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Park Music

Postby dwolo » Wed Nov 30, 2005 9:10 pm

I think I saw a thread somewhere on this site talking about the music which played throughout the park. Someone recently sent me a picture of Tech Services, where all the music emanated from. You can see the reel to reels at,

http://www.mgareunion.com/pages/InsideTechServices.html

Thought you'd like to see it!
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Postby steven » Wed Nov 30, 2005 11:49 pm

Cool. Thanks!

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Postby ewilson » Sat Dec 03, 2005 10:21 pm

The white typewriter in the lower right corner is the control for the message display on the Great America sign out on the freeway.
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Postby JW65 » Mon Dec 05, 2005 11:30 am

Yes, I see the "typewriter"...Wondering who decides what is displayed on the sign that is seen from the highway.
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Postby that_guy » Mon Dec 05, 2005 4:22 pm

So those are the soundtracks from the themed areas right… Not the audio from the shows…
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Postby ewilson » Mon Dec 05, 2005 5:29 pm

Yes, they are for ambient around the park. During the parade they play the different music that comes from each float. It comes from the tape players to a wireless transmitter, to a receiver built into the floats. If you look closely at pictures of the floats you can see small antennas.
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Postby BroadwayBill » Tue Dec 13, 2005 4:32 pm

JW65 wrote:Yes, I see the "typewriter"...Wondering who decides what is displayed on the sign that is seen from the highway.


I remember back in '78 or '79 some disgruntled techie quit the park in mid-season and on his last day he programmed the Marriott sign to say
DISNEYLAND IS BETTER. It flashed like that for like two hours until someone at the park reported it.
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Postby retlawfan » Tue Jan 03, 2006 5:55 pm

I remember back in '78 or '79 some disgruntled techie quit the park in mid-season and on his last day he programmed the Marriott sign to say
DISNEYLAND IS BETTER. It flashed like that for like two hours until someone at the park reported it.[/quote]

THAT would be funny to see....
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Postby retlawfan » Tue Jan 03, 2006 7:08 pm

Oh, and in case you haven't been to the Santa Clara park recently, the old sign on Hwy 101 (which used lightbulbs to form letters) has been replaced. The new sign has video capabilities, and PGA rents space on it to various companies, in addition to promoting its' own park's events (I'm assuming PGA retained ownership of it and is generating income from the advertisments). It is sometimes used to help with "Amber Alerts", and other "public service" announcements as well.

It was a shame to see the older sign come down. If I can find them, I have pictures somewhere of the old sign on the ground before being hauled away.
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Re: Park Music

Postby Tech Services 1 » Sat Feb 04, 2006 6:14 pm

dwolo wrote: Someone recently sent me a picture of Tech Services, where all the music emanated from. You can see the reel to reels at,

http://www.mgareunion.com/pages/InsideTechServices.html

Thought you'd like to see it!


This is the picture and thread that brought me out of hiding on this website!

Oh, where to start?!?!

This room, which was the front area in Tech Services, was manned at all times when the park was open, as well as a short time before and after.

The reel-to-reel decks were made by Tape-A-Thon, and they were auto-reversing, so they played continuously all day. They contained the themed area music, and some ride music such as the Columbia, The Demon, and later White Water Rampage. Two of the decks in the picture are not running, judging by the open cover and slack tape. See the MGA coffee cup with all of the Q-tips sticking out? The white square right behind it is an alcohol container. They were used to clean the decks at least once a day to remove the tape residue, which built up on the heads and tape guides.

The music for the Parade came off of the large 8-channel, 1" reel-to-reel deck to the left of the console. Each float in the parade had its own soundtrack, which corresponded to a channel on the tape deck. ewilson was correct in that the audio was transmitted to radio receivers in each float.

The two black radio tuners in the upper middle of the racks provided music to the Administration buildings, and could be patched through to anywhere in the park. Actually, any of the tape decks could be patched through, as could any music from the recording studio which was also located in Tech Services.

The two decks under the telephone were for pre-recorded announcements on NAB cartridge-style tapes, similar to old 8-track tapes. The National Anthem and Carousel Song was on one of these tape cartridges. The announcements were manually started at the appropriate times throughout the day.

The console with all of the black switches was used for monitoring the music in each area, and for patching audio and announcements to various areas in the park. Live emergency pages throughout the park were made over the gooseneck mic which is pushed forward out of the way.

The red "phone" was actually the two-way radio base station for the Show Ops department.

The "Tollway Sign" as we referred to it was manufactured and maintained by WhiteWay Sign Company of Chicago. Copy for the sign was sent down on a regular basis from the Marketing department. I was often the person who did the programming.
One of my prized possesions is a photograph of the Marriott-days Tollway Sign with my full name on it. When the park was sold to Six Flags, a member of the Marriott upper management went out to the grassy hill in front of the sign with the park photographer, and radioed back to me at the console, telling me to type in the name of each of the managers and directors. A picture was taken for presentation to all of them as a memento of the Marriott days. After they were done with the list, they asked if I wanted my name on the sign! They snapped the pic, and asked if I wanted to put anyone else up there, so I went through the names of the other guys in the shop. We each have the original 35mm slide with our names up in lights.


This picture of the shop would have been taken in either '82 or '83.
I can still remember what that clunky old black chair sounded like when when you moved it around!

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Postby that_guy » Sat Feb 04, 2006 6:46 pm

oooooh great post, quite interesting I must say, but I can't imagine how it would look today
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Postby BrianPlencner » Sun Feb 05, 2006 7:31 am

Yes I agree! Great post by Tech Services 1 letting us all know everything in that picture!

I know when I started at the park in 1988, the Reel-to-reel decks were still there. I don't remember if they were still there when I left in 1992 or not.
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Postby Signal 6 » Sun Feb 05, 2006 4:59 pm

I remember the Santa Clara Tech Services was in the same building as Cash Control and Security. The Santa Clara Tech Services bldg had the same set up as the picture above. It also had a soundproof room that was located to the right of the Reel to Reel machines and a garage to the left. I imagine the soundproof room was used to record most of the park's announcements in the early days.
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Postby Tech Services 1 » Sun Feb 05, 2006 5:34 pm

Signal 6 wrote:I remember the Santa Clara Tech Services was in the same building as Cash Control and Security. The Santa Clara Tech Services bldg had the same set up as the picture above. It also had a soundproof room that was located to the right of the Reel to Reel machines and a garage to the left. I imagine the soundproof room was used to record most of the park's announcements in the early days.


Yep, same setup in Gurnee. Summer Security had a small part of the building, and Cash Control took up the rest.

As for the rest of Tech Services:
To the right of the BackGround Music (BGM) system was a storage room, a counter / cabinet, desk area, supervisor's office, recording studio and soundproof voice booth. The counter and storage room was used for audio equipment and other items. The microphones for the Grand Music Hall and other sensitive items were "checked out" by the sound man at the theatre every day, then returned for storage and repairs.
In the studio, we recorded many of the announcements in the park. One of the supervisors in Show Ops provided his voice for several of them, and when he was unavailable, I filled in for a few of the spots. In fact, the "safety spiel" at The Edge was read by me. So if you remember standing in line for that ride, that was my voice annoying the crap out of you over and over and over! ( "Welcome to The Edge. When it is your turn to ride, blah blah blah . . . ")
We also made copies of the BGM music, edited soundtracks, and on occasion Gene Patrick used it for some last-minute editing of the show tracks.

Behind the BGM racks was an area with our service benches & test equipment, and lockers.
The garage was used for storage, fabrication, and repair of dirty or messy items, such as the in-ground BGM speakers. We would repair those on a daily basis.

The garage also once doubled as a clandestine Pizza Parlor, but that's a whole 'nother topic . . . :mrgreen:

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Postby retlawfan » Sun Feb 05, 2006 10:43 pm

By the time I got there, Security had their "Annex" in the games wherehouse building, not the cash control building for use during the summer/operating months.
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