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Dark Ride Paradise - Wild Bill's Nostalgia Center

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  • 1 month later...
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^ Very cool to see, Larry. Thanks for sharing it.


How are things going with the Haunted Fun House?

It looked great in the winter photos I have seen, lighting and all.

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^ Very cool to see, Larry. Thanks for sharing it.


How are things going with the Haunted Fun House?

It looked great in the winter photos I have seen, lighting and all.


I'll provide details after I visit next month. I was going to visit last month but a snowstorm hit and they busy were digging out on the only day I could drive up there. I want to verify everything I write from the source.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

After leaving SFNE, I stopped by Wild Bill's for what was supposed to be a quick visit. But they needed a little extra help so I stuck around for a few hours to help them put up the first truss for the pretzel dark ride.


I talked to Chuck a lot about the pretzel dark ride. The pretzel dark ride is the main thrust of the team's workload right now as legal wrangling is holding up progress on the walk-through. While work on the walk-through is on hiatus, the team does not want to go another year without having something operational.


When Wild Bill purchased the pretzel ride it had 380 foot of track, most pretzel rides were 365 feet in length. Plans are the add another 150 feet, making the ride last a duration of about 2:15. It will have a circus theme with many demented clowns. Plans are to incorporate the world's only functioning Laffin Louie into the ride with Wild Bill recording the evil laughing soundtrack.


Chuck also mentioned that since no dark ride organizations are actively following this developing project he'll be more than happy to keep TPR updated on daily progress and completed units as his team near the decoration portion of the Pretzel facade.


Soon after I arrived a truck showed up with the trusses for the roof. I decided to stay to watch them raise the first one.


An arduous process when you are working with a small tight and tight budget.


Almost there, I felt so Amish helping out.


One down, 27 to go. Hopefully, within the week with a help of a cherry picker.


and from a distance


The remaining trusses.


Rails ready to be installed


Some of the nine cars pretzel for this ride still need some more work.


Awaiting reconstruction


The original FUNHOUSE signs from Staten Island


More props, backdrops


In order to keep the money flowing for basic needs the Dark Ride Artist and his protege Savannah are painting a train ride for the Amron family, a local fair operator.


Another project for the future, this stage came from a local theater production but not need to throw it out, Wild Bill will find a use for it.


Wild Bill's will continue to host unique movie showings and concerts on their stage moving forward.


Storage area


A perfect place to store the bodies.


An old Hi-Striker awaiting restoration.


An old game of chance, I think Chuck said it came from Savin Beach.


Photo evidence that I assisted in the process.

Edited by larrygator
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  • 4 weeks later...

I let too much time pass before revisiting this thread; so good to know work continues on all kinds of things! Ass-kicking updates, Larry, per usual, and I am so freaking psyched that the first dark ride is taking shape already!

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  • 1 month later...

I stopped by for a couple of hours on Monday, July 7th to catch up on the progress of the circus themed Dark Ride. On this visit Chuck had some of the plywood cutouts and props in place as he walked me through the layout of the Dark Ride. There are some gags that I have been asked to keep secret and ones of those gags involves an overactive donkey.


A big component of the circus theming will be the tent and tent poles placed over the front of the facade and throughout the ride. Signage for the ride will be cut from sheet metal and illuminated with a neon-like effect giving it a old time look. The nation's premier circus poster painter will also be visiting to create old school banners to hang from the walls of the building.


Unfortunately, the walk through Fun House is on hold as the city's newly appointed building inspector changed the rules and is making demands that were not expressed by his predecessor.


When the ride is completed, from this focal point you will be able to see into the dark ride through those openings on the right and left.


This is the loading platform. As you prepare to enter the building the world's only operating Laughing Louie greets you.


The first evil clown you will encounter


The falling barrel gag (built by PTC and salvaged from Beech Bend, I believe).


A lot of the appearances of the evil clowns will be accentuated with much neon paint


Eventually it will be much darker inside once completed. At this point I believe the car will pass through another of the 8 sets of bang doors.


Due to all the space inside the building, Chuck had to bend an additional 80 feet of track. Chuck described the ride length as being two rides in one. The beginning will involve a lot of clowns perspective tricks and psychedelic effects added towards the middle of the ride.


Just to prove it is not all about clowns.


More props to be installed.


I don't know if this guy is going in the dark ride but I found him to be creepy.


Imagine a tent pole rising from the front porch, with a white tent over the facade.


A coupe more photos just to give you perspective on the size of the building.


Red White and Blue shingles


Wild Bill's initials on the other side.


Chuck's friend Michelle ask he asked for a picture so I obliged.

Edited by larrygator
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  • 3 weeks later...

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Wild Bill's, which had been on my list of places to visit even before the dark ride project began. The entire complex truly is a sight to behold, but for the purpose of this update, I'll stick to the projects Larry already has covered.


When I started planning my trip (not just to Wild Bill's, but across several Mid-Atlantic and New England states) a little under a year ago, I hoped at least one of the rides at Wild Bill's would be open by the time I arrived. 'Twas not to be, but I asked anyway and mentioned that I knew Larry (thanks, Larry!) and had been following the progress on TPR. Wild Bill was happy to hear that and introduced me to Chuck, who offered me a guided tour. They asked me to extend the invitation to any TPR forum readers to stop by and take a look any time they are in the area. They're very excited that the TPR community is taking an interest.


I do have one minor update from Larry's last photo set, in that the elf is an authentic piece of Macy's New York window dressing from the '50s, but still no word whether it will be included in any of the haunted attractions. I also met a very large, very live snake that is being planned as part of the attraction.


Inside the Pretzel dark ride, Chuck told me he's received some criticism for including the cartoon devil Larry showed earlier, adding that he couldn't understand what all the fuss was about, especially since kids blow out the brains of zombies (and others) in exceedingly graphic video games on a daily basis; his opinion is that, given that example, a cartoon plywood devil probably isn't the biggest threat to the innocence of America's youth.


Walking through what has been completed of the walk-through so far, it felt just like the few Bill Tracy walk-throughs I've had the opportunity to experience, which Chuck took as a big compliment. He also made a point of noting that, unlike many "haunt" attractions in the area, all the "scares" in the attractions will be pneumatically or electromechanically controlled; no live actors. Once everything is completed, this collection of attractions is going to be something very special.


Visually, there aren't too many exterior changes, but I do have a few photos to offer. Enjoy!


A good overall view of the dark ride's exterior so far.


The walk-through from behind the fence, as visitors would first see it from the parking lot.


A close-up of the a gate in the walk-through.


A piece of set dressing we haven't seen before.


A panel on the outside of Wild Bill's store provides a rendering of the walk-through.


Another panel on the store pays tribute to the original Pretzel dark rides. (Others pay homage to everything from Universal monsters to sideshow attractions to King Kong to Bozo the Clown and beyond.)


Just to the side of the walk-through is this original panel from the original "Laff in the Dark" ride at Lake Compounce.


And finally, across the field, the stage set has been painted and given a name. Looking forward to more updates from Wild Bill's in the future!


This semi-legible sign provides some background on the "Laff in the Dark" panel.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

^Yeah, what he said with lots of sugar on top!


But I do have a question about something I saw in one of the photo ( the one that shows Wild Bill's initials on the roof). On the ground near that building stands something that looks like it came off a spinning flat ride. Does anybody know what it is, what its doing there, and will it ever be installed in something? This rider and amusement park flyer wants to know!

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^^They have at least a half dozen kiddie flats that are being restored. The ride you mention is their Jet Fighter I have a better picture of it in this Update . Also I mention at the tail end of that update a German Carousel that Wild Bill bought last year, it was recently delivered on site. It is similar to the one that used to be at Kiddieland in Chicago pictured here

Edited by larrygator
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