July 6th, 2003

Tom Lehrer is Smug

Fun in The Dark at Glen Echo Park

Moses, but Laff In The Dark's outdone themselves this time. They're a semi-monthly online magazine devoted to glorious dark rides of past and present, and a few months ago they did an entire humongous article on the rides of Mountain Park, which I remember so well and loved so dearly. It was written by Jay Ducharme, a fellow Mountain Park enthusiast (he actually worked at the park; I was too young when it closed) and a great historian. We've had some great conversations about the old place before, at certain New England ACE events and all. I think he did an admirable job with the writeup.

This time around at Laff In The Dark, however, they have an article all about the dark rides of the long-gone Glen Echo Park in Glen Echo, Maryland. Now the subject matter isn't familiar to me, but that's all right. The layout of this article is beautiful -- very art deco and very stylized. I think it's the best-looking article they've done yet.

And the pictures inside are just amazing. The "World Cruise" facade completely blows me away, and it was actually a remodel of the ancient "Old Mill" ride. The ship's bow profile and the odd angles and the art deco letters and the globe and the nautical theme and the oh yeah. I'd love to have seen what was inside, but I just know that it probably didn't compare to the exquisite bally outside.

There's some other beautiful neon signage, an amazing sunburst-like facade for a Pretzel ride, and a humongous indoor Midway funhouse with the human roulette wheel, slides, a tricycle ramp fer cryin out loud and some guy sitting atop all the action, working the mechanical devices (and most importantly, activating the blowholes that blew air up womens' skirts!)

It's just a beautiful bunch of pictures and, as Laff In The Dark often presents, a wonderful glimpse into an era which we'll unfortunately never get to see or experience again.