Special Events from 1979 at the Gurnee Park

General discussion about Marriott's GREAT AMERICA
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JW65
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Special Events from 1979 at the Gurnee Park

Post by JW65 » Wed Jul 20, 2005 8:14 pm

Original wording from a special events section of the 1979 GA brochure from Gurnee:

During the latter part of our 1979 season, Great America will stage several exciting events.

August 31 - September 3 - COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL

Great America ends its seven day season with four days of real country music...featuring THE OAK RIDGE BOYS. August 31 - September 1 and BARBARA MANDRELL September 2 and 3.

September 8 and 9; 15 and 16 - FABULOUS 50'S WEEKENDS

An early fall season begins with Fabulous 50's Weekends. Official Host, Wolfman Jack will preside over a star-studded line up of 50's entertainment, plus the Midwest's finist exhibition of Corvettes from the past 26 years (Sept. 8 and 9 only).

September 22 and 23; 29 and 30 - GREAT AMERICA'S 2ND ANNUAL OKTOBERFEST

Autumn's best Oktoberfest springs into life at Great America. Bratwurst and beer will be served in the true Bavarian fashion amidst an exciting array of oompah bands, dancers, and yodelers. An autumn celebration in European splender as Great America's 1979 season comes to a close.

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BrianPlencner
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Re: Special Events from 1979 at the Gurnee Park

Post by BrianPlencner » Wed Jul 20, 2005 9:01 pm

JW65 wrote:
August 31 - September 3 - COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL

Great America ends its seven day season with four days of real country music...featuring THE OAK RIDGE BOYS. August 31 - September 1 and BARBARA MANDRELL September 2 and 3.



I remember that event! My mom was (and still is) a big country music fan. The show was held near the front of the park, just next to the Pictorium. I think it was called "Picto plaza" or something. I don't remember much from the show, except that the stage faced the Sky Treck Tower. At one point during the show, the Oak Ridge Boys told everyone to "turn around" and wave at everyone on the ride. It was quite fun.

I remember in the late 80's Belinda Carlisle performed in the same area. Since I was working at the park at that time, I was able to go to the show for free (as it was included in park admission).
===========================================
Mr. Brian Plencner
SFGAm Employee: 1988-1992

dth1971
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Fab 50's weekends

Post by dth1971 » Thu Jul 21, 2005 10:10 am

I remember seeing the Fabulous 50's show at Gurnee's Marriott's Great America in September 1979 (which was the first year I went to the Gurnee Marriott's Great America)!

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Joe
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Post by Joe » Thu Aug 11, 2005 5:21 am

There was a television variety show taped from the park in Gurnee that starred Lisa Hartman (Black) and the Great America Singers. It won a Chicago Emmy award.

I know it was taped and aired pre-1980, but can't remember the year...?

-Joe
Gurnee casts of "Country Music Time!" and "Music! Music! Music!"

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Re: Special Events from 1979 at the Gurnee Park

Post by redfishpaw » Thu Aug 11, 2005 7:08 am


I remember in the late 80's Belinda Carlisle performed in the same area. Since I was working at the park at that time, I was able to go to the show for free (as it was included in park admission).
Yes she did, Since I was in finance at the time I was able to she the check that she cashed. Her signature was nothing more than a mere straight line.
Sinbad was also at the park the same year. His signature, on his cashed check, was legible.

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JW65
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Post by JW65 » Tue Sep 13, 2005 10:42 am

Does anyone know where these special events were staged? What about special events for other years? I'd be interested in knowing other performers who appeared at the Gurnee or Santa Clara MGA during the Marriott ownership of the parks.

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brdwyguy
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Post by brdwyguy » Tue Sep 13, 2005 6:07 pm

JW
in Santa Clara
there was a special show called Rock N Roll Tonight (77)
it ran a few nights at the Theater Royale
it didnt seem to generate an audience and it was cancelled
after one or two weekends
selected Great America Singers were in that show

the next year (78)
the full scale production of Music Man was mounted
on evenings in the Theater Royale
i remember the tech people saying how short a time it was to convert
the Theater Royale from that Pepto Bismo Pink walls to the lush green
wall of River City Iowa for Music Man! :)

Music Man - used a few people from the Grand Music Hall & Theater Royale shows and cast many people form the community theater arena
in Santa Clare
I'm not sure they recreated the show in Gurnee

I was performing in Silver Screen when the admin approched me
and asked if I would be able to perform the lead tenor role of the quartet
that night (i was in the middle of performing the 4th show of SIlver Screen when i found out)
i finished the 5th show and went straight to a 3 hr rehearsal
so i could perform in the Show that night at 8PM

if anyone would have said to me your going to
perform a 5 show day and then learn a part in 3 hrs and perform
one of the major roles in the show that night -- i would have said you have to be crazy - i cant learn a whole show in that short of a time.


AHHHHHH Youth!!!!!

brdwyguy

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JW65
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Post by JW65 » Wed Sep 14, 2005 4:26 am

brdwyguy,

Thanks for the "special event" info from '77 and '78 from SC!
Wish I had been there to see the performances.

Jeff

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JW65
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Post by JW65 » Wed Feb 22, 2006 1:05 pm

Does anyone remember any specific "special events" hosted in SC or Gurnee in other years that were not mentioned here already?

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Tech Services 1
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Post by Tech Services 1 » Wed Feb 22, 2006 6:45 pm

JW65 wrote:Does anyone remember any specific "special events" hosted in SC or Gurnee in other years that were not mentioned here already?
I saw a lot of concerts in Picto Plaza.
Barbara Mandrell played there again on July 4th, 1981. That was the same day I was promoted to Permanent employee status, and had to wear my new "dark blues" uniform. I was assigned to assist the sound system contractor, so I had to stand in the sun by the front-of-house mix board. The temperature was pushing 90, and my new uniform was starched and stiff. It felt like I was wearing a portable sauna. I thought I was going to melt away!

My favorite special events had to be the Grad Nights. Several of us in Tech services always insisted on working those nights, which was fine with the guys who wanted nothing to do with that shift!
Saw lots of great concerts, met band members, busted some guys for smoking pot in Yukon Territory, got propositioned by some young girls who wanted me to get them backstage to meet Huey Lewis (I declined their offer- darn my morals!), had a blast assisting security in the theatres, and got to hang out with a special female friend watching some shows and strolling the park at 1am :D
Definitely one of the top highlights of my tenure at the park!

PPG
Technical Services technician
Gurnee park '81 - '86

Eegads, has it been that long?

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