MGA employees with Barbara Mandrell

Share your memories of working at Marriott's GREAT AMERICA in Gurnee
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MGA employees with Barbara Mandrell

Post by steven » Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:20 pm


Forum member MGA1 provided the above photo and asked that the following information accompany it:
This picture was taken on the evening of July 4th, 1981 at the Gurnee, IL park in the Pictorium Plaza stage area just after that evening's live Barbara Mandrell concert. Barbara's band was called the "Do-Rights" and she sang "I was country when country wasn't cool," "You can eat crackers in my bed anytime," "Sleeping single in a double bed," and several other of her songs. I remember Barbara brought her then 8-year old son (he's now around 35) with her on this concert trip. The following day she put on a baseball cap and sun glasses, slipped away from MGA security, and took her son out into the park to ride some rides...with no escorts or security. She waited in line with all the other guests and nobody recognized her.

After 27 years, I still remember the names of most of the Admission Services employees in the attached picture with me. From left to right: I don't remember the first girl's name but she was a Lead, Patty (Lead), Celeste Widmanich (Lead), Barbara Mandrell, Me at 20 years old (Admission Services Supervisor), don't remember the shorter girl's name, Ed (Carousel Plaza Merchandise Supervisor), and Laura (Lead).

The girls are wearing the new-for-1981 Admission Services costumes. These consisted of a white poly-cotton blouse with huge fluffy tie, a polyester vest under a polyester red blazer, and a polyester navy knee-length skort. Females were required to wear pantyhose and navy blue heeled pumps with their costumes. Males wore a white short-sleeve dress shirt, clip on navy tie, the vest, red blazer, navy blue slacks, and black leather polished oxfords. If the employee was working outside (ticket takers/re-entry gate) and the temperature was over 90 degrees, they could remove the red blazer. If they worked in air-conditioning (Ticket Sales, Group Sales, Guest Relations) the blazer was always required.

Those red blazers were the original red blazers worn by costumed supervisors between 1976-1978. The costumes looked professional and coordinated with the new-for-1981 red-white-blue paint color scheme at the front of the park. I always felt bad making the employees keep the vests and blazers on in hot weather especially since the supervisors only had to wear a short sleeve shirt with a tie.

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Post by MGA1 » Fri Jun 20, 2008 5:38 pm

Yea! Thanks Steven. My lone picture from Great America is posted. I hope someone can help me remember the other employees names in the picture. I think the first girl on the left was named Diane (but I'm not 100% sure). The man that's partially hidden in the far left background with the light blue shirt was a Security supervisor. I think his name was Charlie.

The picture itself was taken by the official park photographer and we all received copies of the print. Barbara Mandrell also gave an individually addressed, autographed 8x10 head shot of herself to each Admission Services employee who worked at her concert that day.
"...and enjoy the rest of your day here at Marriott's GRRRREAT America"

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Post by RLAiello » Sun Jun 29, 2008 2:04 am

Wow... when I started in 1988 at the Front Gate, they still had those checked vests with the fluffy tie blouses for some areas of the gate. I think they were used pretty much in the parking lot only by then and possibly other areas like the kennel. The rest of the gate had been converted to poly blue pants and skirts, white windowpane shirts with ties, and bright red vests.

Somewhere in my mess that I call an apartment, I have a picture of me in that costume. If I find it (and I WILL find it) I'll scan it and put it here.
Rick Aiello
SFGAm Employee 1988-1999

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