Rob Swinson from Wichita was the national sales manager for Chance Rides, a firm who built and created fairground rides and he developed a friendship with the Michael and became his personal Amusement Ride Consultant and Park Developer. He says Michael was one of the kindest, most good-hearted people he’s ever known. He spent a lot of time with Michael and got to know him well. They worked so well together and bonded because they are both perfectionists.
He was responsible for the development of the fun fair from the start until it was finished and says that Michael would bus in hundreds of sick, disabled and L. A. Inner City children so they could enjoy the park.
Swinson has hundreds of pictures of Michael’s Neverland Valley Amusement Park, many autographed items and photos of them both together. Since this time he has collected anything and everything related to Michael.
Swinson laughed when he was showed a tabloid article published when Neverland was being built. It showed aerial pictures of the grounds and speculated how Michael was building a golf course. “They had no idea but they printed this anyway,” said Swinson.
He would also stay at the ranch during his business trips and even has a laminated phone extension list so he’d know how to get a hold of ranch staff. One listing, gives an extension number with “MJ office” and he remembers getting a call from Michael after a big European concert. “He should’ve been exhausted from a big performance but all he wanted to know about was how the rides were coming along.” Swinson said. He added that he thought of Michael as a huge star but to him, he was a friend. “He called me ‘The Maker of Dreams. I made his Neverland dreams come true.”
But after the allegations, Swinson says Michael wasn’t the same and neither was Neverland. “It was all gone. It was very sad. Very sad,” he said and after the park closed, the rides were sold off.
Swinson flew to California last week to pay his respects at Neverland Ranch and cried when he watched the memorial on television. He was especially touched when Brooke Shields talked about Michael looking down on them from a crescent moon. “Blue Boy sitting in a crescent moon” was one of the logos Michael used at Neverland Valley Amusement Park and on ranch memorabilia, and Swinson believes that’s what Shields was referring to.
“He always wanted to be remembered as a person, not as a personality,” he said. “His friends, family and fans will miss him very much.”
Source: The Robert E. ‘Rob’ Swinson Private Collection & MJWN