When it opened in 1958, Pacific Ocean Park was solid competition for Disneyland. It had thrill rides, funhouse attractions, exhibits and animal shows, mixing Googie architecture, space age modernist and Tiki aesthetics.
Attendance was fantastic – initially – and over the next ten years the park was a setting for many TV shows and films. The P.O.P. auditorium - ‘Cheetah’ - hosted rock bands like The Beach Boys, The Byrds, The Doors, and Pink Floyd.
But by the late 60s the park was in debt, and nearby construction dramatically hampered business. After it closed in 1967, the ruins of the decaying park became a popular hangout for teens and the legendarily street tough Dogtown surfers.
The whole saga is documented in a new 264-page book, Pacific Ocean Park: The Rise and Fall of Los Angeles' Space-Age Nautical Pleasure Pier – which includes a foreword by legendary Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys.