My first job ever was working at Crystal Beach Amusement Park, directly across the border in Canada. At the time, I was responsible for running the remote control boats that drifted around a small pond. The object was to remotely steer them through three or four lighthouses that stood about three feet tall. When the boat passed through, the lighthouse would light up at the top. It was a pretty boring job, until one of the boats would break and a customer would complain that the steering mechanism wasn’t working properly. Then it was more aggravating than boring. Having no knowledge of the inner-workings of the miniature crafts, I did my best to tinker with them and somehow got them up and running again. It was a constant battle.
The best part about overseeing the remote control boats was getting a lunch break at noon. I brought a sandwich each day, that I would wolf down in a couple of minutes, before heading over to The Comet rollercoaster. Since I worked at the park, and knew all of the people who ran the rides, I was able to skip to the front of the line (wearing my park uniform – navy blue shirt with red CB crest). Each day I would ride the coaster at noon, never getting bored with that initial free-fall drop. The exhilaration was unparalleled.
Until yesterday, The Comet was merely a distant memory. I came across a Youtube video that allowed me to relive the thrill and excitement of a day gone by. I couldn’t believe that someone had managed to capture the experience and upload a video. Watching the video allowed me to relive the high flying adventure that had been tucked away in my brain for so so long. I couldn’t believe that I recalled every twist and turn. Although the video account is only a smidgen of what it was like to actually ride the coaster, with a little imagination I felt some of the adrenaline rushing back.
For those who never had a chance to actually ride The Comet, the video does not do the coaster justice, since there’s nothing like actually jumping aboard a giant hybrid (wood and steel) coaster of this nature. Today’s coasters are much bigger, faster, and probably scarier, but back then, there was something to be said about a ride that was rougher and tougher due to its age.
After the park closed in 1989, The Comet was purchased and moved to The Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom in Queensbury, New York near Lake George (see more).
Following is the video, front seat ride on the comet, Crystal Beach Canada. Video courtesy www.whitedeath.com. Visit the site to purchase Crystal Beach – The Good Old Days book and DVD.