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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Roller Coasters, Parks & Attractions > The Bobs - Riverview Park, Chicago, circa 1955 to 1960

The Bobs - Riverview Park, Chicago, circa 1955 to 1960

Bulwark

Posted:
7/15/02 at
3:22:39 PM

Riverview closed around 1960, and all the rides either were scrapped or dismantled and relocated. Doers anyone know what happened to The Bobs? This was the premier coaster at Riverview. Others were in order of scariness(?) Bug Bounce (kiddie ride) The Caterpillar (for hugging and smooching, mostly) The Greyhound, Blue Streak, Silver Flash (Later renamed The Fireball) The Comet, The Flying Turns (a bobsled ride, next door to The Bobs.) There was also a super The Chutes ride, that might qualify as a coaster, and maybe the Tilt-A-Whirl. Riverview boasted NINE coasters, but the list above somehow doesn't add up....

I'd heard The Bobs got moved east, but where? This was the ride that allowed me to finally creep out my old man when I was about 14 or 15! Great moral victory back then. You could "reride" for a quarter, and I had a pocket full! We went 3 times and he begged off at no. 4!

Re: The Bobs - Riverview Park, Chicago, circa 1955 to 1960 by hostyl1 at 7/15/02 3:46:42 PM

As best I know, the Bobs, like everything else in the park was removed with extreme prejudice. That is to say that it was reduced to a pile of twisted Metal and splintered wood. The Bobs is no more.

There *is* a coaster a little east of Chicago that was *inspired* by the Bobs: Raging Wolf Bobs @ SFWoA. I dont know anyone who has ridden both, by RWB is far from a great coaster. *I* think that it is fun enough, but many people think it is too rough (suprisingly enough, many of these same people want to ride the notorious Crystal Beach Cyclone).
sorry,
jeremy

Re: The Bobs - Riverview Park, Chicago, circa 1955 to 1960 by Stan Barker at 7/16/02 9:34:28 AM

Jeremy is correct... the Bobs, tragically, were demolished when Riverview was razed for what now is a shopping center/industrial park.

A few notes:

Riverview closed after the 1967 season, not in 1960.

The final line-up of coasters was:
-- The Flash (formerly the Pippin, then the Silver Flash)
-- The Fireball (formerly the Skyrocket, then the Blue Streak)
-- The Wild Mouse
-- The Comet (formerly the Big Dipper, then the Zephyr)
-- The Flying Turns
-- The Bobs
-- The Jetstream (which replaced the Greyhound)

That makes 7. Over the years, Riverview had 19 coasters, but the most I can figure at one time would be 8, from the mid 1920's to the early 1930s. That line-up would have been: The Pippin, Skyrocket, Big Dipper, Bobs, Jack Rabbit, Greyhound, Derby, and (depending on the year) either the Cannon Ball, or the Kiddie Bobs.

The "Bug Bounce" was actually the Bubble Bounce, a 1940s spin and spew. I don't think it, the Caterpillar, or even the magnificent Chutes was ever counted as a coaster.

Stan Barker
NAPHA Archivist
and Chicago amusement park historian
--

Aren't the trains from one of the coasters still in use? by BogeyMon at 7/16/02 12:27:56 PM

I seem to recall reading the last coaster built at Riverview was sold rather than razed, but the buyer was unable to relocate the ride. Instead, the trains were sold and used on another coaster. Anybody remember the details?

-- Jim

Re: Aren't the trains from one of the coasters still in use? by Stan Barker at 7/16/02 1:19:42 PM

The last coaster built at Riverview, the Jetstream, was not sold when the park closed, but its trains were, originally to a Sherwood Park in Rockford, IL (now gone). Similarly, Adventureland, in Addison,IL (also long gone) bought the Flash, Fireball and Bobs trains. None of these coasters themselves were sold.

Carowinds then purchased the Jetstream and, I believe, the Fireball trains, and ran them on their Thunder Road coaster. However, these trains, built in-house at Riverview, were very heavy, and Carowinds decided to replace them with lighter trains to avoid "excessive" track damage.

Stan Barker
NAPHA Archivist
and Chicago amusement park historian

Re: The Bobs - Riverview Park, Chicago, circa 1955 to 1960 by Riverview Mike at 7/16/02 1:40:38 PM

There is nothing I can add to Stan's response, but I will ALWAYS comment whenever anyone mentions RWB and the Bobs in the same post.

> There *is* a coaster a little east of Chicago
> that was *inspired* by the Bobs: Raging Wolf Bobs
> @ SFWoA.

"Inspired" would be a word I would NEVER use when refering to RWB - Loosely based is what I usually see with the emphasis on LOOSELY.

I dont know anyone who has ridden both,
> by RWB is far from a great coaster. *I* think
> that it is fun enough, but many people think it
> is too rough

I have ridden both and there is NO comparison. I would describe both as triple out-and-backs and the similarities end there. The Bobs had those wonderful single bench cars like LR. The current coaster that I would have to say is most Bobs-like is Legend - great speed and laterals - never predictable.

The plans for the Bobs still exist. Perhaps someday we will see a park like Knoebels or HW rebuild this wonderful coaster.

Mike

Thanks for clearing that up! N/M by BogeyMon at 7/17/02 1:26:33 PM

Re: The Bobs - Riverview Park, Chicago, circa 1955 to 1960 by tudnut at 5/28/13 9:42:14 AM
Hi guys. Sorry to have come so late to the party, but I've been on a Riverview kick this week and found your site!

Someone that posted earlier had things exactly right: Adventureland bought the Fireball and perhaps the leftover cars or whatnot from several other rides (supposedly, gossip at the time would have it, at auction for something like $1). That park couldn't afford to rebuild the rides, but they did have the stuff on display, in a section called "Riverview Memories."

Conspicuously missing, though, were the Bobs.

Which makes me think that someone else had won that ride at the auction, but nothing ever came of it.

As for what's happened since then, I don't know for certain, but I can give a semi-educated guess:

There's a park right now (as you guys probably know, but sorry, I forget which one) that's actually rebuilding Riverview's "Flying Turns" from the original blueprints, which is GREAT! That was, after all, one of the first (and one of the few!) bobsled rides in the world!

Yet go anywhere online that you like, or talk to just about anyone that remembers or knows, and you hear that the Bobs was one of the greatest coasters ever built. Not to take away from the Turns, but if someone's gonna rebuild them, what about the "greatest coaster ever built," the Bobs?

Well, here's my guess.

We live in a day of suits and counter-suits. Hell, you can sue one of the world's biggest corporations for being silly enough to spill hot coffee in your lap...and WIN!

The Bobs was one ROUGH coaster. Maybe not quite as insane as "Son of Beast," but it wasn't some tame walk in the park. To this day it's probably the wildest and roughest coaster I've ever been on. Hell, even on the few straightaways that it had, the tracks would rock you back and forth, just to wake you up! (As if anyone would be sleeping!)

So I think the reason no one's been willing to rebuild the thing, the "greatest coaster ever," is because they know damn well that nowadays they'd instantly be inundated with lawsuits.

If you lament the demise and disappearance forever of that baby, blame the lawyers.

(And yes, I did ride it once. I'd just turned twelve, old enough to ride the thing, back in 1967, the last year the park was open...and it's something I'll never forget. WOW! What a ride!)

By the way, Stan was almost 100% correct as far as the Riverview coasters (Chicago is coasterland...though it took Great America awhile to figure it out! lol), but he forgot one:

Riverview used to have its own little Kiddieland, with a lot of scaled-down rides for the tots, including a small merry-go-round (as opposed to the HUGE, GORGEOUS one that's now at Six Flags Over Georgia) and...a little wooden coaster, that I believe was called the "Mini-Bobs." So there's one more for the list.

* This post was modified at 5/28/13 9:53:19 AM *

Re: The Bobs - Riverview Park, Chicago, circa 1955 to 1960 by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 5/28/13 10:41:12 AM
tudnut said:


There's a park right now (as you guys probably know, but sorry, I forget which one) that's actually rebuilding Riverview's "Flying Turns" from the original blueprints, which is GREAT! That was, after all, one of the first (and one of the few!) bobsled rides in the world!

It's Knoebels in PA. I haven't seen any recent updates, but it's been a struggle for them..they've been working on it for 5 or 6 years now, and still have no opening date.

Mike

The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist...
Re: The Bobs - Riverview Park, Chicago, circa 1955 to 1960 by d_n_s_u at 5/28/13 10:53:48 AM
BOBS at Riverview Chicago USA


BOBS at Belle Vue Manchester UK
(The greatest ride I never rode)

^ Drinking tea is an English thing... :-)

Re: The Bobs - Riverview Park, Chicago, circa 1955 to 1960 by tudnut at 5/28/13 11:49:43 AM
Oh, come on, Mike! Sure, the Manchester Bobs looked cool (but don't ALL coasters? And gee, I wonder where they got that name? lol), but it looks positively tame compared with Riverview's.

By the way, when you say that Manchester's was the best ride you never rode, does that mean you rode the Bobs? (The REAL Bobs, I mean.)

And yes, I've seen that incredible film of the Bobs that's on YouTube. I hate that the ride is long gone, but I guess we should be grateful that we at least have that, huh? (I wonder where they got that film from. It starts out in mid-sentence, leading you to believe that you're only seeing a portion of the entire thing. A whole trip around Riverview? Now that would be cool!)

Re: The Bobs - Riverview Park, Chicago, circa 1955 to 1960 by tudnut at 5/28/13 12:10:19 PM
Regarding the Flying Turns, yes, I've seen that it's taking that park quite a few years to finish rebuilding the thing...and I think that's a cause for some concern.

Amusement parks run pretty much day-to-day, hand to mouth. Because of the weather, I'd guess that a good 70% of them in the entire world are only open half the year or so.

My point being that they don't f*** around as far as building new rides go. No matter how massive or monumental the ride's concept is, it had better be ready to go by opening day.

(Hell, it's gotta be KILLING that park to keep Son of Beast out of action all this time. That thing must've cost them MILLIONS!!! [which, no doubt, is a good part of the reason that they're unwilling to just tear it down] and look at all the acreage it's sitting on!)

So when I hear that it's taking a park five years or so to rebuild the Flying Turns, a ride they already have the blueprints for, I'm a little concerned. Something's wrong.

Hell, the ride was originally built for the 1933 World's Fair here in Chicago, which means that they had to put it together virtually overnight! (When the Fair ended Riverview bought it.) So what's the complication right now?

And, having ridden that thing once or twice, I'll testify that it's fun as hell! Yeah, I'd love to ride the Turns again! Bobsled coasters are so much fun! And VERY special...because there aren't any!

Re: The Bobs - Riverview Park, Chicago, circa 1955 to 1960 by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 5/28/13 12:34:09 PM
Flying turns at Knoebels is built - it's the cars they are having problems with. Son of Beast has been torn down - it's gone. And that Bobs coaster looks like it had crazy air time! I would have loved it.

And an FYI about the spilling coffee statement. A lot of people point to that Mc Donalds lawsuit as a sign that our country is too sue happy (which it is) but that woman suffered 3rd degree burns and required multiple surgeries and hospitalization. The coffee was kept at 190 F so that is absolute negligence on part of the restaurant. I hate it when people use that as an example of our litigious culture since it was a legitimate case (there were many complaints and settlements prior to this one and they did nothing to rectify the temperature problem even after previous injuries). Just saying.
http://www.courtroomstrategy.com/2011/06/hbo-documentary-spills-the-truth-about-the-mcdonald-coffee-case/

Jen

Re: The Bobs - Riverview Park, Chicago, circa 1955 to 1960 by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 5/28/13 1:10:23 PM
tudnut said:

Oh, come on, Mike!

That wasn't me. That was d.n.s.u. (Gary)

Mike (I think...)

The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist...
Re: The Bobs - Riverview Park, Chicago, circa 1955 to 1960 by d_n_s_u at 5/28/13 1:32:34 PM
Hi tudnut!

I'm Gary by the way - Not Mike :-)

edit: Ah just seen your post Mike :-)

Agreed - They are great pieces of film!

I never rode any of The BOBS rides but wished I had.

I was 10 when the Manchester Bobs closed (1971) and even though I only lived about 20 miles away at the time never got to go to the park let alone the ride.

I was fascinated by a guy's account of the Manchester ride when he wrote an article for me on my website themagiceye. (See link - 4 pages in all)

The name BOBS must surely relate to the quick jerky motion of the ride.

Many UK people wrongly think it was called The BOBS because "that was how much it cost to ride"

...a bob was a slang term for a shilling..or 5p today. The actual true cost was originally the equivalent of 2.5p today.

From the article:

"..What then should be the name? Church's coasters in the U.S. went under a variety of names as preferred by those who operated them, but Mr Church made no secret that his own favoured name was Bobs, and some of the American rides were called by that name.

Credit to John Henry is due in that he readily agreed to the name 'Bobs', and by May 1929 his great new ride was completed and ready to thrill millions..."

I included a very small photo of The Riverview Bobs in the same article that I got permission to use. It came complete with the following sentence:

"..Chicago's Riverview Amusement Park was one of the most popular and famous amusement parks ever. After thrilling patrons for 64 seasons, it quietly closed its gates in 1967 without even having a goodbye party." Derek Gee, Riverview Historian

BOBS: George Drew Remembers

* This post was modified at 5/28/13 1:34:06 PM *