One of the most fondly remembered rides from the park was built in the late 1960's on a site formerly occupied by a workshop and a game concession next to the Play Land Arcade.  Spadola, Leis and Fortin transformed the building into one of the most spectacular walk-thru fun houses ever created: Out Of This World. This ride was Dark. Most of the interior walls were painted gloss black. Spadola designed most of the layout with assistance from Leis. He created an enormous assortment of bizarre paintings and three-dimensional characters to populate the ride. The walls depicted planetary scenes with spacemen in suites and weird nightmarish creatures. There were also many whimsical characters.  The entire ride itself was the ballyhoo: from the realistic rock surface of the building (again, made of celastic) to the giant flying saucer that seemingly had crashed into it, to the overhang (fronted by a giant lime green and pink robot) where patrons would walk out and around. Everything was dotted with intense colorful flashing lights. A peculiar combination of synthesized noises blared out onto the midway from the eight-track tape system, sort of like early "house" music without the beat.

 The journey began with entry into the saucer. You'd pass through a corridor with a large rubber half-cones embedded into each wall, from the floor to about hip height. They'd alternate one on the left and one on the right. This was a gag used in many other fun houses. From there you would enter a dark tipsy room. It had a black-lit wall with a painting of astronauts on the moon, surrounded by alien creatures. You'd then progress up a ramp and come out on the south side of the overhang.

Advancing counter-clock wise around the overhang, you'd encounter various moving platforms. On the floor  of the turnaround was a spinning metal disk that Fortin had made. "It would help you, turn you around the corner" he said.  "But the insurance company didn't like that".

Next were wood planks on the floor that moved forward and back. heading back inside the building, the corridor turned 90 degrees to the right. You'd then be directly over the saucer. There was a lookout onto the midway as you passed over air jets in the floor.  You'd take a left and follow a ramp downward to the back of the building. There was another tipsy room, which led to a corridor that brought you out to the saucer.  A small room was built near the middle of the ride from which an employee could watch the various corridors to make sure the patrons were safe.

Naturally, there were always kids who wanted to fool around. Since the fun house was so dark, it was easy for kids to hide in the corners and surprise unsuspecting patrons. After several years, the moving platforms were locked down to appease the insurance companies. Eventually, there were so many complaints from patrons of being harassed by kids within the ride that in 1982 it was decided to modify the building. The floor of the overhang was kept, but as a roof for a coin-operated punching  bag game. The lookout over the saucer was retained for show only and outfitted with some of characters that used to to populate the ride.  It was the only reminder of the once glorious OOTW.  The building itself was turned into a new arcade and stayed that way until the park closed. Some of the other figures could be found scattered around the midway, amusing and colorful statues somehow  out-of-place without their home.

After almost 100 years of fun Mountain Park vanished from Holyoke., taking with it some remarkable amusement creations.  The "Mystery Ride", "Dinosaur Den", Fun House", Pirates Den"  and "Out Of This World" were unique because of the creativity and  ingenuity of  Dominic Spadola, Edward Leis and Roger Fortin.  Now their brilliant work is gone. Their rides were made in a time of simpler amusements, when scrap metal, wood planks, homosote and a little resourcefulness could be assembled into something that gave joy to generations. I treasure parks like Kennywood and Waldameer that are carrying on a tradition for a new generation of dark rides and fun houses that are simple yet thrilling for all ages.

In the early 1990's, a man purchased one of the two robot statues and then drove around with it strapped to the roof of his car until vandals set it on fire.  City youths took over the abandoned arcade, with its roof  leaking and facade covered with graffiti, and used it as a skateboard arena until heavy snows collapsed the roof during the winter of 2000. Where there was once a thrilling work of art now sits a heap of rubble, indiscernible except for the roofline.


If you look closely at the opening in the facade where the overhang was, you can still see the park's last remaining example of Spadola's work: an odd little spider-like creature from "Out Of This World" that somehow escaped being covered with graffiti. And it's strange, but it looks as it there's a tear coming out of its eye.

Let's Go to Mountain Park Memories
Part 1

EDITORS NOTES: Mountain Park Memories 1 & 2 -- About the Author

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