Monday, April 19, 2010

Almost fits the bill...

Yet not quite. It's a sticky wicket, really. Many of the early Six Flags parks date back to 1971. For my project, I'm looking at parks which opened prior to 1970, so they don't fit, yet they almost do. But... would I include them even if they did?

I feel like I just shook the hand of a dirty dealer, realizing my mistake in the nick of time.

I recall Fairyland Park closing back in the 70s. I also recall folks saying, "Well, it was its time -- and it certainly ISN'T Six Flags!" which meant it certainly didn't have the thriller rollercoaster and the double-decker merry-go-'round and the Warner Brothers characters greeting you at the gate.

True. It also didn't have charm and heart. You couldn't park on the street and walk right in, buy as many tickets as you liked rather than an exorbitant fee, buy your popcorn and cotton candy for pennies, or sit quietly under the grandfather trees which used to canopy the area when it was a gypsy camp. Six Flags had concrete and steel, not shade and wood and sugar-scented air.

As tempting as it might be for me to include one of the early Six Flags parks (it may conveniently be on the return route of one of my Roadtrips), it just feels wrong. When Six Flags came to Gurnee, IL, it took over the amusement park atmosphere much like a Walmart takes over a small town, nudging out the little guy. The Mr. Potter of amusement parks.

"You're nothing but a warped, frustrated old man," said George Bailey, after refusing the offer he was almost tempted to take from Potter, which would've compromised his integrity, turning over the Building and Loan to a snake.

Thanks, George. You saved me an empty gesture.

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