Sunday, December 27, 2009

Scott And Carol Present - Fountaine Ferry Park - The Lost Footage

Back in August Sabrina posted that Local producer and Fountaine Ferry Historian had discovered some more never-before-seen footage in his basement. I keep telling Scott we need to clean out our garage & "coaster" room (i.e. organize our amusement park collection.)

We have had this DVD for awhile and finally both had the chance to sit down and watch Fountaine Ferry Park - The Lost Footage, since we were thoroughly entertained by Jerry's first effort, Fountaine Ferry Park: A Time of Innocence and we were blown away by the exhibit at the Frasier Museum, the bar was set pretty high for our expectations but it delivers.

The footage on the DVD is from the 1940s, 50s and 60s, its shot with a 16mm movie camera, with no sound, mostly by Cinematographer Foster Mattingly, who makes a cameo at the beginning of the 1960 segment. The scenes are a mixture of color and black and white, which is grainy and blurry at times. But none of that really matters, for the footage is amazing.

The segment from the 1940s shows people dressed in their Sunday best, enjoying wire walkers, dog acts and a variety of flat rides. We loved the sub-titles pointing out the boss going to work and an assistant manager "testing" one of the rides.

In the 1950s the general admission was 12 cents, guests enjoyed professional wrestling including a midget match, and acrobats. There's some amazing footage showing the acrobats on the airplane ride. Kitchen chiefs, Mame and John Samples, the Comet's front brakeman, Noah Liken and caller/rear brakeman Frank "Pappy" Aubrey are given sub-titles in this segment. The highlight for us was the footage of the new Comet roller coaster.

Footage from the 1960s focused on rides for the small fries and featured the brand new turnpike, with battery operated cars modeled after the big tail-finned models of the day. Hand cranked cars, pony rides, a miniature train and the kiddie coaster were also very popular. Jungleland must have been new with live entertainment featuring trained monkey.

This DVD also has some bonus segments, the first is well worth the price of the DVD, it's a two-parter, with the first a 1970s segment from a local TV show called "On The Road" featuring Pappy Aubrey still running the Comet, with the park now being called River Glen Park (after Fountaine Ferry closed the park name changed and owners twice) and a reporter doing an on-ride.

The second part is a fascinating look back at 1950 construction of the Comet roller coaster which leaves both of us speechless....all we can say this DVD! The construction scenes give an accurate look at the techniques of the day before everything became “use a big crane and hope it fits when it’s up there.”

The other bonus segment is a February 2009 interview of Jerry Rice. Jerry recants his memories, growing up visiting Fountaine Ferry. His most vivid memory was riding the Comet. Mr. Rice also comments on how the park took on a different aura at night and how he had a fondness for the Dentzel carousel that operated throughout the park's history. His favorite was the Funhouse, Hilarity Hall.

This DVD get's two a thumbs up from both of us and may we suggest buying it be a great use of that money Grandma gave you for Christmas. Both Fountaine Ferry DVDs can be purchased at Schimpff's Confectionary in Jeffersonville IN. or through TYP Distributors, P.O. Box 745, New Albany IN 47151-0745. Mail order price is $16.95, which includes shipping/handling and applicable sales tax. Contact for more information.