When Fred Garms opened Spook-A-Rama in 1955, it had a quarter-mile of track on which reportedly ran three dozen Pretzel new model spinning cars, loading at the Bowery end and off-loading across from the Wonder Wheel. Those cars have seen a lot of mileage over the ensuing 50+ years and many were worn out. Since the Pretzel Amusement Co. ceased operations in the early 80s, parts are hard to come by and scrupulous maintenance is essential, a practice that certainly must have played no small part in the cars' survival of the hurricane flood waters. Garms later seized the opportunity to obtain more of the same model cars from Steeplechase Park upon its 1964 closure. Steeplechase General Manager Jimmy Onorato sold the six-year-old cars as well as the track to Garms in 1965 for $3600. Later, the Vouderis family was able to purchase more of the same type cars when Canobie Lake Park in New Hampshire discontinued their Pretzel ride. Some of these cars ride the Spook-A-Rama rails today, recognizable by Canobie Lake's wooden barrel design that covered over Pretzel's original factory paint job of candy-apple red with gold trim.

Above: The heavy weight of the cars on their wide steel casters made it customary for Pretzel rides to be installed on wooden floors. Concrete wouldn't hold up for long under such an unforgiving burden. So how could the cars be made to traverse Spook-A-Rama's new concrete floor without damage? One solution would have been to lay wooden or metal strips under the wheels along the entire length of the ride, a daunting task given the relentlessly twisting path of the ride's track layout.


The answer was to have all the car wheels bonded with polyurethane tires. After ascertaining a number of factors including the load weight of the cars and the hardness of the floor surface to determine the type and density of the urethane, the job was done by Sunray Polyurethane Products, Inc. of Rutherfordton, NC. The two photos above show the new polyurethane tires fitted onto the rear drive casters.

Above left: The original Spook-A-Rama facade as it appeared when the ride first opened. Fred Garms made many changes over the years and more have been seen under the Vourderis ownership, including the new dragon castle frontage recently installed.

But one token of deference to the past has been kept: those alarming eyeball-adorned entrance and exit doors, conveying with their fearful stare a warning to all who would dare venture into Spook-A-Rama.