Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Speedy steeplechase

The last time I saw Harold Lloyd in Speedy, it was on a big screen. "Speedy" can mean "not too swift." One of the most delightful aspects of this movie is the large amount of footage devoted to Steeplechase Park at Coney Island. I'd forgotten that this movie is one of those in which the steeplechase ride can be seen in action. Among other rides seen in action are the swing airplanes and a wonderful, quite long, sequence showing the human roulette wheel in operation. The movie also shows some of Luna Park, including the spinning wheels of light. The prices of some of the food and refreshments sold on the boardwalk can often be read. I like this Web site on amusement parks. I find that there's a page about the carrousel at Dorney Park, which I've ridden (here's one of my pictures of the carrousel, a bit faded), and it was by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, as I surmised, although it has since, sadly, been destroyed by fire. I have a better photograph of the old band organ, too, even though mine is a bit faded. Whatever year that was, it was in working order and was one of the greatest ones I've ever heard. I wonder whether it was burned up, too, because it doesn't seem to be the same one pictured on the amusement-park site. Nobody seems to list Speedy as one of the movies showing Coney Island. This is at times very funny and always entertaining, with its time-machine look at Manhattan and Brooklyn.


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