No, this isn’t from the island home of Mr. Roarke and his plucky sidekick, Tattoo
I found this great 1966 Fantasy Island amusement park brochure in a local vintage shop (a great place that I will share with you in a future post). The graphic design is fun and I was curious about the Tarzan Zerbini feature; so I brought it home.
According to its Wikipedia entry, Fantasy Island initially opened its theme park in the Niagara Falls region in 1961. The business claimed bankruptcy in 1982. The park subsequently changed owners several times until it was reacquired by one of several previous owners in 1992 and renamed Two Flags Over Niagara Fun Park. Several years later, Martin Dipietro purchased the park and renamed it Martin’s Fantasy Island. It continues to operate under that name.
I love this great 8mm film from the summer of 1967 (by YouTube user FunWithStuttering). Many of these rides are long gone (including those great turnpike cars). You will also catch a glimpse of Tarzan Zerbini and his aerialist wife, Jackie.
I had never heard of Tarzan Zerbini prior to seeing the brochure …. but after doing a little research, I found out that the Zerbini family is legendary in the circus world. (see links at the end of this post). According to Amusement Parks of New York by Jim Futrell, Fantasy Island installed a custom arena that seated 2,000 + just for Zerbini and his show was a particularly popular attraction for nearly 10 years.
The park had several other themed areas, including a Western Town that featured live entertainment.
I searched for some WGR-TV footage that featured Marshall Rick & Annie Oakley but I wasn’t able to locate anything. My guess is that he would have hosted local introductions to syndicated programming (akin to Elvira). Does anyone from the Buffalo/Niagara area remember Marshal Rick?