Sunday, June 28, 2015

Out of the Past: A Midway of Boyhood Ghosts ...

Carnies enjoy early morning coffee and donuts.

A peek at my favorite ride, The Whip. Watching it being laid out and assembled was a production. I loved the harsh heavy industrial music of its moving parts, the sudden jerking thrust of the cars rumbling around corners.

The old Ferris wheel turned with an almost graceful lilt.

My favorite attraction was the quaint Thimble Theatre fun house. The spooky dark walk-through labyrinth on the top floor. The grinding shuffle boards below. The air blast under skirts, and the collapsing floor section just before exit.

The classic Tilt-A-Whirl, about as perfectly designed a thrill ride as ever hit the midway, justly survives into the modern era. Its genius to me is shared by very few rides -- it delivers unpredictable action.

Instant fan: Thunderbolt of surprise for my friend Boyi, who knew virtually nothing of my model building and had never seen this when he's visited me, because the rides have been packed away for over three years. After work last Sunday he dropped by, having only been told "I think you will be surprised." I turned a switch and Century of Thrills came to life, five rides simultaneously. Boyi was ecstatic. "A triple triple plus!!!!!" he exclaimed, overcome with my scratch-built quarter-inch spectacle. What a pleasure when somebody so joyfully overwhelmed appreciates what you've achieved. And what a bummer: I had his immediate reaction on a video, I thought. But I hadn't clicked my camera onto the film icon!

Four rides -- The Whip, Tilt-A-Whirl, Ferris Wheel and Swings operate perfectly. 100% More than I could ever say for my Big Dipper roller coaster, a grand champ of derailments. Once upon a time, it might circle the track nine out of ten times. Not lately. I've accepted its chronic imperfections, but still soldier on, fixing this over here only to be vexed by that over there. BTW: Among others, Paul Horseman was of immense help to me on the Whip and the Wheel when I built the park (1990-2003). I'd like to add a boat ride, if I could bring off a little big splash when it hits the water. And figure out a way to get the tubs back around and connected to the lift chain.

I'm keeping Century of Thrills open up until my niece Lisa and her little boy Noah visit in August. Then down it goes so that I can lay out the roller coaster, section by section, and embark yet on a new set of prospective solutions to make the track and the train that travels it more compatible partners. Finally, I've accepted the coaster as being a permanent "work in progress." The impossible dream lives on ...

Originally posted on July 21, 2010 

Below: My New Laff in the Dark, completed in May, 2015


Anonymous said...

WOW!!! Great models! I was not aware they were models till the 4th one. Then, my mind started to click in. Hope you continue building. Denny Gilli, CMB

Showbiz David said...

Thank you, Denny. Coming from yourself, a model builder, now that's an honor I value.

Harry Kingston said...

You had me fooled at first as I thought this was a real carnival somewhere in California but then i found out they were models, WOW
You do excellent work as they are very realistic.
And to get a compliment for Denny Gilli who is a fantastic model builder.
Denny does all my decals for my models and is the best and he makes my models look alot better.
And it looks like Boyi was very impressed with them.
Do a model boyi figure and put him on the ferris wheel with his hands up in the air.
Harry CMB in Texas

Showbiz David said...

Hi Harry,

Telling me about Denny, you add to my delight in his affirmation.

A model figure of Boyi on the Ferris Wheel? Very apt and amusing! I will tell him.

Harry Kingston said...

Denny, is an excellent model builder and has a very large model of King Bros Circus in the 1950's that is something to see.
Plus like I said he does custom decals from small to the size of a semi that is just like a real painted show truck.
His decals make my so so models even better.
And Dave like i said you made your carnival so life like I thought it was a real carnival.
Yes put Boyi in a ride seat with hands up in the air as well as his hair due also up in their, lol.
Harry in Texas

Showbiz David said...

Harry and Denny,
While I am proud of the four rides that work well, the roller coaster, unfortunately, is not really realistic, not with the HO track I used. The cars, however, are patterned closely after the old San Francisco Big Dipper cars. I've seen some model working roller coasters out there (on video only) that would put mine to shame.

Douglas McPherson said...

Incredible work! How about filming the rides in motion and putting the clip on YouTube???
I add my vote to the mini Boyi campaign, too!

Showbiz David said...

Thanks for your kudos.
You have convinced me that I must, at last, find out how to You Tube, and I will.
With a new ride, just completed, Laff in the Dark (patterned after the photo in the post below, my amusement park will have six fully operational rides in motion.

Douglas McPherson said...

Don't forget to shoot two versions - in daylight and at dusk with the illuminations on.

Showbiz David said...

If the DVD I have can be converted, you will see the sun set into the glittering darkness of night at Century of Thrills!