Saturday, November 14, 2020

Amusement Parks

I have some random amusement park pix for you today! Let's start with this June 1973 photo from Canada. It's the midway from the Canadian National Exposition in Toronto - basically the equivalent of a State Fair, dating back to 1879, and lasting 18 days. 

I noticed that there is a "Laff In The Dark" attraction, and thought some of you (Andrew?) would be interested in a closer look. Notice the neon "Vegas Vic" in the upper right, what's he doing in Toronto?

This next photo is from 1961 - "somewhere in Hawaii". I bought the slide after being told it was from a place called "Castle Park", but Castle Park did not exist in 1961, so... my guess is that this is another fair or carnival. If anybody out there has any info, I'd love to hear it!


"Lou and Sue" said...

"Scripts must be purchased for all rides and food"...

I'll take "Gone with the Wind" and "Casablanca," please.

I bet someone out there knows where "scripts" means "tickets." I didn't have any luck on the internet, though I only searched for a couple minutes.

In the first image, that star-like thing - to the right of the ferris wheel - looks sort-of like the Matterhorn Christmas star.

Am looking forward to stopping back later - to read everyone's comments and see where we are (in the last image).

Thanks, Major!

TokyoMagic! said...

Ha, ha! Sue beat me to a joke about scripts!

There is so much goodness going on in that first pic. Yeah, what is that shiny spiked thing? Did it rotate and just randomly poke people who were riding on the Ferris wheel?

And did Elmer McCurdy ever make an appearance in THAT Laff In The Dark? The Pike could have loaned him out for "limited engagements" around the world and charged a rental fee.

"Lou and Sue" said...

TM! I figured you’d purchase an “I Love Lucy” script! Maybe Nanook will.

TokyoMagic! said...

Sue, the Major won't allow it! So I'll just take a "Trilogy of Terror" script, and the Zuni fetish doll that I won at the midway shooting gallery, and go sit in a corner while stabbing at the carpet with a butcher knife.

"Lou and Sue" said...

TM! Now I’m going to have nightmares tonight...

JC Shannon said...

All these fair photos make me want to deep fry something. Then I could lose my funnel cakes on a thrill ride. That is one tall skyway, I got vertigo just looking at it. Beauty, eh. Thanks Major.

stu29573 said...

I may have mentioned this before, but we had an original Laff in the Dark ride very close to me at a place called Sandy Lake Park. Unfortunately, the family sold out after many many decades and it is now a landscaping business. No idea what happened to the rides...

Andrew said...

That first picture is so great! I mean, where can you see three Eli Ferris wheels next to each other? (The two wheels in the second shot are impressive, as well.) If that's not enough, there's a Zipper to the left. That is seriously the ultimate in flat ride craziness.

In the background, there's a Monster, Scrambler, and you can see the Wild Mouse sign if you look closely. Also behind the Ferris wheels is a Sky Diver... a ride I want to do someday.

Thanks for the closeup of the Laff in the Dark facade, Major. I like the figures, but it lacks the spectacle that it used to have. And thank you for the shoutout, too! :-) I really liked this post.

TokyoMagic! and Sue, here's a video and some info (if JG's interested) on the spiky thing!

Stu, I heard that the Sandy Lake Pretzel was bought by someone who wants to restore it, but we all know how that kind of thing goes... the last "real" Pretzel darkride in America is at Sylvan Beach in Central New York.

Nanook said...

With all this talk about 'scripts', I feel as if I'm at some sort of church bazaar. Has someone already identified the aqua/white 'structures' in front of Laff In the Dark, and I'm just too dumb to figure it out-?

@ Sue-
I'm afraid I haven't any ILL scripts - although I've seen many. In fact, the only scripts I've ever had were from back in the day when I did community theater - but unfortunately, those are long-gone. The only script I DO have is from a motion picture, and [arguably] the best one ever written for sheer sarcasm and brilliance of the highest order, which would be All about Eve. I have what is labelled as "The Final Shooting Script"; although if you follow-along with the actual film, there are a ton of words, phrases, etc., that were either excised from the final cut - or were never shot in the first place. (Don't mess with Joe Mankiewicz-!)

Thanks, Major.

JG said...

Wow, Major, I haven’t been to a fair like this almost since this first picture was taken!

Quite a shot. We used to go to the Fresno Fair and Hanford Fair every year, then later to the Yreka Fair with my kids, great memories.

Andrew, thanks for the Sputnik link! Deep dive on that topic, eh? Those signs should be mandatory on all bowling alleys, somebody pass a law!

I don’t recall any signs like that in my experience, but there were some similar in SJ Valley in my youth. Including the one on top of the Matterhorn. I think it’s Kevin Kidneys blog that has the picture of Santa Claus on top of the Matterhorn directing placement of the Star.


JG said...

Here’s a link to a blog with the Santa photo.

Sorry I don’t know how to embed links.


Andrew said...

JG, all bowling alleys need a gaudy sign! Thanks for that link. Don't worry about embedding them; when you get email notifications, the links are always clickable. If you're curious, this webpage explains how to add a link pretty clearly. Just don't forget the quotation marks.

Warren Nielsen said...

Major and all,

I looked more closely than usual at the pics from the PNE, looking for myself or someone I knew. Back from about 1970 to 75-76ish, about 10 to 15 of our friends would carpool/caravan up to Vancouver to go to the PNE. We would spend the better part of the day at the midway (naturally) and then in the late afternoon would head over to the Gastown section of town to a place that had pretty darn good pizza for dinner. (By the length of the shadows, I would guess we would have been at dinner when this shot was taken) Then back down I-5 to catch the last or next to last Edmonds-Kingston ferry to get home. Long day but great fun. Good memories.

As always Major, good stuff today.


Melissa said...

Man, I haven’t been to the CNE since I was a kid!

TokyoMagic! said...

Sue, I hope you didn't have nightmares!

Andrew, thanks for the link. That sign is incredible! I'm glad to hear that they have restored it on more than one occasion! There was a "Sputnik" sign just down the street from Disneyland, for the "Satellite Shopping Center." It had a larger ball in the center and it did rotate, but it didn't have the two separate halves that also rotated. They removed the sign when that area around the park was being reworked into the "Anaheim Resort." That is when the last of the cool 50s and 60s signage around Disneyland was removed, sadly. I did photograph it before it was removed and I plan to post those pics on my blog, eventually. The funny thing is, about a year ago, I noticed that the shopping center is still there ("Satellite Center") and the ugly generic sign that the city has made all of the businesses have, does include a painted image of the original "Sputnik" sign. Too bad they couldn't keep the real thing!

Nanook said...

@ TM!-

And, in the meantime... HERE IT IS

SunnieDaze21 said...

Might the Hawaiian photo be the 50th State Fair at Kapiolani Park? I found this picture of the Fair in 1961 and the twin Ferris Wheels line up. Comparing the two, the visible outcropping of mountaintop on the left seems to line up with Diamond Head in the second photo. It also looks like the mustard-color tent behind the Ferris Wheels shows up in both photos. One of the navy/red flags can also be seen just below and to the right of the "Fly Coaster" ride in the Flickr image.

Nanook said...

@ SunnieDaze21-
Looks to me as if you've got a winner, here-! Good show. (And welcome aboard).

TokyoMagic! said...

Nanook, that's it!

And here is it's very unimaginative replacement. I wonder if by chance, the replacement was designed by the same people at Disney who picked the new color palette for the Castle, decided to close off the Court of Angels to the general public, or made the decision to chop off a chunk of the Rivers of America and Tom Sawyer Island?,+Anaheim,+CA+92802/@33.8030962,-117.9052117,3a,42.8y,92.9h,90.24t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s3a6wIQ3TIv84ZJCWx5NCgQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192!4m5!3m4!1s0x80dcd7c1ed58cc89:0xa13279aeb18869a1!8m2!3d33.8034142!4d-117.9067273

Major Pepperidge said...

Hi guys, this was another one of those days, I was busy until just now (2:30). I appreciate all your comments!

Lou and Sue, I will take a script to “Million Dollar Duck”, the “Citizen Kane” of Disney movies. I did notice the sign that said “scripts”… the place looks like Hawaii to me, but may have just been a traveling carnival rather than a full-fledged amusement park. The star thingamabob is known as the “Star of Death”, it spins really fast every hour and ejects razor sharp pieces of metal. I don’t know why they would put one of those at an amusement park, but hey, I don’t make the rules.

TokyoMagic! there was nothing random about the pokes. Some carny with no teeth and lots of tattoos could decide who to poke. He mostly hated city slickers! We should do a movie about the remarkable life and death of Elmer McCurdy, starring Tom Cruise as Jack “Elmer” McCurdy.

Lou and Sue, Nanook will buy a script from an Alfred Hitchcock movie. “Shadow of a Doubt”. Maybe. Or one of the many “Benji” movies!

TokyoMagic, you are right, I won’t allow it. I just listened to a podcast that played audio from Lucy’s appearance on some talk show, she was so unpleasant, and her husband was bending over backwards to be nice to her. Oy!

Lou and Sue, you mean you don’t have nightmares EVERY night? Lucky.

Jonathan, I have an idea: deep fried clothing. You can’t eat it, but you can smell and feel the oil all day long. I need one billion dollars to launch this idea. I’m sure you can contribute 10 or 20 million!

stu29573, I wonder if the ride is rusting in some barn somewhere? I just communicated with a gentleman who has a friend who has a complete “Looper” ride in his barn. Disassembled I assume.

Andrew, I’m glad you liked that one. As you saw, I definitely thought of you when I posted it! They had a “Zipper” ride at Conejo Valley Days in Thousand Oaks, that was quite an experience. I seem to remember a metal bar that seemed to be placed right where riders could break their teeth if they weren’t paying attention. My sister somehow wound up on the ride with some guy she didn’t know, and he tried to kiss her. My older brother spent the rest of the night trying to find that guy so he could pummel him. Luckily he never found him.Thank you for the link to the video of the spiky thing! I’m always amazed at your deep and thorough knowledge of vintage rides in America.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, gosh, what the heck ARE those aqua and white things? I have NO idea! I’m glad you pointed them out though. “All About Eve”, eh? That’s a classic. Hey, there is some new movie (David Fincher I guess) about Joe Mankiewicz called “Mank”. Not sure where it is available to watch.

JG, the only fair I can think of that compares to this is the L.A. County Fair, which can be huge and very grand. I think the first little roller coaster I ever rode was at that fair. I still remember the sensation of some little dips that provided moments of zero gravity. I’ll have to ask my older brother about it, he probably remembers it a lot better than me. I love those roto-spheres, so fun and mid-century. I don’t specifically remember any from my childhood, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one topped a car wash or something.

JG, thanks for the link to that Santa photo, it’s a classic!

Andrew, yeah, bowling alleys for sure. Thank you for the little tutorial on how to add links - I know how, but it’s nice to provide that info for those who don’t.

Warren Nielsen, that definitely sounds like a very fun way to spend the day. And you got pizza too, so… win/win! Like most things, I wish I’d seen that Exposition back in the good old days.

Melissa, at least you’ve been!

TokyoMagic!, for some reason those “Sputnik” signs also remind me of signs that I used to see around when I was a kid. They were these milky spheres that lit up, and they had various colored polka dots on them, and then a rotating “belt” with lettering around the equator. For some reason these always appealed to me. I found a photo of one online not too long ago, but of course I can’t find it. Oh I see how it is, you’re going to share your photos on YOUR blog instead of mine! ;-D

Nanook, oh boy, that one is especially nice!

SunnieDaze, AHA! Finally someone attempted to ID that place. I think your guess is great! Thank you so much! Based on the photo you linked to, it makes perfect sense. Since it clearly wasn’t Castle Park because of the date, a State Fair seems right. How in the world did you figure it out?? Again, thank you!

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, are you thinking of the Norge Village Laundry and Dry Cleaning signs? I remember those being pretty prolific throughout Southern California. As a child, my eye always went to those signs, as well.

SunnieDaze21 said...

Knowing it was Hawaii was the biggest leg up to finding something. When carnival searches quickly came up empty, I thought it might be the state fair (and if not, maybe there'd be a photo, so we could at least rule it out). As luck would have it, that photo appeared!

I actually worked at my state's fair for few years (and met my husband there!) so I love these old carnival photos. I can almost smell the funnel cake.

Chuck said...

TM!, I remember the Satellite Shopping Center (the photo jogged my memory). I also remember the Norge Village signs; I thought of them as "Wonder Bread Balls."

SunnyDaze21, thanks so much for the location!

Andrew, thanks for those links!

Andrew said...

SunnieDaze21, WOW, that is an amazing picture!! There's a Caterpillar, which we had at Idlewild Park until 2013 and a Flying Coaster like the Kennywood Kangaroo, which... well, you guys already know. ;-)

Great job on identifying the location!

"Lou and Sue" said...

JC Shannon - how could I forget about funnel cakes?! Thank you for reminding me. (I haven't had one since last year, sadly.)

Andrew, the Zipper was my favorite carnival ride when I was your age. Now, it would kill me.

Nanook, you performed in your community theater?! Please tell us your favorite role, and why - if you don't mind sharing. Would love to hear more.

I love all the links and info, today, and am also glad that SunnieDaze21 identified where our time machine had traveled to! Hawaii - how cool! (Today is a prime example as to why GDB is so much fun.)

Thanks, Major!


Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, not only is that the right sign, that’s the exact same photo that I had! THANKS! I still love those, I wish I could own one.

SunnieDaze21, well you get a gold star for detective work. Very cool that you worked at your own state’s fair!

Chuck, since I also love the Wonder Bread wrappers, maybe I just have a thing for polka dots. There’s something so happy about them.

Andrew, I agree, the photo that SunnieDaze21 found is wonderful. What are the odds of finding a photo of that same fair, from the SAME YEAR? Oh boy, I have a neat vintage photo of a Caterpillar (one site called it a “Jolly Caterpillar”), you’ll love that one.

Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, somehow I missed your comment! I'm glad you enjoyed today's post. I never know where these things are going to go, and most of the fun is thanks to all of the amazing GDB regulars who add so much.

JG said...

Big thanks and welcome to SunnieDaze21 for finding and posting that picture of Kapiolani Park fair!

This is what makes GDB so much fun!