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Visit To Freedomland USA 1960-1964
by Kevin S. Butler

Freedmonland USA Photo 1960Wednesday, June 16, 2021 is the 60th anniversary of "The Visit To Freedomland" kids' TV special.

On this date (which was a Friday night) WPIX TV Ch.11 in NYC aired a special program which was pre-taped on location at "Freedomland USA", a theme park that had rides and attractions recreating events from American history.

The park officially opened in 1960, the year before this program, so some of Ch.11's most popular kids' TV hosts took viewers and two young performers on a tour of the amusement park. The youngsters were Paul O'Keith (who, a few years later, would go onto greater television fame playing Patty Duke's kid brother, Ross Lane, on ABC TV's "The Patty Duke Show") and his sister Mary Ellen O'Keith.

"Officer Joe" Bolton, "Capt. Jack" McCarthy, "Bozo The Clown" (the great Bill Britten), Chuck McCann and Paul Ashley's Laurel & Hardy Hand Puppets showcased the many wonders of "Freedomland" with musical accompaniment by Paul Lavalle and His Orchestra.

The show was a success but it only aired once and never repeated, nor has a videotape TV kinnie film print of the program been found.

"The Visit To Freedomland" TV broadcast was featured in Mr. Michael R. Virgintino's book "Freedomland USA: The Definitive History."


Freedomland USA map : now shopping centers and housing.

This interview contains the twisted history of Freedomland USA by author Michael R. Virgintino:


Freedomland was the East Coast equivalent of Disneyland. It opened in the Bronx in June of 1960, but went bankrupt and was torn down in 1964. The man behind it, Cornelius Vanderbilt Wood, assisted Walt Disney in the planning and building of Disneyland in Southern California.

This is a visit to Freedomland by the Yaroschak Family of Yonkers, NY. the summer the massive park opened. This is their 8mm home movie from that day, the film is silent.

Another look at Freedomland USA:

 

Home movies of a family’s trip to Freedomland USA in 1961:


TVparty is Classic TV on the internet!

 

Can you believe this amazing,
sprawling amusement park - the largest in the nation - was located in the heart of the Bronx in the 1960s?!?

 

 


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