Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Magic Mountain August 1973 - Part 3

If you missed parts 1 and 2 of this series, be sure to view them here (part 1 link/part 2 link). Thanks again to Dave over at Daveland for getting these magenta gems to shine some color thru again.

Starting off this final part of our August 1973 trip to Magic Mountain let’s take a ride on the Eagles Fight. This “Skyway” ride had two separate routes, both terminating at the top of the mountain.

The “Eldorado Station” side was near EL Bumpo (present day Riddles Revenge area), it had steel towers and was around 100 feet at its peak I would guess. The “Galaxy Station” was near the Galaxy of course (present day lower level supports for Superman) it had cement towers and was WAY too tall, it seemed around 200 feet, maybe the mountain made it seem higher. This photo from a 1973 brochure shows a bucket from the Eldorado station in the foreground and the Galaxy station towers in the back ground.

Absolute terror as the buckets reach the tower, my heart used to literally stop when it would cross over those wheels of death. In fact, someone did die as their bucket passed the last tower heading into the Galaxy station it plunged 50 feet down into the hillside. A newlywed couple was inside, he died, but miraculously, she survived. (link).

The Eagles Flight Dual station at the top of the mountain is still there. This photo was taken in May 2008, the bottom area has restrooms that are still in use, otherwise the building is shuttered and empty.

Scary…. Is that clown real? Check out the fun Troll balloons!

A couple photos showing the neat animal shows they used to have. I remember these, they were informal and informative. Those poor ladies had to wear some unusual costumes.

The green belt area of the Grand Prix car ride, you can see the back of one of the cars on the lower right.

From an early post card series, here is the Grand Prix in all its Autopia rip-off glory. The cars were fun, if not a tad slower than the Real Autopia. Check out the Metro Monorail, BRING BACK THE METRO! Also note the massive towers for Eagles Flight and that round building is the Sand Blaster bumper cars structure, still bumping away after 37 years.

Gold Rusher as seen from a souvenir postcard. I sure do like this ride, a 1971 Magic Mountain original; it gets a big smile from me every time I ride it.

Here’s our balloon lady again, this time she is sitting on a fountain that was near the big Showcase Theater. I remember contemplating “acquiring” change from this fountain in the Summer of 1976 when I got dropped of with $10 for the whole day and spent it all in about an hour and a half!

As with most theme park fountains this one is now a planter as seen in my May 2008 photo! Notice the bricks, did they sink or did the ground get higher? 80 Layers of slurry?

In addition to the animal shows in the pics above and a petting zoo, Magic Mountain also had a Tiger! I’ve had dogs that can chew thru a chain link fence like that!

From an old postcard, this is “Gambi” I wonder if he is the same Tiger as the amature slide above?

There were once trains at Magic Mountain, here’s the O’l 99. This is not to be confused with the Spillikin Corners "Grand Centennial Excursion" or the “Train to Trollywood” those would come later.

Looks like that “Valencia” grass could use some water.

Here’s the O’l 99 in all her Post Card glory. Jed over at Vintage Disneyland Goodies informs me the O’l 99 still exists somewhere near the Mountain. I gotta check that out soon!

Since this post and series are about to end, here’s a few follow-up pictures.

The Jet Stream still looking great, this attraction was getting kind of neglected in the early 2000’s, nice to see it sparkle and shine.

Not much sparkle or shine here. This was the Four Winds Restaurant. It was also the Laughing Dragoon and the “______ House”. It probably has had other names too.

Sad to see it closed and in disrepair. This location offers fantastic views and the Mountain needs a good sit-down restaurant. Hopefully the new management team at Magic Mountain have plans for this Flagship location.

I hope you enjoyed this little series of Magic Mountain Slides and goodies. Slides from the Mountain are pretty rare so if anyone has vintage images of Magic Mountain, please share them.


Major Pepperidge said...

I have never found any slides from Magic Mountain, although I haven't looked specifically for those! I love these views, though I hate seeing buildings abandoned and unused.

I did find two from a "Magic Mountain" that was going to be Colorado's answer to Disneyland. I should post those someday, the park is all dirt and 2 X 4's. And a train.

The Viewliner Limited said...

More very cool Magic Mountain stuff. I think maybe someday very soon I will have to go there again. It has been a long time since I last visited there.

jedblau said...

Loved the post!

TokyoMagic! said...

Great series.....sorry to see it end! Thanks for the great info and pics.

First of all...ALL clowns are scary! That aside, I remember the Eagles Flight being very scary because of it's height and I remember the wheels on the towers being VERY bumpy in comparison to DL's Skyway.

What a shame that management doesn't have any appreciation of the park's history. Is the relief artwork on that wonderful fountain hidden behind the landscape or has it been removed?

Anonymous said...

Great pics, especially the classic Magic Mountain shots! I'll add a link to your site.

A word on the Eagle's Flight accident. I remember news reports of that - witnesses claim the newlywed couple were swinging their gondola throughout the ride. Probably caused a misalignment as it crossed the last tower.

Westcot2000 said...

Best.Post.Ever. The ground elevation variation was surprising! When the Laughing Dragon was the Four Winds the sign had "Steak House" on it.

Tokyomagic!: The new park management (Jay Thomas and crew) are really taking the park in a good direction. The grounds are now well kept and free of trash and a park history museum has been opened in the Sky Tower!

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Pardon the lateness of my responses, that darn “work” thing keeps getting in the way!

Major; that Colorado “Magic Mountain” sounds funky, lets see the slides!

Viewliner; Thanks, I would say a trip to the Mountain is well worth it, just go on a week day when school is in.

Jed; Always thinking of my Santa Clarita Buddy when I do this post, I hope you are feeling well.

Tokyomagic; Thanks and I do have a few more MM goodies to post still… Yes, all clowns are scary and this one is a real fright! Eagles flight is a nightmare (a) when I was 12, I almost punched out my two friends for rocking the darn thing and (b) when I was dating my wife, we both agreed to ride it thinking we would hide our fear from each other, we didn’t even talk, we both just stared at the floor! The relief artwork on that wonderful fountain is long gone, what a shame.

Rob; Thanks and I recall those reports too, part of why I was going to kill my friends when they started rocking it!

Westcott2000; that explains the weird sign. Was it a pizza place ever too?

Anonymous said...

The Eagle's Flight incident was the direct cause of a newlywed couple swinging the gondola. I worked at Magic Mountain from it's opening day in May of 1971 until early spring 1978. I was present on the day the gondola fell.

The couple in question had been riding the Eagle's Flight continuously. I am sure it doesn't take much imagination to figure out why. The ride was known for that activity. The husband had been swinging the car which caused the cable to hit limit switches as it crossed the pylons supporting the cable.

This would cause a safety shut down. The original purpose was intended to prevent an accident during high winds. Each shut down required maintenance to respond to location and reset the ride.

The couple had been warned a couple of times about swinging, but were allowed to remain on the ride. Since the ride was a transport ride, passengers were not required to disembark at either stations...see activity remarks above.

On the last circuit the couple left the lower station and had just crossed the Metro train, approaching the first pylon.

The gondolas are/were top heavy and were attached to the cable with a "J" clamp that seized the cable by sheer weight. Removal of the gondolas were accomplished by simply lifting the car up; as the weight was lessened, the clamp would release from spring pressure.

The first run from the bottom station to the first gondola was the shortest along the run and, consequently, the side to side motion of the cable was less than elsewhere along the run.

As they swung the car, the man standing to do so, the point of no return was reached and the "J" clamp released causing the car to fall approximately 50 feet to the ground, inverting as it fell.

The fall resulted in instant death to the man. The woman survived. From the position of the two people when rescuers first arrived, it appeared possible that his death was caused by her being on top of him, breaking his neck upon impact. This is speculation based upon observation.

For the record, the gondola was not defective, and indeed had just been refurbished along with the other gondolas on the ride. The "J" clamp performed exactly as it was designed to do.

OSHA and CAL-OSHA investigated and found no liability on the part of the park, but required a refitting of the cars and a new cable to be installed.

It took approximately one year before the ride re-opened. The new cable was the underlying cause of the long delay; a new cable, built to length and stress/weight specifications took most of the time to be manufactured. It took three months to interweave the two ends into a seamless connection while keeping the cable diameter the same throughout the run.

Sorry for all the techy stuff, but I sorta take what happened a bit personal.

any questions: jhinton@bak.rr.com


Bunchastuf said...

Those are some great photos!

I have some various found photos of Magic Mountain that I have come across over the years. Maybe at some point I might be able to scan them.

If you are interested in abandoned building pictures, here is a link to some shots of one of the now unused Magic Mountain "Metro Monorail" stations. I took these fairly recently, and I uploaded them to my Photobucket account:

Magic Mountain Abandoned Metro Monorail Pictures