Ask the Experts: Mike Virgintino, author of Freedomland U.S.A.: The Definitive History

Coney Island USA Events

Ask the Experts: Mike Virgintino, author of Freedomland U.S.A.: The Definitive History

Saturday, May 25, 2019 - 5:00pm

Included with Coney Island Museum Admission, $5 for Adults, $3 for Seniors, Kids (under 12) and residents of  Zip Code 11224. Free for members of Coney Island USA! Purchase tickets at the door.

Mike Virgintino, author of Freedomland U.S.A.: The Definitive History, a new book available on Amazon, eBay, Goodreads and Barnes & Noble that documents the entire story from conception to bankruptcy of one of the most innovative and beloved theme parks in America. It features stories about the building of The Bronx park and background about the various attractions from the recreation of the Chicago Fire to a trip on a bull boat in America’s untamed wilderness on the Northwest Fur Trapper attraction. Dark rides included the Earthquake of San Francisco, a Buccaneer attraction and the Tornado recreation in the New Orleans section of the park, and a Mine Caverns ride deep into the earth in the Old Southwest.

The book is filled with documentation about the more than 150 celebrities of the day who appeared at the park. They included entertainers (Paul Anka, Louis Armstrong, The Four Seasons, Benny Goodman, The Lennon Sisters, The Three Stooges), New York’s radio disc jockeys (Herb Oscar Anderson, Scott Muni, Murray the K, Jack Sterling), hosts of local television shows for kids and teens (Officer Joe Bolton, Clay Cole, Sonny Fox, Claude Kirchner, Chuck McCann, Captain Jack McCarthy) and many other celebrities from movies, music, radio, stage and television. The book also provides the personal stories of park employees through interviews with character actors who portrayed gunslinger Billy the Kid and cowgirl star Annie Oakley, hospitality hosts, restaurant staff and parking attendants, and those who operated some of the attractions. A section of the book includes memories from baby boomers who, as kids, were in awe of the park’s fun and excitement.

Freedomland U.S.A.: The Definitive History also puts to rest an urban legend – the closing of Freedomland U.S.A. had nothing to do with the arrival of the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair.

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