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Ride Ops 1976-1978

Share your memories of working at Marriott's GREAT AMERICA in Santa Clara

Ride Ops 1976-1978

Postby Bryan » Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:39 pm

Hi all,

Steven thanks for putting this site together. It has been a treat looking at the images, reading the some of the discussions and reminiscing about the good old days.

I worked in Santa Clara Ride Ops from 1976 to 1978. I came on near the end of the Summer in 1976, and I worked on the Turn of the Century. In 1977 and 1978 I worked on Lobster, Triple Play, Logger's, Clipper, Tidal Wave and pretty much all the other rides from time to time. Of all the rides, I liked working Clipper and Logger's best. Clipper was a bit more sane, Logger's could get a bit rowdy, primarily because people got wetter. And when people got too rowdy, we had a few tricks up our sleeves to cool them down.

I had a blast working at MGA, I met so many people and I have lots of fond memories. Mike, Kevin, Larry and I rented a house in San Jose. We called it the Game Room and it became a favorite watering hole for many.

Also, being a Marriott's employee meant that you could stay at any Marriott hotel for free or a discounted price depending on occupancy. We would get a group together and plan a road trip a couple of times a year to visit Disneyland/Knott's and Magic Mountain. As I recall the LA Marriott rate was $16.00 a room in 1977/1978.

Some of the Ride Ops cast members that come to mind are:
Anthony, Bob, Catherine, Carol, Chris, Craig, Dan, Diane, Digger, Earl, Frank, Hooper, Jay, Jeff, Julie, Katya, Kayla, Kevin, Kurt, Larry, Laura, Malcolm, Mark, Mary, Melinda, Mike, Pat, Peggy, Simon, Steve, Tammy, Ted, Tom, Russ, Vickie.

Some of the things that I remember from those days were:
Anthony's last day, Brasso and ride cleanup, Bugs Beanery, Code 5, Craig and the day Elvis died, Duct valves, Fireworks and the Dolphin show from Logger's 2nd lift, GAGG, Game Room, Hotel California, "I Survived the Tidal Wave" and "I'm Off Today" tee shirts, Joe Sharino at Fargo's, Meeting in Wardrobe at the end of the night, Mike crashing into the Jaguar, Movie nights, Pixie dust, Road trips to Disneyland/Knott's/Magic Mountain, Rue le Disco and all that polyester, Simon and the Train, Steve Martin - Well Excuse Me, The Rock, Turnstile counts, Vesuvio's, Wah.
Bryan Malone, 1976-1978 Santa Clara Ride Operations
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Postby hoop-loop » Sat Jul 21, 2007 5:47 pm

Hey Bryan, Bry, Bry-guy,
How's it ha... well, it's good to know that you're still alive and kickin'!Sorry it took so long to reply! I had some account issues to deal with...
Hey, you just about said it all! Ahhh, the memories. Nudge,
nudge, :wink: , :wink: I'm still in touch with some of the old "gang" and we still get together from time to time. We're trying to get an email list together but with time flying by it's getting tougher and tougher to track down old friends from the past. So if any of you "seventies rides types"are out there and you'll actually admit to knowing me(!) speak up or drop me a line (NOT "hey baby what's your sign?") sometime. Anyone? Anyone?
Luego,
Mark
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Ride Ops 1976-1978

Postby Bryan » Tue Jul 24, 2007 1:47 pm

Mark Hooper, the man, the myth, the legend!

Thanks for the reply, GREAT to hear from you. We did have some good time didn't we?

I posted a few photos to the photo gallery section. You probably will remember a few of the faces. I am still looking around for one of my Logger's crew pictures to post as well (actually I think you were the photographer).

Please add me to the email list, you can grab it from my profile. It would be great to reconnect. I have a few other email addresses I will send along (Simon P, Kevin A and Dan M).

Best,
Bryan
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Postby hoop-loop » Wed Jul 25, 2007 1:02 pm

(The Man! The Myth! The Lesbian!) Thank you, thank you very much… HEY! Wait a minute! (Hehehe!) What the…? (Honestly, no offence to all the lesbians out there!) Ahh man… ;-) Yeah, I need to scan some of my old slides and negs. and set up and album too. I ended up choosing the Clipper boat as the avatar under my user name. If you look closely you’ll see it’s full of park employees. I only recognize the guy in the back as Bob Garner, the rest…? Ya know it’s a bit strange, but with a smile of course, when I look out the window of the building I work in, I look down on Great America/ main gate area. So I’ve kind of come full circle… I still enjoy the view and the memories it proves.
Anyone? Anyone?
Luego,
Mark
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Postby Bryan » Sat Jul 28, 2007 6:16 pm

I was reading about the recent accident at GA and I thought back to when I worked there. Although I heard of some accidents in the park, I only experienced two.
On Logger's, a small girl got her arm caught in between the log and the turntable as it returned to the station. We knew we couldn't pull her arm out, so we just relieved the pressure on her arm and stopped the turntable as the log left the station. We pulled her free, and got her to medical.
The other was on Logger's too. Normally the logs would alternate down the two chutes on their way back to the station. Somehow two logs went down separate chutes at the same time and met at the bottom. The guests in the log were a bit shaken up, but the scary part was that another log was being held at the top by it's rear stabilizing wheels. It was only the quick action of the chute operator to make the catch. We ending up hitting 'All stop' and evacuating the ride. I don't recall what the issue was.

Anyone else have a story to share?
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Postby scott murphy » Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:20 pm

Mark,

funny you should mention it, but I also work in a building overlooking SCGA. I've got a nice view of Columbia and the Sky Tower. I was a lead on that unit in 1982. I consider it very ironic that I can see my first job from my current one. Unfortunately, we are supposed to move by the end of the year. I'll miss the view and the memories it brings up.
orleans orbit 80-81
loggers run 81
columbia/skytower 82
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Postby hoop-loop » Thu Sep 13, 2007 6:57 pm

Hey Bryan et. al,
I've uploaded some of my old MGA pictures into a photo album under hoop-loop on the second page of the photo albums / user gallery. Sone of them are showing their age but still worth a look. I'll be uploading more pictures soon... Bryan, can you remember the names of all the old Logger's Run crew? O.K. I admit it, I sure can't! ;-)
Luego,
Mark
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Ride Ops 1976-1978

Postby Bryan » Fri Sep 14, 2007 11:06 am

Hooper... You are the man!
What a ride down memory road this is. Some of the faces are really familiar, but I just can't put a name to them. I'll keep thinking about it...

Here's the ones I can come up with.

BarneyO01 - Hillary?, Paul Renstrom, ?
BarneyO02 - ?, Hillary?
BarneyO03 - Mike Fruge is in front, Larry Rezendes (obscured guy with the blonde hair) in back

LoggersCrew03 - (Back row) Steve Wrigglesworth, Peder, ?, ?, ?, Laura Glazbrook, ?, ?, ?
(Front row) Curt Hentschke, Bryan Malone, ?, ?
LoggersCrew05 - ?
LoggersCrew06 - ?, ?

TidalWave01 - Steve Wrigglesworth,?, Hoop, ?, ?

YankeeClipper02 - Craig Estadillo, Jim Nemeth, ?, Denise Barrett, Pat Foret, Val Miller, Bob Shea, Chris Johansen, Lisa Reding, Vicki Miller, Bob Gardner
YankeeClipper03 - Bob Shea, Denise Barrett, Bob Gardner, Jim Nemeth, Vicki Miller, Craig Estadillo, Pat Foret, Chris Johansen, Val Miller, Lisa Reding, ?
YankeeClipper05 - Bob Shea, Denise Barrett, Bob Gardner, Jim Nemeth, Vicki Miller, Craig Estadillo, Pat Foret, Chris Johansen, Lisa Reding, ?
YankeeClipper10 - Chris Johansen, ?

Thanks for the pics Hoop!
Last edited by Bryan on Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:06 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Druzik » Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:28 pm

Hello Bryan and Mark!

Hey guys, it's great to see you both on this site. Sure brings back great memories of MGA! I was at the park a couple of summers ago, and could see, sadly, the foundations of our beloved Tidal Wave. I get a kick everytime I go to Knott's and see the Montezuma's Revenge operators using the thumbs up/thumbs down procedure you taught their first crew so many years ago Mark! Please add me to your email list: jay.druzik@yahoo.com. As for me, the last 21 years I've been at the Disneyland Resort, and opened Disney's California Adventure Park. However, working at MGA was the most fun I ever had in employment. Anyway, love to hear from both of you, and it would be GREAT to have our own Ride Ops Reunion someday. Keep in touch!
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Ride Ops 1976-1978

Postby Bryan » Tue Oct 09, 2007 2:00 pm

Jay,

Great to hear from you! Those were great days weren't they?

I remember you were with us on one of our pilgrimmages to Disneyland, etc. In fact, I think a bunch of slept at your folk's place. I don't remember why we stayed there, as the Marriott was pretty inexpensive. Maybe the house was closer to Magic Mountain.

I hope all is well for you, what type of work are you doing at the Disneyland resort?

Best, Bryan

You can also reach me at bryandavidmalone AT yahoo DOT com.
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Postby hoop-loop » Wed Oct 17, 2007 8:35 am

Hey Jay,
Good to hear from you again! I noticed that you've posted here a time or two...
All, I've uploaded some more pictures into my photo album "hoop-loop". Some of you may have seen them before, some of you maybe not. Hopefully you'll enjoy them as much as I have. There are a few pictures of the TW being built, the ride, people pictures and a Logger's walk around.
Luego,
Mark
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Ride Ops 1976-1978

Postby Bryan » Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:19 pm

Mark,

Nice new photos! I don't recognize too many of the employees in the new ones. I think Tom Lahti worked on the Whizzer. Russ Salinas and I worked on TOC. And of course Marcy was an area supervisor.
The night shots are really cool, and the Logger's walkaround reminds me of those long walks from one station to another. Also going out to look for lost hats, etc. Reminds me of one time we were open on weekends. We got the usual "I lost my hat", "I lost my sunglasses", one guy said "I lost my toupee"! I sent him to Guest Services to report it lost. During the week we were doing ride cleanup, and I found the hairpiece! It was caught in a grate that led into the station and it looked like a stiff rabbit skin. I took it to Guest Services, and always wondered if they sent it to him.

Here is a little trivia question... in the Logger's Run station photo, you can see the mast of a sailboat that sat in the lagoon. I don't think it is there anymore. Does anyone remember the name of that sailboat? (Spoiler on page 2)

Thanks for the great memories Hoop!

Best,
Bryan
Last edited by Bryan on Mon Aug 25, 2008 4:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Mike » Fri Dec 14, 2007 1:46 pm

Hey Bryan, Mark

Good to see that you two seem to be doing well. Not a lot to add as far as updates on former employees go. Larry contacted me a few years and was still living in Idaho. Mary W. also contacted me some time ago and was married and living in Eureka. Joe L. (THC cat, aka Vesuvio Joe) as of five years ago was still living in Los Altos with his mother. Bryan I ran into while shopping somewhere in Santa Clara wasn't it? Oh and Para in Santa Clara died some thirty years ago.
Bry I had completely forgotten about the Jaguar incident. Memories, well, stealing towels from the Marriott Hotel because the four of us at the Game Room were too poor to buy any. Kevin not paying the PG&E bill and us getting shut off the night of a party, having to run an extention cord to the house next door for music and candles everywhere. Wax is hard to get out of carpet. Our landlords having to move in with us and then cooking lamb brains. Riding giant cable spools down the street, where did those come from anyway? Journey on the turntable constantly.
Larry freaking out over his missing can of peaches. Bryan taking the rap for the "pool cue caper".
Take care and Merry Christmas you guys.
Mike
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Postby Bryan » Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:39 pm

Mike,

Now that is a blast from the past! GREAT to hear from you, I hope you are doing well.

Yeah, those days were a lot of fun. Kevin lives over in the Brentwood area. I remember one time Kevin and I decided we would see just how loud Al's Bose 901 speakers would get, only to find out you had wired your bedroom speakers to the same amplifier, and the cones in your speakers practically blew out. Or the time we hosted Mary W's birthday party (it might have been the extension cord fiasco), and someone ripped off a neighbors mailbox and stuffed it with plants as a gift. Then they came pounding on the door the next morning demanding their mailbox back. I had forgotten about Larry's peaches, maybe it is because of all the Mr. Spud we ate back then.

Interesting story on the landlords. A few years back, I was in a class on buying foreclosure properties. The case study was Al and the Isengard property.

I stay in touch with Simon, he lives over in the Pleasanton area.

I don't know if you checked out Hooper's photo gallery, there is one of you in a classic Fruge pose.

I hope you have a great Christmas and New Year, and stay in touch!

Best,
Bryan
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Postby hoop-loop » Wed Jan 02, 2008 6:01 pm

Hey Mike,
Good to hear from you again! Ahhh, the memories... 240z, tapped keg in the back, girl with no shoes, girl with no shoes??? ;-) I'll be putting a few more pix up soon; I scanned them at too low res. and then rescanned at to high a res.(over 200 pix!!!) I'll eventually get it right! Hey, we should all get together sometime... pizza & beer? Anyone?
Luego,
Mark
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