Imagine H.P. Lovecraft trying all the fairground rides at the beach, and then as a finale hurtling down the biggest roller-coaster. It happened, perhaps several times. In November 1921 his fellow amateur Mrs. Miniter wrote up a report of the Boston Convention of amateur journalists of July 1921. This had taken the amateurs to Boston’s Revere Beach amusements park, Boston’s equivalent of Coney Island…
… he [Lovecraft] tried all the soporific stunts at Revere” … “…to Revere Beach, where Mr. Lovecraft dropped eighty-five feet and was all over.” (Lovecraft Remembered, p.83).
George Houtain expanded on a Revere Beach visit, in a memoir of Lovecraft…
… we all journeyed to Revere Beach. Here Howard Lovecraft and Albert Sandusky did the eighty-five-foot-drop switchback three times in succession and complained bitterly of the tameness of it all. The greatest fun was with [the ride] “Over The Falls” [possibly this was earlier “Neptune’s Frolic”? — see picture below]. After passing through various chambers of trick floors, we were escorted singly and in pairs to a little elevator, where sitting down we expectantly waited either for the elevator to drop or a curtain to go up and the show to commence. Before we could adjust our thoughts, the whole front suddenly gave way, the seat propelled us forward , and in a second we were bounding down the most billowy waves one could imagine. Picture, if you will, the philosophical form of one Henry Padget-Lowe, Edward Softly, Theobald Jr., H.P.L., popping out and coming bouncing toward us. It was a screaming scream.” (Lovecraft Remembered, p.88-89).
His rollercoaster companion Albert Sandusky was the editor of Boys’ World, about six or seven years younger than Lovecraft and so much given to slang that Lovecraft called him “Wisecrack Sandusky” on paper. “Lovecraft met him frequently during trips to the Boston area”, apparently, although little else seems to be known about him other than his early involvement as a boy printer for Lovecraft 1915-1916, and his editing of the Quill magazine for the Hub Journalist Club c. 1923.
Here are some of the other attractions Lovecraft could have enjoyed, including a palmist, Hell Gate, Neptune’s Frolic, Dragons Gorge, Japanese Ping-Pong, a “Fatal Wedding” theatre show (a grand guignol?), an animal show with monkeys, the Virginia Reel, The Whirlpool, and more.
It’s also known that Lovecraft visited Coney Island, the world-famous set of amusements, at least twice while living in New York. We also know he enjoyed several attractions there, including the $100,000 Fun House called “The Pit” which had opened in 1923.
One of your very best posts! kudos. Recall that HPL rode a tethered hot air balloon in Autumn 1910 at a state fair, if memory serves. No fear of heights for that boy.
Lovely post, and such wonderful postcards! It certainly was a simpler time with simpler pleasures and past times.
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