Vintage Fantasy Island Brochure
Vintage Fantasy Island Brochure
Grand Island, New York
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?
– A Circus Season: Travels With Tarzan (and inside look at the Zerbini Family Circus)
– Tarzan Zerbini Family History
11 thoughts on “Vintage Fantasy Island Brochure”
I am so excited that you found this! My Dad was GM at fantasy Island in the 60s. Tarzan was a family friend, and I grew up with his daughters Patty and Sylvia
My sister jean worked at the park inthe late 60s ans early 70s.
Now my niece and her children live on Grand Island and visit the park at least weekly.
I would LOVE to see the complete brochure!
finding this made my day!
Your comment just posted! So sorry that I’m terribly late in responding. All of the images from the brochure are posted.
So great to hear from someone who is personally connected 🙂
Loved this! That Tarzan Zerbini photo is a meme waiting to happen!
I know, right? 🙂
Very cool !
I was a security guard there during the mid seventies. My first year there was Tarzan’s last.
That man was a giant ‘scar’ from head to toe, but those cats did what he said. It was really something to see. He had lions and a couple of beautiful Bengal Tigers. The truck of horse meat made it’s way back to his section of the park every couple of days.
It’s still a wonderful park !
I’m so glad that you chimed in! I love hearing from people with personal experience/stories about it!
The Marshall Rick and Anne Oakley show you mentioned in your piece on Fantasy Island was filmed at the amusement park. Local children made up the audience. I know this is so because I was one of the local children.
Karen – that’s so awesome 🙂
I remember the Magnetic Mine where the water would run up the instead of down. The pool ball went in the wrong direction. That was my favorite. Oh and the CanCan show!
I came across this because fantasy island closed today….permanently. My friend and I …who are 50yo…were reminiscing. He mentioned Tarzan, and it brought me here. Very sad because this was a special place for so many. I live in MD now but I take my children every time I go visit my parents….my daughter cried tonight….
I just saw a mention of its closing on Twitter. So sad that it’s closing 🙁