Sunday, January 9, 2022

Creepy, Crazy Charismatic-Evangelical Kids Songs I Once Knew ... and Kings Island :)


Okay, so those two things don't have much in common, but there's a tiny link - but mostly just in the dream I had ;)

Bear with the setup, it'll take a minute ;)

So I've mentioned that growing up, my mom gradually became an obsessed charismatic evangelical, right? 

No hobbies, no other interests, no secular books, movies, or music  - "Just Jesus!" - all the time, 24/7 - and not in a good way, like elevating your thoughts or stewardship for others - we're talking addiction-level Jesus, just for self-comfort, neglecting everything else in your life - just like a drug.

It's actually very sad - and you will note this is a common malady in many Christian women - single women and/or especially married women who feel trapped in awful marriages - they create a fantasy surrogate husband out of Jesus to fulfill their emotional needs - but that's another theory, another post, for another day ;)

Anyway, I began to notice, over time, that most of these churches talked about "the devil" and demons more than they talked about Jesus - in fact, in some churches, you would think it was the Church of Satan, they talk about "the devil" so much.

In fact, according to my mom and her churches, the devil and demons were in everything -  music, Halloween, clothes,  our sock drawer, our chimney, our vacuum cleaner - waiting to invade your mind, body, and soul, apparently without your free-will consent.

In fact, my mom once had a couple come into our house and go through all our cabinets, closets, and drawers, casting out demons - no joke!

Thus, I became agnostic by my mid-20s - mostly because the one place they forgot to look for "the devil" was within themselves/ the church itself  ;)

But then I studied comparative religion in college (along with social work), and returned to a revised version of Christianity, basing my faith on the words of Christ, and why he was such a revolutionary in the doctrine of his day, putting the rest of the bible in its historical and cultural context, and thus became officially Episcopal in 2007 (with adjunctive Buddhism philosophy).

Regardless, these were the songs taught to me when I was a kid and Sunday School and various Jesus Camps my mom sent me to - and no, I'm not kidding.

My dream reminded me of this old song I'd forgotten, because it was constantly playing at "The Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera " at "Kings Island"  ...

The first one is titled happy enough, with a smiling sun and trees in the video - oh, but wait ...

"Open Up Your Heart/Let The Sunshine In"


My mommy told me something
a little kid should know ...
It's all about the devil
and I've learned to hate him so!



She said he causes trouble
when you let him in the room.
He will never ever leave you
if your heart is filled with gloom.

So let the sun shine in
face it with a grin.
Smilers never lose
and frowners never win.
So le the sun shine in
face it with a grin
Open up your heart and let the sun shine in.

When you are unhappy,
the devil wears a grin

But oh, he starts to running
when the light comes pouring in


I know he'll be unhappy
'Cause I'll never wear a frown
Maybe if we keep on smiling
He'll get tired of hanging 'round.

If I forget to say my prayers
the devil wears a grin.

But he feels so awful awful
when he sees me on my knees
So if you're full of trouble
and you never seem to win,
Just open up your heart and let the sun shine in.

So let the sun shine in
face it with a grin.
Smilers never lose
and frowners never win.
So le the sun shine in
face it with a grin
Open up your heart and let the sun shine in.

Despite the happy music and the little child's voice singing it - nope, still creepy!

(In fact, that song could be a metaphor for the entire wing of charismatic evangelicalism in general - it looks happy and normal at first - but once you scratch the surface, there's a whole bunch of creepy and crazy, under there.)

Fear, fear, fear, all the time.

What exactly is the lesson there - don't ever frown or feel sad or the devil will get you? lol

Feeling sad/depressed is a sin, so let light in your heart - except leave some room for hatred for the devil?

(I'm pretty sure hate and fear are darkness, and thus can't exist with happy and light, but okay :)

That instead of actual life skills, mothers should teach their kids to fear the devil in everything? 

That if you do something wrong, just say "The devil made me do it" instead of taking responsibility?

Yes, all of the above - that's evangelicalism for you:) 

And lest you forget, Cincinnati is pretty conservative, and the bible belt still runs very strongly there, especially in the Cincinnati suburbs -  everything was about putting on a perfect show/pretending,  white privilege, arrogance, and money.  

This is actually worse in Northern Kentucky, mind you - home of Nick Sandmann - though they have less reason to be arrogant and less money - but suburban Cincinnati runs a close second.  However, Northern Kentucky folks win 1st prize for being to the most unkind,  rude, merciless, compassionless, judgmental, gossipy, cruel, Nazi-esque people that I've ever met - and that includes famously supposedly rude people from NYC, New Jersey, and Los Angeles (whom I've actually found to be quite friendly).

Here's another one, even more fun!

 "1, 2, 3 - The Devil's After Me" ...


1,2,3 The Devil's after me,
4,5,6 he's always throwing bricks/sticks.
7,8,9 he misses every time.
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Amen.

9,8,7 I'm on my way to Heaven
6,5,4 To live forever more.
3,2,1 With Christ His only son.
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Amen.

What a happy, super fun counting song for kids! ;)

(Yeah, there's a reason why I preferred Sesame Street for that.)

Gee ... I wonder why I was afraid of everything?!? ;)

And I'm pretty sure "the devil" got Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker anyway, in the end - but of course, they claimed "the devil made me do it" and got a free pass, with Jim Bakker still preaching, asking for donations, and praising Trump ;)

Now, I have to tell you that my Catholic husband laughed himself silly, when I played this one.  

Let that sink in - my Catholic husband - whose denomination is famous for being laden with guilt, shame, and fear -  found this evangelical song "crazy, shame-laden, cult-level sh*t,  incredibly effed up." LOL

Catholics ain't got nuttin' on charismatic evangelicals when it comes to fear and shame ;)

Anyway, I had a dream that I went back to Kings Island, not having been since 2006.

For those of your unaware, Kings Island, in Mason, Ohio, is the third most-visited amusement park in the country, opening in 1972 as originally a German/Bavarian-themed amusement park (which used to sell beer, stopped selling it due to increased accidents, but now sell it again), as Cincinnati is very German in heritage  - home to such attractions as "The Beast" (at the time it was built, in 1980, the world's tallest, fastest, and longest wooden roller coaster) ...

Though it's been topped since, it's still a super fun coaster - so sayeth the girl that used to be terrified of roller coasters (I told you, I was afraid of everything as a child).  

I prefer roller coasters with loops, though -  I like that suspension-of-gravity, weightless feeling :) 

I never rode The Son of Beast, though, there was something about the angles on it I didn't like/got a bad feeling about - and for good reason - the ride was finally shut down in 2012 after multiple injuries and malfunctions.

Thus, Son of Beast was taken down in 2012 due to multiple injuries and malfunctions, and now they have  "The Banshee"  (which I have yet to ride).

By the way, there is no island there - and there is no king lol.

It was named after the area where it stood at the time, Kings Mill (which, yes, was based on "King" as in the Lord), which has since become incorporated into Mason, Ohio (about 40 minutes from downtown Cincinnati).

The amusement park opened in 1972, by the now defunct Taft Broadcasting Company out of Cincinnati (yes, that Taft family, which also included the 27th President of the United States, William Howard Taft) -  who also owned Hanna-Barbera cartoons.  

It was built in part of the "urban sprawl" movement towards the suburbs, trying to move Coney Island from the river shores of downtown to the suburbs.

As part of a promotion, Kings Island was featured in episodes of "The Brady Bunch ..."

... and "The Partridge Family" ...

Now - growing up, Kings Island was literally 20 minutes from my house - and my first visit was about 1976, when I was about 8 years old, and about four years after it opened

I had a season pass, as a teenager - don't ask me why, because I was terrified or roller coasters, back then?

No, not because evangelicals told me the devil was in them lol -  just because as I told you, I was afraid of everything (which likely evangelicals played a part in) - mostly people, but everything else too (except climbing things, rocks, trees, etc., and I don't know why).

I have since abandoned my fear of roller coasters and ride them today :)

(Well, actually not abandoned that fear, confronted it - I rode them until I wasn't afraid anymore - but still, when going up that first hill, I request that whomever I'm with not talk to me so that I can get a handle on the fear/panic first - then once over the hill, I'm all smiles and laughing :)

Unfortunately, as an adult, though I now do roller coasters - I now can't do any ride that has too many spins, coaster or not, which I could do as a kid  - but it's not a fear thing, it's an inner-ear thing, like sea sickness - I'd spend the rest of the day nauseous, which is never fun for anyone ;) 

I'm not talking corkscrew turns or even one or even 2 or 3 loops - it seems that more than 5 loops in a row does it, or even like the swinging pirate ship rides (I think because it repeats the same dipping motion over and over) - again, inner-ear thing, "seasick."

Yes, I understand a scopolamine patch might help, but I'm not going to buy a patch just for rides at Kings Island, only to ride a spinning ride and find out it still doesn't work for me and ruin everybody's day. If I ever take an ocean cruise, I'd get a patch - but that's highly unlikely unless it's like a day tour somewhere, rather than days on end, just because they aren't my thing -  I'd take a river cruise, if anything.

ANYWAY -  in the dream, I went back and the first song "Open Up Your Heart/Let The Sunshine In" was playing the whole dream - because it was constantly playing in Hanna-Barbera Land, because Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm sang it in The Flintstones a couple of times - with "the devil" lyrics intact (though the lyrics changed)!

That's right, folks, fun fact - Wilma Flintstone - that prehistoric, pearl-wearing, white-European-featured cavewoman - was apparently an evangelical Christian, who taught her children to fear the devil (and ever feeling sad?)  ;)

In case you forgot - once again, the Tafts were from Cincinnati, a very conservative, very religiously-infused community, especially in the suburbs - I'd estimate about 45% Catholic (particularly German-Catholic), 30% evangelical, 20% Jewish, and 5% other, in the suburbs.

I had completely forgotten about that song until that dream!

I went looking for videos of it at Kings Island, but alas, could not find it - but what I did find is the original song to the "Enchanted Voyage" ride, called "Friends in my TV."

Again, not kidding - let's confuse fantasy with reality and pretend everyone on our TV screen is real and our special friend - and we wonder why fantasy FB "friends" became so popular with our kids? lol

Worse, this was the end of the ride ... to exit, your boat rides into a giant clown's mouth - whose teeth come down to chomp!

In fact, it was every fourth boat - yes, we counted lol.

What the ???

So who's bright idea was that,  on a ride for children - John Wayne Gacy?

The good news is, they changed it in the late 70s/early 80s to clear plastic you just had to ride through, then even those out completely lol.

Again, gee, I wonder why I was afraid of everything - including clowns - as a child? lol

Also, in the late 70s, they added this happy snail at the front of the ride to make kids less scared - I still remember his message (even before I found this link, which is also YouTube, the video owner won't allow playback elsewhere ) 

"Welcome to the enCHANTed voyage.  I sure hope you enjoy the ride!  Have a Ha-Happy Day!"

We rode this boat for posterity sake, even as teenagers, always saying something back to the snail, usually something like, "Nice try at distracting us from the clown eating us, Mr. Snail, but we're not fooled!" 


Regardless, Kings Island is still always a fun time - even though the EV ride is now Planet Snoopy :)

For any of you that ever went to Kings Island as a child, here's a trip down memory lane of what Kings Island was like when it first opened in 1972.

As mentioned, my first visit was around four years later, in 1976, but it looked exactly the same as in this video - just imagine bicentennial features added, because 1976 was America's bicentennial birthday :)

... versus today ... 

FYI, that still thumbnail image is the new Orion roller coaster, which again - like Son of Beast -  something seems off/unsafe in the angles of it, to me?  We shall see ... 

Though much has changed, some things remain the same :)

And never forget the sage, wise words of Mr. Snail and Pebbles and Bamm Bamm - "Have a Ha-Happy Day!" 

(Or apparently the devil will get you - in the form of a giant clown's mouth on an ancient children's ride at Kings Island circa 1972 to 1983 lol ;)

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