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What Sets Fantasy Island Apart from Most Amusement Parks?

September 26, 2012 11:50 am2 commentsViews: 188

Rochesterians have their Sea Breeze, Jamestownians have their Midway and everybody else has their Darien Lake, but there are a select few who have something entirely different. Buffalo/Niagaraians have Fantasy Island. Fantasy Island originated during a very special era of American history – that of the ascent of the baby boomer. And, because of that, it inherited something none of this other parks have. The answer can be found in “The Magician Reveals His Real Trick.”


  • Ken Shearer

    I worked at Fantasy Island as a caricature artist from 1971-73. I had my drawing stand in the wild west section of the park, wore western regalia, and went by the character name Kansas City Ken. The cowboy shirts I wore had 2 snap front pockets, so I kept American money in one, and Canadian money in the other. The manager there at the time was Dick Carroll. The assistant manager was puppeteer Jim Menke. The 2 principal cowboy performers were Jim Conshafter and Louie Varga. Rick Wardell was the ride supervisor and occasionally performed in the western shows. Niagara Falls Gazette editorial cartoonist Howard Wyrauch operated the Lionel Train Museum there. During the season, I worked 6 days a week there and averaged drawing anywhere from 80 to 120 faces a day… mainly small children. It was a real treat for me as an artist to have a middle-aged man sit down for a caricature. They had the most interesting faces. The attractive young women who would occasionally sit were fun too… but very distracting! It was a GREAT college job. Glad the place is still around.

  • Ken: Thanks for the wonderful comment!

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