Monday, March 08, 2021

Matterhorn & Bobsled, June 1963

Today's pair of images continues a series from a gray, cool day in 1963. They slides are date-stamped "June", but I would wager that the photos were taken months earlier, judging by how cold it appears to be.

The mighty Matterhorn looks pretty impressive from a distance, but when you stand at its base, it really dawns on you just how big it is. Notice the slight variations in color, so that it doesn't look like a monochromatic lump of clay. Also notice the horizontal channel at the bottom of the mountain, eroded by the friction of thousands of heads and hands.

Smile for the camera, girls! I sure don't have too many photos taken from on board a bobsled, and even with this one's faults, it's fun.



Nanook said...

Speaking of "you are there", that second one may win hands-down. (Could that be a Toni Home Perm the gal is sporting-?) Always look your best when careening down the icy slopes of the mighty Matterhorn.

Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

Shots like that last one are so rare from this era. I love it!

Chuck said...

Is this our intrepid crew from this post and this one?

Stu29573 said...

I bet that they are date stamped so much later because they had to find the camera in the mountain. Please stow all packages!
Ok, you asked for a story. (You really did, I heard you!)
When I was a teenager they finally talked me into going on The Shockwave at 6FOT. It was (is) the first double loop roller coaster. Anyway, I had my hands up, as folks do, when we went down the big hill into the first loop. At that moment, my glasses decided to fly off and I caught them in my raised right hand! I spent the second loop trying to put them back on, but soon gave up and finished the ride "blind."
I'm not big on coasters...
Great pics!

TokyoMagic! said...

Stu, I have a friend who dropped his camera out of the Matterhorn bobsled vehicle, about 8 years ago. He was sure that he would never see it again. But rather than tell him to check Lost and Found at the end of the night, the employees just told him to come back to them at closing, because that is when they do a walk-through of the ride. So at closing, we went back to the Matterhorn and sure enough, after waiting a few minutes, someone came out of the mountain with his camera. And it wasn't even broken!

I'm pretty sure that I've told this story before, but my grandfather lost his glasses on Colossus at Six Flags Magic Mountain, when the ride was brand new. He had them in his shirt pocket, with the flap buttoned, but the button broke from the force of the first drop, and the glasses flew out.

I bet our Walter Knott lookalike took these pics!

DrGoat said...

Good catch Chuck. Sure looks like the same gal. It is really neat to see a close up photo of a person like that. And on the Matterhorn yet. Lovely. The second photo is cool too. Nice angle.
Haven't lost any material object on a roller coaster, but I did lose my courage on a Hammer at at a carnival when I was about 7. No kidding. Didn't go on one of those for decades after that.
Thanks Major. A happy face on the Matterhorn is a good way to start the morning.

Andrew said...

I'm curious what ride the Hammer was, DrGoat.

Too bad they didn't have sunglasses straps back then, Stu...

[Don't read the novel below if you don't like coasters, which is probably most of you on here.] :-)

The first double loop coaster opened in 1977, Double Loop (made by Arrow Dynamics) at Geauga Lake in Ohio.

Mind Bender at Six Flags Over Georgia, made by the same manufacturer as Shock Wave and Magic Mountain's Revolution, opened in 1978 like Shock Wave and billed itself as the first "triple loop" coaster, but that was because they counted a "horizontal loop," where the coaster just circles itself (something that's impossible to count on today's twisted rides). Even though Mind Bender only has two inversions, Six Flags continues to ignore this logic even today.

This is already a tangent, so here's one more fact: the first actual coaster to specifically have three vertical loops was Dreier Looping on the German fair circuit in 1984, and it has had a crazy history since then. The only two operational N. American coasters with three vertical loops are Magic Mountain's Viper and Mindbender at a mall in Canada.

Connection to today's post: the Matterhorn is a roller coaster. ;-)

"Lou and Sue" said...

A backwards bobsled shot with in-focus smiling people and Skyway buckets is a WINNER! This one’s in the running for GDB picture of the year, in my opinion.

Stefano said...

The composition of the sled picture is tops. They probably aren't even moving yet, but it looks like they are leaning into the curves. And the skybuckets going uphill; and is that a caterpillar descending in the background?

Imagine how many glasses, wigs, and rugs have been blown off on the Matterhorn over the years. Collected they could make an important art exhibit.

K. Martinez said...

My pick is the first pic. I love that they captured part of the Chalet roof with the mountain. It gives it dimension. Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

Andrew, looks like you covered what I was going to say about the first double loop. Excellent job!

As for your question about The Hammer. It was an earlier version of the Loop-O-Plane or similar to it in action. I remember it as a child when going to the traveling carnival when it arrived in town, but can't find anything substantial on the internet about it. I just remember it as a child and that it looked intimidating to me as a small child and very similar to the Loop-O-Plane.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I don’t know the telltale signs of a Toni Home Perm. Is there a way to tell? Maybe she got an actual, honest-to-goodness salon perm!

Chuck, I know today’s pix are not the most exciting, but hey, sometimes you have to find things to love about what we get!

Chuck, YES!

Stu29573, I hope they didn’t find the camera next to some frozen, mummified (by the dry, thin air) bodies. That would be unfun. Your story about your glasses flying off reminded me of a sort of similar story that happened to me; I don’t remember which roller coaster I was on, but on one of the hills a wallet came past me. I only managed to hit it with my hand, and it fell into my lap, and I grabbed it. After the ride, I found the man who’d lost it, and he was amazed! I guess we both have kung fu reflexes.

TokyoMagic!, I always thought it was a real pain to expect guests who’d lost something on a ride to wait until the park closed, and to check with Lost and Found. Understandable, I guess, but still. That’s awesome that somebody working the Matterhorn was nice enough to fetch the camera! I’ve learned that if I go on roller coasters, to have my glasses secured with an adjustable strap, and I wear pants with pockets that button shut (yes, the dreaded cargo pants sometimes) so that I don’t have to worry about keys or my wallet flying out. I even bring a small ziplock bag for my phone in case I go on a water ride! I learned to do these things the hard way.

DrGoat, oh that Hammer is an intense looking ride. I don’t think I’ve ever been on one! The Zipper was bad enough.

Andrew, I think I know what DrGoat means; The Hammer had two little rocket shaped cars that opposed one another, and they’d spin in a vertical circle, meaning that you were upside down a lot. And I think it went pretty fast too. Maybe it had another name, known only to experts like you? Thank you for the info about the looping coasters! I love the Viper at Magic Mountain.

Lou and Sue, I can imagine that the photographer is ME, and I’ve just turned around to smile at my friend!

Stefano, I’m glad you like the sled picture! I was thinking, maybe they haven’t started moving yet, or maybe they just splashed down and had come to a stop. Either way, I’m jealous! Ha ha, “rugs”, how odd it would be to see a toupee slowly floating down from above.

K. Martinez, thanks for the nice words! I just scanned well over 100 slides, and I’m a bit miffed because there are hardly any exceptional views in the whole bunch. Usually you get at least something good every 10 or 15 slides. I’m not saying they’re bad, there’s just no “WOW” photos.

K. Martinez, I’ll have to look up the Loop-O-Plane and see if it is similar to what I was thinking of. They did seem to have one at every carnival though! I was always too scared to go on it.

Nanook said...

@ Andrew-
"... and Mindbender at a mall in Canada." Yes indeed - that would be the West Edmonton Mall, in Edmonton coincidentally-enough. Undoubtedly you remember hearing about the tragedy back on June 14, 1986, when three people died, apparently due to a combination of mechanical failures, likely the result of design flaws and unsatisfactory maintenance routines. Considering it's a Schwarzkopf-manufactured coaster, it's pretty shocking, but. I visited the mall in October, 1986, when the coaster still remained closed. Its re-opening included the removal of one car, and two additional wheel assemblies on each of the three remaining cars.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Speaking of catching things on roller coasters, years ago my friend was sitting in the back of a coaster, with her mouth wide open—screaming along with everyone else—except for someone in the front who threw up in the air. Need I say more?

Anonymous said...

Photo 2 wins the entire internet. This is what Disneyland was all about back then, people having fun.

Her winter white wool jacket looks like something my wife would wear today.

Not to say that Photo 1 isn't fine on it's own, it makes a nice prelude to the bobsled shot. I have always liked the rough shake roof on the Chalet, but never understood the green tint. Is that a Swiss thing?

I've been fortunate never to have lost anything on a coaster, but I have seen others' hats, glasses, etc. go off on their own at various times. And there was the time that my little boy almost fell out of Indiana Jones. Almost 30 years later, he is still wary of that ride. I am bit jittery about Big Thunder Mountain too, the bags on the back of the seat in front do not inspire confidence. The CMs there always take my cane for me, which is nice.

Andrew, here is something carnival related that I can contribute to: The Hammer (which I never rode) consisted of two counter-rotating arms, each with a cab on one end and a counterweight on the other. Each arm looked much like a hammer, with the cab being the business end of the mallet.

These arms would spin in circles in opposite directions with the cabs either inverted or vertical for much of each revolution. It looked terrifying to me.

It came with the Kings County Fair Carnival in Hanford CA in the 1960's and 70's. I was always wary of rides that were dismantled and moved every few weeks, not sure those bolts were always set to the correct torque.

Thank you Major, for these fun pictures, anxiously awaiting the hundred images to come, regardless of their excitement.


DrGoat said...

Andrew, This looks like it.

Andrew said...

Ken, hopefully the Hammer wasn't as terrifying looking as this early Loop-O-Plane, with no counterweights and thin arms.

Major, I love that you caught someone's wallet! I've seen a video of someone doing that, except it's a cell phone, of course. By the way, I'm no expert at this point.

Thanks for the description, JG. That definitely sounds like a Loop-O-Plane.

DrGoat, people around here have nicknamed that ride (a Roll-O-Plane) the "salt and pepper shakers." It looks similar to a Loop-O-Plane and was also made by Eyerly Aircraft (along with the Rock-O-Plane and the Fly-O-Plane).

Kennywood used to have a Roll-O-Plane and a Loop-O-Plane right next to each other, so which one was called which often confuses people. (A Roll-O-Plane doesn't invert.)

Nanook, I'm impressed that you've even seen Mindbender, and in 1986, at that. After the fatal accident in Mexico in 2019, it's clear that maintenance is vital on Schwarzkopf wheel assemblies.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I don’t remember hearing about that tragedy at the West Edmonton Mall, how awful.

Lou and Sue, OY!!

JG, a few years back I took my niece and nephew to Magic Mountain for Spring Break. We had fun, but some of those coasters are SO intense. I remember on some of them I could feel the keys in my pockets working their way out of my pocket (same with my phone), and while my wallet was usually safe, I occasionally had nightmares about it flying out mid-ride as well. And I went on one of those “whitewater raft” rides at MM, we got DRENCHED. I’m surprised that they didn’t offer lockers for phones on that ride, mine survived, but it was a miracle. I’m sure lots of people wind up with ruined phones - which is no joke. So now I have learned my lesson!

DrGoat, YES, that’s it! Pretty much as I described it. I forgot that the cars rotated as well, though. No thanks.

Andrew, whoa, that Loop-O-Plane. Yikes. The wallet “catch” (more of a “swat”) was pure luck, really. I wish I could chock it up to lightening-fast reflexes. Even though I was too chicken to ride many of those rides, it makes me sad that so many of them seem to be extinct, or on the verge of extinction. Some have been around for nearly 100 years.

Clyde Hughes said...

Thanks for the great shots today!
Wow, the "you are there" shot on the Matterhorn is awesomely clear! I think the coats make it even more Matterhorn-ish! (Plus the faces peering over her shoulder...) :)

The detail on her coat is stunning! Wow!