UA-20143982-1 Treasures From Six Flags Magic Mountain's Past - The Coaster Guy

Treasures From Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Past

By on 03/06/2012

Last Fall, I had the pleasure of meeting a local Santa Clarita Valley businessman, and former Six Flags Magic Mountain employee, by the name of Mike Lovingood. Mike has a personal philosophy that nothing should ever be wasted and everything can be re-purposed. During his years working at the park, it made him sad to see so many pieces of the park’s history rotting away in the bone yard. After he went off and started his own business, Mike remained on good terms with the park and struck a deal with them to salvage some of that history. What you are about to see is just a small part of Mike’s collection of Six Flags Magic Mountain memorabilia.

When I finally tracked Mike down, I explained who I was and that I was doing research on the park’s history, and that I was very interested in interviewing him. Even though his business was currently closed to the public, he was gracious enough to invite me over to his property for a private tour. When I arrived, it was hard to miss the Man of Steel staring down at me from his perch high above the trees:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

Yes, this is the actual Superman statue that once ‘stood’ sideways on top of the Superman: The Escape tower, staring down at you as the ride’s car approached the top. It had come down during a particularly heavy wind storm and was never reattached. Since the park had secret plans at the time to transform the ride into Superman: Escape from Krypton, complete with cars that went backwards, there was no need. Nobody would be able to see it anyway. Mike refurbished the statue and it now stands guard over his property.

Does anyone remember this statue from the former version of the ride:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

Here’s a really old flashback. As I’m sure many of you know, trolls were introduced in 1972 as the official mascots for the first several years of the park’s existence. Near the main entrance was a statue of one of the trolls riding a horse, with a caption near the base that said “Our Founder.” In 1985, the park swapped out the trolls for the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes characters, which it had the licensing rights to use. The troll was chiseled off the horse and replaced with Bugs Bunny, which you can see here:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

Elmer Fudd Orchard was one of one of the original attractions located in Children’s World, which is now known as Bugs Bunny World:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

Baron von Fudd was the original name for Yosemite Sam’s Flight School:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

One of the original children’s rides was called Dune Buggies. In 1985, as part of the introduction of the Looney Tunes characters, and the rebranding of Children’s World to Bugs Bunny World, Dune Buggies was changed to Daffy Duners:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

This sign is really hard to see, but it says Tasmanian Devil Cycles. It was one of the kiddie rides in the kids area, small motor cycles that went in a circle:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

Some of the memorabilia isn’t that old. This next picture was one of Thomas the Tank Engine’s friends. The Thomas Town kids area was added with much fanfare in 2008, however it was swiftly removed in 2011 when the licensing rights were not renewed:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

Many people don’t know that Six Flags Magic Mountain once had an aerial tram, called Eagle’s Flight, that connected Samurai Summit with two separate stations on the ground. The Galaxy station was located where the base of the Superman tower is today and the El Dorado station was located on the backside of the hill, close to where The Riddler’s Revenge is today. The Shangri-La station is the v-shaped building that still sits up on Samurai Summit. It currently houses the Bite II scare maze during Fright Fest. Here is one of the original sky buckets used on Eagle’s Flight:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

After the destructive Northridge earthquake in 1994, Eagle’s Flight was permanently closed and dismantled. This is one of the massive pulleys that was used to drive the cable that the buckets were attached to:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

This is one of the cables that was used on Eagle’s Flight. You really can’t tell from this picture, but it is very thick. If you look back at the previous picture, this cable filled the groove in the pulley:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

I just happened to glance down and caught this bit of history. The original name of the Orient Express was Funicular, which is the actual name for that type of transport:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

This was from a snack stand that used to be on the back side of the park:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

This next piece is interesting. It’s one of the ‘engines’ from the Z-Force looping starship ride. It was installed in 1987 in what is now the DC Universe area. It was removed in 1993 to make room for Batman: The Ride, which opened in 1994. Today this engine serves as a memorial to dogs who have passed away:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

Everyone knows about the Orient Express that shuttles people up the hill from the front of the park. Did you know there used to be a similar transport that would shuttle people up from the back of the park? It was called the Dragon and operated from 1975 to 1980. The upper station is used as the Ninja station today. The lower station is still there as well, right next to the Jet Stream entrance, but it isn’t used for anything. You can also see parts of the old track as you are riding Ninja back up the hill to the station. One of the biggest complaints about the Dragon was that it was very slow. People could actually get off the ride and walk up the hill faster than it moved. Here is one of the original cars:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

Here’s another original sky bucket from Eagle’s Flight:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

Pirates Cove used to be one of the themed areas of the park, located between the High Sierra Territory and Colossus County Fair. It was added in 1993 when the park started to add some major theming. It consisted primarily of the Buccaneer, Jolly Roger, and Swashbuckler rides. This sign was located approximately where the water play area is today in Whistlestop Park and welcomed (?) people to the area:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

The themed area lasted until 2000, when Goliath opened, at which time it became part of Colossus County Fair. Two of the major rides are still there today, Buccaneer and Swashbuckler, and they still carry the pirate theme. The area’s restroom, Fort le John, is still there today as well. This boat was located in the planter in front of the restroom:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

This Yosemite Sam used to stand guard over the top of the Fort le John restroom::

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

Original to the park in 1971, Crazy Barrels was a Drunken Barrels ride from Intamin AG that operated until 1989. The barrels were removed, however the platform and ride building are still there. It was located between the Johnny Rockets in the Center Ring Games area and the old monorail station. It is partially hidden behind a basketball free throw game. Mike has several, if not all, of the original barrels:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

When I said that Mike liked to re-purpose things, I wasn’t kidding. As you can see here, the plastic barrels make fantastic planters for plants, shrubs, and even trees:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

This next picture is a base from one of the old El Bumpo bumper boats. The cutout was where the outboard engine would drop down into the water. Mike says the thick rubber is extremely tough and it makes a virtually indestructible splash pool for his dogs. You might have missed it, but you can see one laid out in the Bugs Bunny/horse photo above:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

Ahhh, Log Jammer….how we will miss thee:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

Mike has a lot of really nice pieces of Magic Mountain history in his collection, but this next one is without a doubt the crown jewel in his collection. It’s the “Old 99″ steam train that operated in the park from 1972 to 1980. It was removed from the park in 1981 and dropped in the bone yard. It sat there for over 20 years, sinking into the asphalt and succumbing to the elements. Mike invested a lot of time and money completely restoring it to working condition, and it looks absolutely stunning in front of his business:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

Even though it’s fully functional, it only sits on a display track for now. In addition to the engine, Mike also restored a couple of the cars to go with, which are attached to the train and also on display:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

It’s a blurry picture, but everything you see here is completely functional:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

Here’s another railcar waiting to be restored and added back to the train:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

As I rounded a corner, I spotted yet another railcar awaiting its restoration as well:

Six Flags Magic Mountain History

I’d like to thank Mike for providing me with a private tour of his collection. It was fascinating to see so much of the park’s history. Many people today know very little about the park’s past and I’m glad I am able to share a bit of it. In closing, here are a couple of videos I found on YouTube that chronicle the last day of operation for the “Old 99″:

37 Comments

  1. Eric

    03/06/2012 at 11:11 pm

    Pirates Cove was not an atraction, it was a themed area, It was the name of the area right next to High Sierra Territory (were Yosemite Sam Sierra Falls used to be). Before Goliath was buidl that small area between high sierra terrytory and colossus conty fair was called Pirates Cove with a ride called firts “El baile de las flores” that first was located near to revolution quee line then it was moved to pirates cove across Bucaneer (Thee building that held this ride is still there it is the restrooms next to goliath but it was named Jolly Roger then) then the ride was renamed as Circus wheel when the travant ride that held that named was dismanteled and moved to Colossus Conty fair to were the basket ball game is now. So this ride, bucaneer and Swashbuckler where the rides of that themed area. So that boat with sam and the cannion was in the middle of the road when walking to colossus conty fair along with the sign that says “Pirates Cove”, I have some pictures there sitting on that cannion and the pirates cove sign when I was a kid.

  2. Eric

    03/06/2012 at 11:13 pm

    Pirates Cove was little more than a themed area approximately where Buccaneer and Swashbuckler are; sort of between Bugs Bunny World and Colossus County Fair. One of the things I always got a kick out of was how the restrooms there were actually called “Fort Le John.”

    I would love to visit this place and meet Mike sometime. The thing is, I’m not sure exactly where this place is. Close to Magic Mountain, obviously.

    It’s about time for me to make another run out to the park. Perhaps we could spend more than five minutes together next time.

  3. Eric

    03/06/2012 at 11:22 pm

    If you click on this link you can see the 1996 park map where Pirates Cpve is displayed as themed area: http://rodyoda.home.comcast.net/~rodyoda/1996_Magic_Mountaina.htm

  4. Ryan

    03/07/2012 at 7:10 am

    Mike has done an AMAZING job at keeping these treasures!!!! Keep the work up Mike

  5. Jeff Wesson

    03/07/2012 at 7:14 am

    Kurt,
    Great report! Thanks for the memories! I remember you talking about this guy’s collection when we met. I still remeber the sky cars and Z-Force. Those sky cars used to scare the %$#@ out of me, they were so high! And, I remember losing a lot of spare change out of my pockets on Z-Force! I also remeber “Old 99″, and how it would take you through the land of the trolls! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Magic Alumni

    03/07/2012 at 1:05 pm

    Loved this update! I didn’t realize Mike was still getting items from the park, very cool.

    Here are some history clarifications, some which Eric already mentioned:
    *Tasmanian Devil Cycles were little motorcycles that went around in a circle just like most of the rides did in the old Bugs Bunny World. If I remember right, they even did a little 1 foot jump at one portion of the rotation.
    *The Galaxy Station was actually located right where the Superman tower sits, not over by Goliath. The Eagle’s Flight literally followed the path of where the Superman track sits today.
    *Pirate’s Cove was the area between High Sierra Territory and Colossus County Fair. The sign you see used to sit right about where the Water Play Area is. The boat with the canon used to sit right in that planter in front of the “Fort Le John” bathrooms and that random Yosemite Sam actually sat on top of the bathrooms next to the sign. There used to be a Volcano mountain and a fruit stand that sat in the middle of that plaza. So, the “Jolly Roger,” “Swash Buckler,” and the “Buccaneer” made up Pirate’s Cove. Before Goliath was built, “Jolly Roger,” a “Tilt-A-Whirl” type ride sat literally where the Goliath letters are today. It was later moved, renamed/replaced the “Circus Wheel” which was the roulette table looking ride that sat where the Three-Point challenge is today.
    *The Crazy barrels ride was located between the Johnny Rockets and the abandoned Metro station that sits there. The ride platform that you should see from the basketball game is the Circus Wheel platform.

    On a side note, Eric, this kennel location is right off the 5 freeway at the Old Road and Calgrove Blvd (about 4 miles south of the park). You can see most of this stuff just be driving by.

    • Kurt

      03/08/2012 at 7:00 am

      Thank you very much, to both you and Eric, for the background information. This is great! I’ll be sure to update the post accordingly very soon. -Kurt

    • Kurt

      03/09/2012 at 9:01 pm

      If I’m not mistaken, doesn’t the 3-Point Challenge sit exactly on top of where the Circus Wheel was located? There isn’t anything left of it, is there? The basketball game I was referring to is one of those Center Ring Games where you see how many shots you can make while standing in front of the basket. It was added in front of the fence that blocks off the old Crazy Barrels location, which is still there.

      • Steve-O

        02/14/2013 at 5:16 pm

        I believe that’s accurate.

        By the way, if you can put up with Scott Baio and Willie Aames for an hour and a half, you can get a good long look at the Crazy Barrels in the (actually pretty good) ’80s teen comedy, Zapped!

  7. benjamin brown

    03/07/2012 at 1:22 pm

    I used to work on eagles flight and it was a lot of fun. One thing we used to do when running breaks was take a bucket to the upper station and take a quarter and throw it at the roof of the golden bear theatre. When it would hit the roof it would make this super loud thud (the roof is kinda shaped like a megaphone). Sometimes there would be a show going on at the time and the show ops people could never firgure out what was going on. I do remember the northridge earthquake damage the ride encountered. The counterweight at the bottom station tore up parts of the station floor and the cable did come off the pullys. What really sealed eagle flights fate was the fact that the only crane company that could respond to the park after the earthquake was out of fresno and if the earthquake had happend when the part was open it would have taken hours to evacuate the guests. One wierd thing was the ride was signed off by the ride mechanices for january 17th.

  8. JJJJ

    03/08/2012 at 2:31 am

    Excellent picture.

    What really boggles my mind is how a park as big (and hilly!) as six flags has removed most of their transportation modes with no replacement. The only one left is orient express.

    A funicular on the back is needed. The monorail would be nice. As would the train. The aerial tram would be excellent.

    Hell, even the parking lot bus has seen no investment. Why doesnt six flags want to help move their customers around?

    It would help them make money. I know Ive thought “Id love to eat at x, but theres no way in hell im walking so far, up and down the hill”

    • Ryan O

      03/09/2012 at 6:58 pm

      I couldn’t agree more. I would actually rather have some transportation (monorail, train, or aerial tram) than a new coaster in 2013. The park needs it a LOT more than another roller coaster.

  9. Eric A

    03/08/2012 at 10:32 pm

    WOW he has some cool stuff

    Tell him i would love to have a Log from the Log Jammer, Ill trade him a Troll Costume for it

    I have always wanted to know what happen to the Our Founder Bloop Statue, To bad they took off Bloop

    Thanks for all your work Kurt, Alot of cool stuff about my favorite park that i would not have know or seen without all your hard work, of course if looks like your having more fun then working

    Keep it up

  10. Eric A

    03/08/2012 at 10:39 pm

    Last year i heard a rumer that the Old 99 could be seen off Old Road, I drove up and down that road looking for it but never saw it.

    Now i see why, Great Job of restoring it Mike

    Good to see someone cares more about the park then Six Flags does

  11. Eric

    03/13/2012 at 12:47 am

    Hmmm…a lot of Erics around here… ;)

  12. J Houchins

    04/02/2012 at 11:30 am

    As a former ride operator and eventually ride foreman, it touched my heart to see “Toot” (the 99 Steam Train) so lovingly restored. She was my ride back in 1972 when I had the pleasure of working with Ron, Paul, Dirk, Duane, Bob and Red and a couple others. We had the distinction of operating not the most “exciting” ride (unless you’re a steam nut or a train buff) but we had the most demanding ride with a steam locomotice that had a working pressure of about 200 pounds! We were trained by a couple of gentlemen who were boomers on the railrodas when steam was king. We couldn’t even touch the throttle unless we could explain the theory of steam locomotion to these guys.

    Working as a ride operator meant you had a part time job; you only worked when the park was open. If they liked you they found work for you for the other 3 days of the week. I was fortunate enough to work on 99 when we rebuilt her. We changed the cab and converted her to oil fired during the energy crisis. The idea was we were going to used crankcase oil from all the oil changes, but AQMD said no and we went back to propane.

    I went on to manage the Gold Rusher and also participated in building the Grand Centennial Excursion RR. I even got to participate in obtaining all the RR equipment in Tehachapi. (Little factoid: the rolling stock and locomotives for the GCERR came from the cement factory Mulholland built for the LA aquaduct!)

    My times at the “Happy Hump” were some of my happiest. And of all my times there the best times were on the 99 Steam Train.

    Thanks for bringing back happy memories,

    “High Spot”

    • Kurt

      04/02/2012 at 11:46 am

      I’m very happy that I was able to put a smile on your face. Thank you very much for the comment. I love hearing from former employees and stories from the park’s past. :-)

  13. thomas

    05/04/2012 at 3:59 pm

    i just recently got an old map of the park with a picture of a troll on the top right corner, there is also the animal farm i think the map is from 1971-1973 im really not that sure. if anybody has any idea about this map please let me know and email me. it’s still in really good condition. thank you for your time in reading this.

    • Kurt

      05/04/2012 at 4:04 pm

      Wow, how did you happen to come across that? And more importantly, do you have any interest in selling it?

      • thomas

        05/04/2012 at 4:53 pm

        there was estate sale going on and my wife wanted to go so we looked around and she actually came upon it. the map was hanging on the wall, so we got it. now for selling it ( its a possabilty) we dont know we would actually like to find out more about the map and if it’s worth anything.

  14. Scott B

    05/08/2012 at 11:50 am

    Being younger then some others here the Surfside Grill sign touched (or rather burned?) my heart at reviving some of my fondest (crappiest!) memories of working at Six Flags. I worked at Surfside when I was 16 making hot dogs, corn dogs, fries, etc. I also worked the popcorn cart nearby and the churro cart up the hill. Quite the learning experience.

  15. Bryan R.

    07/14/2012 at 10:26 am

    Where is the located? I want to at least drive by it and see that stuff.

    • Kurt

      07/14/2012 at 8:45 pm

      He owns Calgrove Kennels. He is no longer open to the public but his business was located on Calgrove, just off of I-5 in Santa Clarita.

  16. Pingback: Six Flags Magic Mountain Trip Report For 26 Sep 2012 |

  17. John Alexopoulos

    11/27/2012 at 7:58 pm

    Mike currently ranks as the largest collector of my work around. Thank you Mike for preserving pieces I put a lot of work into creating

    • Kurt

      11/27/2012 at 8:24 pm

      He has a really nice collection of park memorabilia. What is it that you do, John?

      • John Alexopoulos

        11/28/2012 at 10:56 am

        I work freelance as a designer and sculptor. I did the design for parts of the park including High Sierra Territory, Hurricane Harbor, and also carved or sculpted: superman figure, Warner characters, Bugs on the Horse, Tatsu, water park thematic, the bears and wolves at High Sierra. Designa and carving of Sierra Falls Ride. Rendering for Goliath coaster concept.
        Foam carving for thematic elements, and design of attractions or concepts.
        My other job is as a school Assistant Principal.
        Strange Mix.

  18. Jody Weissler

    01/26/2013 at 10:03 pm

    Just wondering how one person acquired all of these Six Flags items?
    Is their a marketplace for them? I know that Disneyland his sold of stuff in the past, but have not heard of one for Six Flags?

    • The Coaster Guy

      01/26/2013 at 11:22 pm

      This guy used to work at the park and has a special relationship with the company. He takes their old things and reuses, restores, or repurposes them so they don’t wind up in the landfill.

  19. Jack

    03/02/2013 at 10:40 am

    I have a vintage magic mountain tray I think it’s from ’71 based on the pic on the tray. I would like to know more about it. If any one can help me out please let me know. I can email pics.

  20. annette

    05/23/2013 at 12:09 am

    Was there a place there at the park called calico corners? Can someone tell me .

    • The Coaster Guy

      05/23/2013 at 6:58 am

      I’ve done quite a bit of research on the history of the park and I don’t recall ever hearing about something called Calico Corners. Is this something you remember from the past? Are you perhaps thinking of Spillikin Corners, their crafters section in the back of the park?

  21. Chad

    11/05/2013 at 5:25 pm

    This is so fascinating!! I love six flags. I have been going there since I was born! I love seeing stuff like this! I wish I could own that superman statue. What I’m curious about is that six flags still has another of those statues. It was located next to apocalypse and taken out with the recent fires

    • The Coaster Guy

      11/06/2013 at 11:50 am

      Actually, Chad, the Superman statue you’re referring to wasn’t the same. It was a much smaller one that used to be on top of the Hero Haven gift shop by the Superman Plaza.

  22. Matt K

    03/11/2014 at 12:59 pm

    The No. 99 steam train is currently listed for sale on discoverlivesteam.com along with all 5 cars and 1/2 mile of track. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m just gonna go buy some Powerball tickets…

  23. Ali

    08/10/2014 at 11:31 pm

    Great article, do you have a contact for Mike? I would like to see his stuff and make a donation.

    • The Coaster Guy

      08/11/2014 at 5:08 am

      No, I’m afraid not. The kennel is long closed and he’s not open to the public.

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