Sorrowful news from Coney Island this morning: Our friend Scott Fitlin, who operated the Eldorado Bumper cars for his family, died on Monday in his apartment. Scott was the DJ extraordinaire of Surf Avenue’s legendary disco palace of bumper cars and a steadfast defender of the amusement zone. Coney Island will miss him more than we can say.
These never-before-published portraits of Scott Fitlin were taken by Coney Island historian Charles Denson, who photographed Scott at work in the Eldorado this summer.
Coney Island raconteur Stan Fox, whose family operated the Playland arcade, recalled saying that when Mike Saltzstein of the B & B Carousell died in 2001, the music died. “Today’s another day when the music died,” Fox said.
Scott Fitlin was proud of the Eldorado’s sound system. Last March, ATZ did a post celebrating the Eldorado, in which Scott related the history of the ride and the sound system. Here is an excerpt:
Eldorado was hand built by my grandfather Joseph Buxbaum, my Dad Sandy Fitlin, and my Uncle Peter Buxbaum, and a carpenter named Rafael. Opening date was March 21st 1973, admission was 50 cents and 25 cent re-rides.
The lighting is disco style from the Studio 54 era, and we are upgrading this year to newer LED technology effects.
Our sound is custom built, by us, and we have had professionals in from time to time, back in the old days it was Richard Long, famous for the sound at Studio 54 and The Paradise Garage. Our sound is extremely powerful yet very easy to listen to, it doesn’t hurt the ear. CRYSTAL CLEAR, lightning fast, and stunning transient response, the crack of the snare drum is scary. Our bass is tremendous, and I play dance music, the sound that has energy and life, and POSITIVITY!
Our Bumper cars are Italian made Soli cars. They look good, run fast, and bump good.
The Eldorado Arcade opened for the spring of `71, the bumper cars were constructed during the winter of `72, and grand opened March 21, 1973. The FIRST record played was Cisco Kid-War!
Over the summer, Scott sent us a note about the upgrade to the Eldorado’s sound system:
I was always devoutly into audio, and music. Once I have performed and completed this years sound system repairs and upgrades, once again, NOTHING sounds like The Eldorado.
If you really begin searching the web using my name, you will find that I am one of the foremost authorities on the RLA [Richard Long] sound, and dance club style sound.
I have been working the 1216 Surf Ave Eldorado like it is a nightclub, for years. The only difference between my place and a club, is that in a club you dance on the floor, in my place you drive electric cars around the floor. Essentially, I run a disco on wheels.
Services will be on Friday, October 15th, at 12 noon at the Boulevard Chapel in Hewlett, Long Island. Phone 516-295-3100. The Fitlin family has chartered a bus to take anyone who wishes to attend but does not have transportation. The bus is expected to leave from the Eldorado between 9 am and 10 am.
UPDATE October 22, 2010:
The Coney Island History Project has posted a very moving excerpt from an audio interview that Scott did with CIHP director Charles Denson
Related posts on ATZ…
October 17, 2010: Photo Album: Oct 15 Tribute in Sound & Light to Scott Fitlin