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Tower Johnny


jorybop
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Fun trivia worth noting...

When the park first opened, the Eiffel Tower observation levels only had the 4 foot permiter fence on each deck. That's right, all you had holding you back was the 4 foot railing! Here's a pic from opening day in 1972... note the railings (Or lack thereof):

0030_jpg.jpg

In the mid 1970s the park installed the metal "cheesegrater" fencing to the base of the railings (under the 4 foot railing) on each observation deck. Why?

1. Guests would set items down only to accidently kick them off.

2. Children would attempt to squeeze their heads and bodies between the bars.

They also added bars that extended about 2' above the 4' perimeter railing on the 265' and 275' decks.

Here's a pic circa 1975's:

KI_1975_24.jpg

The 1981 "Tower Johnny" accident prompted several changes to the Eiffel Tower.

1. The 50 foot platform was closed. (most know this already.)

2. As noted above, the railings on the 265' platform prior to the accident were simply bars that extended up 4 feet, then a railing, then another 2 feet above that. They did not extend to the top of each opening. After the accident, the bars were extended to the top.

3. As noted above, the railings on the 275' platform prior to the accident were also simply bars that extended up 4 feet, then a railing, then another 2 feet above that. The "ceiling" of bars on the top platform did not exist. After the accident, the bars were extended to enclose the entire platform.

And here's the tower as it exists from 1981 to today:

IMG_2729.jpg

Shaggy

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Shaggy,

To my understanding, the cheese-grater bottom and additional bars at the top of the Tower were actually added midway through the 1972. As seen in the Partridge Family episode, filmed at Kings Island in 1972:

275c.jpg

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Shaggy,

Do you happen to know why was the spike removed and why is the satellite still on the tower since the tower at KD doesn't have one?

Even KD's tower still has a spike which KI's doesn't.

I do, however, prefer KI's than KD's (been to KI, but never to KD) because it is one of my favorite things to look at KI. I believe it will be the only thing that will last longer than any other rides/buildings.

That is how special it is, it is what KI is all about because it made KI so famous.

It was actually planned for Coney Island and install where the Lost River was located, but the flood cancelled that plan so the Wachs' kept the tower plan for KI.

Curtis Summers actually designed the tower, but I don't know if he was the only one who designed it.

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His name wasnt even Johnny?

his name was john harter.

johnny is usually a nickname given to people named john.

...and lets face it, tower john would be easy to confuse with something else, not to mention all the people who would be looking for it. ;)

I read Jim in that article for some reason...haha my bad.

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The spike was removed long before then, in order to install the antenna there.

And, as far as I know, Curtis Summers did indeed design the Eiffel Tower. On other projects, he often corroborated with Charlie Dinn, but I believe the tower was Summers alone. Shaggy will know more about this than me, no doubt.

I've never heard Curtis Summer mentioned with the Eiffel Tower's design. Here's what I do know:

Around the 1968 season, the heads of Cincinnati Coney Island decided to install an observation tower to take the place of the Lost River dark ride attraction. Gary Wachs (the man responsible for KI) met with Intamin in Zurich Switzerland and ordered a tower. When the Taft monetary backing for KI's construction was obtained - Wachs immediately called and postponed the order from Intamin. Wachs then hired a gentleman by the name of Bruce Bushman from Hollywood to conceptualize the park's main entrance plaza and entrance theming.

Mr Bushman was one of Walt Disney's Imagineers who had been a key player in the development of Disneyland. He spent a good part of his career as a layout artist with Disney. He worked on many Disney shorts and movies such as Pinnochio. When "Uncle Walt" began developing Disneyland, Mr Bushman was immediately transferred to WED Design as one of the original Imagineers. At WED, he was placed in charge of designing/conceptualizing perhaps the most crucial part of Disneyland's themed areas - Fantasyland. He is credited as giving the area it's original feel and designing many of those unforgettable early Disneyland character dark rides.

Bruce Bushman eventually left Disney and moved to Hanna Barbera productions where he returned to his animation/layout artist roots. During this time, he conceptualized the idea for a Flintstones themed amusement park - of which renderings and proposals exist to this very day. The Flintstones park never materialized, obviously, and eventually Hanna Barbera was encorporated into KI's design. At the end of his career, he become an individual consultant to many regional theme parks cropping up across the US in the late 1960's and early 1970s. It was Bushman who developed the concept of "International Street" at KI encorporating the parameters Wachs had given him (Octoberfest theming, an observation tower, shops, eateries and elaborate fountains - all of which Wachs had seen at the World's Fair years eariler. )

For the fountain construction/installation, the head of the Cincinnati Coney Island Sunlite pool's operation at the time - Charlie Flack - was placed in charge. As part of Bushman's design concept, the Fountains lead to an elaborate observation tower themed to the Eiffel Tower. So thus the tower became as the park's focal point... and Wachs and Bushman presented the concept to Intamin.

Intamin then engineered the ride, and it was built in Graz Austria and partially dissasembled. The ride was shipped overseas in a pre-assembled state and the components re-assembled at the park. The total cost of the Eiffel Tower's engineering, shipping and install was $1.4 million.

Mr Bushman died in February 1972, 4 months before KI opened. He never saw the full realization of his concept for KI's grand entrance.

Shaggy

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Do you happen to know why was the spike removed and why is the satellite still on the tower since the tower at KD doesn't have one?

I was told that the spike on top of the Tower was removed in order to make it easier (and safer) for maintenance personnel to replace the light at the top of the tower. This replacement was done regularly in order to follow federal aviation requirements, and by removing the spike and installing the light elsewhere, the process wasn't as daunting as it had been.

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Thank you for the information on Bruce Bushman - I have been looking for that for a long time!

The spike was removed long before then, in order to install the antenna there.

And, as far as I know, Curtis Summers did indeed design the Eiffel Tower. On other projects, he often corroborated with Charlie Dinn, but I believe the tower was Summers alone. Shaggy will know more about this than me, no doubt.

I've never heard Curtis Summer mentioned with the Eiffel Tower's design. Here's what I do know:

Around the 1968 season, the heads of Cincinnati Coney Island decided to install an observation tower to take the place of the Lost River dark ride attraction. Gary Wachs (the man responsible for KI) met with Intamin in Zurich Switzerland and ordered a tower. When the Taft monetary backing for KI's construction was obtained - Wachs immediately called and postponed the order from Intamin. Wachs then hired a gentleman by the name of Bruce Bushman from Hollywood to conceptualize the park's main entrance plaza and entrance theming.

Mr Bushman was one of Walt Disney's Imagineers who had been a key player in the development of Disneyland. He spent a good part of his career as a layout artist with Disney. He worked on many Disney shorts and movies such as Pinnochio. When "Uncle Walt" began developing Disneyland, Mr Bushman was immediately transferred to WED Design as one of the original Imagineers. At WED, he was placed in charge of designing/conceptualizing perhaps the most crucial part of Disneyland's themed areas - Fantasyland. He is credited as giving the area it's original feel and designing many of those unforgettable early Disneyland character dark rides.

Bruce Bushman eventually left Disney and moved to Hanna Barbera productions where he returned to his animation/layout artist roots. During this time, he conceptualized the idea for a Flintstones themed amusement park - of which renderings and proposals exist to this very day. The Flintstones park never materialized, obviously, and eventually Hanna Barbera was encorporated into KI's design. At the end of his career, he become an individual consultant to many regional theme parks cropping up across the US in the late 1960's and early 1970s. It was Bushman who developed the concept of "International Street" at KI encorporating the parameters Wachs had given him (Octoberfest theming, an observation tower, shops, eateries and elaborate fountains - all of which Wachs had seen at the World's Fair years eariler. )

For the fountain construction/installation, the head of the Cincinnati Coney Island Sunlite pool's operation at the time - Charlie Flack - was placed in charge. As part of Bushman's design concept, the Fountains lead to an elaborate observation tower themed to the Eiffel Tower. So thus the tower became as the park's focal point... and Wachs and Bushman presented the concept to Intamin.

Intamin then engineered the ride, and it was built in Graz Austria and partially dissasembled. The ride was shipped overseas in a pre-assembled state and the components re-assembled at the park. The total cost of the Eiffel Tower's engineering, shipping and install was $1.4 million.

Mr Bushman died in February 1972, 4 months before KI opened. He never saw the full realization of his concept for KI's grand entrance.

Shaggy

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One of the windows on Main Street at Disneyland features Bushman's name. Those that follow Disney Parks know that the highest honor in all Disney is to have your name memorialized somewhere on Main Street.

DSC_6624.jpg

Although I question it's validity a bit, here is a picture of (I believe) Mr Bushman at work for Disney. Mr Bushman was always described as "husky" so Walt used him as a guide for the attraction seats at Disneyland. Because he was larger, if he fit, then Walt knew all parents would be able to fit in the attractions and ride with their kids. This photo does not suggest his being "husky," but then it's an early photo circa 1953 (pre-production time of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.) Mr Bushman was fond of playing Santa at Christmas... this fellow doesn't look very Santa-like to me ;-) None-the-less, if it's him, then it is a rare look at the man responsible for KI's International Street.

image016.jpg

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Do you happen to know why was the spike removed and why is the satellite still on the tower since the tower at KD doesn't have one?

I was told that the spike on top of the Tower was removed in order to make it easier (and safer) for maintenance personnel to replace the light at the top of the tower. This replacement was done regularly in order to follow federal aviation requirements, and by removing the spike and installing the light elsewhere, the process wasn't as daunting as it had been.

That makes sense to me. It may be true.

So, I guess the park keeping the satellite on the tower remains a mystery/secret, hmmm...lol

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Mr Bushman was always described as "husky" so Walt used him as a guide for the attraction seats at Disneyland. Because he was larger, if he fit, then Walt knew all parents would be able to fit in the attractions and ride with their kids.

Then in addition to International Street, I have something else to thank Mr. Bushman for. Thank you, Mr. Bushman, for helping make the Disney parks some of the bigger-people-friendly parks anywhere!

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Fascinating info in this topic. We are so lucky to have such knowledgeable people on here. Those Hanna Barbara Land sketches are some of the coolest things I've seen in awhile. If I didn't know any better, those buildings look like they could have lined International Street. I can't help but wonder if H-B is still popular enough for a H-B park, or park area to go over. I know I'd go!

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It would go over well with the older people mainly. Though my kids get a chuckle from some of the old cartoons shown on Boomerang. For me, watching old HB cartoons is painful, especially the ones that tried to be dramatic and many of them had horrid animation, even for their time, lol.

Still, H&B were responsible for my second favorite cartoon series ever, Tom & Jerry, so I would happily take my family to a park made in their honor.

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Thanks Shaggy for all that wonderful information about the Eiffel Tower and design of International Street! I always love reading your posts.

The bit you posted about Charlie Flack from Coney has me intrigued now. There was a Coney veteran who had a son that worked/works at Kings Island. I seem to recall this Coney veteran died around September of last year. The name escaped me now, but the tidbit about Coney piqued my brain about it. Now I`ll be going nuts trying to remember the name.

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