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.
walls depicted planetary scenes with spacemen
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
EDITORS NOTES: Mountain Park Memories 1 & 2 -- About the Author