26 June 2006

I Was Easily Amused

It's not a huge draw today, because it is closed but when I was a kid, the best thing in our neighbor- hood was Frontier Village.

Remember that one? San Jose's original amusement park in a western theme. Up until 1976, you had FV and The Winchester Mystery House. (I've never been there. I'm told that the real mystery is why anyone would pay $15 to tour an unfurnished house with doors leading to nowhere.) This was all before Great America opened during the country's bi-centennial celebration.

Frontier Village was inncoent and honest. It was clean fun for youngsters. The amusement parks of today are geared toward teenagers. From the house I was born to, it was only 3 miles away. We used to go there all the time! We'd drive the Model T cars and try to bang them off of the steel track that guided them around corners!
  • There were wild west style gunfights where the bad guys would roll off the roofs of buildings!
  • There was an archery field and you won ribbons for hitting bull's eyes!
  • There was a bicycle that turned left when you steered right... and vice-versa.
  • You could fish for trout -- and actually catch 'em!
There also was a franchise of The Mystery Spot contained inside the park which they called El Sito Mysterio -- where water ran uphill. And pool table balls didn't roll the way you'd expect.

Well, for the past five years an annual reunion has been held bay and for ex-park employees and patrons, alike. There is a lot of history on their site.

My older brother's peer, who lived directly across the street from our house, was a gunfighter. He used to tell us kids on the street that at Frontier Village, all the girls wanted to date the gunfighters. Makes sense now, because if you've ever gone to a Halloween party dressed up as Kactus Kong or any other character with a mask, forget it - too steamy inside a mask!


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