Monday, June 13, 2005

Amusement Parks -- Weekend Assignment --very late

   I missed the weekly assignment about amusement park rides. I didn’t have any tales about Amusement parks. I forgot, there were amusement rides BEFORE there even was a Disneyland.

   In Los Angeles in the 1920s and 1930s there were Venice Pier, Ocean Park Pier, and Long Beach Pier. The carnival rides, the tattoo parlors, the cotton candy vendors gathered there. And each had a roller coaster, and each coaster had its unique thrills. All three were the rickety wooden variety, standing tall against the skyline, and all of them over the ocean. Lord help you if you went off the track or fell out, you’d have to swim for it. Hold on tight unless you were idiot enough to hold your hands over your head. Some fools did.

   Ocean Park coaser was famous, and made familiar by Cinerama, a pioneer wide screen movie with stereo sound that gave the feeling of riding the coaster. Venice was a bit wilder, and you had to be bolder to tackle it. And Long Beach had a unique thrill. You started fast…you took off down hill into a dark tunnel, and then made the long, clanking ascent to heights that took your breath away.

   They would all seem tame compared with today’s steel monsters with loops and spirals that take you UPSIDE DOWN. But we were unsophisticated in those days.

   We were unsophisticated enough to enjoy the merry go round. Adults on a carrousel? Yes, and if you rode the outside horse, and could lean out far enough, you could grab a ring as you flew by the semaphore. Then half-way round you threw the ring at a grinning devil’s face. But not if you caught a BRASS ring. Hold on to that. That was good for a free ride.

   Because my name is Ferris, everyone expected that I would love the Ferris Wheel. But I hated it. Going up was not so bad, but coming over the top was scary, and descending with everything behind you and no visible means of support was more frightening than I could take. I learned to avoid it.

   My friends here in Central California had their amusement park in Santa Cruz, “The Coney Island” of the west coast. And, you, you folks in the East had the real Coney Island, with its coasters, its Hot Dogs, the Boardwalk, and its Parachute Drop.

   That was living.


plieck30 said...

San Antonio had Playland Park. I think the skeleton of the roller coaster is still there. Not sure. I never liked wild rides. Well as you said they were not wild compared to the ones now. Paula

ryanagi said...

I guess I've been on too many rides in my time...they have all started to blur together. Except for one. Canobie Lake Park in NH. They have the old style wooden coaster like you mention. The ones where you can feel every bump and jolt and just the sound of the car on the tracks, clackity clackity...made you wonder if the ride was going to hold together for the entire trip. LOL

mavarin said...

Manlius had Suburban Park.  No water, and the coaster (the Comet) was condemned when I was in elementary school. I bet your Piers were better. - Karen

firestormkids04 said...

My first roller coaster ride was at the Long Beach Pier.  My older sisters loved to go there to flirt with sailors.  I was a peanut of 7 years at the time, but I will never forget!  Went back there as a teen to relive the thrill.  You brought back some wonderful memories.  Blessings, Penny

fisherkristina said...

So you "went for the brass ring," huh? -Krissy  

judypearllove said...

i use to love rides but now i just want to eat and walk and people watch. great entry on rides. come over to a new fun journal i've started

valphish said...

I am not much for the ferris wheel either.  I don't like that feeling up top and going over either.  Just doesn't feel right, huh? xox

sylviam4000 said...

I feel queezy at the thought of roller coasters etc. Am a whimp!