Video: Fort Erie amusement park got shut down for pop commercial loaded with TV stars


Published March 3, 2023 at 11:56 am

Actress Heather Locklear was the big attraction when Crystal Beach Park got shut down for two days in August 1987 to film a commercial for soda-pop.

There are still a few older folks – young Boomers or older Gen X – who will remember the two days the Crystal Beach Park in Fort Erie got shut down for two summer days in 1987 so a commercial could be shot.

For the town at the time, the names coming to film the 30-second spot for a soda-pop wereTV royalty: Heather Locklear, then on the TV juggernaut Dynasty, Andy Gibbs, younger brother of the three BeeGees and then host of TV show Solid Gold, Michael Damian from the soap opera The Young and The Restless and Erin Moran of Happy Days fame.

Shot on Thursday, August 6 and Friday, August 7, 1987, locals got involved in a big way and clearly, Locklear, who was constantly on the “Most Beautiful Women” lists in those days was the star attraction.

A newspaper clipping of the two-day shoot indicated that because it was a amusement park setting, the production company would be searching for 350 extras and from the sounds of it, a fair few Fort Erie residents found their way onto film, if even for a millisecond.

The newspaper clipping alerting Fort Erie that a commercial
was being shot at Crystal Beach on August 6-7, 1987.

A recent post of the above newspaper clipping on a Fort Erie Facebook page brought the memories rolling in from residents.

The amusement park, which would close two years later, attracted a larger crowd than normal when the 30-spot for Minute Maid Orange Soda was being filmed by Toronto’s Partners’ Film Company and New York City’s Marschalk Advertising Agency and at least a dozen posters to the Facebook page said they were in the commercial.

One poster had a humourous story about Locklear being married to Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee at the time and noting Lee was a little miffed that he was unrecognizable to many of the residents who were star-eyed for Locklear.

“I was working at my family businesses when I saw all the commotion at the amusement park. Tommy Lee was with Heather Locklear at the time and they came to one of our restaurants during the filming of this Minute Maid Orange soda commercial,” the poster said.

“I recognized Locklear immediately and Tommy was a bit put off as he asked why I didn’t know who he was.
After he told me (that) he’s the drummer for Motley Crüe, I said, ‘You’re a lucky guy no matter what you do.’ I met Andy Gibb and Damian afterwards at the Garrison Inn where they all stayed while shooting.”

Another remember being paid to enjoy the rides. “I made 40 bucks to ride the Monster for six hours. I was 14!”

A poster responded that they did likewise on the rollercoaster. “I did that but was (the) Comet. I did it for free. l loved that ride when I was finally tall enough to go on.”

Another poster happily shared an autographed picture he got of Locklear (shown below), one that hung in his work locker for years.

Of course, park employees were around. After all, they were working. Said one, “I was working that day and saw all these people! Andy Gibb gave me his seat on the roller coaster.”

So that commercial that shut down the park for two days? Here it is right here.

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