10-25-2012 - Castle Amusement Park - Redondo Beach, CA
Castle Park Redondo Beach CA
Malibu Castle Park Miniature Golf & Arcade consisted of two 18-hole miniature golf courses separated by an Arthurian castle that housed the ticket booth, birthday party rooms, a snack bar, bathrooms, and a huge arcade. The place was a merger of childhood fantasy & imagination and the latest computer wizardy of its day.
After graduating from West Los Angeles College in June of 1983, I applied for a summer job with Castle Park. I worked alongside Catherine Demshki in the castle. Andy Navarro worked at the batting cages. And, John Abasto was a member of park maintenance.
I remember seeing a few '81 alumni over that summer. Jeanne Reeve and her husband Mark; Lori Plimpton and her infant daughter Misty; Ron Argento; Keith MacLyman; Bob Johnson.
I worked evenings and weekends primarily. Friday and Saturday nights were noisy and chaotic. The supervisor was known to crank up the rock music on the sound system which had us shouting to be heard by the customers. The place was always packed. Patrons lined up at the machines to test their skill at the latest games.
'Dragon's Lair' was the first laserdisc video game featuring interactive animation. It starred a hero, 'Dirk the Daring', attempting to rescue 'Princess Daphne' from the evil Dragon holed up in a wizard's castle. The screen showed animated scenes, and the player executed an action by selecting a direction or pressing the sword button with correct timing. The comedy of the game stemmed from not only the bizarre looking creatures and death scenes, but the fact that while Dirk was a skilled knight, who was somewhat clumsy in his efforts and a reluctant hero, prone to shrieking and reacting in horror to the various dangers he encounters.
I did learn to 'kick ass' on Dragon's Lair and defeat The Dragon and win The Princess. Clusters of video game machines in the center of the room were surrounded by rows and rows of pinball and skee-ball machines along the walls. But, my favorite games to play (even to this day) are the pinball machines. I am good at using the flippers and aiming the steel ball at the various targets. The ball can be lightning fast. Quick reflexes are a must. Unlike video games, there are no patterns to memorize. It's all hand to eye skill coordination.
While working as an employee, I was a cashier at the golf counter and snack bar. I loved making pizzas, pretzels, and churros. I hated making ice cream waffle cones. I ended up overcooking many of them. On an occassion, I helped out with some of the kiddie birthday parties. I only worked on the waterslide staff once during the entire summer.
Malibu Castle Park Miniature Golf & Arcade was located at 2410 Marine Avenue. The new owners had announced plans to demolish the building in 2005... and build a new structure, and refurbish the two 18-hole golf courses. The latter never happened.
I have seen the remnants from the 405 Fwy. The castle building was gone and so were the putting greens. All that was left was a few of the miniature golf structures which were prominently tagged with graffiti.
The memories of Castle Park will forever remain tucked away in the playground of our minds...