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Movies with Amusement Park Scenes, Especially Carousels


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Well, as I said before, there's a dark and forbidden side to this fairground thing along with the wholesome family atmosphere. Who knows what's going on besides mom and pop buying the kiddies balloons and cotton candy?

I kind of like the idea of a lustful couple making out underneath the roller coaster while the nice decent people think about going home for the night after checking out the apple contest.

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Latecomer to this thread. Charade has a key scene by a carousel in Paris (unsure what park it is in, but I think they mention it in the film) Of course, they cannily have the theme song playing as the carousel music..............

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I think the last Abbott And Costello film Dance With Me Henry took place in an Amusement Park, (I haven't seen it.)






There's always the Brady Bunch episode where they were all running around Kings Island in Ohio, (Cindy and Bobby overate.)



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*There's always the Brady Bunch episode where they were all running around Kings Island in Ohio, (Cindy and Bobby overate.)*


I'm glad you mentioned television because now I have the excuse to mention two strong uses of amusement park/carousel imagery in The Twilight Zone. In "In Praise of Pip", Jack Klugman's character is chasing his son through a house of mirrors, unable to believe he is a young boy in front of his eyes when he is supposed to be a grown man dying in Vietnam. In "Walking Distance", Gig Young's character chases a younger version of himself to a carousel. The young boy slips and falls...


Okay, this thread is about the movies, but these episodes are worth mentioning, imho.

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Well, let's hope we can do better than a Brady Bunch episode.


I think we can define what we're talking about here as either/both "amusement park", which is mostly associated with rides and midway shooting galleries etc., and "fairs", which includes things like the aforementioned apple growing competitions, best raspberry pies, most impressive pigs ( a la the original *State Fair* and Charlotte's Web ) and generally home grown ( literally ) products and amusements. Country fairs, in other words, which still exist.


Anyway, a good one I've been meaning to list is *Nightmare Alley*, much of which takes place in a carnyish fairground complete with a freak show including "geeks" and so forth. This setting is a far cry from the wholesome country fair scenario ( speaking of the Brady Bunch and wholesomeness).


In fact, a lot of old films take a look at those vaguely decadent carnival type places, where strange and dark desires never seem too far from the seemingly innocuous call of the calliope.


What was that really early Cary Grant/Mae West thing called? I believe Cary meets Mae in some such carnival setting. Guess they sort of created their own roller coaster ride.

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What about National Lampoon's Vaction. The whole misguided quest was to get to Wallyworld, (actually Magic Mountain in Valencia California.) Wally turns about to be Eddie Bracken so it does relate to classic movies, (i a way.)









(Okay it's not exactly State Fair.)



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I've always LOVED Carnivals since I was a little girl . . . especially @ night, with their Colorful Lights ! And have Enjoyed them in the Movies, too.

Some that come to mind are:



King Vidor's, 'The Crowd' (1928) with Eleanor Boardman . . .

(beginning @ 2:20)




'IT' (1927) with Clara Bow . . .

(first clip, beginning @ 8:20




.... and beginning of 2nd clip shows the rest,




Though not much carnival 'action', 'Picnic' (1955) with

Kim Novak and William Holden, do show those Colorful Hanging Lanterns in that 'Provacative' dancing scene between Kim and Bill . . .

(beginning @ :44)




. . . And then Last but Not Least, one of my all time Favorites,

because of it's 'Wholesomeness' of their carnival ... or 'SOCIALBLE'.

'The Music Man' (1962) with Robert Preston and Shirley Jones . . .




'THE CROWD' . . .









'IT' . . .









'PICNIC' . . .
























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> {quote:title=lavenderblue19 wrote: }{quote}Pretty sure it was And the Band Played On . I remember the song sounded fast and warped as the carousel went faster and faster and out of control.

lavenderblue is referring to the trivia question I put out concerning what tune was playing on the carousel in that frenetic final scene from *Strangers on a Train*. And right you are, lavender. Remember how the music along with the merry-go-round itself, gets faster and faster?


Anyway, yeah, it's "And the Band Played On." I guess that's what the song's called; for some reason I always thought it was called "The Strawberry Blonde". Whatever, it's the same song. Very catchy, especially with that sort of oom-pah-pah rhythm the carousel calliope gives it.


Carousel music could be a whole topic in itself. And what exactly is a calliope, anyway? Other than the name of one of the Greek muses.

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>per TikiSoo:

>I've always wanted to know what amusement park Carnival of Souls used at the setting-super creepy.


Definitely a most creepy, eerie movie. One of my favorites. And it wasn't just the phantoms that were creepy. The derelict amusement park was a failed venture built out into the Great Salt Lake, called Saltair Amusement Park. Rather too much information can be found on Wikipedia:




Films to fit the category include:


Something Wicked This Way Comes, which has a traveling carnival, a carousel, *and* they're all demonic, *and* evil clowns. You can't ask for much more than that.


I Dream Too Much, which has a lovely, magical scene with Lily Pons singing on a carousel. In fact, it's the only lovely thing about the movie. Well, Eric Blore is ok.


La Ronde has a humorous scene with Anton Walbrook as the operator of a carousel, its operation mirroring the progress/um-derailment/progress of a tryst.


Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Carnival with carousel. And bad haircuts.


Sunrise. Amusement park, but no carousel.


Does Coney Island count? If so:


The Devil and Miss Jones has a sequence there, with a terrific scene where Bob Cummings uses verbal judo on some threatening cops, and turns them from menacing to apologetic.


On the Town.

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> Is the "House Of Mirrors" in The Lady From Shanghai at an amusement park or just a boardwalk arcade?




That House of Mirrors was actually shot at the long-gone but fondly remembered (especially by our buddy JackBurley) amusement park, Playland-by-the-Sea in San Francisco.


It's also called Playland by the Beach by some.

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*"That House of Mirrors was actually shot at the long-gone but fondly remembered (especially by our buddy JackBurley) amusement park, Playland-by-the-Sea in San Francisco."* - lzcutter



(Is today's fire out on Pier 29?)


Kyle In Hollywood

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Thanks slayton for IDing that Utah amusement park.


How could I have forgotten *Something Wicked...* ? I had two of the horses from that carousel in my shop for years in the late 80's. The owners wanted them repainted "pretty" so they could sell them. I refused, saying the paint job was very important to their value. I have no idea whatever happened to them, but I've never seen any SWTWC horses for sale since.


Old carousels were driven by a small steam engine. A calliope is a steam driven mechanical instrument with a distinct high pitched "toot" kind of sound. When electricity took over, pneumatic band organs were installed to play music for the ride-they have a "throatier" pipe organ sound, often with drums & bells. WurliTzer made band organs for theaters, skating rinks and dance halls before reinventing themselves as jukebox makers.


I don't recall that "Ruggles" scene, but that is a Herschell/Spillman tiger and both Tilden Park in Berkeley CA & Golden Gate Park in San Francisco have that type of carousel & figure.

In 1935, the Tilden Park ride ran in Griffith Park in LA and was most likely the one used in the film because of it's proximity to Hollywood. The other one was between gigs in Oregon (33) & Treasure Island (39).

The photo of the girl on the deer is most likely the same carousel.


I have this photo, but never seen the movie "40 Pounds of Trouble":




But I know the carousel, it's still out there.


The ending of Strangers On A Train is remarkable because they used a real park carousel (the present Griffith Park ride) a carousel on the lot (same one in Twilight Zone's Walking Distance episode) and a miniature for the carousel destruction. The model makers took great care to replicate the Allan Herschell horses, but not the deck or canopy proportion. But hey, that's the ONLY way I could discern it was a model!

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So that's how those calliopes worked. Thanks for the explanation TikiSoo.


If you think about it, you begin to realize that carousels / merry-go-rounds appear in many (older) television shows and movies. Often it's a scene where it's either a first date, and the couple are having some innocent fun getting to know each other, or it's a new step-parent trying to connect with their new spouse's young child. Connecting with each other, having fun, innocence. These themes come up frequently in fairground/ carousel scenes.


And right along with them goes the other theme we see recurring in carousel scenes: something sinister, the ride going "demonically fast" as someone here said. the notion of things going out of control. Sometimes the camera focusses on the painted horses and they seem to take on a malevolent grin in these moments.



Several posters have mentioned *Twilight Zone* episodes with strange and disturbing events centred around a carousel. I'd love to see those particular shows.



I really like that, that dichotomy of the merry-go-round, both innocence and evil connected with the same thing, a seemingly simple amusement park ride.

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I'm "a little late to the Fair" here too ;) , but I'd just like to expand a bit on filmlover's earlier mention of 1977's "Rollercoaster".


It's been years since I've watched it, but I do remember being pleasantly surprised as to how well I thought it was done when I first caught on TV a few years after its theatrical release. I suppose my expectations weren't all that high before watching it, as I must have figured it was going to be just another one of those run-of-the-mill1970's disaster movies.


There were some pretty big names acting in it too, with Henry Fonda and Richard Widmark in support of George Segal's lead role.

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There was the little country fair that Ray Milland backed into in

Ministry of Fear. I can't remember a carousel, but there was that

cake. The finale of The Lady from Shanghai in the hall or mirrors.

I haven't seen Atlantic City in a while so I don't remember how much

of the amusement area was in it, probably at least something. And

Mickey Rooney and Jeanne Cagney in the little amusement area in

Quicksand Mickey looks funny standing next to the taller Jeanne,

even without the mirrors. One of the Rathbone-Bruce Sherlock Homes

movies had a scene in an amusement fair where Sherlock almost bought

it. A deserted amusement park is a lot spookier than a crowded one.



I always got a kick out of the scene in Strangers when Bruno pops the

little kiddie's balloon I believe with his lit cig. Now that's a real villain.






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