Thursday, January 14, 2016

Guntown Funtown Donetown

Let me tell you a little story...no, it's not about a man named Jed.  But it does involve a mountain. 
Somehow I stumbled on this new awesome place called Guntown/Funtown Mountain. Guntown Mountain is located in the same Cave City, Kentucky as Wigwam Village.  No sooner did I discover that this most amazing place existed...it didn't any more..it is like the website says:
The greatest place you've never seen.

Relive the Old West

Originally Funtown Mountain was known as Guntown Mountain.  It was built in 1970 
and had all of the stuff you would expect from the old west: can can girls, gunfights, country music shows, actors falling off roofs and brawling in the streets.  They also had an old timey photo booth where you could dress up all westernish with shotguns and empty liquior bottles.  For the little buckaroos there was a petting zoo and a magic show.  For a dollar you could pay the sheriff to lock someone up for you for 5 minutes in jail.  There was a chairlift that would take folks up to the mountain top where the old west town was. After several decades of reliving the old west Guntown Mountain went up for sale because of declining visitors.


Revive the Old West

In steps a visionary, named Will Russell.  He is known to many as the founder of the Lebowski fest and owning two quirky Kentucky themed shops in Louisville called Why Louisville?.  He envisioned taking the guns out of the roadside attraction but being a admirer of vintage and quirkiness, was going to maintain the general feel.  It would become Funtown Mountain, a carnival and pop culture road side attraction. His plans included a pop culture museum, a forested area with sculptures by a local Kentucky artist, a children's park with a treetop village similar to the ewoks in Star Wars..among other things.  Amazing and fun things here....Pee-wee Herman collectibles for your viewing pleasure, vintage fun stuff for sale in the gift shop, Show Biz pizza animatronics performing band The Wolf Pack 5, outside movie screenings such as Pee-wee's Big Adventure, a Kentucky themed glow putt putt golf course, neat little odd things around every corner ( coin operated chicken laying machine, side show banners, velvet Elvis paintings, vintage pin ball machines, and a Snak Shak featuring FUNyuns displayed in a vintage metal Sunbeam Cakes display rack..to name only a few.)

He was able to raise the money for the down payment and was scheduled to open the summer of 2016.  To get people aware of the upcoming Funtown Mountain he toured several states in a vintage argosy motor home stopping at other roadside attractions presenting a concert, a side show, an art show, and a promotional video for the new park.
He also decided to open the attraction an entire year early, on June 19, 2015,  The day was called the Grand Awesoming and it sounded like it did not disappoint!  We're talking 'Mascot Head Noodle Fights' where pool noodle bouts went down while opponents wore huge stuffed animal heads, bounce houses and slides, an animatronic hillbilly band performing songs from "Oh Brother Where Art Thou?", free cotton candy, a human fire breather side show performer, a roller skating clown, snowballs (I heard tale of Butter Beer flavor!), and a grand finale of a couple of brothers who perform together as Elvis and Meatloaf impersonators!! Along with this, there were a few other preexisting structures to experience on the premises.

And speaking of what is on the premises!!!!  Look off to the left...

Oh..my...god.  Is this real?!  Yes...it is...was.  The Haunted Hotel is part of the property for Guntown Mountain.  It was built in 1972 and is/was the oldest operational walk thru dark house in the country.

Inside the Haunted Hotel are/were several of the original attraction gags produced by Funni-Frite industries. A company that specialized in carnival dark rides and amusement park fun houses.

Greeting the approaching thrill seekers is Charmin' Charles, the honkey tonkin' paino playing skeleton!

Accompanying Charles inside the house are 7 other original Funni-Frite gags along with various spooky stuff around every tight narrow halled passageway.

Here I am creeping in front of the Haunted Hotel.  
The doors are not boarded up for effect.  This is when our mountain story goes wrong.

By September 2015, just 3 months after it's opening Funtown Mountain is closed, abandoned, vandalized, in bankruptcy, and is going up for auction in the near future.


What happened?  The Ouija shack says....Will Russell.  
He has apparently been battling mental illness most of his life along with drug issues. They all came back into play after many years of dormancy and brought Funtown Mountain and Cave City down with him.   Russell was arrested several times during July-Sept 2015 for public intoxication, drug possession, disorderly conduct, setting fires in his apartment, bribery of police when he promised to put them in his next movie if they let him go, and toting around a child's 'Clash of the Titans' lunch box with an array of assorted pills inside. If all of that isn't bad enough the worse thing he did was promoting and partaking in destroying Funtown Mountain.  
He took it upon himself to show up on the property during business hours and sling yellow paint all over the parking lot.  He also smeared it on the tram, his car, and the front doors of the Souvenir Shack with a big smiley face and the word "OK" which he told police it was '' artwork as part of his therapy''.  He then put images of his destruction on Funtown Mountain's social media accounts. He announced on these sites that people could "Take what you like and leave the rest to be their best. Thunder?"  
You can image what happened.  Definitely a storm.
That is why I have been saying "was/were" about different aspects of the park throughout this post.  Just about everything that was original to the park along with the 'awesoming' additions have been stolen or destroyed now.

It's all very sad. Funtown Mountain could have become the Disneyland for the quirky folks.
As to not leave this post on a depressing note here is an extremely happy commercial for Showbiz pizza as an ode to Funtown Mountain. 

1 comment:

Jenn said...

That is so sad, Mary! It looked like it would have been a great place!