By Terry Hughes
Whether as a youth attending an Atlas Picnic, looking for girls as a teenager or accompanying your best girl, it was part of a ritual many of us experienced going to Crystal Beach each year. Each time we attended, the anticipation of being there was enhanced when entering the grounds and seeing two attractions – pictured above, centre panel, the Magic Palace and “Loff in the Dokk”, as we called it.
Originally, the Magic Carpet was so named because the attraction was concluded by sitting on a collapsing seat that flattened under you and you ended the ride on a rug carrying you and others to the exit. Safety became an issue and the rug was removed causing the attraction to have a name change.
A play on words here, the Laugh in the Dark was unusual because how could you not break into laughter standing in front of that rotund mechanical woman who continually laughs at everyone? The ride itself was jerky and noisy and the darkness covered the worn out mechanical scenes designed to scare you.
Everyone enjoyed riding the Comet, shown above, right, but I would have liked to be on the Cyclone, the ‘coaster the Comet replaced in 1946. It had steeper climbs and sharper curves. A neighbouring ‘coaster called the Giant Coaster was almost just as fun if you rode alone in the seat. Sharp curves caused the occupant to be tossed from one side of the seat to the other.
Walking down the Midway you passed the arcade and many facilities selling those delicious suckers, caramel popcorn, etc You passed the former dance hall that hosted the big bands and now made for a great roller skate experience.
Some newer rides that came along were the Sky Ride and the Wild Mouse.
But what were some of your experiences? We look forward hearing from you!
Next Heritage Lives Column: How did you spend your summer holidays and keep busy while attending elementary school?
(Terry Hughes is a Wellander who is passionate about heritage, history and model railroading. His opinion column, Heritage Lives, appears on the blog once or twice monthly.)