05/24/10 - posted by Rich
Ahhh, Playland. I was Cub Scout age in the mid 50's and it was a real treat to spend the day at the Funhouse. We were not allowed to ride the roller coaster, since some kid got killed, probably for trying to ride standing up. But the Funhouse was perfect for 8 - 10 year olds. My fav was that hilly slide. You got a piece of burlap at the bottom, and then climbed the long staircase to the top. There, you put the burlap down on the hardwood slide and sat on it. The very top was flat. Then you pushed off with your hands and started down. There were some waves along the way, but you always seemed to stay on till the bottom.

There was a maze of mirrors, and walkways that moved up and down, left and right, and fore and aft. But the other thing that we deemed worthwhile was a large rotating barrel, maybe 10 feet tall, and 15-20 feet long. It was constantly rotating and the trick was to try and walk thru the barrel without falling. If you did fall, there was tumbling and laughter till you made it out.

The other "ride" we enjoyed was a large wooden disc that would spin. The operator would stop the rotation until a load of kids sat on the slick wooden disc. It held maybe 20-30 kids, and the prime spot was in the center. Once loaded, the operator would start the rotation, and as the speed increased, the kids on the outer edge would start to get thrown off the disc. Sticky fingers only went so far! Past the edge of the disc was a sloped smooth cement floor with a padded perimeter. The speed increased until the last kid finally slipped off the center spot and joined the others. Great bragging rights if you were the last kid.

I guess today, all of those features of the Funhouse would be banned by the PC crowd, but we sure had a great time, and even after 50 years, I can still smell the waxed wood, sweat, and hear the squeals of laughter as we played the day away...
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