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Posts Tagged ‘Bonanza Shooting Gallery’

Astrolands Bright and Shining Gate On Surf Avenue, September 7, 2008. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita

Astroland's Bright and Shining Gate On Surf Avenue, September 7, 2008. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita

One of the eight-foot by seven-and-a-half-foot lighted stars from Astroland’s Surf Avenue gate is in the National Air and Space Museum among other space-age icons, but the second one could be yours for Christmas. Along with pieces of Dante’s Inferno dark ride, the Bonanza shooting gallery, and a variety of signage, the star is among the last vestiges of the Coney Island amusement park being offered for sale. Mark Blumenthal, Astroland’s longtime operations manager, has overseen the sale of the rides since the park closed and was dismantled at the end of 2008. If you’re interested in acquiring an Astro artifact, you can email Blumenthal at astrolandmark[at]aol[dot]com.

Dante's Inferno demon

Dante’s Inferno demon on crane, Astroland Park in Coney Island- Photo © Tricia Vita. December 26, 2008.

“We’d like to sell the ride as a whole,” Blumenthal said of Dante’s, which consists of the giant demon’s head and torso from the façade, props, track and cars in storage trailers. “But if someone has a home for the pieces, we’d entertain the idea of selling them.” Dante’s Inferno was made by the Italian manufacturer Soli and brought to Astroland in 1971, according to a tribute on Laff in the Dark’s website. More than a dozen stunts created by Lou Nasti’s Brooklyn-based Mechanical Displays in the 1990s are also for sale.

At the Brooklyn Museum, the Cyclops head from Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park’s Spook-A-Rama dark ride, which is going into its 66th year of operation in Coney, is on display as part of the exhibit Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland. Can Dante’s demon make a similar transition from the amusement park midway to the art world? Or what about bringing it home to Coney and exercising a little creative reuse?

Also being offered for sale is the old-timey Bonanza shooting gallery, where you could shoot the piano player. You may recall it was located on the Surf Avenue side of the park next to Gregory & Paul’s. Manufactured by Taylor Engineering, Bonanza shooting galleries first debuted in 1958 and this one was brought to Coney Island by Gregory in the mid-’70s.

“It was redone a couple of years before we closed,” says Blumenthal. “It’s the old technology,” referring to the fact that vintage Bonanza galleries used photocell sensors activated by a bright light source, usually from the rifles. That’s why there were multiple signs saying “No Photography” and why we have no photos. You can catch a glimpse of it in the following video. Refurbished galleries such as “The World’s Largest Bonanza Gallery.” currently on the fair circuit, use an infrared beam of light instead of flashing light.

As we noted in a post in 2013, Astroland’s rides have found homes in Costa Rica, South America, Australia, New Jersey and Brooklyn. Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park brought back the Barbieri Bumper Cars and Scrambler, and together with the Coney Island History Project, the 1960’s Astroland Rocket, which once perched on Gregory & Paul’s rooftop as an advertisement.

Signage from Astroland’s Surf and Boardwalk entrances to the park, as well as the arcade are also for sale.”I miss it, but a lot of us miss it,” Blumenthal says of Astroland. “Now it’s part of history.”

Astroland arcade sign

Astroland arcade sign. Photo © Tricia Vita. July 25, 2008

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June 4, 2014: Astroland Rocket Finds New Home Beside the Wonder Wheel

July 17, 2013: Astroland Rides Find Homes in Brooklyn, Costa Rica and Australia

March 16, 2012: Rest in Peace: Jerry Albert, Co-Founder of Coney Island’s Astroland Park

December 16, 2010: Blast from the Past: LFO’s Summer Girls Music Video

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Bonanza Shooting Gallery

Bonanza Shooting Gallery, State Fair Meadowlands, New Jersey. June 23, 2013. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

When we came across this wonderful, old-timey Bonanza Shooting Gallery on the midway at the June 17-July 7 NJ State Fair Meadowlands, our first question was — can we photograph it without triggering all the targets? Vintage Bonanza galleries used photocell sensors activated by a bright light source, usually from the rifles. That’s why there were multiple signs saying “No Photography” at the one in Coney Island’s Astroland, which is by the way up for sale. The attendant at the Bonanza Shooting Gallery at the Meadowlands Fair said, “Take all the pictures you want.” Since their rifles got a redo, they no longer have a problem with the targets going off when folks snap photos.

“The rifle shoots an infrared beam of light instead of flashing light,” Bonanza Gallery owner Matt Gallapoo said in an interview with ATZ. “It feels like a shotgun, but the sound is digital.” The Ohioan, whose family has been in the amusement business since the early 20th century, brings the Bonanza Shooting Gallery to the Orange County Fair in Middletown, NY (July 12-July 28, 2013), Erie County Fair in Hamburg, NY (August 7-18, 2013), New York State Fair (August 22- September 2, 2013), Florida State Fair (February 6-17, 2014) and other big fairs.

Bonanza Shooting Gallery

Bonanza Shooting Gallery, State Fair Meadowlands, New Jersey. June 23, 2013. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

Manufactured by Taylor Engineering, Bonanza Shooting Galleries first debuted in 1958 and this one was built for his father in 1976. Gallapoo had the family heirloom refurbished in 2010 after acquiring it at a sheriff’s auction where it ended up after having been neglected by an ex-brother-in-law. The largest traveling shooting gallery of its kind has approximately 26 guns and 100 original interactive targets including a piano player and cigar store Indian. The gallery is housed in a 60-foot wide by 32-foot deep tent.

“My mother was born into the business. She was one of the original Otterbacher kids,” says Gallapoo whose family takes credit for pioneering such carnival games as the bottle-up and the softball in the milkcan and giving away live rabbits as prizes in the 1980s. He still has food concessions at some of the spots on their route including the August 23-25 Wine and Walleye Fest in Ashtabula, Ohio, where they will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most portions of fish and chips sold.

Bonanza shooting Gallery

Bonanza Shooting Gallery, State Fair Meadowlands, New Jersey. June 23, 2013. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

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May 16, 2013: Shooting Gallery Revival in Post-Sandy Coney Island

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

February 25, 2010: Happy Belated Birthday to Coney Island’s William F Mangels

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