California’s Great America opens for the 2019 season on March 23, but for ACE members, the season typically kicks off much earlier than that. Such was the case on March...
On August 20th, 2010 the four Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk legends Charles Canfield, Ted Whiting III, Carl Arnett, and Carl Henn visited Playland-Not-at-the-Beach. This very unique event was open to all ACE members who wanted to come and meet these special people. My family and I arrived at Playland-Not-at-the-Beach at around 10:00 AM. Within the next hour or so, many other ACE members arrived to help set up for the legends arriving shortly.
At 11:15 AM, the four legends arrived at the front of the Museum to much excitement. They were taken down the hall of memories where they reminisced about Playland-at-the-Beach. Next, the legends were taken into the “Laffing Sal Theatre” to watch some historical films about Playland-at-the-Beach. Once the movies were through, Charlie Moran (The creator/building of the Playland model in the theater) showed the legends his beautiful model of Playland that is displayed in the theater. The lights in the room were dimmed down for full effect.
After that, it was about time for lunch, so they all headed towards the kitchen area to eat. There were about 15-plus ACE members that showed up to meet and eat with the legends. We ate pizza for lunch along with cupcakes for dessert. I saw next to Charles Canfield at lunch and got to ask him many questions I had wanted to ask him for a long time.
One of these questions was about the bear right inside the Cave Train, and why they have it so long. Here is his response:
“My father bought it over forty years ago for the original Cave Train, and we kind of just kept it ever since. We kept trying to get rid of it, but we just couldn’t part with it. It does look funny in there, don’t you think? With the red finger-nail polish and all…”– Charles Canfield
During lunch, Richard Tuck presented an award to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, saying:
“Special thanks to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk for outstanding generosity for preserving the legacy of the America’s Amusement Park Heritage and especially the Fascination games.”
After lunch, the legends moseyed on over to the Fascination Parlor, to play a rousing game of Fascination. The four legends went head-to-head-to-head-to-head, and in the end, Charles Canfield won!
Once they finished playing Fascination, Richard took them through the rest of the museum, including Circus World, Charles Dickens, Santa’s Village, and Dark Mystery. The legends also played a few games of pinball throughout the day. Before I knew it, the day was coming to a close. Just as they were about to leave, they surprised the museum with a donation. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk donated an old Ferris wheel seat that they took off of the Ferris wheel last winter. We were amazed and very excited!
A HUGE special thanks goes to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk for visiting Playland-Not-at-the-Beach. Also, thanks for the generous donation of the Ferris wheel car to the museum. Thank you, SCBB, for keeping the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk operating for over 100 years and congratulations on your success and good luck in the future. For those who haven’t been to the Boardwalk recently, be sure to check out the NEW Haunted Castle!
— Nicholas Laschkewitsch
— photos: Nicholas Laschkewitsch