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1970s to 80s Old Towne Mall in Torrance

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  • 1970s to 80s Old Towne Mall in Torrance

    Does anybody remember the Old Towne Mall in Torrance, CA? Besides shopping, it also had various indoor rides.

    The main focal point was the double-decked carousel right in the center of the mall, just inside the main entrance. It was very similar to the ones that the various Westfield malls (Santa Anita, Topanga, etc.) are getting recently, except that the horses on the top level of Old Towne's weren't jumpers, they just rocked back and forth. In the twilight years of the mall (around 1990) it was moved to the arcade that was at the south end of the mall at that time, where it mostly just sat in a partially-assembled state. Anybody know what happened to it after that?

    I remember there were two dark rides in the mall at one time, but I never got to go on them. My parents thought they were creepy, and talked me out of it by assuring me that they'd be nothing like the good dark rides in Disneyland. That's as maybe, but I still actively regret never going on them to see for myself. I don't even remember what they were, except that one was sort of forest-y. There were all sorts of neat little shops and restaurants, including a little alcove of arts & crafts tables and a stand called something like "Churros and Moo Juice" (=milk) that had animated cows above the sign, and was my first introduction to the churro, before Disneyland started selling them.

    There were various flat rides in the mall that came and went every now and then. I think there was an Octopus, and there was something like Dumbo with bees instead of elephants, I think. For awhile they were located behind the carousel, and at one point they were located on the south end, along with killer bumper cars that would slam into each other hard enough that they left me feeling quite sore afterwards (whee!). And there was an indoor bare-bones miniature golf course.

    Anybody have any clearer memories, or better yet, photos?

    Oh, wait, I just Googled some up...

    A few half way down this page

    A Sims version of the mall

    Some other memories here as well

    Funny, last time I Googled, I couldn't find anything interesting.

    The place was remodled into a cluster of big box stores surrounded by smaller satellite stores in the 1990s, and all of the rides are long gone, but I still drive by and remember what was where. "Right through there was the carousel, that's where the Federated store was in the 1980s, and off to the side there was a Best catalogue store, just past the small Mann multiplex that's also disappeared..."
    Last edited by drb; 02-22-2007, 02:40 AM. Reason: oops, messed up a link

  • #2
    Re: 1970s to 80s Old Towne Mall in Torrance

    MAN O MAN, me and my family just got together and we discussed all the times we went to Old Towne. I remember everything so vividly, especially the carousel and the Bee ride. We would always go past the dark ride that you rode in a swan through some canals, but I was always too afraid to go in it. My brother seems to remeber it had scenes from different fairy tales.

    I think it was big when I was between 4-9.
    spunky likes to suck that 3rd nipple(why am I your sig line........freak)! - Posted by my good friend Samsma


    • #3
      Re: 1970s to 80s Old Towne Mall in Torrance

      I remember the "forest ride" you are talking about. You sat in a "car" thing with the track suspended from above like Peter Pan at DL.

      The only part I remember semi-clearly was at the end where there was a big rotating tube that made you feel like you would roll over.

      At the end of the mall, there were offices and some food places. I remember as a kid running around in there because there was nobody around on the second floor.

      Now, if I could just find some pictures of the Magic Pagoda at SFMM...


      • #4
        Re: 1970s to 80s Old Towne Mall in Torrance

        I remember the carousel and going to the bookstore there. Beyond that, nothing jumps out at me. I did love going there, though.
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        • #5
          Re: 1970s to 80s Old Towne Mall in Torrance

          I think it was called "Fantasia..."


          • #6
            Re: 1970s to 80s Old Towne Mall in Torrance

            There was a store there that sold all kinds of Disney stuff. We used to go to look at that.
            VISIT my sketchblog: M54


            • #7
              Re: 1970s to 80s Old Towne Mall in Torrance

              I remember going threre with my grandparents. I went on the carosel and the bees each time, but that "creepy" ride always looked to scarry to me. I remember the mall having the best soft serve ice cream! Memories!!!
              "We believed in our idea - a family park where parents and children could have fun- together." - Walt Disney


              • #8
                Re: 1970s to 80s Old Towne Mall in Torrance

                Oh my gosh... I had childhood memories of that dark ride (and it's spinning tunnel and overhead "ski lift"-style track), but could never place where they were from. I'm glad to know I didn't imagine it!
                Does anyone even bother with signatures anymore?


                • #9
                  Re: 1970s to 80s Old Towne Mall in Torrance

                  A couple more photos, thanks to links given in comments to the Peopletron blog:



                  I remember the early TV ads for the mall had a guy dressed somewhat like that banjo player in the first photo doing a "You Got Trouble"-like patter song. "Come on down to the Old Towne Mall! We've got..." [rattles off listing of all the neat things you'd find there].

                  That piano in the first photo was also a player piano between shows. The lid would be closed as it played, so I remember pretending to be playing it until someone would come over to watch me play, only for them to discover that I was faking it and was only "playing" the lid. Hey, it was a kid thing.

                  I bought a hermit crab from the pet store, and I remember taking him out of his little carrying box and letting him crawl around the table at the food court as I ate my Hot Dog On A Stick.

                  One of the comments on the Cinema Treasures page says that the carousel was a Denzel, and was sold to a small theme park back east in '91. Anybody know which park, and if it's still there? I remember getting in the... what do you call the bit on some carousels that spins like the teacups? Anyhow, I was surprised that it could spin before the ride started, and it spun damn well, so I was giving it a "test spin" when the operator came over and chastised me for spinning early, which doesn't allow other kids to get in the spinner with me. Oh. Oops.


                  • #10
                    Re: 1970s to 80s Old Towne Mall in Torrance

                    The Carousel moved to the Eastwood Mall in Niles, Ohio.

                    Here's a very poor picture.

                    I loved going to the Old Towne Mall. The Torrance Promenade, as its called now, is so lame. But if you go to the Trader Joe's there, they have a small mural inside that pays homage to Old Towne.
                    My sites: The Peopletron Focus , Houses of Wax


                    • #11
                      Re: 1970s to 80s Old Towne Mall in Torrance

                      After about 15 hours of searching the internet, I came up with another photo of the food court area...



                      • #12
                        Re: 1970s to 80s Old Towne Mall in Torrance

                        oh wow!!!! my grandpa used to take me to the Old Town Mall, i ADORED!!! it!

                        espcially the marionette about memories.

                        and flooper, the magic pagoda at MM was just awesome, remember the mirror room?
                        Will there be screams when the sun sets,
                        -=Is It October Yet?=-

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                        • #13
                          Re: 1970s to 80s Old Towne Mall in Torrance

                          I do remember it! It's just very fuzzy and I'd love to see some photos...
                          I can't seem to find any online at all!

                          Do you remember leaving the strobe light room and then entering another with a small waterfall? There were also like 3 chambers people could go into and disappear...

                          Tripped me out as a kid!


                          • #14
                            Re: 1970s to 80s Old Towne Mall in Torrance

                            Wow, never knew of this and I live 2 minutes from Old Town Torrance.
                            -Jack :geek:
                            Doc Brown had 2 Deloreans!


                            • #15
                              Re: 1970s to 80s Old Towne Mall in Torrance

                              Originally posted by flooper View Post
                              I think it was called "Fantasia..."
                              Not bad flooper...but it was spelled, "Phantasia".
                              And don't worry over not getting to go on those rides. They weren't that memorable. I enjoyed that mall, but I'd rather go to Disneyland.
                              "They's two B's in basketball!"


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