Monday, August 10, 2015

Memory Bank: Seaside Heights in the 1970s

My recent Memory Bank post about playing the arcade game "Star Fire" at the Jersey Shore in the seventies brought back further memories of visits to Seaside Heights in Ocean County as a kid.

For example, I remember vividly -- as a very young kid, maybe six or seven -- going to the Boardwalk at Seaside Heights (the Casino Pier, I believe), eating waffles and ice cream, and getting sick on an amusement park ride called The Octopus.

To this day, I have never gone back on one of those Octopus rides. The mere sight of one makes my stomach belly flop.

Also, the Wild Mouse ride that was located on the boardwalk was an important part of my personal history, at least obliquely. 

My parents had one of their first dates at Seaside Heights, and always tell stories about (the now defunct) Wild Mouse. Apparently, my mother screamed so loud on the Wild Mouse that the operator extended the ride for a second run. And then she screamed even louder...

But I also remember, from my youth, a haunted house attraction there that scared the living hell out of me.  I don't know if it was The Gates of Hell, or some other ride.  For a time in the seventies, there was a "double decker dark ride" Haunted House located there, so that maybe what I remember, but my memory is decidedly fuzzy.

What I do remember is seeing all these ghoulish, twisted faces on an exterior wall, looming above me, as we walked by the haunted house on the causeway. I remember doubling my pace to get by them.

A lot of the haunted house attractions in New Jersey were collateral damage from the 1984 fire at Great Adventure.  In the immediate aftermath of that fire, at least two haunted houses on the Jersey shore were shut down because of safety concerns.  So I doubt that the haunted house attraction I went through is still there, let alone functional.

In 2012, Seaside Heights was hit hard by Hurrican Sandy, and much Jersey Shore/boardwalk history has been destroyed.  I never watched Jersey Shore (not much of a reality TV show fan...), but apparently it was also located in Seaside Heights.

The Seaside Heights I recall, however, was of the disco decade.  I remember a cool wind coming off the ocean, and this amazing feeling of having all day to explore the Boardwalk.  I recall the sensation that summer would never end.

Today, of course, I know that, according to Rod Serling, we all only get "one summer," in our lives. Seaside Heights was part of mine, I guess you'd say.

Here's a tourism video from sometime circa 1969-1975, that reveals the sights and sound of Seaside Heights as they were then.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:29 AM

    Wow, Thanks! My Grandparents took me there a few summers in a row back in the early '70s. Great place to be a kid. Really fun memories! Definitely my Rod Serling "One Summer" as well!