I think that I love listening to podcasts so much because it reminds me of going to the library when I was a kid–there’s something for all of my interests. Thus, I have an eclectic collection of shows that reflect the way I bounce from topic to topic. And it’s not surprising to me that I have been listening to an entire series about defunct theme parks, amusement parks, and their attractions because I spend a lot of time blogging and podcasting about the pop culture of the past and the personal nostalgia that comes with it.
Granted, my experience with amusement parks is limited, but that’s where listening to Ashley’s show, The Abandoned Carousel, comes in. She spends 30-60 minutes each episode going over one particular park or ride from a park, and in some cases gets incredibly granular with the details when it comes to its history as well as its legacy. She also makes sure that she covers the more weird and even wild stories that come from these places, whether it be tales of debauchery among the teenage staff in the after hours, the injuries and accidents that resulted from lax safety regulations, or sometimes even the conflicts among the owners or rivalries with other parks. I have yet to listen to the most recent episode, which covers the former Walt Disney World attraction of Discovery Island, but here are a few of my personal favorites:
Dogpatch USA: An entire theme park devoted to Al Capp’s Lil’ Abner comics that was this odd celebration of kind of a mythical “podunk.” Capp is someone who is way before my time, and I think that a number of people in my generation will probably say the same thing, but there was a point where his characters were enormously popular. This one gets to the heart of how we perceive different parts of the country as well as what works from one era to the next.
Lake Delores Water Park: Water parks are good for injury and all sorts of mayhem, and combining that with the 1970s makes for a fun episode that takes you back to the feeling of a “wild west”, “let’s see what happens” type of venture. Plus, since this park was operated on and off from the end of the ’60s all the way through the ’80s, you get the feel of the “evolution” of our modern water parks.
The Skyway at Disneyland: Definitely one of those “I KNEW they had these!” moments from me, although I don’t remember if I ever rode a Skyway, this is a great history of where Walt Disney got the idea for the ride, how it operated, why it shut down, and even the fate of its facilities.
Presidents Park: This was the first episode and a topic I had heard about because of features in the Washington Post. Someone had decided to create a park full of giant busts of U.S. Presidents. It’s one of the more odd attaction-based stories.
The show is still within its first year, so catching up won’t be too tough, and I think you’ll find it fascinating.
Worth Subscribing, Worth Trying, Waste of Time?