I want to know if JayMonster remembers Action Park in Vernon Township, New Jersey. Although I lived in Medford, NJ (1983-1986) while it was open, I never ventured that far north. Instead I played at Great Adventure (saw the Monkies anniversary tour there). Here’s a fantastic description of Action Park. And here are pictures of the
abandoned park. These comments are very interesting too!
I was a lifeguard at Action Park for a summer. We called it Traction Park, and man could I tell stories about that place. Let me just say, it is very, very difficult to rescue an obese, panicked man who just dropped acid. The scratches were incredible. Can’t wait to read the Wiki — I’d never have thought to look.
Edit: A few funny things the wiki omits (although there’s obviously nothing funny about the serious injuries and deaths).
First, a large Hassidic community was located not far from the park. For those who aren’t familiar with the sect, females are required by religious edict to wear heavy ankle-length skirts. Always. As you might imagine, this sucked for swimming, but the non-lifeguard staff, who were often fourteen, were generally responsible for letting visitors go from the tops of various cliffs and slides. They were easily bullied, and every damn time I saw a Hassidic woman at the top of the cliff jump, I knew I was going in. It was outrageous. On the speed slides, which did not have lifeguards because they lacked deep water, it was enormously entertaining to watch our insistent patrons arrive with their ankle-length skirts over their heads.
Second, the wiki forgets a “cannonball” slide that went underground, completely enclosed, and dumped patrons in a very deep pool beyond sight of the launching point. Many non-swimmers launched with no idea they’d hit deep water. Trouble is, a fourteen-year-old non-lifeguard was responsible for letting people go, and the lifeguard at the bottom was all alone. This was, by far, the most terrifying lifeguard assignment. You’d go in for one drowner (or two, as there were parallel chutes) and the nitwit up top, if he wasn’t paying attention, would drop new drowners on you. If you got in trouble, you could whistle and hope guards at the nearby Tarzan Swing would save your ass, but nearby concerts often made this improbable. I was pulled under by people on drugs (they break all the rules you’re taught about water rescue — in particular, they don’t reflexively let go if you swim down); had to pull out an entire family simultaneously; and did, of course, have to pull out the odd Hassidic woman entangled in her own skirt. The scariest thing I saw occurred in my very first week. A large man on drugs (again, you can tell b/c they don’t let go if you swim down), headlocked a female lifeguard who probably weighed 100 pounds. Three guards piled on and had to beat him repeatedly about the head with rescue rings (about the firmness of a baseball) until he let go, by which time he was unconscious and the girl he headlocked had two lungs full of water. It’s something of a miracle that the place stayed in business as long as it did.