Sid and Marty spend a Day in the ParkDamn, I'd have loved to have visited. I wonder what happened to all the decor. I bet it rotted in some junk heap, shat on by rats. Shame, that. Ah, well, there's always Disneyland.
"It was ahead of its time."
Oftentimes that phrase serves as rationalization for a flop, but Sid Krofft might be on to something when he eulogizes the short life of the World of Sid & Marty Krofft, a spectacular indoor amusement park.
Located in an Atlanta high rise, the Omni International magnastructure, the park opened for business in 1976 and literally was one of a kind.
Says Far Out Space Nuts star Bob Denver, who attended the gala opening: "The best thing was this enormous pinball machine where you could ride around inside the ball. It was amazing. I mean, they had stuff that nobody else would ever dream up."
Like Delta's Flight of Fantasy. A highfalutin name for the escalator that carried parkgoers to the entrance, right? Well, not once you consider that this one-span escalator — which took people nine stories up until, as Sid puts it, "they ended up in the clouds" — was verified by the Guiness Book of World Records as the world's longest escalator.
Or like the Crystal Carousel, a three-tiered mythological carousel, made entirely out of crystal. "It was so beautiful," Sid says. "And you wouldn't believe what people did. They would want to take their clothes off and ride on it."
The park cost about $16 million to build. Remarkably, it didn't seem to hamper the Krofft empire in any way, with Land of the Lost in its third year of production, Donny & Marie in its second year and The Krofft Supershow about to launch.
"It was a crazy time," Sid says. "I remember I used to just drop in on the set of one of the shows and, boom, I'd have to go over to the next one or tend to something that had to do with our park. But we had great crews and, once a show starts running, it's like a Broadway show. You don't have to be there every minute of every day. It runs itself."
Some who visited the World of Sid & Marty Krofft complained that there weren't enough thrill rides, but it's safe to say that no one would call the place boring.
"There was entertainment everywhere," Sid says. "It was like a renaissance fair. And there was the Pufnstuf ride, dark rides and shows everywhere. We had a little Lilliput show. That's where little Patty Maloney had her own show. It was called 'The Lilliput Follies.' And there was a puppet theater where we had one of our puppet shows. It was awesome. It was the most awesome, innovative place ever."
And it also was a colossal money loser that closed its doors before a year had passed.
"Do you know why it didn't last?" Sid says. "The city had promised us to clean up downtown. We were right in the bottom of downtown, which was not the best part of town at that time, and people were afraid to go there. It was very dangerous. The Omni, which is now CNN, and the Omni Forum, where they have concerts and stuff, it's at the bottom of downtown. And it was just being developed at that time. And the city just didn't clean it up and we couldn't hold out.
"We weren't doing the business. We had a hotel in the building. We had an ice-skating rink at the bottom and shops and restaurants. Restaurants weren't even making it down there. Beautiful, beautiful restaurants. People were scared.
"Now it's a smash. Well, now it's CNN. That's where their headquarters are. But we couldn't hold out. It was like it was too soon. It was before its time."
Friday, February 12, 2010
Here's something for my good pal Will. It's an old article from some magazine (don't ask which, because I honestly do not recall.) on Sid and Marty Krofft's short-lived theme park. Only in the Seventies could this acid-fueled creation exist. Bell-bottoms, feathered hair and sex without condoms. Throw in that talking flute and you've got it all. Too bad Reagan had to come along and ruin everything.