The only other ride I took in at Paragon that day was the Red Mill. Surprisingly my grandparents didn’t promote this ride prior to our arrival at the park. But I was quite excited to ride it since I heard tales of “tunnels of love” from the older generation of my neighborhood and had seen renditions in Saturday morning cartoons.
And speaking of cartoons, the ride’s façade wasn’t intimidating as it had a scene of Popeye at the helm in a ship’s wheel house in a short tower near the entrance. Hence, I had no fear boarding the small wood boat afloat on murky water with my grandparents and drifting into a narrow, dark tunnel. Looking back on the experience, it appears the park had a partnership with King Features Syndicate with the façade appearance of Popeye and other comic strip characters inside including the bald kid “Henry” on a turntable, spinning around between two pals, teasing them with his ice cream cone raised above their heads.

Top: When first built, the ride was named Mill Rapids before being rethemed as the Red Mill.

Above: The lift hill and drop of the Red Mill. The Mill was built by Philadelphia Toboggan Co. on the footprint beneath the Giant Coaster.

Left: A view of the Red Mill's splash pool on the way back to the loading station.

The only other stunt I recall is “Felix The Cat” mischievously eyeballing a fake fishbowl, his tail slowly wagging. Despite the comic strip ambience, this boat ride was still rather creepy, with the boat constantly banging the narrow wooden walls in total darkness and the overlapping of loud, but barely coherent playing of old records: theme songs relevant to the comic strip characters.

The Red Mill, being a PTC Mill Chute, ended with a light splashdown off a short lift hill:
a very entertaining first for me.

Although I had ridden my first wood coaster at my hometown Crescent Park earlier that year, Paragon’s Giant Coaster, more than 100-feet high, looked surreal and not inviting. Maybe when I’m older, I thought.

Right: Never too early to start researching an article: Laff In The Dark's creative director Bill Luca, 5 years old, standing at the entrance to the Red Mill.