I do not use this term lightly, but we've gotten the heads up on what absolutely qualifies as a treasure trove of Six Flags Great Adventure history!
We were recently introduced to Harry Applegate who, along with his friend Tom Benton, runs GreatAdventureHistory.com, a website jam packed with amazing retro Great Adventure goodies.
From photos to discussions, videos and much more, Harry and Tom have gathered an amazing collection of nostalgia that any Great Adventure visitor in the last 40-plus years will appreciate.
We asked Harry to help us pick out some of the best old school commercials, and came up with these 5 gems spanning the decades with some of the hottest rides to ever take off in Jackson:
Rolling Thunder was Great Adventure's first wooden roller coaster, and the largest in the park when it opened in 1979.
The classic rolled on for 34 years, until it was demolished in 2013 to make way for Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom.
My family moved to New Jersey in 1983, and this is the first Great Adventure commercial that I absolutely remember seeing on TV.
The Looping Starship opened in 1985, capitalizing on the height of the NASA space shuttle popularity of the early 1980's.
You want nostalgia? This commercial has to be one of the most 80's things I've ever seen!
This is another TV spot that I vividly remember. Both the commercial and the hype that surrounded the opening of The Great American Scream Machine are clear memories for me.
And I don't say "hype" in a negative sense. When the Great American Scream Machine opened in 1989 it was the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world.
A record, by the way, that still resides in Jackson, with Kingda Ka.
I would personally argue that the early 90's was the pinnacle of Batman movies, with Michael Keaton playing The Dark Knight in 1989's Batman, and 1992's Batman Returns.
The bosses at Great Adventure's parent company, Six Flags, saw the success of Batman: The Ride at Great adventure's sister-park, Great America, outside of Chicago, and replicated the ride here in New Jersey.
Of course, a number of Batman themed rides have since gone up at Great Adventure, but you can still ride the granddaddy of them all (and see the 1990's-era Batmobile, too!) today.
In the late 80's and early 90's, motion simulator rides were all the rage.
With a pair of mega-popular rides in Orlando (at Disney World with "Star Tours", and Universal Studio's "Back To The Future: The Ride"), Great Adventure added one of its own in 1994 with The Right Stuff Mach 1 Adventure.
In an airplane hangar style building, riders took to the virtual skies for their own Top Gun-like experience, which is not-so-subtly alluded to in a number of aspects of the ride, up to and including the logo.
The ride and its partner film have been rethemed a number of times over the years, with everything from a Jurassic Park-like dinosaur adventure, to SpongeBob SquarePants and more.