05/07/03 - posted by David Lange
My memories of Playland are sketchy but cherished. I was 14 when it closed, so the place was already in decline during my few visits there. In addition, it had become a hangout for biker gangs and other unsavory types, so my parents were very reluctant to take me and my brother there.

What I remember most was the Fun House. During my earliest visits, I was quite afraid of Laughing Sal and always dashed through the front entrance as fast as I could without looking at her. I remember clearly the mirror maze and the rotating barrel. My older brother always had to retrieve me from the latter, as I never mastered the technique of walking through it without collapsing in a heap. I'll always remember his look of frustration as he went back in to get me, while his friends pushed on ahead. Finally, I remember the great slide and the slow trek up its wooden stairway. Placing myself correctly on the burlap sack was another skill that eluded me for quite awhile, and I seldom reached the bottom in an upright position.

For some reason, I don't remember the outside rides much at all, though I've seen many photos of them in the San Francisciana book. I do remember the metal roller coaster. I believe it was the same one called Wild Mouse that ended up at Santa Cruz in later years.

I don't believe I went into Playland during its last two or three years, and that was evidently the case for most people. My last memory of that area before everything was demolished was the slot car racing parlor that was in one of the old restaurant buildings. Since that hobby had already peaked a few years earlier, the place wasn't very busy, even on Saturday afternoons. Oddly, I haven't seen any mention of that business in articles or books about Playland. Does anyone else remember it?
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