1970s Photo of Shooting Gallery Under the Wonder Wheel Made by W.F. Mangels Co., Coney Island. Photograph © 1975 by Charles Denson
A rare vintage 1940’s Coney Island shooting gallery that used to be under the Wonder Wheel is about to come out of retirement and make a comeback on Surf Avenue. Last night Dick Zigun, artistic director of Coney Island USA, announced in a series of tweets that the iconic shooting gallery, which had operated for many decades next to Spook-A-Rama on Jones Walk, would reopen at 1214 Surf Avenue.
Zigun said that the historic shooting gallery will be a “major working exhibit/game fronting CIUSA’s new Art/Culture gallery formerly Denny’s Ice Cream.” The nonprofit arts organization bought Dennis Corines’ ice cream shop and building next door to Coney Island USA’s headquarters last March for $1.3 million. Unfortunately, Denny’s was one of the first casualties of Superstorm Sandy in Coney Island’s amusement area. The building had to be gutted and there was talk of replacing the ruined ice cream machines with a paintball game, mini-golf or a roller rink. The idea of using the Mangels shooting gallery in storage at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park came up when it had to be moved during renovations after the storm.
Pictured above in a 1975 photograph by Coney Island History Project director Charles Denson, the gallery has cast-iron targets in the shape of soldiers, paratroopers and torpedo boats. It was manufactured in Coney Island by William F. Mangels, the inventor of such early 20th century thrill rides as the Whip and the Tickler, and the builder of the mechanism for the B & B Carousell. Researching a story on antique carnival pieces for Games Magazine a few years ago, we learned from a collector that Mangels held the most patents on shooting gallery targets. From the early 1900s until 1969, well after other manufacturers had gone out of business, his shop on 8th Street produced a wide variety of targets.
Intact Mangels shooting galleries are exceptionally rare since most were long ago sold for scrap metal or broken up by antique dealers. Last April, ATZ wrote about this Mangels’ paratrooper target
up for auction in Pennsylvania. It appears identical to the large paratrooper seen in Charles Denson’s photo. The price realized for the single target was $1,020. In 2009, an intact Mangels mechanical shooting gallery installed at Duke Farms
and used by heiress Doris Duke during parties at her home sold at auction for $43,200!
Related posts on ATZ…
January 31, 2012: Remnant of Under Boardwalk Bar Found in Coney Island
February 1, 2011: Bring Back the Whip! A Birthday Gift for William F Mangels
October 28, 2010: Photo Album: Requiem for Coney Island’s Shoot Out the Star
February 25, 2010: Happy Belated Birthday to Coney Island’s William F Mangels
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