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Shane's Amusement Attic

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I just logged in to say UNREAL! Terrific find, Shane. That is just all sorts of awesome piled on top of awesome.


Funny, but totally uninteresting story. Around the time I was 12 (1989), my friend and I did a science fair project on "The Physics of Roller Coasters," complete with a Spacewarp display. I was really interested in suspended rides because I fully expected my home park, SFGAm, to be getting one eventually. I even drew up some designs, thinking it would fit in nicely between Shockwave and Roaring Rapids (then Whitewater Rampage). And even with my basic knowledge of physics at the time, it seemed a logical progression to me that a suspended ride could have corkscrews. I understood that having free-swinging cars kind of ruled out vertical loops, but the corkscrew seemed entirely feasible.


Go figure Arrow was *this* close to nailing down the concept that brought B&M to prominence in the decades to come.

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Awesome! Thanks for the Great America stuff!


Much like how people have a 'second home', SFGAm is my 'second home park', simply because I have spent so much time there and in the Chicago area. It's crazy how much of the Whizzer you can see in the background of that picture with the carousel. Great stuff!

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Shane, you are a saint.


That footage of The Bat was insane. Plus, it was nice to seem some good footage way before Paramount/Cedar Fair bastardized the place. And that's an awesome pic of the suspended corkscrew! I always figured it was just a model concept. I had no idea they actually built a prototype test corkscrew. I always thought the concept was awesome, but figured there's no way it could ever be financial realistic for a park.

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Marriott's GREAT AMERICA, Santa Clara 1979


Great America History 101


This brochure from the Santa Clara park is very similar to the Gurnee park brochure just as the parks were also very similar (Gurnee seemed to get the bigger budget as they had more rides).


When Marriott entered the theme park business in the early 70's they had big plans. They opened the two parks in 1976 and had plans for a third park in the Washington DC area that was supposed to open in 1978, but due to zoning issues they were not able to get the park off the ground.


They secured a management contract for Rye Playland for a couple of years and also tried unsuccessful to purchase Cedar Point. Marriott then decided to get our of the theme park business and to focus more on their core business of hospitality. They put both parks up for sale. The Gurnee park was quickly sold to Six Flags but the Santa Clara park was going to be sold to developers and leveled due to the value of the land it sat on. The city of Santa Clara wanted to keep a theme park as part of their community and stepped in and bought the park. They operated the park for a couple of years and then signed a management contract with KECO (Paramount Parks). After a couple of years of operating the park KECO exercised their option to buy the assets of the parks and lease the land from the city. Of course the park then became Paramount's Great America and that finally brings us to California's Great America, home to the wonderfully named "Flight Deck"


When the Marriott parks first opened I think it was the perfect formula for a successful theme park. They had a consistent theme that ran thru the entire park. Rides tied into the theme area, Food was tied to the specific theme area and the souvenirs also fit the theme area. They had a perfect balance or Rides, Food, Shopping, and Entertainment plus they had the Warner cartoons as mascots for the park.


When the park originally opened it was open year round. After the first season it was decided that the weather could not sustain year round operation and the park was closed in during the winter season.


The picture of the Sky Trek Tower is obviously from the Gurnee park. The Santa Clara park is in the flight path of the San Jose airport and has a much smaller tower without the flag pole on top of it.




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I couldn't stop looking at that picture, that really is amazing. As others have stated, I never really thought they built a prototype of this, I thought all they had was an operating model. Thanks for posting, this truly is a great find.

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I forget... why did that park shut down again. Wasn't it sold to a city and then turned into housing?


By the way, amazing pics. I'm in love with this thread! =D




The Management at that time felt that the theme park business was too seasonal and difficult to staff and operate. Someone came up with the "Brilliant" idea to replace the seasonal park with a year round outlet mall, with the hopes of bringing millions more visitors to their Opryland Hotel and facility.


In 1997 the park was closed, leveled and paved over with what is now the OpryMills outlet mall.


Since then I have read somewhere that one of the Executives from that time admits it was a big mistake. I think we can all agree with that!!!

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The management was Gaylord Entertainment. They also owned Fiesta Texas and we all know they sold that park to Six Flags. There was rumors flying around that Six Flags wanted to buy Opryland. I have no clue if Six Flags buying the park ever went farther than just being a rumor.


I can see how some issues with the proximity of the Grand Ole Opry and Opryland Hotel could of played into Gaylord not wanting to sell to an outside company. I am pretty sure they are leasing the land for the mall now. It was obvious that Gaylord liked their hotel more than the theme park because they continued to use remaining land to expand the hotel rather than the theme park.

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The first park outside of the originally built Six Flags parks worthy enough to carry the Six Flags title. (remember AstroWorld was just a member of the six flags family)


Anyways New for 1979: Rolling Thunder (a disguised Kings Island Racer)







Uh Oh, they should have thought twice about adding the Haunted House...


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This brochure totally captures the 70's; butterflies, fantasy, magical heavens, screams & dreams. Six Flags....what a "gas" man! While it is far out, it is one of my favorite brochures of this 1979 series.


Of course Six Flags over Georgia always gets "high" (another 70's term) marks with me just for having the Mindbender!









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Yeah Tatum, the Mindbender is still one of the better coasters out there. The winning combination of hilly terrain and Anton Schwarzkopf make it still incredibly popular after all these years.


I am trying to think of a bad Schwarzkopf coaster and nothing comes to mind. The SooperDooperLooper, although still a great ride, is probably the lightest on thrills.


Some might call the Revolution a bad Schwarzkopf but it is only because of the awful headrests. Without those headrest I think the ride still would stand up against some of the great rides of today.

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I am trying to think of a bad Schwarzkopf coaster and nothing comes to mind.


I have one: Zonga. It was bad with old restraints. Some say it was bad when it was at Astroworld. It had the horsecollar restraints. I never got to ride it, even thought I bet it would hace been fun!


And I can't wait to see Six Flags over Mid-America, which is next!


-Tatum "Keep the Brochures Coming" G.

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