Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


Lagoon: Hall of Mirrors (Part 2 of 2)

Filed under: Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Read Part 1

Years later, Mike and I were at Lagoon and I tried to reminisce with him, “Remember that hall of mirrors thing that they used to have here where the Jet Star II is now?” He looked at me with a blank face. I tried to jog his memory. “You know, the summer before they put up the Jet Star II, they had a huge slide thing that you had to climb and climb and climb. You would carry these rug things and once I got stuck at a spot. A kid said that I got stuck because I was fat.”

Mike’s eyes opened, “I remember the big slide. You had to carry your carpet up with you.” I was onto something I knew I would be able to get him to remember it, “Well, the year before they put up the huge slide thing, they had a hall of mirrors thing. It had a big monkey out front and there was a skeleton playing piano. I thought it was going to be a haunted house like the Terroride, but it wasn’t. It was kind of like the Fun House, but not so fun.” He looked at me like I was insane. “No, the big slide was always there until they put up the Jet Star II.”

No matter how well I described the ride, Mike couldn’t remember it. I began to think that I had imagined it and the story that vilified my dad in my mind. I asked my mom about it, “I remember a hall of mirrors thing at Lagoon, but Mike doesn’t remember it. Do you?” I knew that she had been there. She thought that I had been too young for the ride, when in reality, it was my dad who was too immature. She drew a blank. I tried to prompt her memory with the location of the ride and the fact that it was replaced by a huge slide, which was replaced by the Jet Star II. None of it helped, “You just remember more than I do about some things.”

All of this fermented in my mind for a few years. Mike didn’t remember it. Mom didn’t remember it. I sure as hell wasn’t going to ask my dad about it. I just let it lie dormant and hoped that I would find someone who remembered this ride.

We were going through Mom’s old photographs, dividing them among Stacey, my mom and me. “Oh my God, Mom! Look at this!” I held up the picture for her to see. It was a picture of Mom in front of the hall of mirrors at Lagoon. It wasn’t a professional picture. It wasn’t a beautiful picture, but it was proof. “What is it?” I was truly surprised that she didn’t recognize it, “Mom! It’s that hall of mirrors thing that they used to have at Lagoon where the Jet Star II is now.”

The Hall of Mirrors at Lagoon 1973

There it all was. It was blurry, but the big monkey was there. You couldn’t see that his eyes were red, but they burned brightly in my imagination. The clapping monkey was actually a cymbal playing monkey toy. It was the kind that were popular in the seventies before Monkey Shines came out. You can’t see it in the picture, but it was behind the guy who took the tickets.

The skeleton band was behind huge monkey. I didn’t remember the rest of the band; I had only remembered the skeleton playing the piano. His bony fingers weren’t even touching the keys. I didn’t understand how the music worked if his fingers didn’t even touch the keys. There was a whole skeleton band that I had forgotten, leaving only a piano player in my memory.

I felt comfort in having proof. In my hand was proof that I hadn’t made it up in my mind. My mom looked at the picture, “You just remember more than I do about some things.”



  1. Yes, as I remember it, the hall of mirrors was one segment that had to be negotiated to get through the Fun House. Or maybe it was separate. Not sure. Another thing in the Fun House was a sidewalk thing that had two moving sides which oscillated back and forth in opposition to one another. It also had some little hills to make it more difficult. In another section, kids would climb in to this saucer-like thing and sit around the center. Then it would start to spin. Eventually everybody (except maybe one lucky kid) would be flung out to the perimeter. As you walked between these attractions you would be assaulted from little jets of air shooting up from the floor. In another area, you walked down some stairs, only to be met by jail bars blocking your path. Some people never figured out that the bars were rubber. Some people couldn’t make it through regardless. By the way, I think you picked the right word – ‘vilified’ for your treatment of your father. I don’t think he did anything culpable at all.

    Comment by John — 8/9/2004 @ 8:32 pm

  2. The Fun House was an entirely different place than this Hall of Mirrors. Sadly, it’s gone too. Now, it’s all Wack-A-Mole, food vendors and office space.

    The Fun House also had a rotating barrel thing that I would end up falling in every damn time. I remember watching a grown-up (probably a teenager, now that I think of it) just walk through it and rescue kids. That was his job all day, walk through the rotating barrel and rescue stupid kids. He saved me once. When I got older, I learned that if you just walked along the lines that were painted on the inside of the barrel, you could walk it just fine. Magic!

    What a nightmare that spinning disc thing was. My mom let me ride it once and after that, she decided that it was too dangerous. She was a good mom. That spinning disc was a lawsuit waiting to happen.

    There was also a miniature version of the rug/slide thing in the Fun House. I always got stuck at the same spot and I blamed it on being fat. In reality, I was so scared of going down the slide that I would hold the sides to slow me down, which would stop me from having enough momentum to get over the same spot every time.

    I remember the rubber bars. They fooled me, but some kid just walked right through them. I couldn’t believe it until I tried it myself.

    The air ended up just frightening me, but I think it was supposed to lift the skirts of the girls at the Fun House. It was the 70’s, though. No one wore skirts anymore. I was wearing my stripped Brady Bunch pants in orange and pink. It did scare me, though.

    All the balance things at the Fun House were really hard when I was a kid. I wish it still existed so I can try them now. I bet I’d be able to breeze through all those obstacles. That’s one thing that the Bosu Ball has given me: better balance.

    Comment by Laura Moncur — 8/10/2004 @ 10:45 am

  3. Holy crap. It did exist. I had almost passed this memory off as blurry images from a recurring dream. The big gorilla and the skeleton pianist actually did exist. Thanks for verifying this with your photo. I must have been four or five when I was at Lagoon with the family. Mom doesn’t remember the “hall of mirrors,” little sis was less than two, and dad’s long gone. One cousin told me I was just mixing memories between the old Fun House and the Terroride, but I knew for certain that it was real. Besides, I avoided the Terroride back then. I sat on the bench out front while the rest of the gang stood in line in that dank cavern, among the countless pieces of discarded chewing gum, unfazed by their impending doom, while I waited patiently, trying no to stare directly into the eyes of the monsters who kept peeking out of the shutters overhead. I knew it wasn’t the Terroride. Over the years, that creepy hall of mirrors place has retreated to the place in my mind between sleep and reality, mixed in with actual dreams about Lagoon as it used to be mixed with other amusement parks from past memories. Pastel helicopters and a circle of little boats with bells on them. The ominous old wooden Wild Mouse. The smell along the midway at night – flowers, cotton candy and old wood. It was years before I returned to Lagoon. The Jet Star was in place and the creepy old Hall of Mirrors was gone. I couldn’t remember where it had been located, but I knew it was once there. I was 13 by then, so my quest to find the skeleton band was quickly sidelined by my discovery that pretty girls liked the park, too. I got caught staring into the unearthly green eyes of a brown-haired young goddes with braces while waiting in line for the bumper cars. I was embarrassed. The rest is a blur. Anyway, thanks for your entries on Lagoon. The memories came flooding back. I’m taking my own kids there this weekend and needed a Lagoon refresher course from online before the trip. Your entries are wonderful!

    DB Stewart

    Comment by DB Stewart — 8/3/2006 @ 12:54 pm

  4. Wow! The Funhouse was the one thing I looked forward to the most when going to Lagoon in the late 70’s. I would spend most of the day there. I remember the long slide and there was a couple that twisted as well. Also they had a sideways room that was fun and disorienting. The spinning disc was the most dangerous, you’d end up flying into people on the sidelines. The spinning saucer was strangely oppressive and the tunnel near the exit caused many a bruised knee. Went back to Lagoon last year with my 14 year old son (after 30 years)and was crushed to see the funhouse gone. The Terroride though is still there in all it’s cheap stuffed mannequin glory (much scarier when I was 7)and of course that great old wooden roller coaster called…Roller Coaster. Doesn’t get any quainter than old Lagoon.

    Comment by chandler — 7/2/2007 @ 10:31 am

  5. I too have had many dreams over the years where various Lagoon features, mostly mutations of the Terroride, Funhouse, and Hall of Mirrors. Of them all, the feature that endures the sharpest in my memory is the mural at the Terroride. That caveman must have been the first fearsome image that I ever overcame. Thanks for the Hall of Mirrors pic, I had nearly forgotten the gorilla. I’m going tomorrow with my wife and 2 and 4 year-olds. My first time back in 20 years. Will always miss the Funhouse.

    Comment by d-day — 8/19/2007 @ 8:20 pm

  6. Sad, sad, sad. We were planning a trip to Lagoon this summer and I was telling my kids about the Fun House. As a kid, I went there with my dad and later returned when it was more run down, but still a blast. The spinning tunnel, the bumpy slides, the sideways room. It’s a shame it’s not there any more. It was one of the things that made the place unique over other amusement parks. We’ll now have to reconsider out trip since it’s as close to us as California’s Great America.

    NOTE TO Lagoon Corp: Rebuild the Fun House.

    Comment by David Kennard — 5/20/2008 @ 10:40 am

  7. Wow! I totally remember this! It is a picture of the “haunted shack” I saw the picture and called my brother in Vegas to look at it. We both laughed and shared some fun Lagoon memories. Lagoon is not what it used to be. Thanks for putting this picture up. It’s nice to know I’m not the only child from the 70’s with wild memories from Lagoon.

    Comment by Eve — 4/5/2010 @ 12:01 pm

  8. Yes, I remember the haunted shack well, with the split moving stairs on the way in, the seemingly endless narrow passages through it and the wonderful hall of mirrors at the end. Friends and I used to have fun running through the hall of mirrors and snickering a bit at those who were lost in them. Of course we did find out that way that they did change the mirrors on occasion… I wore the lump on my head from running right into a mirror once for a while to remind me. The haunted house was probably my favorite ride, followed by the fun house, with the split rotating barrels that we also used to run through (and sometimes rescue people, honestly mostly so we could run through them without worrying about stepping on anyone…). This would have been in the late 1970’s.

    Comment by Lee — 11/25/2010 @ 7:17 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress
(c) 2003-2007 Laura Moncur