This post is a post in my digital notebook. All details ar subject to change and this post is subject to update.
The term ‘Wild West’ was usually attributed to the period before the Long Beach Pike, which was the name given to the downtown waterfront amusement area since 1902.
In digging around, even as little as I have yet dug, I am discovering the wonders and stories of the old Pike. In 1902, there was no Disneyland. The Long Beach Pike WAS the amusement. It seems to me, that in 1902, theme park rides were not created just by one or two large companies that hired ride designers. They were created by the companies of the ride designers themselves. The amusement areas were not coordinated by a single entity, they were participated in by different entities that delivered different rides. At least… It appears to me that this is so. Perhaps I am wrong. I’m still sorting through all the details, and will update this post when I find out more.
In one of the many discussions I have had about the ‘old Pike’, I was sharing about the influence of Coney Island and the similarites between Coney Island (which I’ve never visited, but now think I should) and the Long Beach Pike. Coney Island started in the early 1800’s and was a destination resort for the wealthy. The conversation went around to the role of Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark in Coney Island’s development. However, it appears that Tivoli Gardens may be in a different category from Coney Island and officially opened in August, 1843 – later than Coney Island.
Regardless, I am discovering the very interesting rides of the old Long Beach Pike, and amazing facts about them.
I’m listing them here for my future reference, and expect that I’ll be digging around for more information on each of these.
This list is taken from Wikipedia’s listing on the Long Beach Pike, but I am copying it here as my working list.
- Laff in the Dark, Dark ride featuring three animated ballyhoo characters over the facade center, a Laffing Sal, Laffing Sam and Blackie the Barker, which was the first to deteriorate from weathering.
- River Ride, [dark ride] ride in cars. Spooks, converted to walk thru attraction. Voodoo Hut, walk thru attraction.
- Round Up, a Frank Hrubetz Co. 30 passenger tire drive single trailer model 18-18.5 RPM, 45° tilt, with chain restraints.
- Rotor trailer model with previewing platform. Sold to Magic Mountain as Spin-Out in 1979.
- Wilde Maus aka Wild Bobs
- Loop-O-Plane by aka Hammer
- Loop Trainer, aka Looper
- Looff Hippodrome (1911–2005) with Carousel (1911–1943) see below.
- Carousel (1944–1979), three course, open air.
- Niagara Barrel), a wooden spiral slide (often mis-captioned as Bisby’s Spiral Airship.)
- Horse Race, a W.F. Mengels Galloping Carrousel, two course, rocking style carousel.
- Space Capsule, observation crane, also known as Moon Rocket and Kiddie-land Hi-Ride.
- Crazie Maize, storefront House of mirrors.
- Skooter, indoor Bumper car.
- Dodgem, Reverchon flat ride bumper car.
- Fun House, storefront walk-through of challenging paths.
- Tilt-A-Whirl by Sellner, later renamed Tilt.
- Super Trooper, umbrella ride.
- Sharks Alive, diving bell, submersible shark tank view.
- Sky Ride, Watkins chairlift.
- Kiddie Land – a collection of several carnival style children sized flat rides and truck rides, such as “hot walker” style miniature boats and sport vehicles.
- Giant Slide.
- Go Karts, Briggs & Stratton gasoline engine powered go-karts.
- Miniature Train (?-1979), a “Bud” Hurlbut steel coaches with gasoline powered ‘steam form’ locomotive.
- Wheel of Fun, child Ferris wheel, 6 cages.
- Sky Wheel, double Ferris wheel: Built by Allan Herschell Company of New York. Two wheels of eight cars each were connected with an armature. The armature would allow loading/unloading of the lower wheel while the upper one revolved, then top and bottom wheels would swap and when both were loaded and spinning, several turns of the armature provided serious thrills.
- Davy Jones Locker- dark ride, ride on cars.
A variety of roller coasters.
- Bisby’s Spiral Airship (steel) (1902-?)
- Comet Jr. (1949–1959)
- Cyclone (4 trailer Galaxi, steel) (9/1969–1979)
- Cyclone Racer wooden twin (5/30/1930-9/15/1968)
- Figure 8 Roller Coaster, wooden twin racer, replaced by larger Jack Rabbit Racer (6/1907-1914)
- Jack Rabbit Racer wooden twin racer, replaced by larger Cyclone Racer (5/1 1915–1930)
- Wilde Maus/Swiss Bobs (wood) (1959–1979)