Dancing Waters | 1973-1974

After the 1972 season, Hersheypark had to figure out what to do with the empty space created by the loss of The Lost River, the park’s Philadelphia Toboggan Company Mill Chute flume ride, which was destroyed in the flood of 1972, which happened in late June of that year.

Park management favored installing an electric fountain, as an homage to the Electric Fountain which was in the Sunken Garden area of the park from 1932 to 1971. The park considered options from several companies, such as Symphonic Fountains based in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Management ultimately decided to go with Dancing Waters, a classic dancing fountain show created by Otto Przystawik.

History

Otto Przystawik, an engineer from Germany, created his first water show in the early 1930s. World War II prevented him from developing the show any further. By the early 1950s, Przystawik teamed up with Hans Hasslach to develop Dancing Waters.

Then, in 1952, Przystawik debuted his new Dancing Waters show at the West German Industrial Exposition. It was said that Przystawik spent $250,000 in developing Dancing Waters in the time between the 1930s and its debut.

Harold Steinman, a well known producer of American shows, was in attendance at the West German Industrial Exposition. Steinman took interest in the show, believing it had potential as an entertainment medium in the United States. Steinman and Przystawik struck a deal for the show to be brought to America.

The show debuted at Radio City Music Hall in January 1953. The show then appeared at the 1953 Philadelphia Music Festival at the city’s Municipal Stadium, on June 12.

1953-05-04 The Philadelphia Inquirer (p25)

Otto Przystawik is on the right in the second photo. From The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 4, 1953, on page 25.

The show became popular in the mid-1950s, with 22 shows having been manufactured for locations in the United States and Europe.

Przystawik went on to develop what he considered his greatest accomplishment, Waltzing Waters at Cape Coral Gardens in Florida, in 1964. His son Gunter operated the show once it opened. At the time it opened, Waltzing Waters was considered the largest fountain in the world. Cape Coral Gardens and Waltzing Waters closed in 1970.

Otto Przystawik died in 1971, two years before Dancing Waters would debut at Hersheypark.

At Hersheypark

Dancing Waters was only in the park for two seasons, 1973 and 1974. It consisted of 4,000 water jets, electric motors, and 33 spot lights. The water show was synchronized with music. The operating console was often compared to an organ. The show ran multiple times a day.

Here are a couple of pictures of Dancing Waters in Hersheypark.

2016-03-03 - 1974-xx-xx Dancing Waters.jpg

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Dancing Waters was removed after the 1974 season, replaced with grass. A year or two later, the space was paved and turned into a midway for guests.

The space where Dancing Waters was is now occupied by Great Bear, which opened in 1998. The show was located just passed Great Bear’s loop, on the straight run between that and the Immelman, a kind of half loop; that’s where Great Bear turns to go back down the Hollow toward sooperdooperLooper.


This post was based on a Throwback Thursday post from March 3, 2016. If you want to read more Throwback Thursday articles about Hersheypark, click here.

Carrousel Circle | 1972-2004

This area of the park still exists today, but it is now part of Founders Way. And though it was renamed and renovated into Founders Circle in 2005, many people still call it Carrousel Circle. This is what today’s post is about – the first major addition to Hersheypark in the modern era.

Phase I Hersheypark (09-1972)

Phase I of Hersheypark included 3 new themed regions.

Carrousel Circle opened on May 7, 1972 to a lot of fanfare. It and three other sections were also opened, but Carrousel Circle was no doubt the most important. The new main entrance of the park would lead directly into Carrousel Circle, though that area of the park (then called Tudor Square and Rhineland) didn’t open until 1973. The entrance of the park was by Derry Road at Hersheypark Arena right next to the Monorail station.

  • Carrousel Circle replaced the old baseball field where the first opening of Hersheypark was held all the way back on Memorial Day 1906.
  • Only one ride prior to 1972 existed in any part of the area that became Carrousel Circle. The ride was removed: Miniature Train. Miniature Train later made a return during Christmas Candylanes starting in 1983. It was then installed in Midway America from 1997-2014. Miniature Train is currently in storage.
  • Carrousel Circle was partially completed in 1972 – the remainder was finished in 1973.
  • The initial name for Carrousel Circle was Circus Circle, but the circus concept was quickly abandoned.
  • Carrousel Circle had two roller coasters – the Twin Towers Toboggans – from 1972-1977.
  • Starlight Arcade, an area at the entrance of Carrousel Circle, was replaced in 2003 by a fountain and statue of Milton S. Hershey.

Other Carrousel Circle rides changes

1972: Opened with Carrousel, Scrambler, Space Age, Helicopters, Traffic Jam, Monster and Twin Towers Toboggans.

1973: Giant Wheel added.

1978: Twin Towers Toboggans replaced by Flying Bobs.

1982: Flying Bobs replaced by Balloon Flite.

1983: Monster replaced by Tilt-a-Whirl.

1987: Balloon Flite is relocated, replaced by Mini-Himalaya.

1990: Der Deitschplatz is merged into Carrousel Circle.

1995: Tilt-a-Whirl relocated to Comet Hollow, replaced by Tiny Tracks.

2004: Giant Wheel is removed in October.

2005: Carrousel Circle is renamed Founders Circle.

My beautiful picture

Part of Carrousel Circle seen here, from 1982.

Giant Wheel | 1973-2004

When the Hersheypark renovations were drawn up, Phase I included Carrousel Circle – one of the biggest parts of the additions to Hersheypark planned. (More on that next week.) While the Carrousel was obviously the focal point of the area, another ride was planned to be installed but was part of Phase II. This ride was Giant Wheel, manufactured by Waagner-Biro and supplied by Intamin.

Giant Wheel concept

The Giant Wheel concept seen here was based on the Planetary Amusement Ride, not the Intamin double wheel. (Credit: As seen in the York Daily Record, February 11, 1973, and created by R. Duell & Associates.)

Giant Wheel was the first double Ferris wheel Waagner-Biro manufactured. A similar ride already existed, the Planetary Amusement Ride, manufactured by Astron International Corporation, which operated at AstroWorld in Texas and Magic Mountain in California. When opened in 1973, Giant Wheel was an impressive ride and many people became fans of the ride. This was also true in other parks that installed these new Waagner-Biro wheels. Some parks even installed a version with three wheels (such as what was then the two Marriott’s Great Americas).

The ride experience was pretty straight forward. Up to 8 people could fit in a cabin. Once the cabins were loaded you would be raised up into the sky. Once you were in the air, you could also spin your cabin using the wheel at the center. In the picture below, you can see how each wheel was connected to one huge cross bar, so as one wheel rose, the other came down.

My beautiful picture

The view from inside a cabin.

Unfortunately, none of these rides exist today – leaving many fans disappointed. Despite such an interest from park attendees at all of these parks which had them, very few Waagner-Biro double and triple wheels were actually ever built, leading Waagner-Biro to discontinue supporting the product sometime in the 1990s. This meant that important parts for the ride were no longer being made – Waagner-Biro’s double and triple wheel days were numbered at that point. And such was the case with Giant Wheel.

Hersheypark’s Giant Wheel operated until October 2004, when the ride was removed from the park. It was the last of the Intamin double or triple wheels to be in operation, and is the second-to-last to be removed (one double wheel is still standing, but not operating, in Argentina, but it is expected to be torn down soon).  It was originally due to be replaced with a roller coaster called Turbulence, however that coaster was cancelled. Two rides, Starship America and Balloon Flite, have operated in the location of Giant Wheel since 2005.

TBT #8 | Twin Ferris Wheels (1950-1974)

Hersheypark has had a number of Ferris wheels in the park since 1926. The first one was a kiddie version which was in the park through the end of the 1960 season. The second and third wheels were Eli Bridge Company Ferris wheels and Hershey Park installed two of them in 1950.

Seen in the picture below, from 1974, the wheels were yellow and the seats had alternating colors. They overlooked the main area of Comet Hollow, with the Skooter and Bug close by and the station for Comet and Mill Chute / Lost River a little further away. You can even see the Mini-Comet even further in the distance.

The Twin Ferris Wheels were ultimately replaced by Giant Wheel in 1973, though the wheels remained in the park through the 1974 season. They were removed due to low capacity and a Himalaya was placed in that spot until Looper was built two years later. Though not in the exact same spot, sooperdooperLooper’s station is generally where the Twin Ferris Wheels were.

Update (7/19/2016): The Twin Ferris Wheels sold to Hersheypark were cataloged at Eli Bridge Company as Ferris Wheels #900 and #901. Sometime after the rides were removed in 1974, they were sold to a person who lived in Maryland.

My beautiful picture

A view from one of the Twin Ferris Wheels in 1974.

TBT #7: June 11, 1939 – Hershey Community Club Dining Room

Hershey Park had several food options, some which were on the park property directly, while others were suggested to guests as a place to go. While this is not part of the Park, many guests certainly would have eaten here, at the Hershey Community Club Dining Room. Along with a picture of the Community Club is a menu from the Dining Room. This menu is from June 11, 1939. Just a note about inflation, 1.00 dollar in 1939 is worth 17.06 dollars in 2016.

Tip Top | 1966-1979

In the fall of 1965 and winter of 1966, management at Hershey Park made the decision to tear down the old Hershey Park Theatre, the then-current building having been in the park since the first few years of Hershey Park’s existence. Hershey Park Theatre included the enclosed amphitheater, and behind the stage, Laughland, the park’s second fun house. Because the building was removed, this opened up space for redevelopment.

Management bought two rides – and the one I’m talking about today is Tip Top (the other is Skyview, which I will be writing about in a few weeks). This was a ride manufactured by Frank Hrubetz & Company, and was the first of three Hrubetz rides Hershey Park installed – Paratrooper and Round Up were installed in 1967 and 1968, respectively.

2016-03-24 Tip Top 1966

Tip Top, in it’s original location, 1966.

Tip-Top operated in Comet Hollow from 1966-1968, when it was relocated to an area adjacent to where Fender Bender is in the park today. The final season Tip Top operated was in 1979; it was essentially replaced by Pirat and Cyclops when Hersheypark expanded in 1980.

1979-tip-top-removal

From October 31, 1979 – expansion plans for Hersheypark’s 1980 season included the removal of Tip Top. You can see this here on this plan showing “Ride Fdn. (to be removed)” along with the relocated Little Red Caboose that would become Lost Children’s Caboose.

TBT #5: Lloyd Blinco, GM 1963-1968

Today’s post is about Lloyd Blinco, who you can see in this picture – published in 1933 in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Blinco was a player for the Hershey B’ars amateur club and the Daily Eagle did a short write up about his first return to New York. Blinco is seen here in the jersey of his previous club, the Crescent Athletic Club of Brooklyn.

Blinco had a long career with Hershey Estates. He is well known for his contributions to the Hershey Bears Hockey Club, starting as a star player and captain for the Hershey B’ars, and by 1939, became part of the managerial team running the then year old professional Hershey Bears. Blinco quickly became general manager of the Hershey Bears and the Arena, a position he held until 1968. In 1970, Blinco became the first hockey player voted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.

What’s interesting to our group is that in 1963, another title was added to his position. Blinco became the fifth general manager of Hersheypark. He succeeded longtime general manager George Bartels (1949-1963). Rides added during his time that are still in the park today are Helicopters (1964), Space Age (1965), Skyview (1966), and Traffic Jam (1968).

In 1969, Blinco was promoted to president of the Hershey Bears and “consulting general manager of the park and arena.” He was involved in the development of the modernization efforts in 1969-70 that led to the renovations of Hersheypark in the 1970s.

Succeeding Blinco as general manager of the Hershey Bears was Frank Mathers, and as general manager of Hersheypark, Stanley Carpenter, on January 1, 1969. Lloyd Blinco retired on July 1, 1973 as president of the Hershey Hockey Club.

2016-03-17 1933-01-23 The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (p19)

TBT #4 | Monorail Amusement Company tickets

The Monorail Amusement Company opened the Monorail at Hershey Park in June 1969. Because the company was owned by both Hershey Estates and Hershey Foods, the Monorail was not considered a Hershey Park ride. Here are number of free ride vouchers offered – some which were specifically made by Hershey Foods. You could access the Monorail at two platforms: by Hershey Sports Arena or downtown behind Hershey Drug Store.

The Monorail remained a separate ride from Hersheypark until 1973.

2016-03-10 Monorail Amusement Company tickets (large)

Dancing Waters photo | 1974

Here’s a picture of Dancing Waters, which was used in Hersheypark for the 1973 and 1974 season. It was installed in space formerly occupied by The Mill Chute / The Lost River which had been lost to the flood of 1972. After it was removed, the space was eventually used as a walkway. In 1998, the space was then occupied by Great Bear.

2016-03-03 - 1974-xx-xx Dancing Waters.jpg

TBT #1: July 4, 1976

For Throwback Thursday, here’s an advertisement printed on July 4, 1976, from the construction services companies that worked for Hersheypark during the the 1970s renovations. They were congratulating Hersheypark on its 70th anniversary. The construction services companies seen here are: H.B. Alexander & Son, Inc., Kimbob, Inc., G.R. Sponaugle & Sons, Inc., and John B. Minnich & Son, Inc. The map of the Park used in this advertisement was from 1973, and was printed in a special section celebrating the 70th Anniversary of Hersheypark in The Patriot-News on July 4, 1976.

2016-02-18 - 1976-07-04 The Patriot News (p5)