March/April 2014, Volume 30, No. 2

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Carousel Overall view 2ChloeCarousel

“Gage Park, Topeka, Kansas Carousel Connections”

The community of Topeka, Kansas, came together in 1987 when the Parks and Recreation Department was given the task of restoring the carousel which the city had purchased, rather than see it go piecemeal at an upcoming auction.

The plan was to have the carousel become the centerpiece in Gage Park.  Those  involved were not professionals in the areas needing real care and attention.  But they decided that the carousel could be ready in two years for the grand opening on May 27, 1989.

There was “Magic in the air,” said Anita Wolgast, Chairperson of the Carousel In The Park Project, 1988-1989.  Read for yourself about the magic that touched everyone in the city, from school children to the Mayor and more.

“Dan’s Desk”

Senior Editor and former publisher Daniel Horenberger talks about the results of the Scottsdale Collector Car Auction.  The carousel was bid up to $475,000 – a world record price for a 40 foot portable Spillman at auction, but just short of what the owner wanted.  Kings Island was mentioned again as they are looking to fill  4,000 seasonal jobs.  Arnolds Park in Iowa is set to have one of the oldest wooden roller coasters renovated in time for the opening in May.  A question is asked, “Is the owner buried in his amusement park?”

NCA002“Reminiscences of an NCA Convention”

Bill and Carolee Wineburgh attended the NCA Convention in Binghamton, New York, in August 1993.  This was the first experience with this type of convention. They were in Broome County, New York which is often called “The Carousel Capital of the World.”

“Music Box Concerts, The Latest Hollywood Fad”

Tim Reed discovered a photo of a Hollywood starlet with an unusual caption on the reverse side.  It gave rise to some interesting investigation into the starlet, her husband and the music box.

CoronaPark0772_edited-1“Riding With The Rabbit – Orphaned Carousels”

Richard Concepcion writes:  This spring and summer marks the 50th Anniversary of the New York World’s Fair, which was held in what is now known as Flushing Meadows Corona Park.  When that fair was in full swing a half-century ago, it was host to two hand-carved carousels, one an ancient Belgium import that today turns in Montreal, Canada, and the other resulting from the merger of two famous rides carved by Illions that spun in Coney Island.  After the fabulous Feltman restaurant closed in the early 1960s, the location became the modern Astroland amusement park, which retired their famous carousel in favor of newer rides that fell more in line with the park’s space age theme.  Fortunately, the retirement of Feltman’s carousel did not go unnoticed, receiving some press by the New York Times that included a call by historian Fred Fried for the carousel’s  preservation.  The article caught the attention of two attorneys who then formed a company to buy the carousel and add it to the amusement area for the World’s Fair.  Today this carousel still is in operation at Flushing Meadows and it will be visited during this September’s NCA Convention.

“Carousel Dreams – Ginger’s Second Chance”

Elaine Peacock begins a series for the child in each of us or for our children and children’s children.  Each story in the series tells about some facet of a carousel animal as seen through the eyes of a child and one who grows up to see an important even take place with the animal and/or carousel.

In “Ginger’s Second Chance” Elaine walks us through the life of one person from the thrill of riding that special horse, losing the carousel and park to the development of condos, then joining a community project to put a  carousel in their town park, leading to her finding again that special horse from her childhood memories.  This is fanciful, but it has so much truth in it.

Razenberg-01“Gerard Razenberg – Innovative Dutch Music Arranger”

Tom Meijer explains that although his name may not be very familiar in the United States, everyone who enjoys the music of the Dutch street organs, will know his work. Gerard Razenberg provided almost every street organ with new music books between 1950 and 1970. His creativity can be heard on nearly every record of “The Arab.” Razenberg was important as a renovator of the repertoire on street organs and his style of arranging has been an example for the present generation of arrangers. This article is a mark of honor to the man behind all this music.

“Collecting Automatic Musical Instruments _ Catch The Brass Ring”

Q. David Bowers muses about band organs.  Catch the brass ring!  This is what you are supposed to do, so I heard. The idea is that when riding a carousel (or merry-go-round, or carousal as spelled in the old days, or Carry-Us-All as Charles Parker had it), you were supposed to reach out and grab a ring from a metal dispenser. Of course, you had to be on the outside row to do this and, I presumed when I heard about it, that some dexterity was needed. I had been on many carousels before I ever saw one that had a brass ring. That was quite a few years ago in Coney Island, in the 1970s. I did catch it. Then, modern life being what it was (and is), I wondered if the carousel owner had liability insurance in case someone reached too far and fell off. Whatever the situation, I had not seen such a ring device before, and I haven’t seen one since.

This prompted me to think about merry go rounds. I am not sure when I rode my first one, but a good guess would be in Glen Echo Park, near Baltimore, when I was in first grade in 1944. I now know that the carousel was a Dentzel and the organ was a Wurlitzer 165. Back then and also when I was again in Baltimore in the third grade (our family moved a lot) all I knew was that the amusement park was a wonderland of unique delights—games, music, happy people, rides, and more. I did not dream that years later I would own two Wurlitzer 165s and get to know Mr. Farny Wurlitzer, whose company made them!

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