Marvin Rempfer sold out his interest in Pretzel
to Leon Cassidy in 1931. The company con-
tinued installing its dark rides in parks
all across America. Many were sent
abroad to foreign countries.  The
Pretzel ride became a standard
attraction at parks, along with
the carousel, ferris wheel and
coaster. "The Pretzel" was to
become more than a name.
In reference to dark rides,
it became a generic term.
Business remained strong
through the middle of the
40s. Then came the onset
of World War 2, and most
industrial materials  used
in factories would soon be
restricted. The amusement
business soon found itself at
a virtual standstill. A number
of ride companies survived by
manufacturing equipment used
by the military for the war effort.
For Pretzel, ride production all but
ground to a halt. They did have a
number of rides in operation on
a concession or lease basis, but
with steel and other materials
unavailable, new rides could
only be built from their pre-
existing inventory of parts.

Leon Cassidy's son William
grew up in and around the
famous dark ride business
that his father established.
He worked at Pretzel in his
youth and  supervised ride
installations, but he had no
desire to spend  his life there
or to run the business.   "I told
my  father that I wanted a job I
could get  fired from",  explained
Mr. Cassidy.   He was interested in
the traditional forms of business and
had an earlier career  managing a finance
company in Bridgeton through the war years
.

 

     "I 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. Cassidy described:
     "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. "

     As 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 Pretzel.
      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.