Archive for the ‘Carnival Games’ Category

Dunk Tank Clowns

Still from ‘Dunk Tank Clowns,’ a documentary by Daniel McGuire

Daniel McGuire’s documentary short ‘Dunk Tank Clowns’ premieres this weekend at Boston’s Independent Film Festival. “I’m too old for this. I’m glad you came here,” says seasoned clown Kenny Dickman in the trailer. “I’m on my first annual retirement tour. We’re politically incorrect.”

So true. Have you noticed the bozos have disappeared from Coney Island as well as New York City’s street fairs? In 2011, Drown the Clown, which we last photographed in 2009, was banished from Little Italy’s Feast of San Gennaro for being “too raucous” in the increasingly gentrified neighborhood. In Coney Island, the last photos we took were before the Coney Island Rezoning of 2009, which made way for restaurants, retail and condominium development.

Insulting people for a living isn’t as easy as it looks, according to the film’s synopsis. The documentary offers an inside look at the profession by longtime carnival bozos Terry Leonard and Tom Miller, who are seen working fairs in Massachusetts, and Dickman, whose territory is Pennyslvania and was with S & S Amusements the season that we toured with the show. Carnival days!

‘Dunk Tank Clowns’ screens at the Somerville Theatre on Saturday at 10:00pm and Monday at 7:15pm.

Related posts on ATZ…

December 1, 2014: Autumn Reading: Ward Hall – King of the Sideshow!

September 17, 2014: ATZ’s Top 10 Coney Island Film Festival Picks

October 6, 2013: Video of the Day: The Down Home Daredevils

December 8, 2012: Sunday Matinee: Princess Rajah’s Chair Dance (1904)

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Monkey Speedway Banner

Monkey Speedway Banner “The Race” by Sigler Studios, circa 1950s. 248″ x 96″. Mosby & Co Auctions, November 29, 2014.

Vintage monkey speedway banners by Sigler Studios, sideshow banners by Fred Johnson, and shrunken head and mummy gaffs by Homer Tate are among the midway artifacts up for auction at Mosby & Co. Auctions’ November 29th live and online sale. A selection of carnival games that have disappeared from the midway will also be in the sale. The catalogue is online and one can bid now or in real time during the auction.

“The Monkey Speedway ‘The Start’ and ‘The Race’ are the two best Sigler banners we have ever handled,” said Mosby’s owner Keith Spurgeon, who noted that it was probably painted by Jack Sigler Sr. The banners drew people over to a midway attraction that was popular on carnivals through the 1950s and 60s. Trained monkeys in little metal cars raced around a wooden track while customers (more…)

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Mangels Shooting Gallery

Mangels Shooting Gallery from Wonder Wheel Park Being Restored by Coney Island USA on Surf Ave. May 12, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Welcome back William F. Mangels and hooray for ScareFactory! Two more shooting galleries are debuting in Coney Island this season as replacements for establishments damaged by flooding from Superstorm Sandy. On Sunday, the circa 1940s Mangels shooting gallery seen above, which hasn’t been used in decades and was hidden behind the Scarface Shooting Gallery under Deno’s Wonder Wheel, was being restored by Coney Island USA in view of passersby. On loan from Wonder Wheel Park’s Vourderis family, the gallery has been installed in the Surf Avenue storefront formerly occupied by Denny’s Ice Cream, which was also destroyed by Sandy. CIUSA’s Dick Zigun told ATZ that the refurbished shooting gallery is expected to open sometime in July.

Mangels Shooting Gallery

1970s Photo of Shooting Gallery Under the Wonder Wheel Made by W.F. Mangels Co., Coney Island. Photograph © 1975 by Charles Denson

The shooting 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. We haven’t seen one of these old-time galleries in operation anywhere for many seasons. What’s more, intact Mangels shooting galleries are exceptionally rare since most were long ago sold for scrap metal or broken up by antique dealers. Earlier this month a Mangels cast-iron gallery with over 150 targets from the Elli Buk Collection sold at auction for $60,000 after competitive bidding.

Meanwhile, at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, a haunted parlor-themed shooting gallery with animated targets made by ScareFactory has replaced the flood-damaged Scarface gallery and is already a hit with customers. Players have 45 seconds or 18 shots to shoot the light beam targets that when hit reveal ghosts and ghouls dropping from the ceiling or popping out of the furnishings in the fortuneteller’s parlor. It’s fun to watch as well as play. When we first tried it and hit one of the portraits on the wall, it swung out and an air cannon went off, evoking surprise and laughter from the crowd.

In 2010, ATZ wrote a requiem for the Henderson Building’s Shoot out the Star, which had operated for more than 20 years and was one of Coney’s few year-round amusement businesses. The same year, the famed paintball game Shoot the Freak was bulldozed on the Boardwalk. This season, new versions of the games by different operators are making a comeback on Coney Island’s Bowery. A talker will call you in to “Shoot the Clown,” instead of the Freak. The game is located near the corner of West 12th Street and replaces a Derby Racer destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. You can Shoot out the Star in a trailer across the way.

Shoot the Clown

Shoot the Clown on Coney Island’s Bowery. March 31, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i


Related posts on ATZ…

April 2, 2013: Shoot the Freak Reborn in Coney Island as Shoot the Clown

February 28, 2013: Coney Island Shooting Gallery from 1940s Makes Comeback

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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