Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sabrina's Brochure Spotlight: Magic Mountain 1978

It's time to shine the spotlight on another oldie-but-goodie. This week we journey back to 1978, the year before Magic Mountain became Six Flags Magic Mountain. I always find it interesting (though somewhat depressing) to look at parks as they used to be, before all of their charming little quirks and idiosyncrasies got swallowed up by the ever-expanding wave of corporate "chain" ownership (a.k.a., conformity...yawn). Magic Mountain certainly had its share.

In the interest of preserving this lovely nighttime panorama, I decided to adopt a different approach for scanning this brochure cover. The world's first modern vertical-looping coaster certainly makes for a stunning centerpiece, no? Turns out it was about to be joined by yet another "revolutionary" coaster, but more on that in a minute. As the right panel describes, the Magic Mountain of 1978 was about more than just rides. It also offered a plethora of entertainment options, including performances by various television stars and recording artists. If you were lucky enough to visit during the summer season, you could also enjoy fireworks every night.

The fine print on the left panel reveals Magic Mountain's original owners: Newhall Land and Farming Company. Boy, nothing spells theme park know-how like farming! But in all seriousness, they did a pretty darn good job by the time it was all said and done. (I'm sure the assistance they received from the folks at SeaWorld didn't hurt, either.)

"Where are the big rides? The big ones?"

Oh, come on--You were all thinking it too! 'Tis the roller coaster that the Griswold family made famous. But honestly, it didn't need them. Colossus did just fine on its own, opening as the world's largest dual-tracked wooden coaster in 1978. Unfortunately, as with many "est"s of the wooden variety, it also delivered its share of rider discomforts, which led to a number of reprofiling efforts in subsequent years. For better or worse, only those park patrons who rode this behemoth during its opening season got to experience the original Colossus.

And now for some more of those charming "independent park" idiosyncrasies. Before Bugs and the gang took over the joint, there were the trolls. That furry little critter in the upper right-hand corner (who apparently went by the name of Bloop) was one such inhabitant of Trollywood--not to be confused with that other famous place in California. According to this brochure, there was also a wizard lurking around somewhere. Something tells me he probably spent most of his time hanging out in Wizard's Village, one of two unique children's areas at the time.

For those families who wished to inject a little history lesson into their vacation, there was Spillikin Corners. Based on this description, I'd say it was Magic Mountain's version of Colonial Williamsburg. Oh, and did I mention the petting zoo? Magic Mountain had one of those too. You know, in case you got bored with their many great rides and shows. Variety is the spice of life, after all.

I always have to laugh when a California park advertises that it is X number of minutes from any other California attraction. If we all had private jets, maybe! But perhaps the gridlock of 1978 really did allow for a 25-minute commute from Hollywood. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Sounds like it would have been worth the trip either way, though, with all of the other nearby attractions and activities listed here. Perhaps Clark Griswold should have worked some of those into his vacation plans!


Unknown said...

I went to Magic Mountain several times during the 70's. My uncle lived across the 5 Freeway in Valencia. I can remember some of the old rides like El Bumpo and The Mountain Express. During the initial phase of Colossus there was a contest at Magic Mountain to name the new coaster. I can remember they had a small scale version of it inside a glass enclosure. There was a form to fill out with, what I can remember, 4 choices for the name of the new coaster. I chose Star Streak. I remember seeing Colossus as one of the choices but I had no idea what a Colossus was!