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Jun 17, 2011
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zachcphoto.com
I was given a collection of 35mm film slides from Kings Dominion, saved from a filing cabinet that the marketing department threw out several years ago. It's mostly photos of rides/the safari/Showplace pavilion stretching from the late 70s to the mid 90s. Some of the photos were likely used as promotional material, but so far I haven't been able to find any online, and none feel particularly familiar. Unfortunately context is pretty lacking; for most of them all I have to work with is a date, and some don't even have that. So I don't know the photographers, anything about the human subjects, what the photos were used for, etc. Definitely chime in if anyone's got anything in that regard.

I'm currently scanning and restoring the photos the best I can using the same method posted here earlier this year. There's a bunch so I'll try to post them in semi-organized sets. Guess I'll start with the Shockwave photos since they're the first I touched up, and.... I kinda miss it? It's the only defunct attraction in this batch that I actually got to experience. These photos really got me feeling nostalgic for a terrible ride.

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Frustratingly this is the only one that's dated at October 1985, which would've been easy to infer anyway. Notice the trees in the background just starting to turn orange.

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This photo has the lightning bolt graphic on the train, which I believe was a later feature, although I'm not sure when it was changed. So this particular photo is likely more recent than the rest, although taken before 2000 when it was again changed. It would make sense that the following few photos were taken in 1986 and used as part of the ride's marketing, but I'm not sure.

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EdK

Feb 26, 2021
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I rode it when it first opened and it was amazing. One of my favorite coasters at the park. Hopefully you have some pictures of King Kobra. That was fun when it was working.
 

Mushroom

Getting aHEAD of myself
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Feb 12, 2011
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That construction photo also provides a rare look at what that corner of the park looked like before Wayne's World was built. You can also see the old sky ride station (where Americana now sits) and what appears to be a water tower for the Old Dominion Line in the background.
 
Jun 17, 2011
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zachcphoto.com
Evidently whoever took/curated these photos really freakin loved The Showplace, because there are more photos of it than anything else by far. Again, there's pretty much no context given (annotate your shit people!), but sites like Setlist have archives of concerts at The Pavilion, although none seem to be comprehensive.

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June 1982. No ideas on this one. The only specific reference I can find to a concert in June 82 is the Beach Boys, in an archived Suffolk News-Herald. This doesn't seem to be them though. It's also likely that the 2 photos are from different concerts.


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July 1982. If this is the Doobie Brothers (?), they were taken on July 30, 1982 according to Setlist.


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July 1982. Jimmy Buffett? Buffet World confirms a show at the park on July 10, 1982.


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May 1984


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July 1984


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August 1985


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June 1986.
Jimmy Buffett concert on June 22, according to Buffett World.


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June 1986. Might also be the Buffett concert? Literally no telling.


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April 1987


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June 1987.
Moody Blues concert on June 21, 1987 according to Setlist.
 
Apr 29, 2011
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^KD used to get tons of awesome concerts back in the day. And there are so many that are not archived on Setlist. It's an easy stop for bands and artists being right off I-95. When the Classic Amphitheatre opened at the Richmond Raceway in 1991 it took a lot of that business away from KD.
 

EdK

Feb 26, 2021
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I saw Ted Nugent at that stage!!! It was sometime in the early/mid 80's - I don't remember the exact year.
 

Jonesta6

Glumble
Feb 14, 2019
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Since Innsbrook After Hours got moved to the state fairgrounds at Meadow Event Park (though I think the same promotor has also gotten shows to RIR lately as well), I wonder if the reason for that was they didn't want to deal with the KD/CF marketing department or if the venue isn't all that great for what they want... Since Meadow Event Park is literally another mile past KD.

It'd be awesome for regular concerts to come to KD again.

On the flip side, that's a good chunk of real estate that's underutilized sitting next to another open space (RIP Volcano). I wonder with a continuance of the planned Safari Village refresh if there may be future plans to reroute the pathways and use the stage for regular outdoor productions. Maybe even add a restaurant that direction?
 
Jun 17, 2011
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zachcphoto.com
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July 1993. Seems to have been taken from the base of Monsoon Chutes, more or less where the Backlot helix is now.


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No date on this one, but it was very helpfully labelled "Roller Coaster." Only thing I can infer is it was taken after 1992 and before it lost its black paint scheme. I tried my best to clean up that scratch across the bottom but wasn't able to remove it convincingly. Sorry!


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This one is marked February 1983, but I'd assume it was taken in 82 and then developed in 83. It might be my favorite photo in the entire collection. It's just such a serene moment and perfectly encapsulates the feeling of amusement park nostalgia for me.


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1994


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November 1983. Seems to be a photo of a promotional banner. Bit disappointed there isn't anything from construction or the ride's early years, but this is the first time I've seen this artwork.


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1994. Only thing in here relating to the Wayne's World expansion in 94.
 

Mushroom

Getting aHEAD of myself
Advisory Panel
Feb 12, 2011
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I sort of remember the safari. Wasn't it behind the Rebel Yell (Racer 77)?

The safari was enormous. It took up the space behind Racer 75 now occupied by the south side of Soak City, the space now occupied by I305, and an enormous area of trails and woods behind the waterpark that still remain unused to this day. Take a look at the area circled in red; you can see many of the unused trails that were once used for the drive-through and monorail safari as well as backstage routes used for transporting and caring for the animals.

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Jun 17, 2011
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zachcphoto.com
There's seemingly very little information available about the park's shows in the mid to late 80s, and most of what I was able to find was posted to this forum. Still, neat that there's a few photos of them included in the collection, since there don't seem to be many floating around.

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Dated March 1984, possibly taken in 83 and developed in 84. The dolphin show that existed in what's now the Peanuts Showplace theater. More info about it here.


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Dated March 1984, possibly taken in 83 and developed in 84. It was labeled "country show" but otherwise I know nothing about it, and can't find anything. I'd assume it was located somewhere in Old Virginia. Anyone know anything?


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Dated February 1985, possibly taken in 84? The show "Celebration" in Mason-Dixon Music Hall, now Kings Dominion Theater. According to this post it ran at Carowinds in 84 so I'm not sure about the date here.


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Also dated February 1985. The show "Gotta Dance" which ran at Mason-Dixon, and ran at Carowinds in 1986 according to the same post linked above.


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"Fascinating Rhythm" which also ran at Mason-Dixon. No date on this one, but I'd assume it was in the late 80s. Ran at Carowinds in 89.


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June 1987. Had "show at livvies" (?) written on it. I've got nothing.
 
Nov 1, 2012
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I can't give the exact country music show name. The stage was located about where the center of the front pre-show area of the action theater is now. The audience seating went back from there to within 4-5 feet of the current pathway. It was a small amphitheater that seated around 175-200 people. The stage area was covered. This show facility was dedicated to country music with some Blue Grass and Gospel thrown in. The cast size was six singer/dancers accompanied by a 5-6 member band.

This show facility was there from the park's opening in 1975. The last year used was 1992. It was torn down after the 1992 season to make way for the action theater. It housed the 1st Paramount attraction in 1993 as the "Days of Thunder" motion theater
 
Nov 1, 2012
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Last photo is the Livingston's restaurant dining theater in Safari Village. Small cabaret shows were performed there where folks could eat and watch a show. There was a elevated runway that ran from the back of the dining room (back stage area) to the center of the dining room where a 10-12 foot diameter circular stage stood. The dining room was pretty heavily themed with Egyptian on the back wall; African jungle on one side and the Sahara desert on the other. The dining room entrance had a North African town themed facade (think Morocco - buildings lit up like it was dusk).
 
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As far as the broadway style shows are concerned, during the first 4 years of park operations, the show productions ran one season and then rotated out.

Starting in 1979, the broadway shows ran for 2 seasons before rotating out of the theater. That started with the show "New York, New York" that ran 79-80. Not sure what ran in 81-82. For the 83-84 seasons, the show "Celebration" ran in the theater. For 85-86, it was the show "Gotta Dance". I believe, after the 2 year run of "Gotta Dance", the park went back to rotating the broadway shows out after a one season run. That started with the show "Facinating Rhythm" in 87. If my memory serves me right, the show "Fantasy" ran in either 88 or 89; not sure about what show ran the other year; "Live at the Palace" ran in 90; "Dancing in the City" ran in 91. The final Kings Production produced show was "It's Magic". That was performed in 1992. In 1993 Paramount took over and converted the stage to a small ice rink where the show "Paramount on Ice" was performed.

Not sure if you want to share; but, the Facebook group "Kings Dominion Historians" would love to have any or all of the photos you have in your possesion. The photo library there is massive; but you have photos I have never seen on that site. Especially the entertainment photos. Over the last couple years, former park entertainers have reconnected with each other on that site. We are talking folks performing at KD 30-40+ years ago. Sadly, learning about performers that have passed away as well.

The Shockwave construction photos would be of great interest as well. Again, whatever you wish to share and have time to do would be appreciated.

It seems to me Kings Dominion Historians Facebook group is becoming the defacto public archive of KD's history. Anyone is welcome to join and contribute if you have an interest in KD's history. People share stories of their time working or performing there. We are talking former full time staff, seasonal workers, entertainers, security folks, animal safari staff, etc. All sharing stories and photos of working there.

Anyway, most folks there would not know of the Park Fans site. I think many of them are not active attendees of theme parks (there are some theme park junkies there; but, they are a minority).
 
Jun 17, 2011
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1,469
210
Manassas
zachcphoto.com
I'm honestly astounded by your wealth of knowledge about the park, and the incredible level of detail you're able to recall. Genuinely can't thank you enough for all of the information you've posted here.

Not sure if you want to share; but, the Facebook group "Kings Dominion Historians" would love to have any or all of the photos you have in your possesion.

Once I'm finished restoring the collection, I'll be sure to post a selection to the group. I was also planning to give them back to the marketing department, if they're interested. Would be cool to see some of the photos come full circle and somehow be used by the park again, after being nearly thrown away, saved, and given back.

A few photos of Sky Pilot, the park's Intamin Flight Trainer, which opened in 1989 and closed in 1998. Each car had a joystick that could be used to control the elevation of the arm (to a degree), and to roll the car. Drop Tower now sits on the foundation used by it. I'm not sure exactly how many of these there were, but Kings Island, Knott's, and California's Great America had them as well.

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Must have been taken over winter (late 88 or very early 89) during initial testing of the ride, considering the lack of windows or graphics on the pods.

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February 1989.

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August 1993. Notice the cockpits became open air at some point - I'm not sure if it was a change made by Paramount or prior to them, or what the reasoning for it was.
 
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