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johnny dollar's vault

retro pop culture and various local observations and ramblings.

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Location: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
johnny dollar's vault resides in the basement of stately dollar maisonTM, amongst the wine cellar, tiki bar, and finicky electrical panel. from time to time i will unearth various artifacts from either there or from the random crevices of my mind.

please visit the new and improved pig cookin' post!

NOTE: this blog will NOT deal with any recent pop culture (i.e. since about 1990) or topical issues, so if you're looking for discussion about britney baracko jacko flacco, look elsewhere, lol

Friday, June 23, 2006

baltimore history x: power plant

in 1985 or 1986, my friend asked me if i wanted to join his family in a trip to this cool indoor amusement park in baltimore. i said sure, why de heck not, amusement parks are amusing.

this commercial made the power plant amusement park look like everything it was not: i.e., a place that didn't suck.

there were maybe two cool things there that i recall: a 3-D theater that included moving seats and smells piped in, and a quasi-leninistic-socialistic-realist statue in the entrance.

well fail the place did, to become power plant live, which my wife tells me had an all-ages nightclub for awhile? since moving to town all i've done there is b&n and chipotle. those places do not suck.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey j$, yer wife is rite. Years ago there were all these nightclubs with different themes in the plant and you would wear a bracelet to show you were legal and you could move freely throughout the whole place drinking.
Jest a lil' mo of the rest of the story.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Malnurtured Snay said...

book stores rock!

7:16 PM  
Blogger Charissa said...

OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD..... YES! My parents took my sister and I to this back when we were kids. It was all about this inventor, Phineas T. Flagg and his failed inventions. A few years back, I asked some folks at BACVA about it, and there was only one little old lady who remembered it. I have also found one website (and one only) that mentions it: http://members.tripod.com/~savehorizons/ph.htm,

THANK you for posting this - my dad will be thrilled!!

4:54 PM  
Blogger johnny dollar said...

kitty: meow!

snay: & rule!

charissa: cool! thanks!

8:36 AM  
Blogger John AKA Reggaexx said...

The smelly 3D theatre was called the "Sensorium" and actually somewhere in the back of my brain I still know the theme song that they sang during the movie! It was without a doubt the coolest attraction at the Power Plant. The rest of the joint was thoroughly forgettable...

Reggaexx AKA Johntiki

7:16 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I went to the power plant once when I was a kid. It was completely dead. My brother and I were the only ones there. We went into the Sensorium at least 20 times. It was the best! So hokey!!
I can't believe the video you posted was taken down!!! I NEED to see it!! any ideas?

6:33 PM  
Blogger johnny dollar said...

hey val, i wish there was a way to download youtube videos for this very reason. it may be lost to time...

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there was such thing as the Steampunk movement back then the Power Plant would have been a must see to these new artists. It was full of rivets, brass, gauges, and gears... Anyway, I kind of liked it.


5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny thing about this whole thing is that my family basically ran the power plant. My mom, dad, everyone worked there. In the Nightclub part my dad was the bouncer and bartender...my mom did anything else....Does anyone remember the Boiler Grouch???

8:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG, I remember very big balls of electricity that you put your hands on. I also remember a painting on the wall that morphed. And for some reason, I remember a holographic display of pandora climbing out of a box. I was young but would kill to see footage of this again.

7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I'm one of the few people that really enjoyed it. Because of the unique use of the building at that time, I seriously started researching the history of the Power Plant and Baltimore. As the professor would say, "Going back to a simpler and slower time".

10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know where I can find more history on this place, or more important videos of Sensorium. Someone must have this movie?

1:45 AM  
Blogger Tina said...

I remember very cool effects, like the head in the crystal ball, and the thaetre. Very cool, Wasn't there a little projected leprechaun that popped up and interacted at various points?

2:52 PM  
Anonymous MW said...

There was a leprechaun! My Dad worked at the Power Plant, and used to take me behind the scenes when I was a kid. He used to have an apple pie scent disc from the sensorium, and I actually still have a few of the leprechaun's "jewels". I wish that video was still working! But you can find some nice images here http://www.garygoddard.com/entertainment-design/baltimore-power-plant/

8:51 PM  

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