Over the past 70 years, Dorney Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania featured a series of very popular dark attractions fondly remembered by many of you.  Let's take a look back ... starting with
 
     The building in which the Devil's Cave was installed was originally used for basketball games. It had a hardwood tongue and groove floor. It was a novelty then and was screened with fencing, so they tell me. It was before my time. People used to stand before the fencing and watch basketball. The next thing it was used for was an arcade - at that time a penny arcade.
      Outside the Devil's Cave was Laffing Sal. It was real humorous when this fat lady was out there laughing, and she kept jiggling because of the mechanism. At that time we used 78-rpm records, as we didn't have tapes in those days. So we'd stack six or seven 78-rpm records on a repeat turntable. And people would stand around watching Laffing Sal. You couldn't help laugh when you heard Laffing Sal laugh, which was what it was all about.
      As you got inside Devil's Cave Pretzel, you went through a labyrinth with gadgets and scenes along the way. One scene was an outhouse with a scarecrow sitting on a john. People would get a kick out of it. Once there was a special party staying at the hotel and as usual, we'd take them from one ride to another at the park for the evening. So this woman's riding the Pretzel and she's coming around the corner and she screams, "Hey, that's my John in there!" Unknown to her, her husband had sneaked up ahead of them and sat on the outhouse seat!
 
     What was heartbreaking is that you'd fix up those scenes and be happy with them and a certain type of person would vandalize them. We'd have to put screening or a plastic front up so that people couldn't get in and smash the scenery. There was a fellow working in the park named Warren Yeakel. He was quite a bird. He took care of the gadgets in Devil's Cave. He used to get provoked by vandals. So one day he goes inside the Devil's Cave with a rubber hose and stands there like a mannequin. And when a kid reaches out for him, whack, he smacks him with the rubber hose. I don't think we'd get away with that in these days. But I'll bet that kid didn't go back on that ride again.
      Philadelphia Toboggan made many of the gadgets in Devil's Cave. They were very simple. They had a pipe arrangement sticking up next to where the car came along. The car would hit a lever and it pushed an old wire carpet beater against a sheet of steel. That made a hell of a racket. It was very simple and never wore out.
      Later on, as you can imagine, when Bill Tracy came along, we put in a lot of electronic gadgets and bright lights, black lights, and Day-Glo colors. The art of Bill Tracy really made it when we went from Devil's Cave to Pirates Cove and ultimately to Bucket O' Blood. He did a real great job and we were well satisfied with it. The Pretzel spinning cars were put into Bucket O' Blood around 1956, but we stopped them from spinning soon afterward. Incidentally, when we changed the theme to Pirates Cove and Bucket O' Blood, we dressed Laughing Sal up as a pirate - with a pirate hat, a long sash, a sword and a patch over one eye.
 
Like many Pretzel spinner cars, this fleet was deadbolted and for good reason. There were large dioramas that never could have been seen in full if the cars were spinning. Perhaps the ride was renamed Bucket O' Blood because the cars did resemble tubs or buckets, each one adorned with the name of a famous pirate, such as Captain
 
Kidd and Henry Morgan. The first scene was an old harbor - the faint sound of gulls could be heard in the background as you passed other ships heading out to sea. Suddenly, a storm breaks out - an illusion created by white-capped waves along the track, flashing lights and the sound of thunder and lighting. Tracy's famous "seasick pirate" - a shiphand heaving off the deck - makes an appearance during this storm scene. Many of the stunts from Bucket also were found in Tracy's other nautical theme rides such as the Pirates Coves walkthroughs and the Ghost Ship dark rides. Among those in Bucket O' Blood were a drunken pirate and pirate skeletons. However, there were others custom made for this Dorney Park ride such as an octopus, a pirate attacking a sailor with a sword, sailors in stockades, and of course, a few execution hanging scenes. As in most of Tracy's dark rides, Bucket had very subtle sound effects, as not to divert attention from the visuals.
 


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