part of an inventory of equipment that would be installed when the
Laff In The Dark ride was delivered from Chicago to Rye, Traver forwarded
described an incredible 29 tricks, 36 if one counts the "seven
floor stunts" listed as number 1. Further, the list does not
include the Gorilla and Fighting Cats stunts that were installed in
the Playland ride.
with the perspective of Traver's patent drawings, we are privileged
to take a rare trip back in time
to walk through and view an original Laff In The Dark ride as it operated
at Rye Playland around 1936.
1934, prior to the widespread application of pneumatic
cylinder systems in dark rides, Traver devised a variety
of mechanical and electrical apparatuses to impart motion
to his stunts.
In this example, the skeleton figure was suspended by
two springs with an incandescent light fixture overhead
(fluorescent ultraviolet light was also still in the future).
Viewing the base of the skeleton as shown in the enlarged
inset, a large vertically-mounted solenoid can be seen
situated on an elevated block. The unit consists of a
cylindrical winding into which an iron shank, linked by
a wire to the skeleton's torso, is suspended.
To activate the stunt, a voltage was applied to the winding
and the shank was drawn electromagnetically into the core,
pulling the figure down with it. With current delivered
intermittently, the skeleton would jiggle.
The effective core stroke appears to be approximately 2
- 3 inches.