Despite how it may look, there are many, MANY people who are involved in the production of “Lost Parks of Northern California.”
Without them, I would not be able to look as good as I do presenting it. With that, here are all the people it took to bring the Manteca Waterslides episode to life:
Al Garcia, Waterworld California: A big thanks goes to my longtime friend Al Garcia, who is the Marketing Sales Coordinator for the park. He gave us his personal stories of Manteca – in addition to allowing us to capture some unbelievable angles of the water slides in his park – including this particularly moist one. Visit his park (when it’s open) at: www.waterworldcalifornia.com
Roger Ross & Ryan Davies, California’s Great America: For allowing us to film inside their Boomerang Bay water park and make that historical connection to the slides in Manteca, I am forever indebted to you both. Here’s hoping that we get to work together again soon, or maybe even catch a Sharks game together this season. Visit their park at: www.cagreatamerica.com
Mike Brown and the Entire Brown Family: Mr. Brown – thank you for giving us the opportunity to share your family story with us – and thank you even more for opening up to us about all the history you hold in your memories. I can always say that I hung out with the owner of the Manteca Waterslides, and bought him lunch, while we shared stories and went through old photo albums. We will wear our Manteca “Anniversary” hats with pride.
Debby Moorhead, Vice Mayor of Manteca: Debby was crucial to us tracking down and getting permission from the current owners of the slides, as well as a great interview and one of the few, genuine politicians we’ve ever met. Sounds like Manteca is THE place to be in the coming years…we can’t wait!
ProAM USA: There is no way we would have been able to capture some of the beautiful shots in this video without winning a Facebook contest from these guys. (Seriously, we actually won a Facebook contest and got a camera crane!) Our new DVC60 camera jib was put through it’s paces this episode and we cannot wait to see what else we create with it.
Oh, and we’d love to model some of your other products, by the way…
Robert Ingle: Those promotional photos of me in the slides “acting” were all captured by Robert – who’s got quite the eye for awesome photos. But, his real skill is to blend in so I don’t even realize he’s taking my picture. I think there’s a career for you at TMZ if you’re interested, Robert.
And for those of you wondering, it’s Robert’s face that closes out the first episode in the credit roll…
Taylor Evans: I’ve never had a script supervisor before – but if I ever can hire one, it would be Taylor. He kept me on track and motivated as best as the Costco hot dog I bought him for lunch. For such complex shots, he was able to let me relax and do my thing, while he made sure the script still made sense. He also was responsible for the “summer winding down” edit that we thankfully caught that day.
And finally, I’ve saved the best for last – and with good reason, too.
Getting direction from Nicholas, with Taylor holding the sun reflector. (Photo by Robert Ingle)
I first met Nicholas Laschkewitsch a little less than a year ago – and I couldn’t have asked for a better person to partner with on this series. We’re three episodes into this once “little” project – and he somehow continually finds ways to both amaze and astound me with his work, both as a cinematographer, video editor and field producer.
This, mind you – without any professional training or experience. Nicholas simply has an eye for good work – and I could not be more fortunate to have found him and work with him on this series. He is just as much responsible for the success of this series as I am in front of the camera and doing research. Here’s to many more fun projects with the best producer I could ever have asked for.
If you haven’t seen how all these people came together on this project – look no further!
I am proud today to release our third episode in the “Lost Parks of Northern California” series, focusing on the “famous” Manteca Waterslides!
Learn how the modern water slide was born just off of Highway 120 in Manteca, where you can still go to experience pieces of the park today and why people still call the chamber of commerce, asking about the slides…nine years after the park closed for good.
This was on all accounts – the most difficult video we have produced thus far. The technical aspects alone were enough to make both myself and my producer, Nicholas Laschkewitsch throw a fit. But, we persevered – and are proud to show you our work of the past few months.
“The Lost Parks of Northern California” is produced in association with the American Coaster Enthusiasts, Northern California region. Learn more about them at: www.acenorcal.org
Whenever I’m walking around a park, I’ve always got my camera ready – just in case an opportunity presents itself. Of course, at a waterpark it tends to be a bit more difficult. Not only do you have to worry about the water hitting your camera, but you’ve also got to be careful not to look like a total creep taking photos of half naked people. (Unless that’s what you’re doing, in which case please stand out so security can escort you out).
Thankfully, I didn’t have to worry about that second part when I took this shot – I was working for the park at the time and in full uniform, too. “Honolulu Halfpipe” sends riders sloshing back and forth until they stop at the bottom – and simply step out to the side of the half-pipe. Great for the quick shot of “airtime,” too!
Thanks to my friends at BorrowLenses for allowing me to capture such beautiful photos with their gear.
You see it all the time come the summer months, “Killer ride injures passengers,” “Man dies after roller coaster ride.” Heck, search, “roller coaster accident” on YouTube, and you’ll find no shortage of videos – mostly of rides undergoing a “safety cut out” where all trains simply stop where ever they are in the circuit.
While these “stories” are mostly media spin, incidents have and still do occur – however many are a direct result of disobeying park rules and regulations. With that being said, here now are the five most terrifying (actual) amusement park mishaps:
5. Happiest Place on Earth?
Monorail track is not an alternative to the front gate.
Disneyland has certainly seen it’s fair share of problems over the years. Nine people have been killed in the park (although officially they all died ‘on the way to the hospital,‘ as no one ever dies in Disneyland‘).
Seven of the nine deaths can be directly attributed to disobeying park rules or trespassing. Two have drowned in the Rivers of America. An employee who wasn’t aware of her surroundings was crushed in the “America Sings” Theater.
But the one we’ll focus on is the story of Thomas Guy Cleveland, who at 19 years old, had the brilliant idea of getting into the park via the monorail track.
Amazingly, he scaled the 15 foot track, avoided the 240V power line and began his trek to get into Disneyland immortality.
When security spotted him – naturally he began to run down the beam to avoid them. What he didn’t realize, was that they were trying to warn him that a monorail was approaching and that he should jump off the beam.
He didn’t jump off – and he didn’t get into the park for free, either.
This is certainly not the first time that someone has been killed jumping fences or at least trying to at an amusement park. This kid is lucky he still has life after diving into Jurassic Park: The Ride to retrieve his lost hat – while the ride was running. Not the brightest bulb in the set. Even if you’re not a fan of amusement parks – this video will make you cringe.
It just proves – you can’t stop stupid – no matter how many fences, gates and signs you put up.
4. Perilous Plunge – Knott’s Berry Farm, CA (2000-2012)
Perilous Plunge was plagued with delays, malfunctions and modifications in its’ 12 year run. (Photo by Knott’s Berry Farm.)
When it opened in 2000, Perilous Plunge was the tallest, fastest, steepest (and wettest) flume ride in the world.
It was also the most temperamental advanced water ride of its’ time, requiring complete computer control and even a magnetic braking system built into the base of the ride to stop it in the limited space available for a splashdown pool.
During a special event at the park, a woman somehow slipped out of the ride’s lap bar restraint system on the drop, killing her instantly. Investigators believed that because she was so overweight, her mass shifted violently in the steep drop, causing her to fall out.
The boats on the ride were later modified with 5-point racing harnesses as additional restraints – then converted to standard, over the shoulder “horse collar” restraints. The entire attraction was scrapped in late 2012 for future expansion.
Traver’s most successful of his “terrifying triplets.”
The most famous of Harry Traver’s designs, the Cyclone was and still is considered to be the most intense roller coaster ever built. With speeds approaching 55 mph and g forces in excess of +5, there aren’t many steel coasters today that can pull that off. (And the Cyclone was wood, with a steel lattice structure.)
Considering the ride ran for nearly 20 years with only a single fatality was mind boggling – how it happened is even more head turning (Literally).
Turns out in 1938 – on opening day of the season, no less – Amos Wiedrich allegedly stood up to take his coat off, after the ride had begun. Because he was out of his seat on the first drop, he simply fell out from the forces. To ad insult to injury, he was hit seconds later by the train he had been riding in when it came back around through the circuit.
Oh, did we mention this was the only roller coaster in history to have a Nurse’s Station at the exit? (Apparently it was all for show, but considering the damage this ride could have done, it may have been a worthy investment to keep the insurance down!)
2. Action Park “Cannonball Run” – Vernon, NJ (1985-sporadically into 1996)
According to most reports, the ride was open for one month in the summer of 1985, then was opened sporadically through 1996, when it was eventually torn down.
By principle, it *should* have worked – but that wasn’t the case…ever.
Concussions, abrasions and the possibility of being stuck in the slide were all risks people were willing to take to get on this ride – well, that and allegedly $100 bills that park management bribed them with to try it.
You can read a first hand account of the ride from someone who actually experienced it here.
On a related side note – Action Park (and many of it’s “groundbreaking, people breaking” attractions) was closed in 1996, and re-opened as Mountain Creek Resort in 1997. All of the non-conforming (i.e. unsafe) rides, including the looping waterslide were destroyed – with newer, safer ones replacing them (Though, that’s up for debate).
1. Lightning – Revere Beach, MA (1927-1933)
Revere Beach’s “Lightning”
The last of Harry Traver’s infamous “Terrifying Triplets” – Lightning was so twisted, most riders could not handle the brutal forces exerted on them.
On the second day of operation, a young girl was somehow ejected from the ride and died after hitting the track below. According to lore, the ride was shut down for 20 minutes, “…so they could remove the body.”
That’s right – the ride was back up and running after only 20 minutes. Odds are, the line increased quite a bit, too.
Back in the 1920’s it wasn’t unheard of for a ride to become more popular after it killed someone. Today, we have a bit higher standards and regards for our personal safety, thankfully.
Roar! at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, CA
Sharp eyed coaster fans will notice that both the Lighting and Cyclone first drops have a modern counterpart. Both the “Roar” wooden coasters at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and Six Flags America share the similar first drop with Traver’s triplets.
So, will we ever see another Crystal Beach Cyclone, or looping water slide? At the rate safety technology is going – I certainly wouldn’t put it out of the realm of possibility. Just look at how far we’ve come in just the past 90 years!
And there you have it – ten of the most terrifying amusement park mishaps of all time.
It should be noted, that while awful and scary as some of these incidents are, they are also an infinitely tiny minority of the total rides taken over the course of history.
Many of these instances occurred before the advent of safety regulations, government oversight, understanding of g-forces or restraint technology.
The odds of you being injured at a modern amusement park are actually lower than when you are driving to the park itself. So be smart – obey the park rules and you’ll have a fun and safe time!