Pacific Ocean Park (P.O.P.) was the last incarnation of the big amusement piers which once gave Santa Monica´s Venice Beach the title of "Coney Island of the Pacific".
The piers used to be a welcome open air background for the nearby Hollywood studios. There was hardly any silent movie star or slapstick-icon who wouldn´t use the rides and the lively atmosphere as a vehicle for their films at least once.
In the 1960s Disneyland was off limits for TV-productions so they went to P.O.P whenever a carnival was needed. By the mid 60s, the park, which started out as a serious competitor to Disneyland was already in serious decline. This might be the reason why two prominent series used the park as a spooky and empty stage-set for their respective episodes.
"Get Smart" used the park for the usual antics, but the final episode of "The Fugitive" used P.O.P. as a star attraction for the showdown between Richard Kimble and the one-armed man.
Aired in august of 1967, the episode "The Judgement" made TV-history as the most watched fiction program ever (a record that was only broken by the "Who shot J.R."-episode from "Dallas".)
Before the final showdown on the massive "Mahi Mahi" ride, there is an extensive chase that uses the bizarre and strange architecture to an almost surreal effect. Sadly even this media exposure didn´t help the struggling park. Only two months after the show aired, Pacific Ocean Park was shut down forever.
Here is the whole sequence in two parts:
Click here for P.O.P. pt 1. A place that kept my imagination despite I have never been there while it was in existence.
Part 3: In ruins