started my first job at the age of 12 feeding rings on
the merry go round at Tumbling Dam", Mr. Cassidy
told us. "In the 1930s, my father was putting a dark
ride in at Hershey Park. To get me to go over there and
supervise the job, he offered to let me take his new Buick.
It had spare tires in big compartments on the fenders.
I felt pretty impressive as a teenager driving downtown
Hershey in that car."
After becoming firmly established as a major ride manufacturer,
Pretzel experimented with some other ride ideas, as Mr.
"We also had a submarine
ride in Wildwood. We had a car built like a submarine
but it didnít work out very good. We hung up white curtains
and painted stuff on them. In the car, we had a tank of
water on the side of it. You were in the submarine looking
through the water - seeing the scenery as you went by.
Well, I know we had trouble with the car - sometimes it
didnít work and they had to push it around. I was working
(elsewhere) at the time and Dad was running the thing
in the 1930s or whatever. And then we had a Devil Chaser
car. It was a flat car built like a devil lying down.
A devil face was on the front of it. We went around, up
and down, maybe six or eight foot around the track. Then
we had the Holland Fling. We had the track underneath.
We had grooves in the platform and a pin sticking up it
was on this pin and it was free to circle around. It would
go around curves. The cars were like a Dutch Shoe, a wooden
shoe. And picket fences around it decorated with tulips
and windmills. We sold a couple or three of those. We
put one at Baltimore or I guess Glen Echo. But anyway,
that was another one that didnít go very far."
"I put a ride in a
park in Indiana. It was up on a mountain top. The owner
had a zoo up there. He had a beautiful home. He had a
house with a tree going through it. A big living room,
and telephones everywhere you looked. He owned the telephone
company. He told me I could call anywhere in the world.
I put the double-decker Pretzel ride in there. And I didnít
get the bill out as fast as I could. And the man dropped
dead. His whole empire folded up. ATT took over his phone
business. I was a northerner. The southern world wanted
nothing to do with northerners. I couldnít get anywhere
with the judges or anybody else. So I lost $30,000 down
there. I never took the ride back. Of course, I kept trying
to get back the money, but it washed out."
"Over the years, we
put in more than 25 dark rides at Coney Island. The last
one was Spook-A-Rama for Freddie Garms. I liked old Freddie.
He once got me and the Mrs. on the Wonder Wheel. I didn't
want to go on it. I don't like ferris wheels; I like to
be on the ground. When he told me what he wanted for Spook-A-Rama,
I didn't want to do it. The idea of the ride going in
two separate buildings and running outside didn't make
any sense to me; a dark ride that ran out in broad daylight.
But it sure worked out alright. He had over 30 cars."
"We had to close down
for a short time during the war. Well, we worked some
of the time; we were hauling track out of coal mines to
get track. But you couldnít get lumber. You couldnít get
motors. You couldnít get anything. "
World War II was coming to a close and the ride companies
were preparing to come out of hiatus and resume operations,
Leon Cassidy realized he had grown restless with the ride
business and felt inclined to pursue other enterprises.
He announced to his family that he did not intend to revive
After considering the impending
demise of the company he had known almost from birth,
Bill Cassidy arrived at a decision, a decision he never
expected to make. He quit his managing job at the loan
office and, in 1946, reopened the Pretzel Amusement Ride
Company for business.