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29yrswithaGApass

1977 Yearbook - Season #4

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Can the next spotlight follow this and be "Great Adventure Joins The Six Flags Family" Spotlight

 

Goto%20GA%20Joins%20SF%20SL.png

 

This one will probably come a few seasons later- around 1981 when Six Flags operated the park for half of the years since its opening.

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The 1977 season was the first time the park's attendance dropped. (See HERE.) Coincidentally, it was also the first year that a large portion of their budget wasn't spent on new rides. Interesting that the same results are usually typical today too in the theme park industry.

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Here's something funny....

 

A July 4, 1977 article in TIME magazine entitled Here Comes Summer: Pop Xanadus of Fun and Fantasy included this comment:

 

 

"It's like sex. You wait hours and hours for that one wonderful minute."

 

—Teen-age boy waiting in line for the flume ride at Great Adventure, Jackson, N.J.

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This one will probably come a few seasons later- around 1981 when Six Flags operated the park for half of the years since its opening.

 

Can you add it now?

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Click the image below to see a vintage home movie filmed in the park's main entrance and aboard the Big Wheel. It includes shots of some of our most recent Spotlights including the GA Planter, Marvel Characters, Avenue of the States flags, and the Liberty Square Gazebo.

 

YB%20TOURING%20THE%20PARK%20copy_Buttons

1977HMPlacard.jpg

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I discovered there was a second rack brochure for 1977 that was issued in June of that year. The pamphlet was basically the same as the first one except for the back panel which promoted supporting the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I would imagine this was part an agreement the park had with MDA for the commericals and promotions Jerry Lewis did for the park in 1976.

 

Below is the back panel abd the entire brochure can be viewed HERE.

 

1977_PamphletBack2.jpg

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Well, just in case you weren't convinced that our goal is to cover every aspect of Great Adventure, we have just uploaded a gallery of square dancers who promoted the 1977 National Square Dance Convention at Great Adventure. You can check out our 1977 Yearbook - Events page to see them all. Below are some samples.

 

scan0076%20copy.jpg

 

SFGA2_SQDANCE_0002_FEB77%20copy.jpg

 

SFGA2_SQDANCE_0013_FEB77%20copy.jpg

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A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of meeting up with Dan Inghram who was a key person in the park's advertising and marketing department during GA's early years. He created the now infamous star-lined rainbow logo that would be used during the 1977 season and which was enhanced with the SIX FLAGS letters to become the first logo used by Six Flags when they acquired the park.

 

Pictured below is THE original hand drawn and colored artwork of the rainbow logo, which I am proud to say is now part of my Great Adventure memorabilia collection.

 

gallery_2_35_114648.jpg

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That's really awesome!

 

Being hand-drawn is pretty impressive. I hadn't realized that, but now I can notice some vvveerrrrryyyyyyy slight differences between the three e's.

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With just the simple reference numbers, the park maps were a lot easier to read back then. Now that the park has expanded so much, and has so many different themes areas, it's harder to correlate all the colors and numbers.

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One of the best seasons in the history of Great Adventure. The park was on a major upswing in those days. Love the photos on here from that season. Hard to believe it was 40 years ago.

 

Question: For those of you who attended the park in 1977 and in 2017, which version do you like better and why?

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One of the best seasons in the history of Great Adventure. The park was on a major upswing in those days. Love the photos on here from that season. Hard to believe it was 40 years ago.

 

Question: For those of you who attended the park in 1977 and in 2017, which version do you like better and why?

1977 was my first visit to the park and, easily, I prefer 1977 versus 2017. I think the park was a better balanced park (rides, shows, and attractions) back then with something for everyone to enjoy. The significant destruction of the forest atmosphere over time has really detracted from the sense of escaping the real world for a fantasy world. Lastly, I think the addition of fast pass like pay policies (in most theme parks) have created an almost confrontational atmosphere/class structure between guests that really detracts from everyone enjoying all that the park has to offer. And, the variety and balance of attractions is completely lost with extreme rides/roller coasters being the primary attraction and very little in the way of shows and family attractions. So while I was much happier with GA back in 1977, I'd have to say that is true for almost every theme park I can think of that I have visited more recently. I think the differences over 40 years, however, seem more pronounced.

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I know exactly what you mean, Daved. Couldn't agree more. In 1977, for example, there were so many trees inside GA that you couldn't even see half of the rides. When you went around a bend on a pathway, all of a sudden you saw a ton of rides that you couldn't wait to jump on.

 

Like you, I don't like these fast passes and you go straight to the front of the line. I understand it's all about making a profit anyway possible. That said, it's also about making the guests feel welcomed. It was better when everybody essentially had to wait the same amount of time to get on a ride.

 

I was up by Magic Mountain (I live about 30 minutes away without traffic) the other day and all I could see were roller coasters while driving on the freeway. There's no variety anymore.

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I know exactly what you mean, Daved. Couldn't agree more. In 1977, for example, there were so many trees inside GA that you couldn't even see half of the rides. When you went around a bend on a pathway, all of a sudden you saw a ton of rides that you couldn't wait to jump on.

 

Like you, I don't like these fast passes and you go straight to the front of the line. I understand it's all about making a profit anyway possible. That said, it's also about making the guests feel welcomed. It was better when everybody essentially had to wait the same amount of time to get on a ride.

 

I was up by Magic Mountain (I live about 30 minutes away without traffic) the other day and all I could see were roller coasters while driving on the freeway. There's no variety anymore.

Did not know that you, too, are in Southern California. I live in Long Beach and worked in Marketing Research at SFMM during my senior year in college (1986/87). I worked in research at GA when I was home for Summer during my college years. Just my opinion, but personally, GA's balance/variety of offerings problem seems to have really accelerated over (at least) the last decade. MM's balance/variety of offerings problem seems to have existed since probably 1978 dispite occasional efforts to improve the balance. Oddly enough, over time, trees and green space at MM have increased (the park was built in the barren high desert hills) while at GA (built in a forest) the opposite has occurred.

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1977 was my first visit to the park and, easily, I prefer 1977 versus 2017. I think the park was a better balanced park (rides, shows, and attractions) back then with something for everyone to enjoy. The significant destruction of the forest atmosphere over time has really detracted from the sense of escaping the real world for a fantasy world. Lastly, I think the addition of fast pass like pay policies (in most theme parks) have created an almost confrontational atmosphere/class structure between guests that really detracts from everyone enjoying all that the park has to offer. And, the variety and balance of attractions is completely lost with extreme rides/roller coasters being the primary attraction and very little in the way of shows and family attractions. So while I was much happier with GA back in 1977, I'd have to say that is true for almost every theme park I can think of that I have visited more recently. I think the differences over 40 years, however, seem more pronounced.

I'm glad someone else feels the same way about this. Since I'm older, most people would just rationalize my feelings because I am not in touch with the younger generations. The question is, do the younger attendees want more extreme rides and less attractions and shows? I imagine SF and other park companies have done studies, and followed attendance/sales stats over the years to show that they do. Otherwise, why invest millions in the direction they have? An extreme rollercoaster grabs the headlines and attention a lot more than a show at the Showcase Theater. You won't see a sign on the Turnpike advertising a magic show at GA.

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Six Flags' biggest problem has been inconsistent ownership and management which has resulted in completely inconsistent marketing directed at an even more inconsistent target market. Why on earth would a company only target the teen/young adult market with its products? Most don't have jobs or the resulting money required to spend on products and have to rely on their parents for such funds. So, yes, Six Flags does appear to conduct a significant amount of research related to its customers/target and what they want, but it's obvious that they completely ignore the huge potential market of customers that are not attending their parks. If you don't have a good balance of attractions that appeal (at least somewhat) to everyone in the family, you're not going to get everyone from the family attending the park. Let's be realistic and consider current attendance levels at Six Flags (specifically GA). The population centers of NY/Philadelphia are, combined, the biggest in the country and have continued to grow since 1974. GA's attendance is stagnant, at best, and below its peak levels of the 90s. Just my opinion, but if your building a park that increasingly only appeals to teens and ignoring the source of income for those teens by removing attractions that appeal to them (again, parents and other family members), you're never going to consistently grow your attendance. It seems, especially with their pricing strategies for FastPass and other revenue sources, that they're content with a very limited target base and the resulting attendance in favor of milking their smaller attendance for greater margins.

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They also do a good job attracting young families, as SFGA has a significant number of rides, attractions and shows for toddler-age and preschool kids. I think the biggest issue is the 40+ age crowd, because I see very few families at the park where the kids are late teenage or 20's going with their parents. Perhaps families with older kids don't do things together in this day and age, but I would dispute this. I see a lot of older families spending big money to rent a shore house or go on a cruise or Disney trip together. Almost every time I attend SFGA we are the oldest people in the park (I am 55 and still ride Nitro, but my wife is 52 and she only likes mellow rides). So there appears to be a ton of 40+ age people (with lots of disposable income) that SFGA does not get to attend their park.

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I am 50 and my wife is 46 with my daughter who is 19. For several years we have been going to the park but recently we bother not to go and end up just going to Asbury Beach for the day instead. My wife only went once last year (for my birthday) and has not been back since. Even Hurricane Harbor is too crowded to go to and we only went once last year.

 

We have not even been to the park this year and my membership pass is not being worth it now except we have gone to SFNE and SFA for the past few years.

 

The lack of shows is our main reason. We need something else to do beside riding coasters. Since the loss of the Dolphin show there is nothing we we are interested in (show wise).

 

Dorney has shows... SFA even has shows... Why don't we???

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I am 50 and my wife is 46 with my daughter who is 19. For several years we have been going to the park but recently we bother not to go and end up just going to Asbury Beach for the day instead. My wife only went once last year (for my birthday) and has not been back since. Even Hurricane Harbor is too crowded to go to and we only went once last year.

 

We have not even been to the park this year and my membership pass is not being worth it now except we have gone to SFNE and SFA for the past few years.

 

The lack of shows is our main reason. We need something else to do beside riding coasters. Since the loss of the Dolphin show there is nothing we we are interested in (show wise).

 

Dorney has shows... SFA even has shows... Why don't we???

We went to the sea lion show early in the season, and it was lame and very short. We tried to see it again last week but the show times didn't work out for us. I wanted to see if it was any better than the first time, but I suspect no. The animals have in the area next to the sea lion stadium are only a pig and a lion cub - not much to look at for very long. That whole setup for the sea lion show seems like overkill considering how lame and short (less than 15 minutes) the show is. We've been on the safari ride twice so far, but I refuse to wait the hour plus to get on it now.

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Dorney has shows... SFA even has shows... Why don't we???

Neither of those parks has Kingda Ka. That requires $5 million in yearly maintenance. You want shows, you loose Ka. Unfortunately that's a decision that's not so easy to undue since it is a marquis attraction (people actually come to the park for it, like it or not).

 

The current park is unfortunately saddled with the decision of the past management as well as the present, so it always comes down to what decision will make more money than the cost (RoI). If they spent the $5 million on shows and shut down Ka, attendance would go down. Yes, a few people would come back because "now there are shows!" but they'd lose more people because the signature coaster was closed.

 

And, I absolutely agree, a well rounded park needs shows as well as rides, but that ship has sailed (for now) unless there's a sudden change in management priorities or finances.

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Neither of those parks has Kingda Ka. That requires $5 million in yearly maintenance. You want shows, you loose Ka. Unfortunately that's a decision that's not so easy to undue since it is a marquis attraction (people actually come to the park for it, like it or not).

 

The current park is unfortunately saddled with the decision of the past management as well as the present, so it always comes down to what decision will make more money than the cost (RoI). If they spent the $5 million on shows and shut down Ka, attendance would go down. Yes, a few people would come back because "now there are shows!" but they'd lose more people because the signature coaster was closed.

 

And, I absolutely agree, a well rounded park needs shows as well as rides, but that ship has sailed (for now) unless there's a sudden change in management priorities or finances.

 

Not to argue (really i'm not) but Cedar Point has Dragster... and shows. I do know they have higher revenues such as on-site hotels and higher season pass prices. And I would pay more for my passes if they had shows.

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