When I was 13, the rulers of mid-70s Saturday morning television, Sid & Marty Krofft, opened what is still the weirdest theme park ever, The World of Sid and Marty Krofft. It was an indoor amusement park, located inside a building in downtown Atlanta. Because of this, there weren’t very many rides. Here is a scan of a poster that shows how big it was.
The whole place was overrun w/ with bizarrely dressed mimes, jugglers, puppeteers, and of course, various Krofft characters such as H.R. Pufnstuf and the Lids from Lidsville. It was unbelievably weird and surreal.
The coolest ride was the giant pinball machine. The balls were large enough for (I think) 4 people to climb into, and after the attendant made sure the safety bar was in place, a giant plunger would come towards you to “launch” your ball into the machine. Lights would flash, and the ball would spin and “carom” off various objects in its path, such as the giant pop bumpers, sling shots, and flippers. In reality, the ball was being pulled by a chain on a predetermined path. But the sights and sounds made in seem like it really was a giant pinball machine. It was one of the most fantastic minutes of my life! Too bad it didn’t last longer.
And that’s what sucked about The World of Sid and Marty Krofft – it was over too, too soon. There were only 3 or 4 rides, which you could only ride once, and they only lasted a minute or two each. Then they’d herd you to the exit to the next level. I think we spent more time waiting in line at the entrance to get in than we did inside the park! We could have spent all day at Six Flags for what it cost to spend two hours at TWoSaMK. No wonder they went out of business inside of six months.
Believe it or not, CNN’s studios are now located in the space vacated by TWoSaMK. For all I know, Larry King broadcasts from where the pinball machine used to be. I’d rather have the fabulous giant pinball machine, that’s for sure!