The name of John W. Duffy must be regarded as the single most legendary in the annals of Old Orchard Beach amusement history. Even when considering the accomplishments of the still-operating Palace Playland, the empire Duffy built in conjunction with his partnership with Edward Rhoades is extraordinary by any standard. A native of Blackburn Lancashire, England, Duffy arrived in the United States in 1900, working as a weaver in a textile mill in Lawrence, Massachusetts. He first came to Old Orchard in 1911 and two years later owned the Ocean Pier
and casino which he successfully operated along with his acquisition of the White Way attractions and many other businesses at Old Orchard Beach for several decades. Duffy spent the winters in Deerfield, Florida and owned an orange grove and commercial properties in Ocala. He owned various other parcels of real estate in Old Orchard but the majority of his holdings were in Lawrence, Massachusetts, including several textile plants. At the time of his passing on June 2, 1956, he had sold his beach amusement businesses to concentrate on his property investments.
The photo at right shows the large funhouse that sat in the White Way area behind Noah's Ark. This was a big two-level classic funhouse, one of three at Old Orchard. It had many of the standard funhouse furnishings, with dark corridors and stairways. Returning to the bottom level was via a wooden slide. Patrons were instructed to take a burlap potato bag from a stack at the top of the slide and use it to ride down on.
An interesting question is raised by the large whale figure through which all patrons would exit, walking on wooden slats suspended by metal rods. Such whale figures were part of the exterior design elements of all Noah's Ark funhouse installations, but
a whale is never seen in any photos of the Old Orchard Ark. Maybe the Ark did indeed have a whale but it was decided to use it outside this funhouse instead, also known as "Willey The Whale". As is increasingly the case as the years go by, there's nobody still around to provide us with the answer. George remembers the funhouse as having "a rubber bar jail, and rounded, wooden abutments that protruded from the walls below the waist in one of the ride’s dark corridors. You couldn’t help but collide with them because you couldn’t see them but they were rounded and smooth, so it wasn’t like smashing your shin into an open drawer or something. You'd just make contact with it and glide around it."
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