Friday, December 5, 2014

The World of Sid & Marty Krofft Theme Park

Known for their psychedelic television shows and tacky variety hours, Sid and Marty Krofft were definitely products of their time. In their heyday of the 1970's, this powerhouse team produced hours of bizarre kid's programming. It was inevitable that they would spread out their empire to the theme park realm.

Enter Atlanta's gleaming Omni Center. Eager to bring tourists and their dollars into the city, Atlanta was trying to make things happen downtown. The Omni Center, a complex featuring a hotel, adjacent meeting spaces and an arena was providing attractive incentives to bring a theme park to town. It seemed like a deal too good to pass up for Sid and Marty Krofft, who quickly signed up to build the world's first indoor theme park.

Featuring live shows, animatronic characters and rides, the park opened in 1976 to great fanfare. Taking advantage of their television show, the Kroffts regularly featured the park.

Unfortunately, the area around the park was still dicey. Lower than expected crowds meant that the entirety of the park could be seen and experienced in a short amount of time. Since the park priced itself like a traditional theme park it was seen by many as a ripoff compared to nearby Six Flags over Georgia. Unable to shake its bad reputation, the park closed forever just six months after it opened. A flurry of lawsuits ensued between the Kroffts, the investors and the city of Georgia. After all of the lawsuits were settled, the theme park was gutted and sold off piece by piece to collectors and other theme parks.

The shell of the building, however, remained standing. In 1985 it was purchased by Ted Turner who saw it as an ideal location for his fledging cable network. The building was then renamed CNN Center and is still their world headquarters.