The Weird Origins of Amusement Parks and the Summer Vacation

The Cracked Podcast #188 June 26, 2017

Believe it or not, the idea of the summer break wasn’t invented until very recently. Before kids got the summer off, school basically was the break from months of grueling farm work or any of the other countless horrors we subjected children to before modern labor laws. As people moved out of farming jobs into the cities and modes of transportation out of the cities became cheaper and more efficient, the travel and recreation industry took flight. 

By the end of the twentieth century, resort towns, roadside attractions and theme parks were a main staple of the summer vacation and a huge source of money for local economies. Or at least the ones you’ve heard of were.

On this week’s podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Cracked writers and editors David Christopher Bell and Tom Reimann to discuss the origins of the summer break, how Disneyland was built, and a weird catalogue of failed theme parks lost to history.

And if you’re in Los Angeles in July, make sure to come to our next live podcast taping. On Saturday July 8th at 7:00pm at the UCB Sunset Theatre, former zoo tour guide and current Cracked Podcast host Alex Schmidt will be joined by Cracked’s Daniel O’Brien and Katie Goldin as well as comedians Caitlin Gill, Joey Clift and Matt Kirshen as they discuss snakes, hippos, octopuses and every other animal that could Planet-0f-the-Apes us if they tried. Tickets are only $7 and available here:

Also, be sure to get caught-up on our Cracked Podcast mini-series ‘Looking the Part’ co-hosted by Soren Bowie and Daniel O’Brien. Each Friday, Soren and Daniel are taking a deep-dive into the theories and hidden meanings behind movie hair, costumes and make-up. They examine the cryptic psychological reason behind Superman’s dueling haircuts, why Ledger’s Joker has scars and Leto’s Joker has tattoos and a whole lot more. 

Check out episode 1 here:

Check out episode 2 here:

And stay tuned to the Cracked Podcast for episode 3 this Friday.


Article: Cracked: 8 Amusement Parks That Died Surreal and Bizarre Deaths:

Article: Slate: Do Kids Need a Summer Vacation:

Article: PBS: Debunking the Myth of Summer Vacation:

Article: Smithsonian Magazine: Where Was The Birthplace of the American Vacation:

Article: LA Times: How Disney Used Shell Companies To Start Its Magic Kingdom:

Article: Disney Parks: Bob Foster and the Founding of a Disney Kingdom:

Article: Washington Post: This S.C. roadside attraction is garish, tacky and un-PC — but I stopped anyway:

Photo: Six Flags Over Texas: Map With Confederacy Land:

Photoset: Weather Channel: You Can Rent This ‘Wizard of Oz’ Them Park:

Article: Cracked: 6 Insane Summer Camps That Will Make You Wish You Were a Kid:

Article: Cracked: 5 Disney Park Attractions You Won’t Believe Existed:

Article: Cracked: 6 Ways Fourth of July Used To Make ‘The Purge’ Look Tame:

Wikipedia: Shania Twain:

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