Friday, June 15, 2018

Father's Day In The Parks (Long Beach & South Bay Edition!)

It's time for another Father's Day In The Parks post! Today's photos were all taken by my dad at various Southern California attractions, specifically in Long Beach and the "South Bay" area.

These first three were taken at the Queen Mary in Long Beach. The Queen Mary was a Cunard-White Star Lines ocean liner that began service in 1936. After being retired and sold to the City of Long Beach for $3.45 million, she departed South Hampton on October 31, 1967 and arrived in Long Beach on December 9, 1967. This first pic was taken in March of 1968, just a few months after her arrival.

The next photo was taken five years later, in 1973. By this time, the ship had been operating as a tourist attraction for a couple years (since May 1971) and as a hotel for a year (since November 1972). In the background, we can see the Long Beach Convention Center. This was before it received it's massive wrap-around whale mural from the artist, "Wyland."

This shot was taken ten years later, in 1983. After the ship arrived in Long Beach, the ship's three smokestacks were taken off in order to remove equipment from the ship's front engine room and all of the boiler rooms. At that time, the smokestacks were discovered to be badly deteriorated, so they were replaced with replicas.

Now we're just a little further west, in the City of Torrance. "Rideland" was an amusement park that sat at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Ocean Avenue. It closed in the late sixties/early seventies. A McDonald's and a Taco Bell replaced the amusement park and are still standing today, although an "El Burrito Junior" has now moved into the old Taco Bell building.

Being a lover of trees, I am happy to report that the tree across the street (Pacific Coast Highway) in the photo below, still exists! Today, it stands in front of the Pacific Ocean Center, a little shopping center that was built in 1966, just one year after these pictures were taken.

The little amusement park was just a few blocks from the Torrance Airport. The Goodyear Blimp had made it's home there back in the 1950's, and then again for a short time from 1967 to 1968, when it was then moved to it's current home alongside the 405 freeway in the City of Carson. It appears there was a fire burning in the distance, at the time my dad took this photo!

Moving just a little bit south to the coast, our final destination is Marineland of the Pacific, on the beautiful Palos Verdes Peninsula. Marineland had a two-level observation car that offered excellent views of the park below, the rolling hills of Palos Verdes, and the Pacific Ocean. These photos were all taken in the summer of 1966. Marineland of the Pacific had opened in 1954, and ended up closing in 1987.

I know I mentioned this in one of my previous Marineland posts, but I'm going to mention it again! Sea World's owners bought Marineland in order to acquire it's killer whales (Orky and Corky) for their killer whale breeding program in San Diego.

When they purchased the park in December of 1986, they made a public statement saying that Marineland would remain open and that they were going to renovate it. However, soon after the purchase went through, they said that they were not going to keep it open after all, but they would keep it open through the Easter/Spring break, so that people would have one last chance to visit.

They ended up closing the park just before President's Weekend in February, more than two months earlier than they had announced. The animals were then packed up in trucks in the middle of the night, and relocated to Sea World in San Diego. Orky and Corky had actually been transferred, prior to the park's closing. Corky was pregnant at the time she was moved and shortly after she arrived at Sea World, she miscarried. Orky died the following year. The new owners also reportedly poured concrete into the drains at Marineland, so that the park could not be reopened. Such a sad ending to the park's 32-year history!

So as not to end on a sour note, here is one more pic from Marineland. I'm wondering if the trainer had a fish in his mouth here. I don't think I can see one, but it would make sense. Otherwise, I think he would have his hand out and not be bent over with his face so close to where the dolphin/porpoise was going to jump. And isn't the old "holding a fish in the mouth trick" something that they used to do back in the day, at marine parks?

Happy Father's Day Weekend to all of the dads out there!


K. Martinez said...

Did your dad run into the Reverend Frank Scott who later gave his life so Detective Lieutenant Mike Rogo, Manny Rosen, James Martin, Nonnie Parry, Susan Shelby and her brother Robin could live to see the morning after?

I love that Merry-go-round and Casey Jones Train. The clown painted on the chimney (smokestack) is cute. I just love the little parks.

Poor Corky and Orky. They didn't even have a chance. :(

So I take it the people in these pics didn't have the white oval in their DNA?

Thanks,TokyoMagic! for another cool post on your blog.

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, dad did run into him and the rest of the gang as well. He said Robin was a rude little child and just kept running around the ship telling everyone to "Suck it, suck it, suck it!"

I loved that little amusement park. Most of the rides there were the type that just go around in a little automobiles, boats in a trough of water, rocket jets that hung from metal chains, etc. I have more pics that I will probably post in the future. Oh, and I started wondering about that little train after I wrote this post. I wonder if it could possibly be one of Bud Hurlbut's trains? The number on this train is "1016." The number on his Santa's Village train was "1030" and the number his "Knott's Lagoon Train" was "1033." I wonder if there was a sequential numbering system that he used when manufacturing his trains, or if it's just a coincidence that they all begin with "10..."?

The people in the Queen Mary photo were all wearing sunglasses, so I figured that was enough anonymity for them and that they didn't need white ovals! My brother is in both of the Rideland pics and he got the "watermark across the face" treatment! It's funny, when posting this, I noticed that the train conductor appeared to be ducking down and covering his face. Was he just looking down at the controls of the train at that moment, or was he psychic (and shy) and knew that the pic would be viewed in a public forum in the future?

I'm glad you enjoyed this post! Thanks for commenting!

K. Martinez said...

Ha, ha! Yeah, that sounds like Eric Shea alright.

I wouldn't be surprised if that was a sequential numbering system as you said, so it could very well be one of Bud Hurlbut's trains. It was a local park after all. I'd definitely be interested in seeing more of "Rideland" if you want to share. I like the name too. It's simple and gets to the point.

Stefano said...

Many thanks for these charming photos; lots of nostalgia for some low-key attractions which are no more. I still haven't been to the Queen Mary, but apropos of K. Martinez, any spot that hosted Shelly Winters must be worth a pilgrimage. On the subject of disasters, that Goodyear blimp picture is alarmingly reminiscent of the end of the Hindenburg!

I didn't know of Rideland, but it looks similar to photos of Beverly Park (never went there either) --- I guess a McDonalds and a Taco Bell are less visually offensive then the Beverly Center which replaced B.P.

I did love Marineland, and no Sky Tower was better placed for spectacular views. Ports O' Call in San Pedro also had a Sky Tower at one point; the tower is long gone and P O'C will be shortly. Oh, well; the memories are sweet --- and salty.

Major Pepperidge said...

My mom still has this plastic milk bottle that she bought at Marineland - it is full of, I don't know, 100 tiny plastic toys? It was probably made in Japan. Hamburgers. Skulls. Four leafed clovers. Pianos. Ballerinas. Dogs. Monkeys. My mom thinks it cost less than a dollar at the time, which is insane. Of course, some of the original toys have disappeared, and others have been added, but I'm sure it is largely the original stuff. It's one of my favorite souvenir items.

NEVER heard of Rideland, what a trip. You'd think, after all of the reading I have done on SoCal amusements, that it would have come up at some time. That being said, I have a slide of a kid on some little ride, it is labeled "Long Beach", but is not the Pike. I wonder if it could be Rideland? Ocean Avenue at PCH isn't too far from Long Beach.

I also remember seeing the Goodyear blimp when it was in Carson, it was always a thrill.

FAVORITE DETAIL: The dark dots placed over the grandmotherly lady's eyes on photo #2!!

TokyoMagic! said...

Stefano, the Queen Mary is still worth a visit. I went a couple years ago after not visiting for about 20 years. The ship not only hosted Shelley Winters, but also hosted many other celebrities over the years. She was even used during World War II to transport troops overseas (the Queen Mary, not Shelley Winters).

I never went to Beverly Park, but I have seen pics. And yes, I think a lot of the rides at Rideland were similar to the ones at Beverly Park.

I remember the sky tower at Ports O' Call, but I never rode on it. I wish there was a way that they could renovate Ports O' Call using the buildings that are already there. When I found out that it was going to be torn down, I went and took a bunch of photos. Maybe I'll do a post, using those pics. I did post a personal pic, a postcard and a souvenir pressed penny from P.O.C. about 2 years ago. Those items can be seen HERE.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, that milk bottle souvenir sounds pretty cool. Was it just a generic souvenir, or does it say "Marineland of the Pacific" somewhere on it? I have a souvenir ceramic plate from Marineland and also a tiny ashtray with a little statue of a walrus attached to it. Actually, it might be a "gum holder" (for A.B.C./Already Been Chewed gum). Remember those? They could be found at tourist spots. They were often in the shape of a hand with the words, "Place Gum Here" written in the palm of the hand.

I'd love to see your mystery "Long Beach" photo. Maybe I could tell if it was the same place. I have done searches for "Rideland in Torrance" and nothing comes up. My aunt lives a couple miles from that location and either her local newspaper or some kind of local newsletter had a "Remember When" section where they briefly mentioned the park, but they didn't include any photos. We used to live in Lomita (next to Torrance) and we went to this park quite a bit. I have only about a half dozen more photos of the place, but I also have some home movie footage that my dad took. Maybe I'll have to do a Rideland-only post.

I also remember driving past the Goodyear Blimp in Carson many times. Across the freeway from it, was a miniature golf course with one of those large fiberglass men holding a golf club. (The giant man is actually still standing and he is now holding a checkered race flag, since the miniature golf course has been replaced with "The Porsche Experience Center.") Also, very near that miniature golf course was a billboard that always had advertisements for Disneyland on it. I specifically remember the ads for Space Mountain and the "New" Matterhorn.

I laughed out loud when I read the last line of your comment. You are very observant! And here I thought I was getting away with something. That is my grandmother and she was already wearing eyeglasses, so I thought I would just convert them to sunglasses as sort of a "white oval-alternate." My "painting" skills obviously leave a lot to be desired!

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, the milk bottle is generic, no mention of Marineland at all. I only know it’s from there because my mom remembers buying there. I bought a shrink-wrapped abalone shell full of other shells, along with a few pieces of coral dyed day-glo pink or green. Until you mentioned them, I’d forgotten those hand-shaped gum holders.

I happen to have just scanned the mystery Long Beach photo, so I will email a jpeg to you. There might not be enough of the background scenery visible to make an ID of the location. Home movie footage, that would be amazing!

I used to love seeing those giant fiberglass men. If I had tons of money I would want to own one - the ultimate advertising souvenir. I’m sure you’ve seen photos of how they have been repurposed into welders, spacemen, Indians, and so on.

After doing my blog for 12 years I can honestly say that I am not “very observant”… I just noticed something a little funny with your grandma’s glasses, but it isn’t super obvious!

Stefano said...

TokyoMagic!, it is nice to see your grandmother enjoying herself at the Queen Mary. Who is the stunning blonde on the left? She looks like the gilded girl in the title sequence for "Goldfinger" (seen on Father's Day at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood), hair coif, facial features, figure, and all.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I have seen how other "giant men" statues have been repurposed. We had one in town for years that was holding a muffler in front of the Midas Muffler shop. I think he was also wearing a crown that had "Midas" written on it. They took him down years ago. I hope he wasn't destroyed!

Stefano, I know the girl you are talking about from the opening sequence of "Goldfinger." The woman in the photo is my ex-stepmother. She is actually pregnant in that pic and appears to be covering that fact up with her jacket. I'm not sure if she was doing it deliberately or not.

The Retro Dad said...

Do they still fly the Goodyear Blimp around Anaheim? Last time I vacayed there in like 2013 I was excited to see it putting around Disney.

TokyoMagic! said...

Retro Dad, it's funny that you ask that! I work down the street from Disneyland (in Garden Grove) and just two days ago, I saw the Goodyear Blimp circling around over Anaheim!

outsidetheberm said...

Hi TM - Just catching up on the blogs and saw this great post. In addition to using the name of Rideland, that little Torrance park was also called Walteria Kiddieland. We have some fun slides and other items from the park. If you're interested, I can post some on the Liberty Ranch site. Hope all has been well with you!

TokyoMagic! said...

OTB, I would love to see what you have on that little park! Do you have an opening and closing date for the park, by chance?

outsidetheberm said...

TM - Based on the material we have, an estimated timeline for this park was about 1957 to 1971 - but that's only a rough guess. Oh, and yes, that's one of of Bud's trains. From the first run, too. Your hypothesis is correct, sir! Will post some images for you from this little park on the LR page soon!

TokyoMagic! said...

OTB, thanks for the info on Bud and his Rideland train! Do you happen to know where that train ended up after Rideland closed? Thank you also, for posting that 1959 advertisement and pic from Rideland on your F.B. page! There is a special place in my heart for that little park. I think it just might be my earliest "amusement park" memory.

Anonymous said...

@Tokyo, what a great post. I always miss them when they're new, but filled with interesting stuff.

I will be visiting the Queen Mary again after 34 years, this fall. I'm attending a convention and it seemed like a good opportunity to re-visit.

I only got one visit to Marineland and that was over 50 years ago, but I recall it as a fun time. What a shame about the animals, though. A sad story.

Thanks for the great info and period photos.


TokyoMagic! said...

JG, I hope you get to see a lot of the ship when you are there for your convention. I won Queen Mary tickets a couple years ago, which included three different tours and admission to the Princess Diana exhibit (not sure if that is still there or not). I really enjoyed all of the tours and learning so much about the history of the ship.

I'm glad you enjoyed this post. Thanks for following and commenting!