Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Magic Mountain 1979 and 2008

Today’s post is very photo heavy, I hope you like Magic Mountain! The first section is a vintage brochure, the second section is how the park looked yesterday.

First up is a great Brochure from March 1979. The park was sold to Six Flags in 1979, but there is no mention of Six Flags in this brochure. The name changed in 1980 to “Six Flag Magic Mountain”. The mimes on the front give me the creeps, mimes are like a clown’s cousin, both nightmare inducing!

Spillikin Corners! The 1970’s were so fun and folksy!

This folds out BIG! Thanks Richard! This is the Magic Mountain of my early teen years. From 1975-1979 I spent many summer days at the park. Back then my yearly Magic Mountain to Disneyland ratio was about 25:1

Details on the back, wait, where is the Ronald Reagan Freeway? Yes the actor! "No Cumbersome Ticket Books".

Hint: Currently online you can get admission tickets for $26.99 (good thru 5/26) what a deal!

All of these photos’ are from yesterday. This first photo could easily be from 1979. Yes these are OLD trams, but they are fast and get the job done. More important, they instantly transported me back to those summers of my early teens, worth the $15 for parking fee just for that.

Lots of flowers, the park was noticeably cleaner than my last visit in 2005.

If you live in the Los Angeles area, I suggest you go to Magic Mountain during the week and before Memorial Day; there was virtually no one there and the price is right.

The Valencia Falls are running again! The falls have been out of commission ever since they started Tatsu Construction in 2005. It’s great to see them running again, I hear they just started them up again last week.

The Carousel seems to be in fine shape, it just needs some riders.

Ah early 1970’s architecture, I still have a fond place in my heart for this style of buildings, nice to see them still in use.

Squint your eyes and this could be Disneyland. Ok, maybe not.

Superman, the ride. Not for me, thanks.

The last remaining Troll, still driving his little bumper car!

My earliest memories of Magic Mountain are from the summer of 1971, when the park was new. Two distinct things come to mind; “Valencia Grass” everywhere and “Music” coming from loud speakers on poles and in the ground. It’s VERY nice to see both still exist today. They were playing music the whole time I was there; I don’t remember that in recent years.

Tatsu. Well, I did it! Let’s just say I am NOT that teenager anymore! It was fun, it was FAST, and it made me need to sit down for a few minutes afterwards! I was thinking it would be more like Ninja (which I rode twice, no line!) but it was more like a Space Shuttle launch. If you like coasters, it’s a must do.

One of the main attractions I wanted to see today was closed. The Sky Tower was closed all day, maybe due the winds or low attendance (or both). Too bad, I was willing to deal with my fear of heights because there is a Magic Mountain Museum at the top. I’ve seen pictures of it online, it looks fun. Maybe next time.

********** SAVE THE METRO **********

Ok, if you lasted with me this long, indulge me here at the end. One of my favorite attractions at Magic Mountain was the Metro Monorail. This was an original attraction to the park. It has three stations and is fully automatic. It was a real transportation system that actually worked. Yes two of the stations were kind of close, but the third one was up the hill and really saved time and eased tired feet.

The Metro has been nonoperational since at least 2003, maybe longer. I have heard all kinds of reasons why it’s not running, the big ones being: Doesn’t meet code and can’t find parts since the manufacture is out of business. Neither of those rings true; this same exact ride system is still in use at Hershey Park (since 1969!) somehow they keep it running and complying with codes.

Back in 2007, Magic Mountain hinted that a “Three Station Transportation System” was returning to the park, but I think we are getting Thomas the Train-land instead. I would like to think we can get both? Ok, enough of my “cause”. If you want to see the Monorail trains, here is a link to my previous Metro Rants (link).

Since the entire Metro infrastructure might go away someday, I got some pictures of the three stations. I wonder if people even know what these are for? This first station is the nearest to the entrance, just before the kiddy land.

This is the exit area for the first station. Ok, it needs some paint and TLC, but it’s all there.

The second station is up more near the “Carnival Games” section. This station has a super 1970’s look to it. I remember waiting in line on those stairs!

The building could use some paint and TLC too, but again its all there, the area’s for all of these stations are really nice and green.

The last station is somewhat hidden and partially blocked off (didn’t stop me!). The main entrance is still open; it’s on the back trail up the mountain (towards Superman and Ninja).

The path to the boarding area is blocked off (I reached around for this picture), this loading area is in a tunnel that runs under Superman (it used to just run thru the mountain). The Metro comes out the other side of the tunnel and runs near the falls then back to the first station. This station is in worse condition than the other two.

Whew, I hope I didn’t bore you to tears! Plaese come back tomorrow for some Disneyland Stuff.


Major Pepperidge said...

I would love to see the Metro back in operation, and know how you feel... it is so dumb to have an attraction sitting there almost ready to go, but it's just left to rot.

LOVE the image of the last troll, I hope he never goes away!!

jedblau said...

GREAT SHOTS! I, too, mourn the Metro. Did you stop by that kennel to check out the artifacts? I think that's where Ol' 55 is...

Davelandweb said...

One word for this post: TRAGIC. And Tim, you know exactly what I mean.

Chris Merritt said...

Nice - some very nostalgic shots. Thanks for taking them!

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Major, help me sign the petition!

Jed, I ran out of time to see the Kennel, but I will be back soon!

Dave, you crack me up. I think we started calling it "Tragic Mountain" in 8th grade after the newlyweds fell from the Skyway and that big lady died on Colossus!

Chris, thanks! I noticed the few other folks taking pics that day were focused on the coasters, but that's easy. I went for the "old" hidden (or in the open) parts of the park.

Michelle said...

Sigh, I used to work at Metro. It's horribly depressing to see my ride in such a state.

JayMan said...

I worked on the Metro in 1981-1983 "please stay clear of the doors, they will be closing auto-magically"...I still have the original spiel which I had the privilidge of rewriting. (I worked on the Parking Lot trams the year before that), and later in Guest Relations. I loved Magic Mountain the way it was.

PS: those 1970's style of architecture you loved so much, was 1980's architecture... that building was built as the Texas Instruments Computer Discovery Center in 1983. It had a great little show starring Bill Cosby with automatically turning stools in the theatre, then double doors opened automatically that led through a glass hallway into a room with lots of fun computers to play with.

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Hi Jayman!

Too cool you worked on the Metro! “Automatically” I love it!. Hey are those the same parking lot trams as when you worked there?

Thanks for the info on the Texas Instruments Building, I vaguely remember that exhibit. Those buildings do look 1970’s however. They may have been built in the early 1980’s, but they are using late 60's / early 70’s architecture. Check out the Howard Johnson next to Disneyland, the same upside down ½ circles are used as arches. I must admit, I do like that style.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

jaymanlb said...

Hi... I love the blog. Keep up the great work. I will see if I can dig up my Metro spiel, and some pics. Yes, on the Texas Instruments attraction, you are right, they just dug up some 1970s architecture and voila... there it was. The building was supposed to be designed to look like a microchip? Ok...dont get that one.

I worked at the Parking Lot when I was under 18, so I couldnt drive the trams, but I would work in the spieler's cage in the back (or at the loading area)...the trams we had were probably the same ones, just painted orange and white. The trams were "presented" by Santa Clarita National Bank and had a sign on the top of the first car. The Santa Clarita National Bank had a branch in a beautiful building right inside of the main gate. Later, when I worked in Guest Relations, I had the privilege of supervising the move from the ticket will call window at the main gate to the new Guest Relations building, which took over that Santa Clarita National Bank building. Incidentally, when we moved into that building...we took all of the excess furniture that was in the then Six Flags Corporate Office. Six Flags (then owned by Bally) had its corporate office in Downtown Los Angeles for several years, and then moved in 1982 to Arlington, TX. But, that beautiful old bank building became the Guest Relations building. I think it still is.

Mushroom said...

My late fiancee worked on Metro in 1993-1994. And in 1993 I worked at one of the stores.

It was sad to see Metro close. Even by 1993 there was normally only one station operational. And by 1994 it was closed more often then it was open. The Tunnel station was closed most of the time, even when the ride did work.

And maintenance was a major problem. The park originally had 4 Metro cars, but by 1993 they were down to 2 fully functioning, and 1 emergency car. The emergency car was used if a tram broke down, and I was on it at least 2 times when it did. They basically took it out and pushed the broken down car to the nearest station.

Basically Metro was allowed to die in the interest to save money. It was not all that popular in ride attendance, and it required a large staff to keep fully functional (at least 8 on duty at all times, there were like 30 trained Metro crewmembers).

Papa Giorgio said...


Does anyone know which bands played at Magic from 83-88? Like the Specials, the Untouchables, etc? Any info will help.


Mark Taft said...

GREAT post- Haven't been to the mountain in decades. Yep, decades.
Thanks for the memories!