“Pacific Ocean Park was competition never for The Magick Kingdom. But the POP had hung around for almost a decade, anyway, before the tourist novelty of an amusement park suspended over the water wore off and the place became a good old American shake-n-bake Haunted Place, the nation is pocked with overnight cursed earth like that. One week it was still open for business, the next the fences were up and creditors were trucking out anything with any value and Kids Told Stories.”
The way some of the 666ties stories are full of Famous Names, mashed up and rebooted, some of the stories also feature occasionally obscure historical details I fell in love with while researching the stories. Or I already knew lots about those details before, so getting the chance to write about them was a dream come true. And occasionally a reader says “Wow, that thing you made up was so cool” and I go “I didn’t make that up.” So I thought I’d post about a few of the fascinating (to me anyway) details I got lost in writing these stories — some of which inform, maybe, only a sentence or two.
Pacific Ocean Park (1958-1967) is neither obscure nor a previous subject of geeky fascination for me. I suppose I should have known about it, Los Angeles’ theme park-over-the-water that was gone before I even knew what a roller coaster was — it figures into a lot of real life stories I am familiar with; the invention of modern skateboarding by Venice surf punks, for a big one. I’d seen it before in the finale of the old Roy Thinnes The Fugitive-with-aliens TV show, The Invaders.
But I’d never heard of it or thought about it until, stuck and lost as to what to do with the Ad Man once he got the boot from the Magick Kingdom. I knew I had to get him from inland L.A. to the coast, someplace notable, to catch a water-taxi to Catalina and meet up with S.M.I.L.E. I knew he was going to get knocked out again and not get to drive that Super Bee. I started playing around with the “Califormication” playlist one night, stuck, and listening to a lot of Beach Boys.
And not the good Beach Boys — the million other songs that fill up records.
And that’s when I listened to this song for the first time, ever. I already had a theme park thing going in the story…
I looked up “Pacific Ocean Park” on the Internet. And then I knew exactly where to send the Ad Man to catch that water-taxi.
So…the ruins of that is where the Ad Man meets up with Charles Manson’s and Brian Wilson’s minions for the first time, as well as other…things.
Of course, said “other things” have, in the story, chased all the surfers away from the POP pier, which kinda messes around another part of our world’s timeline, to go back to the birth of skateboarding, as we know it today:
Which is a problem, because I have another story going in the background lately, a ten years later sequel to “Califormication,” this time centered around Sheila, rather than the Ad Man. Said story is called “Punk Rock Episode,” and…there’s just no way to do L.A. 1979 punk stuff without skating…
I suspect I’ll figure it out. Somehow the Z-Boys get to surf around those Manson Lamps.