Monday, June 1, 2015

TV Network Theme Parks

The dazzling success of DISNEYLAND Park spurred numerous companies to attempt to get a bit of the magic for themselves. Two television networks made their own attempts to enter the theme park realm- CBS and ABC.

CBS chose to develop the Santa Monica Pier into a theme park. The location had been rejected by Walt Disney when he was seeking a location for DISNEYLAND, but it was already partially developed and popular, so CBS decided to go for it.

CBS sought to theme up the pier as best as it could, creating "Disneyland-Style" theming to impress crowds who had grown accustomed to DISNEYLAND. This proved to be an expensive proposition considering that the site was surrounded by water. The park found initial success, but succumbed to a nearby construction project that made it difficult to get to the park, plus CBS' inattention. The park eventually was demolished as a public hazard.

ABC chose to enter the theme park industry in 1968, but didn't want to go head on against DISNEYLAND (which it had helped finance originally, but no longer held an interest in) so it went north- to Redwood City, California and built ABC's Marine World. Meant to be the first of a small chain of theme parks, the park was wildly successful. ABC, however, didn't realize that theme parks require a steady stream of investment to keep guests coming through the gates. Losing interest in the park, they sold it to the owner of a safari park called Africa USA. The park was eventually relocated to Vallejo, California where it remains open as Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.