Casa Flamingo

Sunday, April 30, 2017


Book Cover

Legends: Pioneers of the Amusement Park Industry

Legends: Pioneers of the Amusement Park Industry is a multi-book series that pays homage to the greatest of the great – those who made the amusement parks, theme parks and waterparks what they are today.

There have been hundreds of books written on individual parks, on individual rides and attractions and on the business as a whole, while few have been written specifically about the people who dedicated their lives to creating the industry in which we all love. This series by Tim O’Brien and Ripley Publishing adds faces and personality to the rich history of the industry.

This first volume highlights 10 pioneers who were instrumental in shaping the 20th century fun park landscape. Presented here are the most detailed and comprehensive biographies ever written about these individuals. Written in a casual and easy to read style, the passion of these pioneers beautifully shines through.

Buzz Price had no data bank to refer to when he conducted the original feasibility study for Disneyland or when he directed Walt to the location in Anaheim where the park was built.

Ron Toomer had no g-force numbers or more than a basic knowledge of friction when he left the space industry to design the world’s first Runaway Mine Train roller coaster for Six Flags Over Texas. He had never ridden a coaster until he designed and built one.

When you read the chapter on the Father of the Waterpark Industry George Millay, you’ll not only become acquainted with this remarkable man personally, but you’ll learn of his amazing visionary skills that led to the creation of three SeaWorld marine parks, Magic Mountain theme park, and seven Wet’n Wild waterparks.

You’ll read of Harold Chance’s pioneering journey through life as you also learn the history of Chance Rides, a ground-breaking American ride manufacturer and one of the most prolific ride builders ever.

You’ll discover how Carl Hughes of Kennywood Park became the first non family member to reach top management at the park and at the same time you’ll be treated to a short primer on the history of the International Assn. of Amusement Parks & Attractions (IAAPA), the group that Hughes helped develop into the world’s largest amusement industry trade association.

To most, John Graff is known as the now-retired top official of the IAAPA; but few know of his pioneering efforts in theme park law and contract work when in the early 1970s he became the first lawyer for the parks division of the Marriott Corporation.

Dr. Roberto Ortiz, a physician in Costa Rica raised funds to create that country’s first modern theme park as an on-going revenue generator for the country’s largest children’s hospital that he built 17 years earlier. Today, the park contributes nearly $300,000 a year to the operating funds of the hospital.

Marty Sklar, who started working for Walt Disney four weeks before Disneyland opened in California in 1955, has attended the opening of and contributed to the creation of all 11 Disney parks worldwide. His creative instincts and managerial skills took him to the top rung of the Walt Disney Imagineers, where he has worked for more than 50 years.

You’ll meet Bo Kinntorph, the affable Swede from Liseberg Park who was the first non-American president of IAAPA and who is widely recognized as the one who made the IAAPA the truly international organization it is today.

Jeff Henry from the family who created and still owns the Schlitterbahn waterpark resorts took his “crazy ideas” and became one of the world’s most productive and creative waterpark ride builders and park designers in the history of the waterpark industry.