Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday on the Blog with Photos!

For my Dad's 86th birthday (yesterday, actually), we're taking him to the racetrack today to play the ponies. In honor of this event, I give you a photo taken at Cedar Point, at the very start of my "Road Trip". It's a horserace carousel that runs at a clip!

Happy Birthday, Daddy! Many more!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Our Visit to Flintstone's Bedrock City!

Traipsing through Flintstone's Bedrock City in South Dakota can be quite an enlightening experience.

For instance, did you know there's a Mount Rockmore? There is; a veritable twin to the slightly more famous Mount Rushmore only a few miles away. And it only predates it by about a million years, so it's still looking pretty sharp

And I bet you had no idea Wilma played the organ made out of coconuts and bamboo shoots.

If you're lucky enough, you might hear "Bedrock, Twitch, Twitch" playing at K-ROCK, the local radio radio station, a perfect excuse for a spontaneous dance break.

But the true treat is getting to rub elbows with the natives.

Pictured: Barney Rubble and Fred Flintstone, flanked by the Yabba Dabba Dooleys.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday on the Blog with a VIDEO!

For the first time ever, I'll be sharing a video rather than a photo on this glorious Sunday. Today, a bit of slightly sinister, kinda strange, always interesting cartoonery from Sally Cruikshank from the 1970s.

I give you, "Quasi at the Quackadero". I thank my friend Craig Gustafson for enlightening my world with this piece of animation artistry.

And yes, it's set at a bizarro amusement park. Enjoy!

Monday, June 13, 2011

The First Drive Past

Necessitated by my desire for a Caribou coffee (made even more inviting by the fact that they're doing a "Buy 7, Get 1 Free" promotion), I made the trip to visit my dad in Oak Park today by way of North Avenue, through Stone Park and Melrose Park, and finally through the intersection of North and First Avenues, the former site of Kiddieland, the "little park that could" for over 80 years, until greed took over and moved one half of a family to sell the land to Costco so the Greater Chicagoland area could have one more place to stock up on 50 rolls of toilet paper for cheap.

I'm usually not a swearing person; I've recently returned from a soul-edifying trip to South Dakota and the Black Hills, a place that charges up my spiritual battery, big time, so I'm feeling very peaceful and most irritating things are rolling off my back like water off a duck. But when the side of the Costco came into view where once a cheerful little locomotive took generations of families on a journey into imagination, here's what came out of my mouth:

(As this is a family blog, I'll use a bouquet of euphemisms)

"What a fruggin' mistake. Flip you, you money-grubbing monkeyfloggers. Hope you're happy with your funkin' money, you greedy fonkers. Pluck moo!" (I had Ivy in the car with me and I do believe I made the beagle blush)

And, by the way, it was 10 A.M. on a Monday and there were only about a dozen cars in the parking lot: the area where the German carousel once stood.

So, if anyone is still wondering why I'm putting up mostly all my own money to go across the country and visit 40 vintage parks in order to keep their stories and spirit alive, I hope my mission has been made crystal-clear.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

And then there's this place.

While driving out to Deadwood, in search of gambling machines both Ben and I provided voices for (these are the whizbang ones with stereophonic sound and lots of gaming levels), we came upon Boondock's. It's like a small 50s town just sprang up in the middle of the Black Hills, as if someone planted some Retro Seeds and it just grew there. No, it's not technically a vintage amusement park. It rather defies description. Is it fun? You bet your bippy it is!

We had soft serve custard and took in the memorabilia store and visited the museum which houses some truly amazing finds, like a Studebaker collection... and Archie Bunker's hat. And tin doll houses like the one I had as a kid.

And they have rides. I asked around and learned that the owner assembled this collection from defunct parks across the country. This guy obviously "gets" that they're worth preserving.

And that makes Boondock's worth a visit and very worthy of an Honorable Mention in my "Road Trip".