There He is to Save the Day

I’m visiting my nephew Gus (and his parents, Elizabeth and Edward) in Saratoga Springs, New York. Yesterday, we visited nearby Lake George, where Mighty Mouse has found work sitting astride an elephant in a parking lot, beckoning motorists to visit a local amusement park.

For a brief, peculiar time in the 1980s, a New Hampshire animal park called Benson’s changed its name to New England Playworld and adopted a Terry-Toons theme–you could meet Oil Can Harry, eat at a Lariat Sam snackbar, and dump your trash in a Sad Cat wastebin. It had a sculpture of Mighty and the elephant, and this one in Lake George is either that very one or an identical example…


4 comments on “There He is to Save the Day”

  1. After your legends of cartoon-themed restaurants, Harry, I’m not sure how much of your New England Playworld description to take seriously! I’m perfectly willing to believe they adopted a Terrytoons theme, but did the characters featured genuinely include such lesser lights as Sad Cat and Lariat Sam? (Did you visit the place?)

  2. It’s all true–and weirdly, it opened -after- I wrote my theme park article. It lasted only a season or two. I covered it (with photos) in Apatoons at the time.



  3. Just an update, the park after 20 years left rotting, vandalized, and legally trashed by the state of NH DOT is finally reopening as a city passive recreational park on Memorial day 2010 after many years of clean up. The gorilla house is still there, the elephant barn, the main office and the old lady of the shoe red shoe. Sadly between the vandals and the state DOT many of the land mark buildings are now gone due to ignorance and criminal acts of destruction and arson. We are looking forward to family’s creating new wonderful memories in a all new kind of family park.
    The park also has a VERY active page on Facebook with some awesome photos from the past and present.


  4. live near this park. When it took on a Terrytoons them in 1987, Mighty Mouse, Deputy Dawg, Sad Cat, Heckle and Jeckle, Pearl Pureheart, Hector Heathcote, The Terry Bears, and Lariat Sam were all used in large, colorful, well drawn signage around the park. Posters of Deputy Dawg, Possible Possum and others were for sale. Sadly, the new park only lasted one year. For many years after, a huge Heckle and Jeckle sign hung in a nearby flea market at the snack bar.

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