Flight To Mars
Palisades Park, Coney Island, Gaslight Village, Fun Forest
By Bret Malone
|The legendary "Flight-To-Mars" is long remembered by enthusiasts as a classic type of European Dark Ride with American attributes. At least two different models of the ride were imported into the United States by Mickey Hughes. This series of rides was produced and manufactured by Anton Schwartzkopf, more commonly known for his German expertise in building steel tracked Roller Coasters. One ride was booked into Palisades Amusement Park, the other at Coney Island. Both of these rides had an Outer Space theme, and featured a two-story trip, with cars popping out over the midway during s-turns, much like the American made Pretzel, "Monsters Den" series of rides. Mr. Schwartzkopf utilized his "Calypso" ride cars for his Dark Ride attractions, painted in very up-beat bright colors. The Palisades ride was either re-themed or replaced with a much more scarier version of the first. This second ride is the one most spoken about by ride enthusiasts in hushed tones. It had a Devils head centered in the facade along with several other frightening creatures, and made use of extensive Black Lighting and Day Glow paint. The top of the facade had several Martian like antennas in V-shaped configurations. The Coney model was replaced, possibly sent back to a European park. The Palisades model was sold when that park closed in 1971, and sent to upstate NewYork to Gaslight Village, in Lake George. Here, it made old friends with several people who remembered the breath-taking ride of Palisades. Soon, however, it was sold, once again to a park down in Columbia. James Bello tracked the ride from Columbia to a Seattle Park called "Fun Forest". Here, he went to see the ride, in person, but realized that the classy artwork and facade had been totally painted over by its former owners in Columbia, to great dismay. The stunts had been changed, to mimic several big name Movies, with Alien Looking creatures included. Currently, the ride is being offered for sale by a ride brokerage company. We here, at "The Dark Ride and Funhouse Historical Society" can only hope that someone will buy this former Thriller, and restore it to its former Glory that it had at Palisades, overlooking the cliffs. It is also hoped, that, somewhere in Europe, its sister ride is still in existence, possibly in storage. I wish to thank James Bello for his help, both, with photos and information for this article.|
|Photos are from the James Bello collection and used with permission.
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This page was last updated Sunday, April 11, 1999