Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I never thought I'd get this depressed over a park, ever.

Maybe it's the weather: another delightful day of eight minutes of sun and warmth followed by slick, icy-feeling rain and gray clouds. Maybe it's the lack of v.o. auditions and work (yes, again). Can't quite be sure who or what is to blame, but it's been One of Those Days.

And this didn't help:


While reading up on the re-tooling of Disney's California Adventure, I came upon an article comparing the new ocean-themed section of the park with Pacific Ocean Park, an nautical park that used to live on Santa Monica Pier. Seems that most folk said it was "no contest - POP wins anyday." So I was curious and had to do some research.

Pacific Ocean Park (1958-1967) is the vintage park I never visited but the one whose demise immediately hit me deeply in the solar plexus. POP appeared to have it all: that aforementioned ocean theme right on the ocean, a wonderful mid-century aesthetic (very Mary Blairesque, which makes me want to sob right here and now), and an array of rides that rivaled Disneyland, including a magic carpet ride and a Trip to Mars ride that, when it finished spinning you into a frenzy, let you exit into a Martian landscape! (Reminds me of the "Outer Limits" episode I recently watched, "Second Chance", where folks enter a space ride only to find out that it's a lot more real than they bargained for. Sorry, if I saw this guy handing out free tickets to an amusement park ride, I'd run the other way.)

Anyway - Pacific Ocean Park closed in 1967 and then fell victim to fire in the early 70s. A few miles north of where it once stood you'll find Pacific Park which is a pleasant enough oceanside, pier park, but nothing, NOTHING, like the piece of art POP once was.

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