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On New Year's Eve I was invited by Chuck Burnham to visit his new dark ride project. Some of you may recognize the name of The Dark Ride Artist, he was most recently the creative force behind the funhouse and dark ride projects at Wild Bill's.

 

He is currently working at an undisclosed location piecing together assets he purchased over the years, including the Dante's Inferno dark ride from Williams Grove. Chuck worked with Justin Loh from Williams Grove to track down the origins of many pieces he purchased. Many stunts from Williams Grove were covered up or painted over during "upgrades" over the years and Chuck is stripping the paint to repair and revive them. Also when the family of Lake Compounce's former owner, Stretch Norton, heard of Chuck's latest project he donated some pieces from his personal collection. Chuck apprenticed under Pete Rasulo at Lake Compounce as a teenager and did a lot of work on the Haunted Graveyard.

 

The ride will be a scary circus themed Laff in the Dark. The rolling stock consists of Pretzel Cars that originally ran at Lakemont Park before ending up Williams Grove. Chuck owns 6 restored cars and spare parts. The ride will be capable of taking hills with the powerful working condition transformer that Chuck has paired with this ride.

 

The plan is for the ride to be transportable by two tractor trailer, but much work needs to be done for this project to come to fruition. However, Chuck has been dedicating all his free time to move this project forward. He has major benefactors (Al Pod and Ed Staron) helping with financial aid and structural engineering and plumbing (sprinkler system) concerns. Working on the artwork and construction are some members of his former team: Dennis, Savannah, Dave, Stephenie and Tabitha.

 

For now I'm going to put up pictures of some of the inventory and I will go into detail in future posts about the history and lineage of certain pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chuck is no longer involved with the projects at Wild Bill's and I'm not at liberty to further discuss his prior projects due to ongoing litigation.

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The worksite, with former props from Camden Grove. A few years back Chuck spent 5 weeks completely rebuilding the Haunted House at Camden Park and was given some piece the park no longer wanted. These gifts were created by Bill Tracy and his team.

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Here is the Laff in the Dark working transformer.

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Devil stunt from Williams Grove

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A rare historical piece, this headless greeter once adorned an original "Laff in the Dark" Quite a bit of restoration went into this piece

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Parts of this facade move

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This stunt has had a few homes in the past

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A tombstone scene that is being restored being removed multiple layers of paint to show the original lettering from the RE Chambers Company

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You can't have a tracked dark ride without track

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I spy a shiny pretzel car and a witches head

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another rehabbing pretzel car

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An antique knock the cat down carnival game

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These hand painted characters came from a Music Express

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Bat in a Cave stunt, built by ADC previously at Lake Compounce

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Head in a Box stunt, built by ADC previously at Lake Compounce

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The Kicking Donkey stunt is another RE Chambers creation that was hidden behind recent scenes ate Williams Grove and is being restored.

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One of two Witches Cauldron's (made by Pinfari) in the foreground with a barrel stunt in the background.

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RE Chambers plywood devil

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American Display Corporation snake head

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ADC, Pinfari along with Funni Frite and others started making their own stunts that parks could install into existing dark ride

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It will be circus themed

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another piece from the Norton family

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created by Pete Rasulo's Bristol Sign Art

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The other witch's cauldron

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another stunt

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Chuck and I realize there will be negativity towards the project since I personally have been writing about his previous project for 5 years. But now he is even more motivated to get his own project up an running, albeit with no definitive time table.

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Please tell me he was able to save the Fighting Cats stunt from Williams Grove. I was only able to go through this ride once before they re-themed it and I really look forward to seeing this ride up and running again.

 

 

EDIT: Yes, he has the Fighting Cat stunt!

Edited by larrygator
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Please tell me he was able to save the Fighting Cats stunt from Williams Grove. I was only able to go through this ride once before they re-themed it and I really look forward to seeing this ride up and running again.

 

 

EDIT: Yes, he has the Fighting Cat stunt!

 

 

E-x-x-x-x-c-e-l-l-l-l-e-n-t!

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