Great Escape founder dies at age 90

Posted Wednesday, October 6, 2004 9:04 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Charles Wood, known as "the grandfather of the American amusement park," died of cancer Thursday. He was 90. He got his start in the amusement park business in 1954, when he founded Storytown USA, later renamed to The Great Escape and sold twice. Six Flags now owns the park.

Read more from The Plain Dealer.

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Thursday, October 7, 2004 1:56 AM
I don't know if calling him a "jerk" is appropriate.
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Thursday, October 7, 2004 6:10 PM
I worked for the man for a few summers and at the time I thought he was a grumpy old jerk. Now that I am older, I realize what he was doing. He didn't want the ride ops to be fooling around or more worried about the cute guy or girl on the next ride than their own job. He didn't want to be everybody's friend. (But some of the managers did.) He wanted to have a clean well run park with friendly employees. He was a tough boss. He was also the first boss of many people who worked for him. He wasn't your new best friend but you learned how to get a job done and be responsible and in the end that is better than having a boss you can go out and have a beer with.

It saddens me to go to amusement parks now where the employees don't care about anything. Grumpy employees who can't even pick up their own garbage much less say hello to you ruin a park. Charley Wood knew that and did his best not to let that happen. He could have taught Six Flags a few things.

My condolences to his family and friends.

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Friday, October 8, 2004 9:27 AM
It is with great saddness that I read of Mr. Wood's passing and the comments contained here in. This is my 1st time posting here, but I felt it necessary to relay my respect and admiration for this man.

I too had the privilege of working for this Legendary man as a games consultant in 1990 and 1991. I give him the credit for giving me the knowledge, tools and passion for making an outstanding career in the amusement industry. He truly loved this industry and we all should be grateful for his vision, passion, and foresight in helping to mold the modern day Theme Park.

My most sincere condolences to his family , specially his daughter and son-in-law Bobbi and Tom Wages who are doing a wonderful job at Lake Compounce.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2004 1:32 AM
im going to Great Escape for the first time this saturday...after hearing about Charlie Wood and all of his accomplishments, im that much more excited :)

always sad to see such a pioneer and visionary pass away....my thoughts and prayers are with his family.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007 4:18 PM
I always wondered what he did with all those cars in GasLight Villages Calvalcade of Cars...anyone know?
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