Dad put smile on Luna Park face for Buxton man
25 Oct 10, Macarthur Chronicle, Ben Pike
DESPITE opening to much fanfare in 1935, the good folk of early 20th century Sydney did feel a little uneasy when walking under the giant face of Luna Park.
The problem: the face had no smile, and was said to be far from a welcoming facade.
With the iconic park’s 75th anniversary this month, Buxton man Ron Zimmerman has recalled how his late father Arnold became the first artist to paint the famous smile on the Luna Park face.
Mr Zimmerman, who has lived in Buxton for about 40 years, said he wanted to recognise his father for his contribution to the Milsons Point park in 1942.
“I remember discussing the smile over dinner one night when I was about 15 years old,” he said.
“My father said people should walk in to a smile, not a large cavern, so he painted the smile. It made a really big difference and put a smile on everyone else’s faces as well.
“He also was contracted to do maintenance painting work on Coney Island, the Big Dipper and the Twin Towers.”
Mr Zimmerman said a friend had called him recently and urged him to publicise his father’s contribution with the 75th anniversary of the park.
Arnold Zimmerman’s work was believed to have improved on the work of Rupert Browne, a scenic artist from Melbourne who designed the original entry face.
He added that his father Arnold was a talented artist who, in the same year, also had a portrait hanging for the Archibald Prize.
“There are eleven of his large paintings in the Hydro Majestic hotel, and his history is in the Power House Museum.”
* Luna Park was officially opened on October 4, 1935, as Sydney’s newest and best amusement park. It has kept its “just for fun” tagline ever since.
Luna Park Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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