Cajun Cliffhanger came from Riverview?

All about the rides at Marriott's GREAT AMERICA and post-Marriott rides, too
segerken
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Post by segerken » Wed Sep 21, 2005 5:44 pm

redfishpaw wrote:I have scanned 4 images of the Rotor at Riverview (Cajan Cliffhangers 1st life 1952-1967).
The book is Riverview - Gone but not forgotten 1904-1967
by Chuck Wlodarczyk, which he has for sale online.
This is an excellent book. I bought it ~10 years ago while visiting my Aunt who lives in Park Ridge.

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steven
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Post by steven » Wed Sep 21, 2005 5:58 pm

BrianPlencner wrote:To my understanding, Cajun Cliffhanger did come from Riverview park. At one time, there used to be a small plaque at the exit of the ride that stated it was the Rotor from Riverview.
Thanks, Brian, for that info. I never knew that. It's somewhat surprising because I would have expected all of the rides -- other than the Ameri-Go-Round -- to be new. Given that Gurnee's Cajun Cliffhanger came from Riverview, that may partially explain why Santa Clara didn't get one. I mean, if they could get the historic Riverview ride at a good price, then I could see them picking it up and dropping it into that spot there in Orleans Place -- giving a bonus to Gurnee that Santa Clara didn't get. I'm still kind of surprised, though, that they didn't play up the ride's heritage more because Riverview was so fondly remembered by so many of the park's guests.

Steven

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redfishpaw
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Post by redfishpaw » Fri Sep 30, 2005 8:11 am

Here is another view of the Riverviews Rotor (early Cajan Cliffhanger)
which I had just come across

Image

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redfishpaw
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Post by redfishpaw » Fri Oct 07, 2005 6:33 am

Ed Fruh has a very nice collection of Riverview models
There are several rides including the rotor.

check them out
http://homepage.mac.com/lmcshane/Ed_Fru ... bum11.html

ScottL
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Cliffhanger

Post by ScottL » Sat Nov 26, 2005 7:58 pm

I'm not so sure that Cliffhanger came from Riverview. I worked in maintenance at Gurnee from 1984 until 1996. The Cajun Cliffhanger was actually manufactured by Chance. It wasn't one of the original Velare Rotors.

I was very young when Riverview was still open, but I recall the Rotor there being much larger in diameter and it had a center pole in the barrel. My grandfather worked at Riverview from 1932 until 1967, so I spent a LOT of time at the park (Although I was only 10 when it closed).

BTW, the accident that eventually closed Cliffhanger was not the only time that type of incident happened on that ride. I remember at least two other similar incidents while I was there.

Scott

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NotBill
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Post by NotBill » Sat Jan 21, 2006 1:40 am

I was assigned to Dive/Cajun my first year in rides in '89 and have a few thoughts on this.

I definitely remember the plaque Brian is talking about but I think that was just the common manufacturer's plaque and didn't make any reference to Riverview on it that I remember. I remember it had the name "Rotor" the company and the patent or year of manufacture on it (I must have walked by it a hundred times or more). "Rotor" was the trade name of the ride and I believe hundreds of them more made if not more and toured with carnivals and placed at amusement parks. Obviously it became a permanent installation at SFGAm.

Regarding the accident, taking this ride out was absolutely ludicrous and is operator error plain and simple. First off, as someone else said "back in the day" this wouldn't likely have happened because open toed shoes, sandals, flip flops, etc were not allowed. It was the job of the attendant (or the controller if you were working Cajun by yourself which, when I was there, very rarely happened) to be watching the feet as people came in. People would always look at me funny because I was holding the door and staring down at their feet.

Still, you would miss someone time to time (even though you should check again once you finish filling the drum and look around one more time) and at that point it's in the driver's hands. At controls on Cajun you had full control of the floor going up and down to its limits at any time. If I remember right you could even move the floor when the drum was stopped and the door was open. The only thing you couldn't do was start the drum with the door open, that switch was there but that was it.

The operator on that day obviously wasn't paying attention because during the cycle you would focus on the person that went the furthest down the wall -- it usually is a smaller kid because they don't have enough mass to keep them up against the wall. Or, if they are wet there's a problem usually as well. You find the lowest person on the wall and you bring the floor up to just below their feet.

Yes, everyone else in the drum is getting a wedgie but that's the way it was plain and simple. Some guys would leave the floor down and not bring it up just to have fun and watch everyone get a wedgie (I never did that myself but saw it done). Of course, my greatest offense at Cajun controls was playing PacMan with the floor control. It was like a joystick and the floor would make a really cool "thud" when it would hit the bottom. You could bring the floor up a bit and then drop it back down with the loud "thud" and all the girls would scream. Loads of fun for the whole family.

Anyway, if the guy/gal driving that day is paying a lick of attention that accident doesn't happen and there should have been no reason to can a ride with such a beloved history. Yes, I had heard about other foot injuries there before but again, operator error and preventable if you cared about your staff being properly trained. Instead they have skeleton crews who have no clue what they are doing as previously mentioned. The first time I saw one person in the back seat a couple years ago I almost went running for the e-stop myself. That was a hard and fast ultimate coaster rule and a quick way to termination if you violated it. It's why the ride ops who check the last car would put two fingers up and their thumb to signify they had two occupants in the back seat and the ride op at the back on the enable button was the last person to give his sign after checking all the others.
Guy Finley
aka "Bill" Finley
SFGAm Employee 1988 - 1992

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SFGAmfreak4life
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Post by SFGAmfreak4life » Mon Jan 30, 2006 11:15 pm

I saw this article when it first came out and I was surprised that the girl was wearing shoes. I remember that there was an inch of space bewteen the wall and the floor so the girl must have had her foot flat against the wall to get it stuck.

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Post by LONNOL » Tue Apr 25, 2006 12:19 pm

I doubt the Gurnee Rotor came from Riverview. The GA installation seems to be the size of a Chance Rotor. Compare the Lake Compounce version:

http://www.flatrides.com/Ride%20Index/ChanceRotor.jpg

with the Great America version:

http://www.greatamericaparks.com/cliffhanger.html

The Riverview model was much bigger, almost twice as wide as this one.

Adam

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klemrock
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Post by klemrock » Wed May 10, 2006 11:46 am

Redfish, those models are incredible!
Although I never visited Riverview, my father remembers it fondly.
He was amazed at your models - they brought back lots of memories for him. THANK YOU!

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SFGAmfreak4life
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Post by SFGAmfreak4life » Thu May 11, 2006 3:31 pm

Nice models.

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Post by macman » Fri May 26, 2006 10:42 pm

I agree...those models are fantastic. I just sent Ed an e-mail to commend him for sharing his fine work.

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