The Building of Crystal Beach Park's
By Richard Doan
Throughout the winter quotes for the motors came in and a letter dated May 8th 1936 from the Northern Electric Company discusses the order of 12- 1 HP motors and that they are doing everything possible to make the shipment of the motors on May 16th.
On May 13 1936 Chambers writes " You have no doubt, received the Canadian invoices for the Laff in the Dark stunts. I shall come up sometime this summer and take pictures in the ride.
The letter discusses
adjusting the magnets. And at the end "We feel sure that you are going to
have a very fine ride and we know that it will be a profitable one for
Harry Traver, who built Crystal Beach's Cyclone and Tumblebug built the amusement manufacturing plant in 1919 at Beaver Falls PA. and sold it to Chambers in 1932. Traver invented the dark ride Laff in the Dark in 1930
The last letter from Chambers is dated May 29th 1936. "There is a point which I have neglected to mention to you and that is that the Laff in the Dark track should have some grease put on it in order to minimize the wear on the wheels and the trolley shoe."
I have been told by the Park's retired electrician Ron Huffman, that the cars were actually built in nearby Ridgeway Ontario, by a local blacksmith with parts from both Chambers and what Hall had, made.
Another blueprint also has a wiring diagram for stunts listed as: Rats, Siren, Thunder, Lightning, Dancing Skeleton and Tunnel. One saying sheet #6 has diagrams of the bumps that were in the track. It also has "Details of the ceiling stunts", "Balloon stunt frame made of Oak strips and black balloons suspended from staples. Strings holding balloons should be about 3 1/2 to 4 feet long. Frame to be suspended from ceiling of such height as to cause balloons to strike passengers in the face". Another diagram on the same blueprint shows "Frame for Cobweb, Rope Ribbons, Rubbers made of oak strips. For Cobweb, light strings about 4'0 long. For Ropes 5/32 or 6/32, clothes line about 4'0 long. For Ribbons 1/2 black ribbons at abt. 4'0 long. For Rubbers, 1' strip rubber sheeting.
In Talking to Ron Huffman about this, he stated that the Media way over blew what had happened and, as a result of the collision, a wire had shorted out, and the insulation on the wire had burned and that was all. The ride lasted for 53 years until the park closed in 1989. At the park's auction, the high bidder of the LITD paid $8,000. in US Funds. I was lucky enough to buy a car as they were tearing it down and have a few artifacts such as a Trick Track, a fluorescent head and some of the roof materials including one of the sculptured corners. One of the great Icons of Crystal Beach, Laughing Sal' (originally made by the Old King Cole Paper Mache Company and marketed in PA) went to Buffalo. After being stored for a number of years, she was sold for $5,000 to someone in PA who restored her. She was coin operated until a few years ago when she was sold off for $10,000 and shipped off to California. The Laff endured all those years and was a family favorite, spanning several generations of park goers!
|the History...||the Stunts...|
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