World War II was winding down when Eldon and Marion Knapp, who owned the “Fun House” and other venues at Crystal Beach Amusement Park, knew the time was ripe to add a new attraction. People, weary of the war, needed a distraction to let them escape into a world of fantasy and the Knapps had the plan!

The Knapps had moved from Brantford to Crystal Beach in 1944 and since they had already been in the amusement business, had the experience to operate venues at Crystal Beach Park. Mrs. Burnett had the Fun House for sale and the Knapps bought it. Complete with 3 floors, this 10 cents attraction boasted a slide (Advertised on the outside of the building as “Ride the Magic Carpet, Here in the Fun House”) that ran from the top floor, then outside and back into the building, where you would end up in a large wooden bowl about 8 feet high, with a highly waxed inside that made escaping extremely difficult. It also had a horizontal barrel ride inside that was approximately 12 feet high and 14 feet wide that continually rotated. Funhouse mirrors, wind blowers and dark tunnels added to the excitement.

This was a very popular attraction, but the problem was, once inside, you didn’t have to leave, so kids would stay in it all day! The Knapp’s solution was to build a new “Walk-Thru” Magic Carpet and new penny arcade, independent of each other.

In the Spring of 1945 along with relative Norm Robbins, an architect, they flew to California, just north of Mexico to review and then purchase the plans for a brand New “Magic Carpet” Attraction. When they arrived back in Crystal Beach they submitted their plans to the park management along with a matchstick model they had made.


It was a go and they received permission to start building. On August 21, 1945, a blueprint shows where the new attraction will be built, replacing Spook Alley and Tommy Dillon’s Pony Ride. This blueprint shows the “U” shaped Building on a 45 degree angle to Ridge Road, which was a few feet away on the East Side of the amusement park.

Interestingly, on the same blueprint was another proposed ride called “The Rocket Ships”: “New Midway Layout showing proposed locations for New Walk thru and Modernized Rocket Ride equipped with new Stainless Steel Rocket Cars.”


The 2 new attractions were adjacent from the ever popular Harry Traver 1934 Laff in the Dark Ride. At the same time the Knapps tore down the old Funhouse and built on the site a new full scale arcade.