Action Park documentary picked up by HBO Max
The love just keeps on coming for New Jersey’s legendary Action Park. The fabled death trap of an amusement park has been featured prominently in the media recently with the publication of a book by the founder’s son, a sitcom on Hulu based on the book, and a documentary on the long shuttered park titled Class Action Park.
Well, now we know where to watch the documentary: HBO Max. HBO’s new streaming service has announced that they have picked up the movie and will show it in August. The documentary film was developed separately from the book and the TV series. It was produced and directed by Chris Charles Scott and Seth Porges.
According to the New York Times, Porges, a former editor at Maxim and Popular Mechanics, approached the project as an investigative journalist, poring through documents and recordings as well as interviewing former patrons of the park. He told NJ.com “everything we know about the rules of society, Action Park flouted,” which is probably as good a summation of the park as I’ve ever seen.
If you’re unfamiliar with the park, here are the basics: it was primarily a water park known for how hazardous the rides were for its customers. It was open from 1978-96 in Vernon, NJ. Five deaths are attributed to the park, with two coming in the same week in 1982. Broken teeth, bruises, scars, and broken bones were common souvenirs of the park. Action Park famously bought extra ambulances for the town to keep up with demand. It was described by the filmmakers as “the most insane — and possibly the most dangerous — amusement park that ever existed.” It has achieved almost mythical status; instead of resenting the lack of safety protocols and the danger they were put in, people who went there seem to wear the fact that they survived as a badge of honor. It doesn’t seem as if this documentary is going to be warm and fuzzy, though; the film’s website describes it like this:
Shirking the trappings of nostalgia, the film uses investigative journalism, newly unearthed and never-before-seen documents and recordings, original animations, and interviews with the people who lived it to reveal the shocking true story for the first time.
HBO Max is a relatively new streaming service that combines content from HBO and Warner Media (brands like Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema, DC Entertainment, TBS, TNT, TruTV, CNN, Cartoon Network, The CW, Turner Classic Movies), as well as original content. An exact date for the premiere has not been announced.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.