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Action Park: America’s First Deadly, Infamous Theme Park

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The Cannonball Loop left riders battered and bloody. (history.com)


The Cannonball Loop: A Coffin-Like Water Ride

Action Park’s Cannonball Loop wasn’t open for very long, but it earned a notorious reputation in that short time. The narrow, enclosed waterslide sent riders down a steep drop into a tight loop at a breakneck pace. That’s not a colorful metaphor: When Mulvihill tested the slide with a dummy rider,┬áthe dummy’s head was ripped off. Undeterred, Mulvihill offered a $100 bonus to any employee willing to take a ride through the Cannonball Loop, and the poor souls who really needed that Benjamin came back with bloody noses, cuts, and bruises. Mulvihill shrugged and opened the ride anyway, and as anyone with functioning eyes could have predicted, a patron got stuck in the loop pretty much immediately. This finally gave Mulvihill pause, but instead of trying to make the ride safer, he just installed a rescue hatch to make it easier to get people out. Just one month after the Cannonball Loop was unveiled, the Carnival Amusement Ride Safety Advisory Board ordered the park to shut it down permanently.


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