Sunday, January 15, 2006

Six Flags a Great Escape to Time and the Adirondack Tourism Industry

Today the ComPost Star offers us a typically un-insightful look – this time, they turn their ever alert fluff finder toward a recent gathering of former Storytown employees at the Chapman Historical Society in Glens Falls. The big news? The unflinching analysis? Here it is from the lead:

The secret was kept for more than 50 years by a select group who may have whispered among themselves, but never let out word of their small enclave.

Sunday, the secret was revealed as former Storytown USA employees got together for a “remember when” afternoon at the Chapman Historical Museum.

Diamond ‘Lil, the Marshall, several tough cowboys and the first Cinderella to ride in the pumpkin coach ‘fessed up to a little-known fact: Little Bo Peep was also a can-can girl at Dan McGrew’s Saloon.

So was Mary, who had the little lamb, said Joe Hanlon, of Lake Luzerne, who dated both damsels during the summers he spent working at the amusement park.

Wow… teenagers who worked at Storytown in the 1950s and 1960s dated… and the fake Little Bo Peep and Mary (we assume sans lamb) were also can-can girls… the scandal!

In case you hadn’t heard, Six Flags, the parent company of The Great Escape, recently put itself up for sale. Last month, finding no buyers, they took themselves off the market. Wouldn’t it have been great if Charley Wood [bio, obit] had sold the company locally or turned it over to its long standing employees to run? Apparently they were both low paid and hard-worked:

“Charley (Wood) kept us busy,” said Hanlon. “Between the shows we’d do at Ghost Town, we’d have to clean the stable then go around picking up cigarette butts. The girls did the can-can shows, changed clothes and played the other parts. He got eight hours of work out of us, all right.”

…Dick Spector of Glens Falls, recalled working at Storytown in the summer of either 1961 or 1962.

“I was an outlaw four days a week, I drove Cinderella’s coach one day and was the garbage man one day a week,” Spector said. “My pay was $1.10 an hour, except the day I did garbage I made $1.25 an hour.”

Woods made millions (and did give heartily to local causes), but today Six Flags / Great Escape Splashwater Kingdom / Storytown is still making big bucks, still paying a minimum wage, and only recently were discovered to have been pulling some tax scheme to apparently avoid paying sales tax (good luck finding that news anywhere on the web). Anyway, it would be nice if the Adirondack region’s largest and most profitable tourist hot-spot took a leadership role in anything but making money – say in paying affordable wages to local residents forced to work in the tourism industry?

Anyway, on a less annoying note, links to sites about two great old-time amusement parks of days gone by:

Time Town
Frontier Town

Related Stories


Editorial Staff

Stories under the Almanack's Editorial Staff byline come from press releases and other notices.

Send news updates and story ideas to Alamanck Editor Melissa Hart at editor@adirondackalmanack.com.




2 Responses