07/23/08 - posted by Bob Duzdevich
I have stumbled on the site and it sure brings back so many memories. First I'd like to thank people for remembering so much about playland. It means so much to me. I worked at the Diving Bell for many years (1957-to around 1969). After high school and during the service I worked part time untill 1965 when I married the niece of the owner of the bell, Marion Martine. Her husband Ed invented the Bell for the Exposision. The bell was then the only privitly owned ride at playland. Only some of the restaurants were also privetly owned, and for a short time the helacopter ride. After reading so many post about the bell I decided to chime in. The bell started on the "back block" where you talked about the horse race and above ground boats. After the removel of the chutes ride the bell was moved to the front block accross the midway from the fasanation building. (my Mom and Dad used to spend hours playing that game). It was true that there were fish in the bell pool but some time the water was murky, I know becaused I cleanded the filter system 4 time a week. About the Octapus, they were never in the big pool because they would get tangled in the cable system at the bottom. JUst for a few years they were in a small pool near the frot of the ride covered so you could see them but not throw stuff on them. During the last years of the ride the access of salt water was cut off from the pumping station becaused of it being flooded and closed. We started to add fresh water to the pool and eventually the most of the fish addapted. When the SF Aquarium took the remaining fish, they pulled out a 50 to 60 lb stripped bass. Been in there for years. Also a lot of leporard and sand sharks. I went on many fishing trips in the bay to catch our fish. The best part of the "ride" was the accsent of the bell. I loved operating the bell and sort of scaring people by tell them "we are stuck and I'd turn on the lights and try to open the hatch. Of course the hatch would not open with the amount of presure. But then just releasing the bell and flying 45 feet up in the air and splashing down and bouncing for a few minutes. Well I've gone on enought now and again thanks for the memories...Bob
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