Richard Tuck, Creator of El Cerrito’s Playland-Not-At-The Beach, Dies at 63

Last week the famed creator of El Cerrito’s Playland-Not-At-The-Beach passed away in his home in El Cerrito.  Richard Tuck may not have been a legend but what he created was legendary.

I remember when I first met Richard.  It was in 2000 and I had just received my MFA from the Academy of Art in San Francisco.  I saw an ad on Craiglist where this funny little amusement park-in-the-making-thing was looking for some muralists to volunteer their time.  So I went.   I showed up in my overalls (I was an artist after all) with my paintbrushes and said “where to?”  and I went to work.

There were lots of volunteers there, some from schools, and many from the community.  It seemed like everyone wanted to help out.  Richard offered free lunch and free use of his collection of pinball machines.  He played music, laughed, and told story after story about his collection of amusement park artifacts.  I was intrigued.

I haven’t gone back since.  But the experience was one-of-a-kind, and Richard’s generosity and friendliness was also one-of-a-kind.  Perhaps it is time to venture back.

Click here to read the original article from the Contra Costa Times.