Saturday, December 12, 2015

WDW Carrousel Construction

Years ago I scanned over 1000 personal Viewmaster images for Rol Summit - you have enjoyed some of them on this blog, including his amazing shots of the MGM Studio in its final days.

Rol and his wife Jo were (and still are) avid historians and collectors of artifacts relating to vintage carousels, so many of the photos were taken at various parks around the country. A small selection of photos were also taken at Arrow Development's headquarters in Mountain View, California. As you know, Arrow was responsible for many Disneyland attractions, as well as attractions at other amusement parks and World's Fairs.

So, what was going on when Rol was there? Why, they were restoring the 1917 carousel that was originally at Olympic Park, New Jersey, and was about to move to Florida's Magic Kingdom (to be known as "Cinderella's Golden Carrousel")! Pretty cool. These were undated, but I would assume that they are from either late 1969 or early 1970 (ish).

It's interesting to get a look at the outside area of Arrow Development - even though it is mostly piles of lumber. I can't tell exactly what part of the carousel is pictured, can you? Perhaps it is the central "hub" (I have no idea what the technical term is).

I like this neat detail, with serpents and beautiful maidens, along with receptacles for many "popcorn lights" that would encircle the top of the carousel. 

Here's a photo that I scrounged from Google Images showing a recent picture of a similar section. Regarding the choice of colors... EGADS. Here's a handy hint: if you are ever tempted to paint anything purple and pink, don't do it!

This shot is an interesting view of the "skeleton" of the machine. It all looks so spindly, rather like a giant umbrella.  

And finally, a nice overview of how the whole thing looked on the day that Rol made his visit. Due to the frequent Florida rains, "Prince Charming's Regal Carrousel" (as it is known now) sits beneath a permanent "tent" that hides some of the amazing detail of this antique amusement. But it is still beautiful, in spite of the paint job!


TokyoMagic! said...

Nice rare shots today, Major. As for the paint job.....once again, sometimes less is more.

Nanook said...


Your guess as to what the first image is may very well be correct. And if so, could easily contain the scenic panels used to conceal the central mechanism.

The image with the hideous pink/purple paint job is actually referred to as the Rounding Board.

Great, unusual images you've got here, Major. Thanks.

Nancy said...

its always very cool to see behind the scenes. neat when someone has the foresight to take pictures of things like this. :-)

Nanook said...


I should also mention the last image displays the rounding board in all its (presently unpainted) splendor.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, they needed somebody with an innate sense of tasteful color. Like Mary Blair!

Nanook, I guess it only makes sense that it is called the “rounding board”! What else would it be called? I’m sure the argument from the art director is that the carrousel is under a permanent tent, so they needed to make the color even more eye-popping. But the colors used are awful.

Nancy, where have you been?! ;-)

Nanook, yep, that’s the whole thing. Do you happen to know if the tent that now covers the carrousel was always there, or was it added later, like the one that covers the teacups?

Nanook said...


I can't say with absolute certitude, but seem to remember an oversized "canopy" gracing the entire carrousel from, if not the opening, very soon thereafter.

Anonymous said...

I love how every little specialty has it's own jargon.

Thanks Major.


Clyde Hughes said...

Thanks very much for these excellent images! There are so many carousels in storage, I'm glad that this one is being seen. The carving work is so beautiful, that, yes, the paint tends to overwhelm the detail, almost like lipstick beyond the lips. Well, maybe not such a great analogy, but... :)

The lot at Arrow Development reminds me of a few years ago, when I was researching the "Runaway Mine Train" ride at Six Flags Over Texas, I contacted Arrow, regarding information about a previous track alignment of the ride, which only lasted the first season of operation. (There was a section of track which included some air-time bunny hops, and because of the rough ride, some guests complained. The complaints, though, were in the minority, as it turned out.) Ron Toomer, coaster designer extraordinaire, took the time to give me some background about the project, why the track was changed, and, because it was such an unpopular change, the park halted all further modifications of the course. Photos of the ride at this time (and of the section in question) are nigh on impossible to find.
Ken (as you have posted quite a bit of Six Flags Over Texas photos/info), do you know if such photos might exist in some collections? Thanks.