Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sabrina's Brochure Spotlight: Hershey Park 194?

I'm kicking off 2010 by doing something a little different. My brochure collection encompasses many different parks, but some are definitely better represented than others. So I decided to start setting aside a month every now and then when I will feature only brochures from one of these more prolific members of my collection. A sort of "brochure chronology", if you will.

The natural choice for the inaugural edition of this series was Hersheypark. I grew up in the Harrisburg area, and my family's annual pilgrimage to Hershey was always a highly anticipated event for me. My love of the industry was born at this park. Consequently, I own just a few of their brochures. (Just a couple. Really...) I'll be sharing four of them with you this month, starting with this historic gem from the early days.

Not only is this my oldest Hersheypark brochure, it's my oldest brochure period. Based on the featured rides and attractions, we can safely assume that this beauty was printed sometime between 1938 and 1945. And yes, the park's name was two words back then! In fact, it didn't become one word until 1971.

Let me just state for the record that I'm really glad fashion trends have changed over the past 70 years. "Put on your best suit and hat, honey. It's time to ride the Mill Chute!" Um...yeah.

What a bargain--In the 1940s, you could play a round of golf and take a dip in the pool for just $1.00 on weekdays or $1.50 on weekends and holidays! Something tells me a dollar won't get you far on those greens today. Of course if it were up to me, I'd bypass the tees and head straight for the water anyway.

The copy on the next few panels doesn't exactly jibe with the selected images, but we'll get a peek at all those non-amusement attractions eventually so hang tight. In the meantime, check out all these classic rides! The Whoops funhouse pictured in the lower right-hand corner was one of two (count 'em: TWO!!) funhouses at Hershey Park in the 1940s. It was actually the park's first funhouse, although the Philadelphia Toboggan Company did a pretty hefty remodeling job on it in 1938, which is when it adopted the "Whoops" moniker.

Hershey's second funhouse, Death Valley, is pictured in the lower left-hand corner of the image above. It was added in 1938, as was the Auto Skooter pictured on the right. And lo and behold, what have we beneath that Auto Skooter? Why, it's a roller coaster! But not just any roller coaster, as its generic label implies. Whoever wrote this brochure should be ashamed of him- or herself for failing to properly identify the Wild Cat, which just happened to be the first roller coaster designed by one Herbert P. Schmeck of PTC. The Wild Cat thrilled Hershey Park patrons until 1945, when it was torn down to make way for the Comet.

Not to be outdone by all those fancy mechanized amusement devices, here's a look at all the other attractions we've been reading about. Though we may focus on the park, the town of Hershey has always been a complete package as far as tourist destinations go. If rides didn't strike your fancy, perhaps sporting events, gardens, animals, concerts, or a museum would! Hiding amongst these many splendored attractions are two more classic rides which, sadly, no longer exist at Hershey--The Bug and a Pretzel dark ride.

"Automobile Roads", eh? Too rich for my blood. I'll be sticking with that Reading Railroad passenger train, thank you very much. Next week we'll jump a few decades into the future and see what mode of transportation was bringing guests to Hershey in the 1970s. Rocket ship? Time machine? Teleportation device? Guess we'll just have to wait and see...


NewsPlusNotes said...

Death Valley? Awesome! I would LOVE to have gone through that one. It's so weird it's cool.

Unknown said...

I love this!! I remember riding the Bug the very first year I went to Hershey & then it was gone. I miss it so much!! Thanks for the memories!!

Sabrina said...

Death Valley is definitely a rather peculiar name for a fun house! According to the Images of America book, it was upgraded and renamed Laugh Land in 1940. This made me question whether the brochure is actually from the late '30s, but my suspicion is that it was published for the 1940 season and they simply didn't have any photos of the new and improved fun house yet.

Terrance - I'm glad you enjoyed the stroll down memory lane! The Bug was also my mom's favorite ride at Hershey when she was a kid. She still talks about it. I think she was really jealous when I told her that Mike and I got to ride two of the last remaining Bugs within a 24-hour period during our western PA trip this summer!