(We were so sad when we had to cancel this show because of rain, as it was one of the more customized shows.)
The Truck Show was set to land on Saturday, Oct. 13 at the Richard Clark Park in Roscoe Village/North Center neighborhoods to help celebrate the Clark Park community and remember Riverview Amusement Park. After working with the Clark Park Advisory Council over the year, the Truck Show was to be the entertainment for their annual fundraiser. We aimed to celebrate the last remaining public green space once home to Riverview, in an appropriate entertainment-centric way. In collaboration with the Advisory committee, we had planned concessions, a raffle, Riverview trivia, and games—fun for the whole family!
The Roscoe show, was all about Riverview Amusement Park. We did extensive research on the park (Chicago History Museum), including taking a walk with “Mr. Riverview” himself (pictured above). He showed us the remnants of old rides buried in the woods in Clark Park–the foundation of the elevator of the Shoot-the-Chutes for example–and gave us a run down of the layout when he worked there. Mr. Riverview, or Ralph Lopez, used to work the Chutes ride from 1957 – 1968, and has dedicated his life to remembering Riverview Park, collecting ephemera and sharing his memories through educational talks and tours. He has a book, Laugh your troubles away: The complete history of Riverview Park, and a DVD. You can purchase on his website: http://www.riverviewparkchicago.com
To commemorate Riverview in our story, Josh Converse wrote scripts for one of our main characters: Roscoe, the ticket-taker of the Shoot-the-Chutes ride. Interspersing references to Riverview in its hay-day and the later decline of the park from the perspective of a tired amusement park worker who has “seen it all,” Roscoe interacts with main character Dennis, creating comical moments of tension and leading the storyline of the show.
We also had an animation featuring collected memories of Riverview from Chicagoans who remembered visiting the amusement park.
An image of the Shoot-the-Chutes: