One of the most popular "flat" rides at fairs, carnivals, amusement parks and theme parks around the world has been the "octopus", "polyp" or "monster" style ride. These rides offer a family experience as they can accommodate riders of varying sizes and the ride while fun is not too intense for the more timid.
Franz Schwarzkopf was one of the most prolific ride builders of the 1960's and 70's and developed the polyp style ride, with his son Anton Schwarzkopf going on to build further variations on the design in the late 70's and early 80's.
|PRETTY MONSTER (1974-1975)
When Great Adventure opened in
1974, the largest concentration of rides was located between the
Fountain and the Giant Wheel.
This section of the Enchanted Forest, known as Strawberry Fair,
was envisioned by park creator Warner LeRoy as a toy box – full of all
kinds of oversized windup gadgets and mechanical wonders.
One of these “playthings” was the
Pretty Monster ride. With
its gleaming white paint, floral patterns, and a rainbow's worth of
multicolored lights, Pretty Monster put a whimsical spin on what would
otherwise be a typical octopus or polyp ride.
Located just to the right of the
Giant Wheel atop the slight hill between the current day Mama Floras and
the nearby restroom facilities, Pretty Monster was a traveling ride
installed on a portable platform.
Pretty Monster was one of the
first rides assembled in the park, completed and ready to operate long
before the park was ready to open. The bright white ride on its blue
platform stood out in the muddy surroundings as Dream Street began to
The ride was designed to be
portable, and could quickly and easily be assembled anywhere.
Like many flat rides, it was designed for use on the fair
circuit, with bright lights and colorful patterns to catch the eye of
passers-by daytime or night. The ride’s vehicles featured fish-like
faces and the surrounding railings were designed with a fanciful
|Pretty Monster was the first of three “monster” style rides that have been at Great Adventure over the years. This was the simplest version with cars in fixed positions at the end of the arms, where the two that followed each had cars that spun. In addition, the ride’s arms rose with individual hydraulics while its replacements instead had a central lift mechanism on a curved shaft that created the undulating motion. Also unlike the later versions, the center of the ride was enclosed by a canvas covering instead of fiberglass.
|DREAM STREET DAZZLER (1976-1977)
For the 1976 season the park’s main entrance was moved from the end of
Dream Street to the Fountain area. In order to widen the path near the
new entrance, Pretty Monster was moved up Dream Street to a new location
next to the Yum Yum Palace which had been home to “The Happening” show
for the first two seasons.
With the new location of the
Pretty Monster came the new name Dream Street Dazzler, and with it the
ride received a new paint scheme with more color on the structure.
In addition the ride was set into the pavement, eliminating the
need for the raised platform from
the original installation.
Pretty Monster was a family favorite which parents and children could enjoy together. The ride offered mild thrills and a lot of fun as it spun.
|Click the slide
below to see
The Pretty Monster was retired at
the end of the 1977 season, replaced the following year with a new
version of the ride known as the Monster Spin, which featured all the
same motions with the addition of spinning cars.