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Carousel Columbia at California’s Great America is a part of Hollywood

Carousel Columbia is a stunning park icon. It’s taller than Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle by 33 feet!

But, has it been living a lie for nearly four decades? No, it really is the tallest carousel in the world (by one foot).

You see, since Marriott’s Great America opened up back in 1976, its been considered fact that the base of the ornate spire on the roof is actually a potbellied stove from the 1938 film, “Marie Antoinette” while the column caps are from “The Swan” in 1956.

So, having no social life on a Saturday night, I decided to see if I could spot the future carousel bits in some photos or video online. That’s when my jaw hit the floor – which if you know me well, is ACTUALLY a possibility.

Check out these screengrabs from the Swan’s theatrical trailer, via YouTube:

While we see what looks like the column caps in the sketch here:

Carousel Top 2

 

Look what also shows up in the actual film:

Carousel Pinnacle The Swan

 

Need a better angle? Here you go:

Carousel Top 3

Now, for a comparison – here’s two shots from this week (2014) thanks to the magic of a 400mm lens with a 1.4x crop sensor:

Photo by Kris Rowberry

The pot bellied stove that sits atop Carousel Columbia

Photo by Kris Rowberry

The two Hollywood props that make up the ornate detail of Carousel Columbia.

Then, I was able to find a clip of “Marie Antoinette” and saw this, what appeared to be the capstone of the columns, but not quite:

Can you spot one of the caps from Carousel Columbia in the background?

That being said, has the park been getting it wrong for nearly 40 years?

Well, that’s where it gets tough. Hollywood is notorious for re-using props and sets. It’s very possible that the props could have been used and recycled in both films. Considering the artistry that went into building them, wouldn’t YOU want to recycle them to lower costs?

So, did the park get it wrong 40 years ago – what do YOU think? Watch the trailers and check out the photos for yourself – see if you can spot a piece of Carousel Columbia!

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