tiptoe through the teeth

There are several Luna Parks in different parts of the world as well as one here in Sydney.  Ours has had an interesting history since it opened in 1935.

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Through the years there have been quite a few famous visitors, including a certain Prince Philip of Greece, now the Duke of Edinburgh, who disgraced himself in 1945, while on shore leave, when he was escorted out of the River Caves ride after breaking the rules by getting out of his boat.

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The famous entrance face was designed by Rupert Browne. Luna Park has had several artists-in-residence since Rupert’s reign including Arthur Barton, S. John Ross and the infamous Martin Sharp. During Sharp’s residency, several teeth were stolen from the giant laughing face, the thief was never found.

image: Martin Sharp

In 1979 the tragic fire in the Luna Park Ghost Train claimed seven lives. Martin’s work on the Luna Park Face was ruined, and the park’s theme “Just for Fun” lost its meaning. Like many others, Martin firmly believes the fire was a deliberate act of terrorism aimed at destroying the park and establishing alternative interests. The reason for the arson attack is not hard to discern — Luna Park’s unique location on the northern foreshore of the harbour, adjacent to the north-western tower of the Harbour Bridge, made it a prize of inestimable value to property developers.

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Martin Sharp was also responsible for bringing Tiny Tim to Luna Park where he set a new world record for non-stop professional singing – two hours and fifteen minutes. Tiny was best known for his hit song Tiptoe Through the Tulips which he sung in a falsetto voice whilst accompanying himself on the ukulele.  He was also well known for having married his first wife on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show; they named their daughter Tulip.

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Tiny may have had a touch of OCD, he certainly liked rubbing lotion on his skin. He used Eterna 27, Jergen’s body shampoo, Vaseline Intensive Care (yellow bottle) for his upper torso and Vaseline Intensive Care (green bottle) for the lower half. He applied Oil of Olay 8 times a day.

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31 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I worked with Martin on quite a few of Tiny’s records including a great version of Highway To Hell and The Icecaps Are Melting. Tiny was like a storehouse of obscure folk tunes and one party sat playing away for about eight straight hours. Oddly he was quite shy in fact. Martin also was working on his film about Luna Park which many suspect he will never finish, he had rolls of film everywhere and an old flatbead editor which looked like it came straight out of a 50’s sci-fi movie.

    Happy memories.

    The King

    • fascinating… tell us more

  2. Luna Park is such a fun and frivolous place. Whoever tried to destroy it in 1979 was a total killjoy: like suburban tree-poisoners!

    • I first went there in 1974 – still remember the outrage I felt when it closed at 6:00 pm

  3. Tiny was clearly terrified of that hose.

  4. I loved Tiny Tim. I used to listen to Stern every time he was on. He was not only talented, but endlessly entertaining.

    • So I believe. I really only knew about Tiptoe Through the Tulips.

  5. So is it still there?

    • Yes indeed. come on down bearman.

  6. What an interesting post. I love the way it wends from amusement park through darkest conspiracy to the light and joy that was Tiny Tim.

  7. i’d love to visit Luna, if it’s still around! if i were a ghost, i’d haunt an old amusement park!

  8. Tiny Tim always scared me.

    I think it’s because growing up, I had a fear of ukeleles.

    • Completely understandable.

  9. That face petrifies me. How could anyone think that it spelt fun? Seems like something out of a Stephen King novel. Urgh.

  10. The Ex-wife [TM] coerced me into getting a season pass to Six Flags Over Georgia for next year. This is of no relevance whatsoever to your post other than you got me thinking about roller coasters.

  11. I’m pleased you revisited Tiny Tim after your reference a while ago. A great eccentric in a world fast running out of them.

    • Thanks for the nudge Nick. I researched him because of your suggestion. Plan to see Winter’s bone this week too.

  12. i wonder why the duke of edinburgh got out of the boat? i’d love to hear his story. maybe he had bowel troubles. or was he looking for someplace quiet for a private tete-a-tete? perchance, he liked adventure. whatever happened, one should be “escorted” from a public place at least once in their life! hurruh for the duke!

    • Yes, I too wondered about the back story but couldn’t find any more information. Perhaps The King can ask Martin Sharp for us.

  13. p.s. did i miss lingerie friday?

  14. I had not heard of Luna Park. It looks like a wonderful place! I want to visit!

    • There’s one in New York too if you’re looking for one that doesn’t involve so much travel

  15. I want candy floss

    • Want me to post you some darlin’?

  16. Well at least he was well moisturized!

    • No dry skin for Tiny Tim

  17. Surely ‘infamous’ is not fair – hasn’t it got a pejorative meaning, whereas Martin Sharp’s fairly fantastic – or have I missed some detail about him?

    • You’re absolutely correct zkmc, very careless of me. I’ve amended it now, thanks for pointing it out.

  18. Cool!


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