mother and son and two somewhat flustered girls roll out of
the Laff In The Dark exit.
A sign at upper right invites park-goers to "Come In And
Laugh Yourself To Death".
Pretzel Amusement Company's patent for the invention of
the dark ride was granted in 1928. Filing four years later
without departing from Pretzel's single-rail guide and
power concept, Traver's modus for obtaining a patent seems
to have been couched in the specifics of several auxiliary
mechanisms for the performance of a variety of functions.
While the Pretzel patent dealt almost exclusively with
the methods of power and motility of the ride vehicle,
Traver additionally claimed extensive innovations in stunt,
lighting and sound activation. He made further claims
for components within the car that imparted physical sensations
to the riders, perhaps to deflect from the fact that his
cars functioned essentially in the same manner upon which
Pretzel's patent had been established.
The side view at right of Traver's car illustrates the
split seating compartment which had the ability to rock
backward. While promotional materials emphasized the feature
as being highly effective, desirable and exclusive to
the Traver brand, the complexity and vulnerability of
this and other mechanical contrivances led to malfunction
and eventual discontinuation.
Patent drawing of the rear undercarriage of Traver Laff In The
Dark car illustrating device functions and locations.
A - Double-jointed push lever for tipping the seat into the backward
B - "Hot" rail contact shoe.
C - Track wheel assembly
D - Lever for returning seat to forward position.
E - Noisemaker pawl engaging ratchet rail.
Mechanisms were activated when they encountered stationary abutments
or "trip blocks" positioned on the floor. Additional
rails were placed as barriers to protect those who might step
on the tracks from the danger of spanning an electrical circuit.
It is doubtful that this magnitude of paraphernalia was ultimately
installed in many, if any, ride layouts.
Far right - Partial linkage assembly for seat rocking mechanism.