A friend posted a Buzzfeed photo set on my Facebook Timeline yesterday – it’s a stroll through the desolate remains of Joyland – the amusement park we Wichitans of the last half of the 20th century grew up knowing best.  Though out of commission since at least 2006, the park’s remains still exist to instill nightmares and tickle nerves of nostalgia in Wichita, Kansas.

I cannot conjure memories of Joyland without the music.  A “Wurlitzer” player piano/Nickelodeon was responsible for the musical atmosphere of the park – it was the real deal, with a clown that moved its hands while belting out carnival music for the whole park – the clown and organ were the first thing guests saw when we passed through the entry gates, but its music must also have been pumped throughout the park via some sound system.

I was disappointed that the old organ and clown did not make it into the photo set.  I wonder if it was the victim of looting, or if it was ransacked for parts.  I know those old Nickelodeons are getting more and more rare, and the parts must be getting increasingly so as well.

The final “photo” of the set is a vimeo video.  The accompanying music sounds like a dying version of the music that used to come out of the Wurlitzer.

In memoriam, Joyland.

Thanks for reading.


One comment

  1. Thanks for the article. I have a special interest in that organ since I worked on the player mechanism in my Dad’s machine shop around 1980. I always wondered what finally happened to that organ.

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