

Nanook said...

@ Melissa-

Hope all is well. As “wild and wonderful” is one of West Virginia's state slogans, I’m certain ‘womb’ could easily wiggle its way into a great set of lyrics. (“Almost heaven” seems dull by comparison).