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Posts Tagged ‘Amusement ride’

19th century Mangels mechanical shooting gallery

This late 19th century Mangels mechanical shooting gallery owned by Doris Duke and installed at Duke Farms sold at auction last summer for $43,200. Photo via Millea Bros Ltd

William F. Mangels, the Coney Island-based inventor of such early 20th century thrill rides as the Whip and the Tickler, also held the most patents on shooting gallery targets. From the early 1900s until 1969, well after other manufacturers had gone out of business, Mangels’ Coney Island shop turned out cast-iron and sheet-metal targets in the shape of birds and beasts, stars and moons, cowboys and Indians, and soldiers and torpedo boats.

In the early 1900s, shooting gallery operators could select from 25 different kinds of targets for “The Slide” –a chain slide mechanism– all for a dollar a piece. Ducks with moving wings could be purchased for an extra fifty cents! Today, collectors are willing to pay $200 to $1,000 per target, depending on the condition and rarity of the figure. Last June, 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! It featured a moving clown, ducks, squirrels, birds, stars and circular spinning targets. The late 19th century shooting gallery was stamped “W.F.M. Co. 389” and bears the characteristic plaque “Made by W.F. Mangels Co. – Coney Island – New York.”

ATZ can’t let February go by without honoring the memory of this amusement industry innovator’s birth. Born February 1, 1867, Mangels was best known as a developer and supplier of amusement rides and the mechanisms for carousels and roller coasters After he died on February 11, 1958 at age 92, his family carried on the business for another decade. The Coney Island History Project inducted Mangels into the Coney Island Hall of Fame and some of his kiddie rides can still be enjoyed by visitors to Coney Island’s Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park. Keep an eye out for the rides that bear the Mangels plaque.

Mangels Pony Cart Ride

Mangels Pony Cart Ride at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, Coney Island. The Mangels plaque can be seen to the left of the numeral 8. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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February 1, 2011: Bring Back the Whip! A Birthday Gift for William F Mangels

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November 5, 2010: Museum Piece or Obsolete? Old Carnival Games, Stick Joints on eBay

June 13, 2009: June 13: Coney Island Hysterical Society Artists in Conversation at A.M. Richard Fine Art in Williamsburg

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eBay Find: The control panel of a one-of-a-kind ride from Neverland Ranch: Current Bid $46,100. Reserve Not Met

eBay Find: The control panel of a one-of-a-kind ride from Neverland Ranch: Current Bid $46,100. Reserve Not Met

Michael Jackson’s Dragon Wagon Kiddie Coaster was brought to Coney Island for the summer by Butler Amusements, but now there’s an opportunity to acquire a Neverland ride on a permanent basis. Last week carnival owner Earl “Butch” Butler told ATZ of his plans to put the bumper cars designed for and by Michael Jackson up for sale on eBay. The one-of-a-kind ride has been on our watch and wish list for the past few days. Butler says the auction has hundreds of watchers and generated inquiries from all over the world, including a bidder who wants to recreate Jackson’s amusement park.

The ride  includes a 20 foot long Neverland sign and fencing with Michael Jackson's logo

The ride includes a 20 foot long Neverland sign and fencing with Michael Jackson's logo

The popular interest in the Neverland rides since Jackson’s death is what got us dreaming about putting together a consortium of people to buy Jackson’s bumper cars for the People’s Playground. Where’d we put it? How about Steeplechase Plaza, where the City has plans to build a skateboard park? We think an amusement ride, especially one designed for and by the King of Pop, is a much better idea. It could be a gold mine for Coney Island. The celebrity ride would draw tourists to the amusement park. Its neighbors would be the iconic Parachute Jump and the restored B & B Carousell. Or maybe the ride could be situated on Joe Sitt’s property. After Sitt sells to the City, of course. His Stillwell lot, which is zoned for amusements, is currently being misused as a flea market. And we couldn’t afford Thor Equities skyhigh rent in the so-called Dreamland Park.

In fact, the bidding on the Neverland bumper cars –$46,100, Reserve Not Met– has climbed beyond our consortium’s budget. What is the reserve? Butler’s not saying. When I asked him today if it’s $1 million dollars, he said no. Perhaps it’s a dollar less or quite a bit more! We’re secretly dreaming Mayor Bloomberg will set a snipe and win the auction for the people of New York. Don’t worry, Mayor Mike: The user ID is kept private. Nobody will know you are the buyer except the seller. You can donate the ride to the City of New York, just as you did with the B & B Carousell. The auction ends on July 10 at 12:34:29 PDT.

Bumper car tent at Neverland Ranch. Butler Amusements bought 5 rides from Neverland, but only this one is for sale

Bumper car tent at Neverland Ranch. Butler Amusements bought 5 rides from Neverland, but only this one is for sale

From the auction description:

This is a large ride and comes with fence that goes around the ride which also has the picture of Michael Jackson’s logo. Another main part of this ride is the dominant opening sign that says Neverland which is approximately 20 feet long. This ride was designed especially for and by Michael Jackson by Majestic Manufacturing in 1992. Michael Jackson put in an amazing sound system along with black lights and disco balls. The ride comes with the 16 custom made bumper cars with Michael Jackson logo on them. The model is a MJ 2700 with a length of 96 feet 6 inches by a width of 44 feet 6 inches. The floor size is 32 feet by 84 feet, 2688 square feet. The pit size is 32 feet 3 inches by 84 feet 3 inches, 2717 square feet. This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity that no one should pass up. This piece would make any Michael Jackson collection the Greatest Michael Jackson collection.

Perhaps the bumper cars will be reunited with the original Zierer Wave Swinger ride from Neverland, which is also up for auction on eBay. That ride is owned by Helm & Sons Amusements of Colton, California. Starting bid is $850,000.

Michael Jackson's logo of little boy sitting on the moon is emblazoned on the bumper cars

Michael Jackson's logo of little boy sitting on the moon is emblazoned on the bumper cars

Update, December 26, 2011…

The Neverland Bumper cars were permanently installed at Cal Expo in Sacramento for which Butler Amusements provides the carnival for the California State fair. The other rides from Neverland Ranch–Lolli Swings, Jeeps, Dinos, Balloon Samba and Dragon Wagon– travel with the carnival’s different units, which play events in seven states in the West.

Neverland Bumper Cars

The Neverland Bumper Cars, owned by Butler Amusements, were first installed at Cal Expo for the California State Fair in July 2011. Photo courtesy of Butler Amusements.

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Related posts on ATZ…

November 5, 2009: Museum Piece or Obsolete? Old Carnival Games, Stick Joints on eBay

August 26, 2009: Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ride for Sale in Coney Island!

August 5, 2009: Coney Island Has 56 Rides and 33 More Days of Summer!

June 30, 2009: Calif. Carnival Sends Rides to Coney Island….Including One from Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch

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