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.
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.
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.
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.
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.