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Movies with Amusement Park Scenes, Especially Carousels


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The first HAIRSPRAY.


I was a kid in Baltimore in the late 50s and 60s and remember the park on which the one in the movie was based: Gwynn Oak Amusement Park.


Much like the movie, the owner was pretty much forced by court order to admit blacks - he was terribly racist. It was allowed to become run down and closed for good not long afterward.


The last time I was there was 1968. My cousins and I had hosted a Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy home carnival fundraiser and were given free passes as a result. I remember an ambulance had to come in to remove someone injured when the ancient "Wild Mouse" rollercoaster malfunctioned and then I got sick on the Tilt-O-Whirl.


Good times.

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A recent film ( 2009) I found highly enjoyable tells the tale of a young guy just graduated from high school and how his summer job at the local amusement park expands his life experience. It's called *Adventureland* ( the name of the park, obviously) and if you kind of like "coming of age" movies, ( even if you've come of age ages ago) you might like it.

It's set in the 80s, and there's lots of nostalgia potential in the park's old-fashioned appearance.

Here's a link about it:



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Yep, I'll second...err...I guess THIRD this now, about "Adventureland".


I thought it a VERY enjoyable and well made little film.


(...in FACT, I thought it was SO good that I didn't even mind Kristen Stewart's usual "****-smelling look" acting in it...THAT'S how much I enjoyed it!)

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One day about a year ago, while I screamed "not again" when the kettle drums announced that NORTH BY NORTHWEST was about to start, I went through the on-screen guide and saw that ADVENTURELAND was on one of the HBO channels and it was the only movie that was just about to start.


It was a very pleasant surprise - I figured I'd check out out the beginning and was hooked for the whole thing. One of the best coming-of-age stories I've seen since my own and that was a long time ago.

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>Sometimes the camera focusses on the painted horses and they seem to take on a malevolent grin


I think anytime you have representation of people or animals as statues (and a lesser degree paintings) you have this effect. It's almost like a frozen death.

I used to work in fashion stores and know the general public hated seeing mannequins stacked up in storage. My house is full of carousel figures & mannequins and it freaks a lot of people.


>Several posters have mentioned Twilight Zone episodes with strange and disturbing events centred around a carousel.


Rod Serling grew up in Binghamton NY where 6 Herschell carousels run in various city parks. They were ingrained in his psyche and he used the imagery often.


Disney owned quite a few whole carousels but had zero regard for their historical significance. The Mary Poppins horses were classic vintage ones, but Walt directed artists to carve into the heads to make the faces resemble the actors that rode them, destroying the original carving.

The Disneyland carousel pictured in my earlier post, Walt ordered all standing horses legs repositioned so they could be used as "jumpers" and all the paintings painted over to reflect Disney movies. They had 3 complete carousels, used the figures he wanted and burned the rest in a bonfire.


The movie studios were the same. They had a few complete carousels as well as several "prop" horses but never destroyed them like Disney. I faintly recall a Busby Berkely number using a bunch of carousel horses (ca 1900 Looff made) with beautiful girls in organdy riding them.

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It's incredible how little regard people in general and businesses in particular have for old artifacts. To think that Disnesy merrily ( no pun intended) altered those carousels they owned, then after their use was over, destroyed them altogether, disgusts me. Although I suppose it shouldn't surprise me.


Of course, much as I dislike computer generated imaging, I guess it has its advantages. Today they would have just changed the merry-go-round digitally. In fact it's quite possible they would have made the entire scene digital, thereby eliminating the need to use the old rides altogether.

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And of course, it wasn't just the visuals and riding sensations which always made those old carousels so much fun, but also the aural pleasures in the whole experience...especially those which had an old-style mechanical calliope contained in the center of 'em.

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I Love & Enjoy ALL this 'Talk' of 'CAROUSELs' . . .

I can't help being reminded of the group from the '60s ...

'THE HOLLIES' and their Song, 'ON A CAROUSEL'.



(...the Song is 'wafting' through my mind, as I type this ... ) happy.gif






{ ...Riding along on a carousel

Trying to catch up to you

Riding along on a carousel

Will I catch up to you


Horses chasing 'cause they're racing

So near yet so far

On a carousel, on a carousel ....}












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Yep finance, that TZ episode was titled, "Walking Distance", and TikiSoo earlier mentioned it in passing.


Btw, I found this YouTube video about Rod Serling, his hometown of Binghamton NY, and some of the carousels which dot that area of the country, and which according to this videographer probably served to inspire Serling's script for this episode of his TV series....another thing TikiSoo mentioned....




Edited by: Dargo2 on Jun 22, 2012 5:23 PM

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One more video. Someone took this from the audience of the opening of the 1994 Carousel revival on Broadway (well, actuallythe little theatre next to Lincoln Center). I was lucky enough to have seen this show there, and what they did in the opening seven minutes going from the mill where Julie Jordan works to the amusement park is amazing, which you will see here. The video is rough but you will be able to see what is going on better as it progresses.



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> {quote:title=clore wrote:}{quote}

> There's one featured in THE STING.




The carousel featured in The Sting is actually on the Santa Monica Pier, here in California.




In fact, the opening section for that Chicago sequence...




...was the Santa Monica Pier, changed through the art of movie magic.




The large building at the left is where the carousel is in.

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Thanks for that great side-by-side comparison, filmlover. Isn't that the same Pier used in Inside Daisy Clover?


Here's one of the horses in case anyone's interested:







(and no, the Triceratops isn't original-oy!)



I was avoiding posting this but the beginning explains the reason for all Binghamton's carousels:




It airs locally tomorrow, I still haven't seen it yet! (no SooTube) but I know I say, "It's just as easy to paint it correctly, it pains me to see them painted badly" see above & below comparison.






Rather unglamorous to see them off the ride, isn't it?


Edited by TikiSoo because I can't seem to make those links work! Sorry.

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