Cyclone Racer 1
People on car 2
End of ride 3
AT THE PIKE
Short Stories 1
Pike Short Stories
(Excerpts from E-Mails)
broken tile and smashed glass
Curt Leber/Cal State Long Beach/1992
Unfortunately my friends and I had just
turned eleven or so by the time the Pike began to finally close
down in '79. We enjoyed the remaining independent rides that
had not yet been auctioned off and the "Scooby Doo Haunted
Amusement Park' vibe we got riding our Honda 90's up and down
In early '80 I remember riding over a flattened Rent-A-Fence
near the last remaining tattoo joint down on what used to be
Queensway. Oily puddles, broken tile and smashed glass spilled
out of the door frames and windows of buildings that were now
little more than mouldering heaps of lathe and plaster in the
light afternoon rain. These were the remnants of "the jungle"
a place where the old timers lived many different lives amid
three fantastic and squalid city blocks. All of these memories
were gone now, in less than four days of serious demolition.
Riding east I saw a lesser fun house on my right. It wasn't the
Laff In The Dark, it was the one that every cheap carnival has.
I remember it because it was the only existing building I heard
sounds coming from.
I didn't get off the bike. I cut the engine and walked it to
what used to be the entrance of the fun house. Through the large
barrel and the slanty steps I could make out a group of 3 or
4 people burning a couch. Part of the corrugated metal roof was
missing and the afternoon sun illuminated the back wall of the
fun house while profiling the inhabitants in deep shadows. Watching
them break the wooden arms off the sofa and trying to keep their
trash fire going was entertaining to me. Until all activity stopped
and one of them said "...Hey little man, Come here."
I cut a deep U right there in the middle of Queensway and tore-ass
back out and over the flattened Rent-A-Fence. Never looked back.
That's my last memory of Queensway.
Glenda Adney Gould, Class of 1964, Millikan High School
In 1956 when I was ten, my mother took my two sisters and me
for swimming lessons at the YWCA at 6th and Pacific. Every Saturday
morning the four of us would get on the city bus at Spring and
Palo Verde for the ride down there. I always liked to sit on
the bench seat at the back of the bus because it made for a warm
and bumpy ride.
My swimming instructor was Greta Andersen, the famous Olympic
Gold Medalist and long-distance swimmer. It was an honor to receive
Red Cross cards from Greta. Frequently after our lessons, we
would take another bus down to Pine St. to window shop and buy
novelties "Made in Japan". Sometimes from there, we
would go down to the Pike! On the way, we would stop for salt-water
taffy at Magruder's. Orange, strawberry, caramel- I had a difficult
time deciding which flavors to get!
When we got to the Pike, after walking through the lively arcade,
we would ride on the Double Ferris Wheel and the Carousel! Riding
on the Carousel was my very favorite thing in all the world to
do! With the music of the calliope playing in the background,
I wanted to sail around on that beautiful horse forever!
The idea was to grab the brass ring, which would entitle you
to a free ride! The anticipation of the brass ring was thrilling!
As my heart pounded, I would hold on to the shiny brass pole
with my left hand, lean out far to the right and, while the horse
was moving up and down, crook my finger and get ready to pluck
the ring from the mannekin's fingers! I can remember thinking,
"I must grab the ring! It might be the brass one! I don't
want to miss it!"
I did get the brass ring several times and each time I felt like
Cinderella at the ball! There was something magical about getting
that brass ring!
Sue Richards Rogers, Lakewood High, class "63"
The year was1962 a friend and i took
a bus ride from Lakewood at 9 at night to the Pike to go dancing
and meet the sailor's in the Lido Ballroom. We were so scared
to be out down there on the street that we ran from the bus stop
down into the pike and into the Lido. The manager watched out
for all of the patron's and we had a great time. Of course our
parents did not know of this of this trip. ps. my parents met
there in the Lido in 1930 when my dad was a sailor from Kansas
and my mom uses to go dancing there just to meet sailors. What
Fun! Sue Richards Rogers, Lakewood High, class "63"
Judy Pierceall Corea ( Gardena High School-1957 )
Growing up in the 50's era of "The
Pike" always evolved into a "coming of age" ritual.
Anywhere within a couple of hours drive to and fro. was close
enough proximity to plan on having the time of your life. You
always had to allow enough time to spend there, having that time
of your life, before piling into perhaps a 1941 Ford or the likes
that clearly had such a gas fume leak you almost passed out on
the drive home. Never mind, it was worth any effort. As you drove
closer you could feel the electricity as the Long Beach air assumed
it's customary salty-tar smell. Entering the parking lot just
as dusk fell, the Pike seemed a truly wondrously forbidden, yet
inviting, Sodom to this 15 year old. No matter how many times
I managed to get there, I was always filled with brimming anticipation
and excitement. The flashing lights and gaudy signs hawking the
hootchie-cootchi dancers with made up sad faces, and the freak
shows with "freaks" that mysteriously looked like the
little man next door. No where else could you see such things,
and it was great to be 15 and to be there.
Claudia Weaver Class of 55 LB Poly
My great grandmother had a gift shop
at the entrance to the pike in the 20's called the Oriental........My
Grandmother had a hamburger joint when I was little. When I think
about the Pike, so many great memories flood my mind. My first
Pony ride, the Fun house, the plunge and the Strand Theater where
they still had burlesque shows and I was
thrilled by the Magicians, Ball room, Apache, Fan and Tap dancers..
acrobats and corny song and dance comedy routines...I'm so grateful
I got to see these things and ride all
the rides and see the sailors buy flowers for their girls. The
best day of all was a day my Dad just lost his job,instead of
being depressed, he took us all on the bus to the Pike
and we went to the" spit and argue club", Dad played
his guitar and sang songs and had my sister and me sing"Pistil
Packing Momma", people threw enough money at us to
ride everything, eat plenty and go to the show. it was a great
day and Dad found renewed spirit and a job the next day. My father
was Lynn Weaver, in clubs where he sang he
was called Monty.
Claudia Weaver Class of 55 LB Poly
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