Monday, June 23, 2008

girl for girl they've got the cutest of the western states

What is this thing you call "Lagoon?"

Lagoon is an amusement park whose coasters rise from the swampland north of Salt Lake City.

Is it fun?

Matter of fact, it's what fun is. My friend Andy was in a Lagoon commercial in the mid-'90s with the catchphrase "It's what fun is!" That commercial aired a million times over the summer and throughout high school certain idiots would be like "Hey, say 'it's what fun is!'"

Do you love Lagoon?

I could take it or leave it.

How often do you go?

Every three years or so.

Where can I find more information on your Lagoon visiting habits?

Lisa's Blog has a good write up of the events. Or you could keep reading this one.

I only go to amusement parks that are endorsed by the Beach Boys.


"There's a park near the city, yeah
All the kids dig the Lagoon now
It's full of all kinds of girls
And rides and we'll be flyin' there soon now"

- The Beach Boys, "Salt Lake City" (1965)

How much is parking?

I don't even know, because we parked in a secret parking lot.

Why are you so bad at parking?

I've always been bad at parking. Also I'm still not used to my new car yet and I've found myself parking too far back.

How far did you have to walk from your fancy secret lot?

Not too far, but we did have to cut through Murderer's Grove.

What about snacks?

Plentiful, and clearly labeled.

What about the rides?

What about them? Well to start with there's the classic Colossius the Fire Dragon. Purchased by the park from a door-to-door roller coaster salesman.

or there's the newest coaster, Wicked

Oh, with the singing witches?

Afraid not. If I'd known that going in I wouldn't have waited in line for so long.

Is that Lee or Dr. Doug Ross?

You tell me?

What's this one?

Jet Star II. 73% of all awkwardness at Lagoon takes place here. You ride two-to-a-seat and straddling is required. I'm sure many a young buck on his first "hang-out" with a young philly has been worried about potential embarrassment.

The other 27% of awkwardness probably takes place here:

What was your favorite ride?

The Space Scrambler. This was the first thrill ride I ever went on when I was but a youth.

Is that a spinny ride? Did you get sick?

I didn't yank, if that's what your asking. But going from one spinny ride to another might not have been a good idea.

Are you getting old?

Must be. I've never suffered motion sickness before. But after The Turn of the Century (aka "the Swings") I was... I was dizzy!

Didn't these ladies used to not have shirts?

That's how I remember it, but I guess once again Family Fun ruined everything.

Anything else interesting to say about Lagoon?

In the '60s it hosted concerts by The Rolling Stones, the Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and the Grateful Dead, among others. In 2002 when I took a documentary film-making class I wanted to make a doc about that. Lagoon was real jerks about it. They don't want that information getting out there. Because if I was a parent and found out that 40 years ago a dead guitarist played at Lagoon, no way I'd take my kids there.

Any crazy-ass murals?

I'm glad you asked! This piece lines the queue at the Terror Ride. It's weird! I borrowed this picture from this website. You can see a huge hi-res version of the mural there.

This thing is so bizarre I'm convinced there's some Lovecraftian / Da Vinci code stuff going on here. What dark secrets drove this painter to madness? What sinister message was he trying to warn us of?

Not much is known of the mural. I found this on some guy's flickr site:

"The mural was painted by William M. Tracy, who is probably dead now. He lived in New Jersey. It is believed to have been painted in the 1940's [EDITORS NOTE: further research indicates that it was painted in the 1960s]. William Tracy used to display stunts for dark rides at the industry trade shows. The mural was most likely purchased at the trade show along with some stunts. Bill Tracy also did many of the gags that were in the original Dracula's Castle, many of which remain in place today. Sadly, he was an alcoholic"

Now we have something to go on. My investigation begins.

Here's a review of the mural that's kind of funny.

Done talking about Lagoon?

For now, yes.


  1. "What dark secrets drove this painter to madness?"


  2. I'm not sure I could handle going to Lagoon with your posse. Ya'll's hardcore.

  3. I'm glad you didn't yank after the space scrambler. That would have been awkward.

  4. i know that mural is full of all sorts of strange and creepy creatures, but nothing freaked me out more than this:¤t=mural.jpg

  5. i don't know how easy that link is to copy and paste. here is another. if this doesn't work, i give up!

  6. Huh, the link shows up fine in my e-mail, but not here. Hmm. I'll work on it.

    But yeah, that is the freakiest part! Why is so happy? Did he bring about this chaos? Is he a mad wizard? A war profiteer? An exhibitionist?