Roadside MCM in TN

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Slim and Gabby
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Roadside MCM in TN

Postby Slim and Gabby » Wed Dec 31, 2008 11:03 am

I haven't seen anybody mention Tennessee tourist traps as a haven for MCM madness. Granted, you've got to brave some pretty dense and wacky crowds to get to the thick of it, but last I checked, there was still plenty going on around Gatlinburg. All that talk about the Tucson tiki was bringing back memories.

Here's a fun article on the area:
http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2219

Personal disclosure: My great uncle had a string of one-off tourist attractions he built around Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg (Gateway to the Smokies). He sold off most of em when Dolly Parton got her thing going in Pigeon Forge.

The best was a pee-wee golf course in Pigeon Forge (long gone) with a fiberglas mountain full of dioramas of things like the abominable snowman. He had a real hokey ride called the "Earth Auger"...a steel tube in the "mountain" painted with flames, and outfitted with a couple of hanging benches. He'd get your $$, sit you down, close the door, and the red walls would rotate around you while he read a script about " traveling down to the molten core of the earth". Sheesh. It was fun, though.

The one I remember best is Mystery Hill. I actually worked there a summer when I was about 8. My job as young and relatively innocent was to take a roll of bumper stickers out to the parking lot when folks were inside and slap "Where the Hell is Mystery Hill" stickers on everyone's car. I still remember part of the barker's schtick: "See gravity DEFIED, see water run UPHILL".

Here's a a vintage postcard from the place....HooBoy!
Image

And there is ONE of his creations still going strong-
Anybody been to the Gatlinburg Space Needle? Shouldn't be missed!
http://www.gatlinburgspaceneedle.com/index.htm
and the real vintage deal:
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This place, Christus Gardens, is a Christian theme model park..,and the eyes of many things follow you..so sad to hear it closed this year due to a copyright lawsuit!...isn't Christian imagery public domain??? First place I think I ever really understood the unique value of kitsch.

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And the old Gatlinburg Convention center:
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versus the new "improved" version:
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Haven't been to this area for about 5 years, but were still lots of swell MCM motels left then....
Anybody else out there braved the crowds to check out some of our nation's finest tourist traps in TN?
Pen-gu-ins is pracatically chickinz, and I hates to see chickinz cry so much, I has to put’em outta ther mizzery!

VMacek
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Postby VMacek » Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:16 am

My family spent Christmas over there a few years ago, in a nice quiet spot one hill over from Crazytown (aka Pigeon Forge). I didn't see much old stuff that may be under all the accreted new layers - I swear, that place looks like it was designed by nine year old kids high on sugary cereal! I didn't visit much of it but I took my young niece to the Muscle Car Museum at her request.

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Slim and Gabby
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Postby Slim and Gabby » Sun Jan 04, 2009 12:05 pm

Yeah, it's pretty scary to brave Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge these days, and mostly not worth it. In the 90's I got stuck in a white trash lowrider truck convention downtown. Indescribably strange. Who knew there was a Country version of krunking? Trust me, there is and you don't want to know about it. Ighhh.

My understanding is that a couple of motels are still straggling around and that hillbilly golf and Space Needle are going strong. Probably not enough to warrant dealing with the sugar cereal folks. Great analogy!
Pen-gu-ins is pracatically chickinz, and I hates to see chickinz cry so much, I has to put’em outta ther mizzery!


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