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Nicole

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Jul 22, 2013
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New book about Action Park:


An early survey of visitors to Action Park, a Vernon, N.J., theme park that opened in 1978 and operated for nearly two decades, asked guests to list what they “didn’t like” — and collected the following answers: “Bees.” “Lost my teeth.” “Rides are scary.” “Almost drowned and lifeguards laughed.”

Beyond painting a compelling portrait of Gene Mulvihill, “Action Park” captures the frenetic energy of a place very much a function of its time: parental supervision and safety precautions — low; teen hormones, illusion of infallibility and recklessness — high. In keeping with pop culture’s romanticizing of the 1980s, Hulu has a chance to bring the book to life after winning the rights in a 10-way bidding war. If the studio, indeed, attempts to faithfully re-create Gene’s empire, let’s hope it has legitimate insurance.
 

Pantheon

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Jun 14, 2019
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I'm currently reading this book, and it's extremely good. Highly recommend it to anyone who's interested in an insider peek at America's most dangerous amusement park!
 
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Jonesta6

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I just got my copy, but have a few library books to get through first. So excited!
 

EdK

Feb 26, 2021
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I thought alpine coasters require some kind of car on rail droopy setup where that one was an asbestos flume that maybe hopefully you'd stay in?

However, that you survived it - you have any really good Action Park stories/memories?
This probably isn't the proper thread to discuss Action Park but since you asked :). In my early teens I went with a friend who was determined to go on all the extreme water slides and of course I wasn't backing out. I was relieved that the looping slide was closed - it looked dangerous and the trap door at the bottom of the loop didn't inspire any confidence. To sum up I had the wind knocked out of me on surf hill (we did the lane with the jump at the end), got stuck in the middle of Cannonball Falls and had to crawl out and jump into ice cold water, and got a serious wedgie on Geronimo Falls. Geronimo Falls had a vertical drop through a tube for about 10ft and then you entered a huge slide - I read that you could reach speeds of 60mph. The operators would have you cross your ankles and lock your arms in a V before pushing you down the slide.

Aqua Scoot was my favorite slide but I did see someone face plant on it as they hit the water. It looked painful.

I looked up some information on Action Park and it was an alpine slide but without any safety features - 2700 ft of pure terror but it was fun. It was just like the second example Zachary provided in the post above. The link below lists the 10 most dangerous rides according to the author (alpine slide is #2).

 

Jonesta6

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Feb 14, 2019
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This probably isn't the proper thread to discuss Action Park but since you asked :). In my early teens I went with a friend who was determined to go on all the extreme water slides and of course I wasn't backing out. I was relieved that the looping slide was closed - it looked dangerous and the trap door at the bottom of the loop didn't inspire any confidence. To sum up I had the wind knocked out of me on surf hill (we did the lane with the jump at the end), got stuck in the middle of Cannonball Falls and had to crawl out and jump into ice cold water, and got a serious wedgie on Geronimo Falls. Geronimo Falls had a vertical drop through a tube for about 10ft and then you entered a huge slide - I read that you could reach speeds of 60mph. The operators would have you cross your ankles and lock your arms in a V before pushing you down the slide.

Aqua Scoot was my favorite slide but I did see someone face plant on it as they hit the water. It looked painful.

I looked up some information on Action Park and it was an alpine slide but without any safety features - 2700 ft of pure terror but it was fun. It was just like the second example Zachary provided in the post above. The link below lists the 10 most dangerous rides according to the author (alpine slide is #2).


I know my request went far off topic though if only the alpine slide had a rail to classify it as a coaster...
 
Nov 16, 2019
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Yep! I think there was a discussion about it somewhere... The movies thread maybe?


Anyway, it's pretty good! Not the greatest documentary, but definitely a good watch in my opinion.

yeah it was more like something you’d see on the history channel like accent aliens or something... not a serious doc but entertaining.
 
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EdK

Feb 26, 2021
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Did anyone watch the Netflix doc class action Park?

I will now...

I think it's on HBO Max but the previews seemed a little bombastic to me. The one documentary that I really like is from Defunctland

It's very accurate as far as I remember the park.
I get a laugh when he shows a picture of the Kayak Experience. He doesn't have any real footage of the actual ride and instead shows an idyllic picture of people kayaking. My memory is a bit fuzzy but I remember it as something built from parts from an above ground pool - something you would put together in your backyard. The other thing that I wished I had known at the time is that they served beer to minors. I was probably still too young, but if I had known that I definitely would of at least tried. If we could have bought beer as minors my opinion of Action Park would be much higher. A little bit of liquid courage would have gone a long way in truly enjoying the water rides.
 

Jonesta6

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All I know of it is the Defunctland and Expedition Theme Park (I think he did one anyway) videos and the Andy Mulvihill book - the beer wasn't until later on when Gene had a brewery installed as part of a little shopping village area that was conceived of as a way to placate the locals who complained about the dangerous nature of the park... That and he liked beer and found a system and brewer he was able to purchase/hire in a time before local small breweries were all that common post-Prohibtion.

According to Andy's book, the kayak thing was actually one of the few truly engineered-by-professionals attractions the park had - what got the guy killed on it was a faulty electrical component for an under water fan that was eventually determined to be a no-fault accident. Supposedly the manufacturer, private electricians, and state inspectors had actually each checked out said fan electrical components within the previous few weeks and didn't find any issues... Just a fluke.
 

EdK

Feb 26, 2021
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All I know of it is the Defunctland and Expedition Theme Park (I think he did one anyway) videos and the Andy Mulvihill book - the beer wasn't until later on when Gene had a brewery installed as part of a little shopping village area that was conceived of as a way to placate the locals who complained about the dangerous nature of the park... That and he liked beer and found a system and brewer he was able to purchase/hire in a time before local small breweries were all that common post-Prohibtion.

According to Andy's book, the kayak thing was actually one of the few truly engineered-by-professionals attractions the park had - what got the guy killed on it was a faulty electrical component for an under water fan that was eventually determined to be a no-fault accident. Supposedly the manufacturer, private electricians, and state inspectors had actually each checked out said fan electrical components within the previous few weeks and didn't find any issues...
To be fair it's been forty years since I saw the attraction, but I just remember it looking a little kludgy. I imagine it had to be engineered somewhat to keep the walls from collapsing. What's funny is I can't find any images of the attraction so I'm stuck with my hazy memory.

As far the inspections and so forth, New Jersey in the 80's was a little lax. Another incident in Jersey involving the haunted castle at Six Flags Great Adventure demonstrates some of the problems with local inspections. Another attraction I vaguely remember going through the year before it caught fire and eight teenagers died. Looking back on it, I think GA was far sketchier than Action Park. I remember hearing on the radio that the park required one of the parents of the teenagers that died to pay for admission if they wanted to talk to management.

 
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Jonesta6

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That's fascinating, never knew there was any realistic dark side to the 'professional' parks in NJ at that time
 

b.mac

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May 14, 2011
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To be fair it's been forty years since I saw the attraction, but I just remember it looking a little kludgy. I imagine it had to be engineered somewhat to keep the walls from collapsing. What's funny is I can't find any images of the attraction so I'm stuck with my hazy memory.

As far the inspections and so forth, New Jersey in the 80's was a little lax. Another incident in Jersey involving the haunted castle at Six Flags Great Adventure demonstrates some of the problems with local inspections. Another attraction I vaguely remember going through the year before it caught fire and eight teenagers died. Looking back on it, I think GA was far sketchier than Action Park. I remember hearing on the radio that the park required one of the parents of the teenagers that died to pay for admission if they wanted to talk to management.


It wasn't that they were "A little lax." Inspection standards didn't become a thing until 1994 nationwide, most of the blame is attributed to incidents that happened at Action Park and Six Flags Great Adventure.
 
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