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Posts Tagged ‘Shoot the Clown’

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

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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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Shoot the Clown

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

Shoot the Freak has been reborn in Coney Island! A paintball game called Shoot the Clown opened on the Bowery this past weekend with a human target wearing a mask and body armor like the Boardwalk freak of yore. As you may remember, the game was evicted bulldozed by Zamperla in 2010 and replaced by the entrance to Scream Zone. But it seems long, long ago because so much has changed in Coney Island since then, including the building of Coney’s first new roller coasters in nearly 40 years and the devastation of Sandy.

Just to be clear, Shoot the Clown is run by longtime Coney Island game operator Caesar, who had to come up with a quick replacement for the Derby Racer destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. Framing a paintball game in the space was more practical than buying a brand-new track derby. In fact, another Coney Island operator had also considered the idea. The operator of Shoot the Freak on the Boardwalk was Anthony Berlingieri, who also operated Beer Island.

Shoot the Freak on Fourth of July. July 4, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Shoot the Freak on Fourth of July. July 4, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

It wasn’t until Shoot the Freak got evicted that we began to realize how intensely some people loved it and others hated it, including some of our close friends. There were even obituaries for the popular game like Gawker’s “Sad Things: America Loses A National Treasure: Shoot the Freak” and New York Magazine’s “Let Us Now Mourn the Loss of Coney Island’s Shoot the Freak.” They’re worth a re-read and so are the comments by people who called the game amazing, annoying or a dump. We like this one best: “How do you mention Shoot the Freak without mentioning the announcer? I always thought that getting told, “ya a freakin’ losah and my dead grammuddah could shoot bettah den ya, ya freakin’ freak!” by some grody carny was the high point,” says NYAARON in New York Magazine.

Shoot the Clown has a talker too, an unseen presence calling people in to play. Since the game had no customers when we passed by briefly on Sunday, we didn’t get to hear much talk or see any action yet. It’s 5 shots for $3, ten for $5, and 25 for a tenner.

Somebody needs to tell Amanda Burden. The City’s Planning Commissioner once said that she “loved” and “would put in a vote for” Shoot the Freak even though she hadn’t tried it. That was back in 2007 at a press conference hyping the rezoning of Coney Island. Here’s the vid of the Mayor, Burden and then Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff answering a reporter’s question about whether the new Coney Island was going to have room for Shoot the Freak and sword swallowers. The videographer is the late Bob Guskind of Gowanus Lounge, who was Brooklyn’s blogfather and the inspiration for Amusing the Zillion.

Update: The Shoot the Clown game on the Bowery has closed.

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Related posts on ATZ…

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

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

April 27, 2012: The Dancing Doll “Miss Coney Island” Speaks

October 28, 2010: Photo Album: Requiem for Coney Island’s Shoot Out the Star

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