Seaside History

Playland: Amusements in the 1930s

July 17, 2013 | by Nate Burke

Recognize this classic Seaside landmark? For just over sixty years, countless kids and adults have come to the Oregon Coast to get behind the wheel of a vintage bumper car, play a round of mini-golf, or scream with delight on the Tilt-a-Whirl. Since the 1950s, this stretch of Broadway has been dedicated to the amusements you can still find here today. But even before these installations, this spot was home to Playland, a popular destination for kids and families. Playland was, of course, even more old-fashioned than the vintage locale you can still find today, and back in the 1930s (as pictured here) it was still slick as a whistle.

At Pop’s Korn Krunch stand in the mid-1930s, you could get yourself a Coney Island Red Hot for ten cents.  A Red Hot was actually an old term for a hot dog – whether it was referring to the spiciness or to the actual served temperature, your author is a bit too young to know. After you waited a bit for your food to settle, you could go for a twirl on the indoor merry-go-round, or try your hand at the penny arcade games such as the coin-op strength grip tester (where you could find out if you were a “Macho Man” or a “Wet Noodle”). You could also try your hand at a game of Fascination, a table game that started in the 1920s, where players roll a rubber ball up an inclined wooden deck, lighting up the backboard in lines similar to Bingo. Fascination is a race against the clock, played against other players, where winners receive tickets to trade for prizes.

Today in our fast-paced digitized age, you can still play a classic game of Fascination at Seaside’s Funland Arcade just a few blocks down Broadway from the Bumper Cars and the location of the old Playland building. It’s one of the few Fascination games remaining in the country and gives you a great taste of 1930s amusements.

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