worked one summer – 1967 – at POP at the shooting gallery

Rest in Peace – Pacific Ocean ParkForumsGeneral Discussion About POPworked one summer – 1967 – at POP at the shooting gallery

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November 15, 2011 at 8:28 am #252


Posted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:36 am

I worked the Shooting Gallery six days a week in the summer of 1967, while my older brother worked for Eddie Carson at the Sea Serpent roller coaster. I cannot remember the name of my boss, the guy who ran the shooting gallery. It seems as though these two attractions were not fully associated with “the park” but were independent of them. I worked for a few weekends after school started as well, but then the park was not busy enough and I was let go.

I worked with two cousins from way up town, one named “Byron”. Both were students who knew Eddie Carson from some place, and that was how they had been working at POP for a while. Great guys, they were patient with me and taught me the ropes.

At least that is what I recall, I was 17 at the time.

My brother also worked with Mark the bouncer from The Oar House across the street. Mark was awesome, and a very good guy to know if someone got slightly drunk and rowdy,,,and this happened from time to time.

I saw the DOORS perform live at the Cheetah one evening after work. The Cheetah was a dump of a club near the park entrance. But the DOORS, this was 1967, were still sober (actually Morrison was the public drunk and became almost useless on stage later on due to alcohol) and were absolutely incredible live. I was 17 but managed to get into the club without hassle.

I remember riding the roller coaster before the park opened, too many times to count. I became very comfortable riding standing up, hands held in the air. Once you sensed the center of gravity you could do this without issue. Plus, we were stupid kids.

I remember the patrons of the roller coaster who would ignore the signs about hats and wigs…and then lose one or the other on the ride. I helped out multiple times to calm down a patron while they stopped the ride and looked for a hat or a wig. We usually found them but it was a drag.

I remember The Beetles Sgt Pepper being released and the entire experience and period of time remains completely surreal to me. We heard the song all summer.

The smell of the ocean, the calm before the park opened, the sounds, unreal. Awesome summer job.

One of the employees of the park drove this powerful Plymouth Hemi to work, it was a new one, and it was a monster of a car. It was light colored and I cannot recall specifically what model. It was new, yet it smoked since the original 426 Hemi was so “loose”. I didn’t know the guy but I always liked to see him arrive or depart with that car that made the pier rattle. The current motors being sold as “hemis” are a far cry from the original 426 Hemi.. It was a race engine in a street legal car and I’ll never forget the sound of it.

I was one year behind Mark Morehart in high school, his dad was the owner of the park at some point (others have described this in detail). I knew his dad owned or had owned the park but we never talked about it.

I recall in vivid detail the overall good vibes. It was a good deal for a family to visit, in terms of cash. It became a bit of a problem as more rides fell into disrepair, and it was pissing people off. But overall, especially the big weekend crowds were an awesome experience in multi-cultural harmony. Many of the inner city came down Pico and spent the day on the pier, in the fresh cool air.

Good stuff. Serendipity. Easily the most mellow job I ever had by a long shot.



Posted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:29 pm
Site Admin

Hi Patrick,
Thank you for posting your memories about P.O.P.! Really great stuff!
Have you seen the Pacific Ocean Park Facebook page? There are quite a few former employees who are part of the group as well as fans with lots of stories as well. You mentioned the name Eddie Carson – recently I found a “Frame grab” of him from his brief appearance in the film “HOLD ON!” and posted it on FB.
I have to wonder how many times the “Doors” played at the Cheetah club because most of the people that I know, that went there, saw that band!
Within the past year I have become friends with a man named Roger Lastra who along with his brother Don worked at P.O.P. from Opening day until one week before it closed 9 years later.
If you have any more stories of POP please post them and check out the Facebook page.

June 12, 2013 at 2:06 pm #7837


Hello, again. Nothing like long intervals. 🙂

First issue – thanks for the Eddie Carson mention. I do not use FaceBook, but I used my wife’s access and failed to find the frame grab. Any chance you can send it to me directly?

Second issue – I think many people knew of the Doors having played there, or walked by, etc. But I strongly suspect only a small percentage of those claiming to see them, did so. That’s just my take. It was a shabby place to see a band, and in general, The Doors were not appealing to a wide, mainstream audience at that time. In fact, due to the timeframe, there was still anti-rock, anti long-hair and anti-hip sentiment. That does not say The Doors were not wildly popular….they were. But only within a certain demographic. There were still quite a few buzz cuts and pro-war types, though everyone was growing far more aware. I’m just saying, in my opinion, it is unlikely ALL of those claiming to see them, did so. Not saying they didn’t dig the band, just saying they may not have felt like they fit in with the long hairs actually seeing the shows.

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