Episode 96- Action Park with Andy Mulvihill
Imagine an amusement park where there are no limits on the level of thrill or terror for visitors to the park. A place so unlimited that daredevils crave it and those with a weaker constitution feel sick before they even get in line. A place that doesn’t seem possible because of its level of danger. Well, this place actually once existed. Action Park was an amusement park unlike anywhere else. Countless numbers of guests flocked to the New Jersey destination in the 1980s for all of its unwieldy, yet amazing rides and experiences, even if sometimes against their better judgement.
The park quickly became legendary for a number of things both positive and negative. Guests loved being able to experience the freedom from boundaries and the victory of conquering the many drops, twists, plunges and velocity. However, those freedoms sometimes ended in broken appendages and even death.
The park was the brainchild of entrepreneur Gene Mulvihill. We talked to his son Andy about his dad’s legacy, creative spirit and what it was like growing up in the unconventional park. Andy shared great tales of his time at the park including the great advantages it brought as a teenager when it came to popularity and dating. He talked about what he learned working there from an early age and how its influenced his success as an adult and what his take is on the reputation the park earned from its thrills and catastrophes alike.
Andy had fascinating insights into his dad’s motivation and why he relentlessly pursued his ideas for the park no matter how dangerous they seemed to be. Our conversation is an intriguing look at legacy of the park and the family alike. We talked about the moments that live in infamy and the greatest days he experienced at the park. We even dove into how he looks at amusement parks today and what his style of thrill would be. His answer may surprise you. Although Andy’s professional pursuits have been in a different direction, it’s clear there’s a whole lot he’s brought with him from his days working for his dad.
Andy recently brought his memories and experiences to life in the book Action Park. The book, chronicles the New Jersey theme park’s ascension, scandals and demise and conquers head-on the stories of the tragedies and challenges that earned it a slew of nicknames including: ‘Class Action Park,’ ‘Traction Park,’ or ‘Accident Park.’
The amusement park’s place in pop culture history is one that continues to build to this day. HBOMax will soon release a documentary entitled Class Action Park which premieres this month. The lore of the park and its extreme nature has also inspired the likes of Johnny Knoxville to want to explore the history even further.
Andy’s book can be ordered here. Whether you’re a daredevil yourself, someone who’d rather only ride the carousel or a creative spirit with a crazy idea you’re dying to make a reality, we think you’ll learn something from Andy’s story.