Over ten years ago when editor George LaCross and I first met to discuss the formation of Laff In The Dark, we were amazed to learn that we had both separately visited Old Orchard Beach in childhood. George had spent five days there with his grandparents in 1961. We recalled with uncanny detail each dark ride and funhouse that had thrilled us and how nothing we'd ever seen could compare to the Palace Playland pavilion.

As seen in the top photo, the massive entrance of the pavilion at the corner of Old Orchard Street and West Grand Avenue invited patrons to stroll through a building that extended back an entire city block. At that time, it was operated by Bernard Osher and held kiddie rides, a Dodgem, a Whip, all kinds of games, arcade machines and food stands, including a full cocktail lounge.

In addition, Palace had another group of rides and concessions in a large lot outside the building. In this area, Palace Playland seemed to have a 'policy' of "moving the furniture around" every season. I noticed that some of the rides I'd seen the year before would have been shifted to different locations when I returned.

George had these memories of the Palace Playland pavilion: "I recall the inside being very noisy and that one had to yell to
communicate. There were mostly kiddie rides but there was an adult Whip. The games of chance were along the walls and close to the rides which was probably planned so that adults could play games and watch their kids at the same time. I'm pretty sure I rode that Whip a few times in view of my grandparents who were playing games. At age seven I was too
big for kiddie rides. There was a Dodgem or Scooter in there but I didn't ride it. My grandfather took me on the one that was down that side street -- well in back of the big fun house behind Noah's Ark."
Views of Palace Playland in the early fifties. Directly above: photo shows the entrance to the pavilion in the background. The building extended back beyond the left edge of the photo. On the foreground corner was Bricky's Spa, a popular food stand with a dine and dance hall on the second level run by the Brikiatis family. The Cyclone coaster had stood behind it. Bricky's was the only structure on the block to survive the 1948 fire. The Palace Playland building burned in the 1948 fire and was rebuilt. It burned again in the fire of 1972 and was rebuilt yet again. As Old Orchard Beach's primary amusement park, Palace Playland's amusement pavilion still operates today as does its even larger lot of outdoor rides.
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