“Traction” Park in Vernon, NJ Was Considered the Most Dangerous in America

Action Park was the sleaziest amusement park in America. It was seemingly run by the kids in The Lord of the Flies.

We called it Traction Park.

It was also dubbed Class Action Park.

The commercials were scary–

24 Comments on “Traction” Park in Vernon, NJ Was Considered the Most Dangerous in America

  1. @Aaron Burr – I couldn’t agree more. If they weren’t dangerous and sleazy they were no fun. My favorite rides were the ones that turned me upside down and shook me while subjecting my body to almost blackout levels of G force. A big plus was when other riders puked (as long as none got on me) or burst into panicky tears.

  2. It’s just how thrills work. When I was a kid I lived in Orange County Ca. Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm….everything safe and sane.

    Then one year we went out to the Central Valley and found a Carnival. Wow.
    WOW. What a culture shock. This was everything Walt Disney hated. It was menacing, the rides were dangerous, the whole place reeked of petty scams and corruption. I wanted to run away with them.

    Oh yeah, the way we rated carnival rides was to watch the metalhead teenagers. If they got off a ride and were scared, or pissed, or cried or puked…. that was the ride to go on.

  3. I am jealous of ya’ Al, not every kid gets to ride on stuff escaped nazis built.

    Those guys had a lot of angst to work out.

  4. There was this time.
    1970s County type Fair.
    Giant Swing Set with enclosed rocking capsules you stood in
    No restraints and I got proof
    You pumped up and down to get the swing motion
    They weren’t meant to go loop de loop
    You can hit weightlessness for a second which feels like 3
    Gravitys Return caused grip loss
    Never did get the full loop on that one
    But I did see stars

  5. …ANY ride can be dangerous to an idiot. I knew a guy who was Maintenance Manager at an amusement park in Warren County Ohio, and he said the deadliest ride was, of all things, the elevator in the 1/4 scale Eiffel Tower attraction. The elevator ITSELF was quite safe, it was the fools that would try to “elevator surf” on TOP of it that were the problem. He had folks stumble off it when it was going up, get tangled in the cables, crushed at the top and bottom, and the teenage employees either couldn’t STOP it or were actually HELPING people do it. I wasn’t there so I can’t tell which it was.

    This is in addition to the day of 3 drunk deaths, where on the same day, a woman passed out from alcohol while in the now-defunct Flight Commander ride and found a way to slip out, since the designers didn’t take falling-down drunk women into account, while two OTHER guys found a way to fall into the artificial lake at the artificial Bier Garten and were electrocuted by a poorly-insulated colored lamp under the water (pre-GFCI days).

    …you are NOT free of all cares at an amusement park. If you can’t stay somewhat sober, make poor decisions, and do dumb stuff, then bad things WILL happen.

    Caveat Emptor applies THERE, too…

  6. As I watched these videos, I kept thinking…this park seems like a blast. Throughout the years, I have experienced many similar types of rides – bumper boats, go kart racing, way too fast water slides, big wave pools, slides where you can get air if you hit the bumps right – and it was fun. A little painful at times, but still fun.

    I ran with a sick crew.

  7. Yeah….I can see it…..the skinny kid doesn’t make it around the loop and is stalled. Meanwhile tubby leaps into the tube……

  8. I’d be more worried about getting ecoli or an eye full or urine from the water than I would be about getting injured from the rides.

  9. Was there…once as a late driving teenager.

    Waaaay to far from the Bronx…

    @ – Definitely known and remembered as a place to maybe break something. The Tidal pool was COOL and VERY early in the tech of it.

    Oh the Alpine Slide. A sled down a mini Jerzee mountain that you had to take the lift to!

    We were pulled over on the way home by the po-lice!

    I just remembered, thanks!

  10. No insurance makes it even more alluring.

    Fatty Arbuckle made a picture at Coney Island. We don’t make anything remotely as dangerous as Luna Park used to be. The seatbelt hadn’t been invented and cocaine was an over the counter drug. What could possibly go wrong?

  11. I went there often during those years. Dangerous is right but we had a lot of fun. I do remember falling off the side of the wave pool between waves, probably about 8 ft, and landing on a friend of mine. His was out for the day with a neck injury.
    BFH, do you remember Playland in Rye? Frequented there also but eventually it was taken over by the state I think and became gang central and broke. It was the park used in the movie BIG with Tom hanks.

  12. There’s a analgogy there to the U.S., too many uncontrolled and unnecessary and dangerous freedoms. Especially to children. Shut it down.

  13. @ Petrus – since you asked, I was there way more than out in Jerzee…here is an update for you.


    The movie Big was filmed there, the scene towards the end.

    Great place, the NY Ranger used to use the hockey rink to practice MANY years ago…

    It HAD held the record of the longest continually operated publicly owned amusement park…


  14. General Admission Concerts in the 70’s….Scary as heck when You

    only weighed about a hundred pounds..and are basically riding the wave

    in through the flexing glass doors….Last one was “Angel” @ the

    Armory in Spfld Il. About a week later those folks were trampled

    at the Concert in Ohio.

  15. Damn that looks like fun. I’m surprised I survived my childhood with all the crazy stuff I used to do with my friends – – jumping off trapeze swings into lakes, playing tag on log jams in the harbor, riding our bikes down harrowing hills at 50 mph, lying on the road in our sleeping bags at night and waiting for cars to come then jumping out of the way at the last second, etc. etc.


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