I continue with twelve images from assorted New Jersey amusement parks over the years. The first two are bittersweet for me personally, as I visited this area, just 50 days before Hurricane Sandy demolished it in 2012. I can only imagine what it felt like for folks who had loved this area for years. For those of you interested, I have a mostly photographic remembrance from our trip to Casino Pier, in Seaside Heights, NJ, which includes a virtually complete documentation of the ghouls in Stillwalk Manor during a lights on walk through. It can be found at the following link. You have to cut and paste the link, I can’t get the program to let you click on it, sorry.

https://kimfair.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/casino-pier-seaside-heights-new-jersey-a-memory/

On to the postcards. In this busy first 1960’s view from Funtown USA, looking south along the boardwalk, Seaside Heights and Seaside Park, NJ, several classic kiddie rides, as well as a Jet Star roller coaster, and a small monorail type ride can be seen.

This next card from the 1960’s is from Casino Pier, and is a nice bird’s eye view of the park, showing a multitude of rides and attractions. Though it was substantially, if not completely different from this view when I visited in 2012, it seemed the same to me, with the rides crammed in everywhere, and everywhere something new to catch your eye.

Our next view is a linen postcard from the 1940’s. It shows the Giant roller coaster at Riverview Beach Park, in Pennsville, NJ. This ride is what is known as an out and back coaster, as you can see the hills receding into the distance.

Also from Riverview Beach in Pennsville NJ, comes this 1930’s white border view of the Lake Shore Line, which was probably an independent operator with a train ride that took passengers around the area since it is not titled Riverview Beach Park. The roller coaster from that park in the background also probably would have been mentioned had the park issued this card.

We move along to Wood Lynne Park, Camden, NJ for this view of the Scenic Railway, or Railroad, as this one is called. These early coasters debuted at the turn of the century, and were popular until advances in technology allowed for faster, more exciting rides. This card has a divided back. That, coupled with the style of printing dates this card to 1907-1918.

Next is a 1960’s chrome view of Bertrand Island Amusement Park, in Lake Hopatcong, NJ . The signs for the Aero Jet and Whip, and a fun house, a Laff In The Dark!, my second favorite amusement attraction after roller coasters. Speaking of coasters, a few good sized hills of the ride can be seen over the top of the Laff In The Dark!

In this linen 1940’s view of Jenkinson’s Kiddie Park, in Point Pleasant, NJ, the ability to use a small space is again to be admired. In this view alone there is a boat ride, carousel, Fire Truck ride, another flat ride of some sort, a circle swing type ride, and a miniature railroad.

The last five cards I’m presenting this volume are all from Palisade Park, Palisades, NJ. This beloved park, which began as a trolley park in 1898, closed it’s doors forever on the last day of operation, September 12th, 1971. Doomed by the increasing popularity, which spawned epic traffic jams, and the value of the land on which it stood, Developers and local citizens tired of living near a place that stood there before them rallied the local government to re-zone the area and drive the amusement park out. Palisades Park hung on for a final season, but closed forever in 1971, a victim of it’s own success.

This 1940’s linen card shows the Lake Placid Bobsled ride. This type of ride was popular for a brief time, in the 1930’s, but only eight of them were ever made from wood. The trains are on wheels, and rather than coast over track, these trains would slide and roll inside a wooden trough, that simulated bobsledding. This particular example ran from 1937-1946. A new wooden bobsled ride, The Flying Turns, opened at Knoebel’s Grove in Elysburg, PA in 2013 after many years of work.

This next view shows a great crowd of people in front of the roller coaster, and the Skooter ride, or bumper cars ride. I love the fashions and how well dressed everyone was for a day out of leisure. The card was sent by an Army Sgt, in 1944, and where the stamp went, it’s written in his hand, “Free”, apparently a perk for servicemen. I’m sure they pay for postage today. This card was mailed in 1944, but the white border shows that the card was printed in the 1930’s. This happens fairly frequently, as stores would buy huge numbers of postcards, and keep putting them out until they all sold, which may have taken years in some cases.

This next card is interesting as it is a drawing, the type most commonly seen on linen cards, yet the card is glossy, like 1960’s chrome cards, or modern cards. The chrome era started in the 1950’s, so this to me is an early chrome. I have not seen this card in a linen form, but I would not be surprised if it existed in that manner. The message on the back says they went to Palisades Park at 10pm, then got chop suey, and didn’t get home until 4 AM!

The next card is a chrome card from the 1960’s, and shows many rides including The Monster ride, a Circle Swing, a Ferris Wheel, and even a Rock-O-Plane in the middle rear.

Our last card this time, and our last Palisades Park card, shows the magnificent looking Cyclone Roller Coaster, it’s front edge dotted with game booths, and it’s midway crowded with happy people. This beautiful machine was razed with the rest of the park in 1971, and now only the memories of those who went there, and the ephemeral documents like postcards can recapture that time.

Join me next time, when I finish up New Jersey with Wildwood, NJ, and we hit some assorted parks in New York.

GLOSSARY:
The type of card will often help one judge its age, as postcard manufacture went through several phases and changes over the years. The terms below will be what I use to describe cards, and will inform you what time frame those cards are from.
Private Mailing Card: 1850’s-1900 Marked on the back as such, only an address allowed on the back.

Undivided Back: 1900-1907 Most cards printed in Germany, address only on back of card, front may have space for message. All cards after 1907 are divided back, meaning both a message and an address may be written on the back

Early Chrome: Mostly German printed cards that have printing to the edges of a photographic image that’s been colored or a drawn image. 1900-1918.

White Border Cards: Mostly American printed starting 1918-1930’s. Generally inferiorly printed, especially the earlier ones, as American printing presses had not yet caught up with the superior German ones. Obviously World War 1 ended German dominance of the then very lucrative postcard printing market.

Linen Cards: These cards are characterized by a thin layer of linen that is glued over the paper prior to printing, giving them a non-smooth surface to the touch. 1940-s-early1950’s.

Chrome Cards: Postcards like you are used to today. Printed photographs on glossy stock. These date from the mid 1950’s until present, and are almost 100% of all new postcards made since the 1970’s. All cards prior to the 1970’s are called Standard Size, which indicates the pre-1970’s postcard size of 3.5 inches by 5.5 inches. Almost all postcards printed since the 1970’s have been 4 inches by 6 inches or what is known as Continental Size. Since I do not actively collect continental sized postcards, all my images are of standard sized cards.

Real Photo Postcard RPPC: This is a card which is an actual photograph printed on actual photographic paper, generally made in limited numbers by small independent photographers. They may date from 1900 until present day, and can be dated approximately by the markings on the back. They are the rarest and most sought after postcards by collectors.

 

Welcome back! It’s been quite a long time, but I’m back to discuss some more vintage postcards. In our alphabetical tour of the United States, we last stopped in Revere Beach Massachusetts. We pick up in the Bay State once again with this 1920-1930’s vintage white border postcard of the Greyhound roller coaster at Riverside Park in Agawam, MA, now known as Six Flags New England. Riverside Park had many coasters over the years, with The Greyhound being just one. It is no longer in operation at the park.
Greyhound Coaster At Riverside park, Agawam, MA
Greyhound Coaster At Riverside park, Agawam, MA

This second card from Riverside Park is a chrome view from the 1960’s. It shows the Thunderbolt roller coaster. While the entire area around the coaster has changed considerably, the Thunderbolt is still thrilling riders today at Six Flags.
Thunderbolt Coaster at Riverside Park, Agawam, MA
Thunderbolt Coaster at Riverside Park, Agawam, MA

We venture east, and then north to the seaside town of Salisbury, MA. There have been amusements here since the turn of the 20th century. This first view shows the Scenic Railway along the beach in Salisbury. The sandy beaches of Salisbury, have always drawn crowds, and amusements like this early roller coaster gave them something to spend money on when they were there. This card costs more than most roller coaster cards, as there are four separate signs advertising Moxie. Moxie collectors are willing to spend more than amusement park collectors, apparently.
Scenic Railway At Salisbury Beach, Salisbury, MA
Scenic Railway At Salisbury Beach, Salisbury, MA

This next view is one of my favorites. It shows the new roller coaster, The Skyrocket, as well as the Old Mill ride entrance. The coaster looks like the standard type seen at this time, in the early to mid 1920’s, just before ride designers began to design ever more wild and exciting rides. These were simpler times.
The Skyrocket Roller Coaster @ Salisbury Beach, Salisbury, MA
The Skyrocket Roller Coaster @ Salisbury Beach, Salisbury, MA

This next chrome view of Salisbury Beach shows the Fun-O-Rama amusement park that existed from the 1950’s until the late 1970’s. Today, small amusement areas within permanent buildings are the extent of the amusement industry in Salisbury Beach.
Fun-O-Rama Amusement Park Salisbury Beach, Salisbury, MA
Fun-O-Rama Amusement Park Salisbury Beach, Salisbury, MA

This last Salisbury card is one of the fantasy type cards. An artist’s rendition of what Salisbury Beach would look like in the future. One thing I find curious about in these views is the future’s reliance on flying machines, and monorail type public transport in the sky. Not once have a seen a scene of people walking around talking on cell phones!
Fantasy Card of Salisbury Beach in the Future
Fantasy Card of Salisbury Beach in the Future

We now travel west to a small lake in Lunenberg, MA. Lake Whalom has also been a tourist destination since the turn of the 20th century. Like many amusement areas of the era, these parks were built at the end of trolley lines, so that trolley operators would be profitable on the weekends. This first card shows the humble roots of many of these trolley parks, a nice wooded area, with picnic tables near an area of water, be it ocean or lake.
Picnic Groves at Whalom Park, Lunenberg, MA
Picnic Groves at Whalom Park, Lunenberg, MA

After a while, such simple amusements were not enough, and more elaborate measures were needed. This view shows an early figure eight roller coaster. Once ubiquitous, this humble ride is represented today by only one example, Leap The Dips in Altoona PA. This one at Whalom Park was gone by 1920, most probably, as that signifies the beginning of the golden age of coaster design.
Figure Eight Coaster At Whalom Park, Lunenberg, MA
Figure Eight Coaster At Whalom Park, Lunenberg, MA

The next view is a 1950-1960’s era chrome postcard of the popular Flyer Comet Roller Coaster, which thrilled riders from its building in 1940, until the park’s demise in 2006. In the 1990’s to make things interesting, a tunnel called the Black Hole was added to one of the back drops. It made things a bit more exciting, but ultimately, the Flyer Comet wasn’t a thrilling ride, but a fun zippy ride, that you could ride all day without feeling beaten up, a rare commodity in today’s world.
Flyer Comet Roller Coaster At Whalom Park Lunenberg, MA
Flyer Comet Roller Coaster At Whalom Park Lunenberg, MA

Finally we have a chrome aerial view of Whalom Park, showing the proximity of the Flyer Comet to Lake Whalom. I miss Whalom Park more for its walk through fun house than anything else. It had a barrel of fun, uneven stairs, a human roulette wheel, and many other attractions. It was exactly the type of place that lawyers have made it impossible to enjoy in the America of today.
Aerial View of Whalom Park Lunenberg, MA
Aerial View of Whalom Park Lunenberg, MA

For our sideshow cards this month, I have picked two very different performers. First up is Francesco Lentini, the three legged wonder. He actually had a fourth leg, growing out of the side of his third, but unlike the third, it was vestigial. He often used the third leg as a stool, and could kick a soccer ball with it. He had a long, fruitful career, and died in Florida in 1966 at the age of 85. I am showing the front and back of his card as he has valuable information about his life on the back. One nifty piece of information not included on the back of the card is the fact that Frank possessed two working sets of genitals.
Francesco Lentini The Three Legged Man
Francesco Lentini The Three Legged Man

Back of Francesco Lentini Pitch Card
Back of Francesco Lentini Pitch Card

Finally we have Mademoiselle Gabrielle, the half woman. This Swiss woman suffered from the same malady as the famous Johnny Eck, her body terminating at her hips. I have never seen any postcards of her presented any other way, except for having her sit on a small table or other flat surface. I’m sure it was the Swiss propriety that prevented any other poses.
Mademoiselle Gabrielle, The Swiss Half Woman
Mademoiselle Gabrielle, The French Half Woman

 

Back in 1980 in a backwater university known as Northeastern, a friendship began. It was forged over classes, and music, but mostly over movies. When it came to oddball cinema, Tigerpal and I were two peas in a pod. Over our years in college and after, we attended several 24 hour film festivals around the Boston area. These were comprised mostly of the classic and B-level horror, science fiction, and oddball action films that we both love. There were memorable nights at the Somerville theater where the men’s room became unusable after 6 hours or so, and at the Coolidge Corner Cinema, where we were given special passes to put on our windshields so that we could park overnight in the public lot. Of course, with in-between movie breaks and the desire to stay awake, many conversations were held over too many cups of coffee and too many snacks. A plan was decided upon, we would someday do this for our friends in our homes.

Several more years passed, and the idea stayed in the back of my mind. Tigerpal would bring it up when we would get together, and I would shrug it off and say someday. My apathy stemmed mostly from a belief that my apartments over the years were inadequate for what I envisioned. It was a change in apartments that precipitated a change in my attitude. In 1991 K and I moved into a new place. It was exactly what we wanted, in the neighborhood we wanted to live, and we’ve never left. We moved in officially on February 1st, 1991, and I started to think that this apartment could be better for a possible film fest. Since all the festivals we had attended were in the winter, and with New England winters having the propensity to be long, cold, and brutal, I figured that a fun mid-winter break would be an excellent idea.

Film Fest #1 Program cover


I decided upon the weekend of January 18th and 19th, 1992 to debut what has since become known as simply Fest, but then was known as “The First Quasi-Annual Bride of Terror On Murdock St”. I programmed the entire festival, asking Tigerpal to provide me with two movies to round out what I had. She supplied copies of Fearless Vampire Killers, and Rabid Grannies, as well as an extra VCR (yup all VHS tapes for Fest #1), but otherwise, I did everything else. The program was created on a typewriter, and I blocked off areas for the pictures to be inserted later for copying. The festivities commenced on Saturday at noon, when the first movie ever presented at Fest was started, 1935’s classic The Bride Of Frankenstein. The unwieldy title also referenced the three “Bride Of” movies I showed that first year, highlighting the brides of Frankenstein, Re-Animator, and the Monster.

FILM FEST #1 LINE-UP
Bride of Frankenstein
Bedazzled (1967)
Demon with a Glass Hand
Razorback
Creature from the Haunted Sea
Knightriders
Fiend without a Face
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932)
Evil Dead 2
Real Genius
Bride of Reanimator
Rabid Grannies
Fearless Vampire Killers
Bride of the Monster

The turnout was small, I don’t remember the actual number, but I’m sure it was less than 12 people total, including Tigerpal and myself. A friend who lived in the neighborhood brought his three connected wooden theater seats. There were 13 movies, and one episode of the television show The Outer Limits shown that first year. It was very tightly programmed, with relatively short breaks. A quick addition of the screen times of everything shown reveals 21.2 hours of programming, leaving only 2.8 hours for breaks, woefully insufficient. Another nearly fatal flaw of Fest #1 was the decision to have it run from noon on Saturday to noon on Sunday. Firstly, it meant devoting the whole weekend to it, and being strung out at work on Monday. Secondly, starting earlier in the day paradoxically meant people started falling asleep earlier in the process than currently. Finally, the amount of work I put into creating the experience, from programming, to the program, to the pot of five alarm chili I made for dinner, put the idea of a second fest far out of my mind.

1993 came and went without Fest, and K thought she had survived a one time thing. No fan of the idea of Fest, nor the thought of that many people, albeit friends, invading her space for 24 hours, K was glad to see Fest in the rearview mirror. 1993 did not come and go without any talk of Fest, however. Tigerpal and K and I would see each other socially, and the idea of a second one would come up, though it never seemed to take any traction. Then sometime in late 1993 Tigerpal had an idea. What if we did it slightly differently? What if she helped program the fest? With Tigerpal offering to shoulder more of the burden, Fest 2 was about to become a reality. Much to K’s chagrin.

Fest #2 saw several other basic changes besides Tigerpal’s increased involvement. The most important was moving the Fest from Saturday noon to Sunday noon, to its still current schedule of Friday 6pm until Saturday 6pm. This change allowed for folks to attend without having to commit to using up their entire weekend, and allowed those who attended the entire Fest to get some rest and relaxation on Sunday prior to returning to work on Monday. The program went to a more manageable format of one film/short per page rather than the newspaper -type format I had used for Fest #1. The second Fest was held at Tigerpal’s Gardner Street apartment, hence the title “The Second Quasi-Annual Howl At The Moon On Gardner St” title. As you can see, the “Quasi-Annual” title indicated that I still hadn’t signed on completely to a definite annual event. We also still hadn’t figured out that we should program less films, with 14 films and one Outer Limits episode on the docket. A glance at the program shows that Tigerpal provided 5 films, with 9 films and the Outer Limits episode being provided by me. Due to the shorter running times we actually had less time programmed, even with the 15 titles shown. Fest two is known primarily in Fest history as coldest Fest ever. The entire weekend fluctuated in temperature from a low of 4 below to a high of 7. Yeah, a high temp of 7. The kind of cold where the inside of your nose freezes a little bit when you breathe in. Over the years there has been snow, rain, cold and warm, but nothing that sticks in the memory weatherwise like that year. The programs for Fest #1 and #2 are in a limited edition of 20.

Fest #2 Program Cover

FILM FEST #2 LINE-UP
The Wolfman (1941)
The Guyver
Lobsterman from Mars
Sundown, The Vampire in Retreat
Venom
The Zanti Misfits (Outer Limits episode)
The Company of Wolves
Gruesome Twosome
Dead Alive (aka Braindead)
Parasite
Dead Man Walking (1987)
Q
Brain Damage
The Phantom Empire
The Howling

This history of Fest really is a history of Fest programs. Individual memories of conversations, and such blur with the passage of years, but the programs stand as concrete examples of that particular slice of time. For the years 1995-1998, I was lucky in that K worked at a place with a color copier I could use for free. Taking advantage of this, I set out to replicate the old EC comics of the 1950’s in my program design. For Fest #3, I stole a great Graham Ingalls illustration from The Haunt of Fear, as well as the general layout of an EC comic book. The two horror hosts seen on the cover are Doc Murdock, and The Gardner. These were named for the respective streets that Tigerpal, and I lived (live) on. Programs for Fest #3 and #4 are limited to 25 copies each. From Fest #3 onward Tigerpal and I have shared programming Fest on a fifty-fifty basis. Fest #3 also gave birth to the fest lasagna, supplanting my chili as the fest dinner meal. Even though my chili is beanless, it’s far better to make a lasagna than to spend 24 hours in a room with a bunch of people who ate any kind of chili. Also, as a plus you can feed more people with lasagna than chili.

Film Fest #3 Program Cover

FILM FEST #3 LINE-UP
A Chinese Ghost Story
Invasion Of The Saucermen
Wicked City
Fortress 1993
Tales From The Crypt 1972
Freaked
Tremors
Sonny Boy
Gamera Vs. Guiron
Wheels On Meals
Gorgo
The Gore Gore Girls
The Ambulance
Meet The Hollowheads

Film Fest #4 Program Cover

FILM FEST #4 LINE-UP
A Better Tomorrow II
Santa Sangre
Mant
Freaks
Franz Kafka’s It’s A Wonderful Life
Re-Animator .
A Chinese Ghost Story II
Dragons Forever
Meet The Feebles
Bucket Of Blood
The Dark Crystal
Castle Freak
Blacula
Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers
Curse Of The Demon

I loved the idea and execution of the cover of the program for Fest #5. An homage to the great Roger Corman’s Little Shop Of Horrors. It was the first “big” year, the fifth film fest. It was also the first time that the term Film Fest was used on a program cover, and not just in the participants conversation. K was pretty much tired of people invading her home once a year, and started on the tactic of asking me to setting an end date for Fest. The first one I said I’d think about was #10. It was about this time as well that K started going away for Fest weekend, so she wouldn’t have to deal with us at all. Fest #6 was a rush job from start to finish, and it’s my least favorite program cover I’ve ever done. It is also one of the rarest, as I have only two copies myself, one of which is very beat up. If someone has one and doesn’t want it anymore, I’d be happy to take it back. I also forgot to put the Doc Murdock and The Gardner logos on the cover, making a pretty crappy cover, even crappier.

Film Fest #5 Program Cover

FILM FEST #5 LINE-UP
A Chinese Ghost Story III
The Thief Of Baghdad
Wild In The Streets
The Masque Of The Red Death
The Frighteners
Twin Dragons
Blood Harvest
Bad Taste
Frightmare
The X-Files Case #103, “Squeeze”
God Of Gamblers’ Return
Galactic Gigolo
Riders Of The Storm
Something Wicked This Way Comes

Film Fest #6 Program Cover

FILM FEST #6 LINE-UP
El Topo
Dellamorte Dellamore (aka Cemetery Man) s
Mr. Nice Guy
The Secret Adventures Of Tom Thumb
Accion Mutante
Jack Frost 1996
The Tingler
Perversions Of Science: The Exile
Spider Baby
Rollercoaster es
Tales From The Hood
The Untold Story
Children Of The Corn III: Urban Harvest

Fest #6 did mark an important turn of events for fest, piss poor as the program cover may be. It was the first time that we scheduled just 12 movies, with six each from Tigerpal and myself. It would also mark the last appearance of color on the program for a while, as K changed jobs, and the free color copying ability was lost to the winds. The nice comic book cover program covers were a thing of the past, but inside, I was still using the Doc Murdock and The Gardner characters as ersatz “hosts”. I also was searching for a theme for the program covers. Since the first fest, I’d been doing a random drawing for the cover that really had no relation to what we were watching. I knew I wanted more continuity, but I didn’t know how to achieve it. I would puzzle this out over the next 4 years.

Film Fest #7 Program Cover

FILM FEST #7 LINE-UP
The Bride With White Hair
Shivers
Tenebrae
Dark City
Monkey Shines
Love And A .45
Nice Girls Don’t Explode
Highway To Hell
Righting Wrongs (Aka Above The Law)
West Of Zanzibar
Space Truckers (Aka Star Truckers)
Tales From The Crypt: Bordello Of Blood

The program cover for Fest #7 was one of my favorites of these four, even though we’ve never shown the movie Killer Klowns From Outer Space at Fest. Fest #7 also marked the permanent change in the title of the program to “Film Fest # blank“. In the program for Fest #8 I introduced Herman, the hairy, single eyed ball with arms who consumed both Doc Murdock and The Gardner.

Film Fest #8 Program Cover


FILM FEST #8 LINE-UP
Cube 1997
La Belle Et La Bete 1946
The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension
The Unholy Three
The Iceman Cometh
The Beyond (Aka L’aldilá, The Seven Doors Of Death)
Forgotten Silver n
Mad Monster Party?
The Rainbow Thief
Terror At The Opera
Black Sunday (Aka The Mask Of Satan)

Tired of Herman after only one year, I had a big monster squish him on the cover for Fest #9. That put an end to a “host” of the program. Programs for Fests 5-9 were in a limited edition of 30. Fest 9 also holds a special place as the second of only two fests not held at my and K’s apartment. Fest #9 was at Tigerpal’s Watertown abode, but as I prefer having it here, it moved back for Fest #10 and beyond.

Film Fest #9 Program Cover


FILM FEST #9 LINE-UP
Maneater Of Hydra Aka Island Of The Doomed
Return To Oz
Idle Hands
Bad Girls Go To Hell
The Unknown
Porklips Now
From Beyond
The Day Of The Beast
The Innocents
Let Sleeping Corpses Lie
Flesh For Frankenstein
Cannibal! The Musical
Cat In The Brain 1990

In anticipation of a large crowd, the number of programs made for Fest #10 increased by 5 to 35. For our tenth anniversary, I decided to depict a basic version of my living room on the cover, with a demon eating my eyeball as a snack. The back cover shows me on the chair, eye and leg removed, and Tigerpal on the floor, her midsection savaged as if by some lion, tiger, or bear. I opted to show Tigerpal with her face away from the viewer, as I don’t draw women’s faces well in ink. There’s no sense in doing a poor job depicting my friend. When Tigerpal first saw the cover, she said two things. First she was amazed that I had included the pattern along the sides of her glasses, which I believe were fairly new at the time, and when I explained why you couldn’t see her face said “That’s okay, you’ve given me a much nicer ass than I actually have.” It was the first time that we showed a movie we has previously shown. At Fest #9 we took an informal poll, and the two movies that the most people wanted to see again were Re-Animator, and Meet The Feebles.

Film Fest #10 Program Cover

FILM FEST #10 LINE-UP
Ravenous
Cat People 1942
Zardoz
Viy (Or Spirit Of Evil)
Re-Animator
Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill!
Shock Corridor
Meet The Feebles
Lady In White
Sane Man
The Wicker Man 1973
Naked Lunch

Film Fest #11 Program Cover


FILM FEST #11 LINE-UP
Thesis (Tesis)
Session 9
The Specials
Frailty
Dark Water (Honogurai Mizu No Soko Kara)
Blood Freak
Society
The Stuff
Ginger Snaps
Donnie Darko
Dagon
Dog Soldiers

The Fest #10 program had no hosts or other devices inside or out, but I was still unsatisfied by the lack of tying the artwork on the program to the film programming. With the second of the Lord of the Rings movies out in just a few short months, Fest #11’s program cover became an homage to Gollum, but was my least favorite of the last five black and white covers. It was, however, the last of it’s breed. Somewhere along the way towards drawing it, I arrived at the decision to change the way I did the program covers, starting with Fest #12. I was already fairly far along with the drawing of the Gollum cover for Fest #11, or I would have switched that year to the format that continues today. Finally, a way to tie the programming, and the fest itself, to the program cover. A drawn collage of images from each of the films we will be showing.

Film Fest #12 Program Cover

FILM FEST #12 LINE-UP
Happiness Of The Katakuris
Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter
Puss In Boots 1988
Inner Senses
May
Guest House Paradiso
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
Desperate Teenage Lovedolls
Ninja Bachelor Party
American Movie
Beyond Re-Animator
Squirm
Targets

I drew the covers with a combination of some reference materials and some artistic license, continuing in this way through Fest #16. Fest #15 was notable for the extra color cover. I opted to pay for 20 color covers for the first 20 out of a total of 30 programs. I took a copy of the original ink cover, hand colored that, then color copied the finished hand colored cover.

Film Fest #13 Program Cover


FILM FEST #13 LINE-UP
Drive
Oldboy
Bubba Ho-Tep
Haute Tension
King of the Ants
Chained for Life
The Bad Seed
Thunderpants
The Baby
Blue Sunshine
Jack Brown Genius
Battle Royale

Film Fest #14 Program Cover


FILM FEST #14 LINE-UP
Moon Child
I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang
Survive Style 5+
The Freakmaker
Blood Diner
The Greenskeeper
Man with the Screaming Brain
Evil Cult
Atomik Circus
The Sentinel
Fire & Ice
Zebraman

Film Fest #15 Program Cover ( Color )

FILM FEST #15 LINE-UP
Banlieue 13
Scarecrow of Romney Marsh
The Host
Slither
Abominable
Mr. Sardonicus
Bedlam
Sheitan
The Descent
The Woods
The Penalty
Cromartie High School

Film Fest #16 Program Cover

FILM FEST #16 LINE-UP
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Black Sheep
Evil Aliens
Aachi & Ssipak
Fido
Food of the Gods
The Manitou
Night of the Living Dorks
Black Cat
El Crimen Ferpecto
The Dark Backward
Severance

My issue with my own artwork is that I have issues with perspective, and inking. My pencil work is my best work, but I’ve never had the patience to really translate how that looks to my eye to pen and ink illustration. I felt constrained, however, as usually pencil drawing does not photocopy well, and that was the only affordable way to achieve the programs. I also never liked the way I couldn’t quite capture the images from the films in a way that really pleased me. I came up with the trick of finding pictures that I wanted to use and printing them in the size I wished to use them. I then run a pencil over the back of the picture, completely covering it. I then trace the outline of the major features, and shaded areas. This gives me a very rough outline with which to pencil. After penciling the whole thing, I move on to inking. I liked the results I achieved with this method, and feel that I have gotten better with it every year since.

Film Fest #17 Program Cover


FILM FEST #17 LINE-UP
War of the Gargantuas
The Chaser
The Forbidden Zone
Executive Koala
Konga
Buttcrack
Mother of Tears
Stuck
Hansel and Gretel
My Name is Bruce
Tideland
Death Bed the Bed that Eats

Film Fest #18 Program Cover


FILM FEST #18 LINE-UP
Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed
Poultrygeist
Murderer
Azur et Asmar
Island of Terror
Evil Bong
The Cottage
Lisztomania
Sukiyaki Western Django
The Housemaid
Seconds
Detroit Metal City

Film Fest #19 Program Cover

FILM FEST #19 LINE-UP
Megashark Vs Giant Octopus
Castaway On The Moon
The Midnight Meat Train
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
Easter Bunny Kill! Kill!
Spermula
The Giant Claw
Dead Snow
Night Of The Eagle (aka Burn, Witch, Burn!)
Suck
A Town Called Panic
Altered

The final change to the program was achieved this year, when I decided I would try to photocopy a completely penciled version instead of inking the near final pencil artwork as I had always done. Normally I do not try to pencil the cover nearly as extensively as I did for Fest #20 as all that work just gets covered over in ink. Since I really feel that pencil is more my medium, and when I finish a drawing in pencil it has enough gradations of tone, I felt that the newer photocopier machines would be able to copy the artwork better than in the past. I was very pleased with the results, and will continue to draw and copy the covers this way from now on. I hope I can continue to improve the cover artwork every year. Fest #20 was a retrospective of eleven of the more than 240 films we had shown over the previous 19 years. The final spot in the line up was a filmed we entitled Memories of Fest. This was a compilation of 92 clips from other movies we showed over the years, but which didn’t make the cut this time, for reasons various.

Film Fest #20 Program Cover

FILM FEST #20 LINE-UP
The Bride Of Frankenstein
Memories Of Fest
Sonny Boy
Dragons Forever
Evil Cult
Puss IN Boots
Dead Alive (aka Braindead)
Cannibal! The Musical!
Survive Style 5+
Thunderpants
From Beyond
Evil Dead 2

Every Fest program has a thanks section inside, and there are always plenty to go around, but the one that I mean the most (after K and Tigerpal, of course), is the thanks to those “idiots” as K calls us, who have made a decision to come to Boston in the mid winter, from near and from far, all to sit in a cramped, uncomfortable space, watching strange and unusual movies with like minded individuals. For those who come, it’s become a community, with so many people seeing other Fest goers only that 24 hours a year. There are people who have come to part of one Fest, there are many who have come to part, or most, or all of many Fests. Only Tigerpal, myself, and our good friend D have attended all 20, though D has slept through more than he’s seen. You either get Fest, or you don’t. It’s just that simple. And sorry K, I really have no idea when it will end.

 

If there is one amusement park attraction that enthuses and is as attractive to me as roller coasters, it is the funhouse. I even have a Funhouse sign hanging above the entrance to my home. Sadly, the old fashioned walk-through funhouse is a thing of the past. I was lucky enough to experience four full sized antique funhouses. The first was at the park of my youth, the late Lincoln Park, North Dartmouth, MA. The defunct Whalom Park, Lunenberg, MA had an excellent one as well. Just a few years back, I went through one in the now closed Williams Grove Park in Mechanicsburg, PA. Finally, I have also walked through Kennywood’s Noah’s Ark, the only one on my list still standing. Very few funhouses have been portrayed on postcards. Most of them that are, are photos of the external structure, especially if it were highly and imaginatively decorated as many were. Only a handful depict what’s going on inside the structure.

The Pit from the outside

Herbert Ridgeway was an inventor. An inventor of amusements. He opened his piece de resistance, The Pit on Revere Beach in 1908. A huge structure along the beach, The Pit inside was an amalgamation of many small sized amusement devices, all patented by Ridgeway, which could be experienced as you walked through. When the idea of writing a postcard column came to me, it was this series of cards that made me want to do it. They are wonderfully wacky, and hearken back to a time when the feelings of personal responsibility were strong enough to allow amusements that couldn’t possible be replicated in the litigious society of today. They also are indoor close-ups of people which was quite unusual for their period (1908-1918). Of all the cards I own, these views are my favorites.

Firstly we have this nice overview of the building that really gives it some scale with the patrons (mostly men) were lined up along the walkways and seated around what is known as The Wheel of Fortune. Notice the padding around the support columns behind the wheel, and right in front, left and right.

Overview of the interior of The Pit

This next view is almost the same, except some women have been drawn in on the right on both levels, and the shot is a bit tighter. You can barely read “Ride at Your Own Risk” on the central wheel with a loupe.

Alternate view with painted-in ladies at The Pit

This next view is The Wheel Of Fortune in action. As you can see from the overview, this shot was taken standing to the right of the ride (in the overview), and the door that can be seen here upper right, is the door that can be seen far left in the overview (easier to see in the first overview). There is another Ride At Your Own Risk sigh on the wall upper left. Basically the patrons would sit on the wheel, and it would begin to spin, shooting patrons outwards towards the wooden walls and support columns (with padding). I have seen this card used, with a message about how the Governor’s son had died on the ride, but I was unable to verify that fact.

The Wheel Of Fortune in action

Next up is the Barrel of Fun, also known as The Barrel of Laughs. On this device you were to walk across a barrel that was slowly rolling. Having seen my wife spend sometime trying to maneuver in the one at Whalom Park, I guess it’s not as easy as I find it. Also, slipping and falling might put you in close contact to members of the opposite sex, certainly a plus of enduring some small amount of public ridicule.

The Barrel of Fun

We navigate the Barrel of Fun only to find ourselves at the Switch Back Chute, basically a wooden slide. All of the sliding surfaces made from laminated wood would have been highly waxed both to be as slippery as possible, and to help minimize splintering. I love the men in their hats, and women in their furs in this view. Also try to notice that all the close-ups in the set of views were shot using the same people.

Switchback Chute attraction at The Pit

Next we swing by the Leap Chutes, where we slide down a large wooden slide, and are ejected onto a sheet of canvas stretched tight, for a landing zone. You can see from this view that you come out with quite some force, and that you don’t have a tremendous amount of time to get off the canvas before more people are hurtling towards you, feet first.

Leap Chutes at The Pit


This next view of the Leap Chutes finish, gives a better idea of how there is at least room for someone to help you get out of the way of the oncoming sliders. Again this affords you the opportunity for close personal contact with members of the opposite sex, as well as chances to see knickers and other garments not normally shown off. Also note the viewing area to the right, and the meager padding on the pole front left.

Landing at the Leap Chutes


Next up is the Broncho Bridge, where one end of this bridge would move rapidly up and down, swinging up and down violently!

Broncho Bridge at The Pit


As we leave the Broncho Bridge, we walk down a set of stairs to an uneven surface below, we grab unsuspectingly to the metal rails on our right, much like the others we’ve used to steady ourselves through the funhouse, but these instead have a low level of electricity running through them. That’s right, we’ve encountered the Electrified Hand Rails!

Electrified Handrails at The PIt

Next is another attraction that probably broke more than a few bones in it’s day, The Incline Wheel. Ostensibly it is just a spinning wooden disc set inside a highly waxed inclined floor. It’s impossible to stay upright for long, just watch out for the flying limbs, and wooden walls! This was the first of these cards I found.

Incline Wheel at The Pit

Next we approach The Moving Staircase. It’s exactly was it purports to be, a set of moving steps. Most go up and down as you try to climb them, though some moved side to side instead. I believe just the section at the top was the moving part, not the seemingly more stable steps below.

Moving Staircase at The PIt

Next is a diabolical little number known as the Drop Seat. The rarest card in this series, the Drop Seat view captures the moment after the Drop Seat has been engaged. A high backed church pew type seat with a lever controlled seat that collapses, sending the person sitting in it to the floor. This one seems to have either independently collapsing seats, or collapsing seats on only one side . At Lincoln Park, their Drop Seat plunked you down onto a sheet of canvas where you slid down to the first floor, and the ride exit. Quite an exit, I’d say!

Drop Seat at The Pit


Another of the rarer cards in the series, is this one of the Tread Mill. I believe this to have been some sort of steps, or canvas roll, where getting one’s purchase and making it up the small incline was quite difficult. You can see the woman on top reaching out a hand to a fellow rider still entrapped by The Tread Mill.

Tread Mill at The Pit

Next up we see The Shaker Bridge with air jets. The Shaker Bridge was a small bridge one walked on, that would shake and shimmy violently from side to side and up and down as you walked across it. Since ladies (who all had skirts on) were holding on for dear life with both hands on the non-electrified handrails, a well placed air jet would blow up their skirts, showing the slips, knickers, bloomers, or lack thereof to all onlookers. Note where the young lady whose skirt is being blown up is about to step…

Shaker Bridge and Air Jets at The Pit


That’s right, she’s stepping right onto the Tricky Roller! Either the Shaker Bridge photo or this one has been reversed, as it is plain to see that where the young lady was stepping to our right, is the railings we see to our right in this photo. Perhaps there was a Tricky Roller on either end of the Shaker Bridge. In any case, you can see how it would be nearly impossible to get across the Tricky Roller without sliding down to the other level.

The Tricky Roller at The Pit

That is the last card in this 15 card series. I have seen one other view in another collection that was obviously of the era, and marked as being from The Pit in Revere Beach, but didn’t seem to be from the same photo shoot, or photographer. I have never seen it except in that gentleman’s collection.

Finally we have this unique card that someone has written on to give you a sense of The Pit. I’ll let you look at the front and back, and will list below it everything that’s written on it.

Front of interesting Pit postcard

Front
Oh Mother May I Go Out to Swim – Yes My Darling Daughter, but Don’t Go Near The Water

The Pit where you see the sights and also limbs.

Ladies please put weights in your skirt pockets – some breeze

Back of interesting Pit postcard. Mailed July 19th, 1915


Back
Boston’s choice fruit – Baked Beans

Jonah Was short so look out for the whale kid.

Bunker Hill Monument is a memorial and not souvenir so don’t try to slip it in your stocking

You Bum Barber at the foot of the class please

Rome Wasn’t Built in a ay, but Lizzie’s bathing suit was.

Oh You Mermaid

Life is too short to be guessing

Who’s who and why? Just because his hair was kordy (sp?)

Barber Barber Shave a Pig.

And in pencil beneath
“This will probably keep you guessing for a while. One fair guess”

Wow, wouldn’t you like to know what that was all about! Anyway, we have one more column on Revere Beach coming up next, and then we will continue on further with other parks in Massachusetts and beyond. Also the sideshow cards will return either next time or the column after. Until then, I’ll see you in the queue line.

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