Good afternoon mates and welcome aboard the whaling vessal Barracuda. My name is captain Dick and I shall be your guide and helmsman today as we set forth in pursuit of that great white mammal of the deep "MOBY RICHARD".... As you can see I can't forget this spiel.... In fact Wally from the Lauran and Wally show always wanted to go to Pleasure Island but his parents wouldn't let him. I called one day and they put me on the air and I did the Whole spiel for them...
Also I have a couple of stories of the dark rides.
Dark Rides Operation:
As I remember on the control console there were 3 buttons and lights for track zones in the loading/unloading area. As the people would come out of the ride the car would stop on zone 3 until you pushed that button to move the car to the next zone. The same was true for zone 2. Zone 1 was the loading area. After the loading area you would send the car to the next track which was the auto track for spacing the cars. When the car ahead reached a switch on the track the next car would enter the ride. There was also an override button to force the cars in to the ride. On the control panel was a few other switches. Auto track off, House lights for cleaning the ride (also used to signal the spotter in the ride), Black lights, and main track power. The signaling of the spotter was done by flashing the house lights. We would signal things like: Trouble makers riding, come out, boss out front, and nice looking girl riding.
Chisolm Trail as I remember the ride:
The car was a Horseless Carriage and as it entered the ride Western music was in the background. The first area is vague but I think it was an open range scene. As the car moved on you came across an angry Long Horn which made a noise. The next turn you went by some buildings as if to be entering a town. One of the first buildings on the right is where the spotter could sit and watch for trouble. Now you entered the town and there was a scene of a hanging on the left next to the jail. As the car passed you heard a "Boing" and the body of the dummy hanging would drop with the neck stretched (late 60's only the sound worked). The car would now turn right and you would enter the Bar Room. The Piano Player starts playing (again late 60's he didn't move) and there is a Gunfighter in the corner. As you get closer the Gunfighter would raise his gun and shoot at you (gun sound and red light in end of gun). In the late 60's the arm was held up but the sound and light worked. Finally you would exit the ride. My favorite place when I was a spotter was in jail and as the cars came by reaching out at the people. I remember one day myself and another operator (don't remember who) stood still by the Hangman and would jump at the cars as they passed. Will one car had a boy in it that didn't like the ride at all and as we jumped out he started to scream. Then he jumped out of the car and ran backwards through the ride "yelling the dummies are coming alive." We both had to run and grab him before he was hit by the next car. We were more careful after that not to scare people too much.
Working with the electrician:
I started working with the electrician in the winters since the "Moby Dick Ride" was closed. One problem that the Dark Rides had was the Micro Switches mounted on the floor that controlled the ride operation were always breaking. They controlled the auto track, doors, and sounds inside the rides. The electrician, George, came up with a great fix. He had us cut "s" shaped bed springs about 6" long and attach them to the floor with screws. Then we would screw down a metal plate directly under the spring. Cleaning the plate and underside of the spring with sand paper would make a good electrical contact. One wire would be connected to the spring and one to the plate. As the car tire ran over the spring it would make contact with the plate and complete the circuit.
Each day before the park opened I had to check the ride for operation. Doors, lights, sound, and cars. The cars had brass shoes had made contact with the track to get the power. The track was ground and the buss bar on the side was the hot side. One day when I was on the Chisolm Trail checking the car shoes I had a small accident. As I was checking the cars I would crawl under the car check the shoes, get out of the way and have the operator move the car into the ride and bring the next car up to be inspected. The problem occurred when I was too slow inspecting one of the cars. The operator had left the auto track on and as I was under the car it started to move. I tried to get out of the way but didn't quite make it. As I pulled out the rear tire of the car rode up over my head. Thank god the back of the cars were light enough so all I got was a big headache. The ride operator just stood there and laughed. After I calmed down I saw what he found funny. I had a Horseless Carriage tire track across the side of my face. Needless to say I was more careful after that.
Hesperus as I remember the ride:
As the Boat (car) entered the ride the people saw a ocean scene with ships. The boat was climbing a small hill as it rocked from side to side. Storm sounds and lightening was now in sight. The boat entered an area where there was a loud thunder and a flash of light. A door ahead opened and the boat went down a hill as if it sank. Now you were under the sea on the bottom of the ocean. Above was a large sea turtle who had legs that were moving (didn't see them moving often). Fish, plants and rocks were all around you. A shark was over head further in the ride. He would move in a circle around a under water mountain (He wasn't moving when I worked there). In fact we (the trouble spotter). would climb up to the top of the mountain from the inside and get a view of most of the ride. King Neptune was one of the last things you saw before exiting the ride. I don't remember what he said but I know someone on the web site has it right. One thing we did that we were told not to do was the following: If friends went in the ride we would listen for the thunder as the boat went down the hill. At that point we would turn off the track power and the boat would fly down the hill at a high rate of speed. That gave them a better ride. The problem was if you turned the power off too soon the boat would jump the track as it made the turn at the bottom of the hill.
How to Start a Whale:
One of my jobs was to start-up the Whale before the park opened. I would drive a boat out to the Whale Shack (unlike Disney World the boats were not on tracks. Ask any of the drivers who crashed). Unlock the Compressor building and start the Air Compressor first. This was a BIG air compressor. It had at least a 1500 gallon air tank attached that had to have the water that condensed in it drained each day. Next I would prime the Water Pump. The Air was used to run the first Whale spout as you entered the cove and the wince that originally pulled the Whale along it's track. Also attached to the end of the wince was a cam switch setup that sequenced the Whale once it was stated. The water was used to run the hydraulic pistons that would raise the Whale.
What a Whale does:
Originally an electric eye would start the Whale sequence as you entered Suicide Straights. Once the sequence was started it went like this: The spout was seen in front of the Whale Shack. It would stop and soon you saw the Whale raising out of the water next to the boat. It was pulled along by the wince and would stop for a minute with water shooting out it's spout. Then it would dive, the wince would start and as the head went down the tail would slip up then go down again in to the water. The wince would now reverse the Whale under water and reset everything for the next boat. In the late 60's the electric eye was replaced by a button in the Whale Shack and the Whale only went up and down.
I've been looking for information on Pleasure Island for years. This is great!! I had many fond memories of working at Pleasure Island 1966-1968. Add me to the list.... Richard Krol I worked Ground Crew, Crooked Shanty, merry-go-round, Slide, Dark rides, Maintenance, and the Moby Dick (the best). When I left to work at GE in 1968 I had just made Foreman of the Moby Dick Ride...
I now live at 14 Oxbow Rd in Wayland, Ma 01778 781-594-5765 (work) e-mail email@example.com.
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