At 65 or so (she refuses to reveal her exact age), Sal was a bit overdue for a makeover. Although a stiff shot of 110 volts would get her giggling, she clearly needed a tune- up, as well as some transmission, paint and body work before she was ready to return to the spotlight.
The task of ascertaining what type of work Sal would be needing "under the hood" fell to Mark Hersey. He's the Lighting and Visual FX Technician for Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, involved in concert lighting, dark ride design and maintaining all of the park's animated pieces, to name just a few of his duties. We'll let Mark pick up the story from here.
One day my boss tells me he needs me to go with him up to San Francisco to pick up our newly purchased Laffing Sal. "Who?", I say. "Laffing Sal," he says. "Haven't you heard of Laffing Sal?" He then explains her history with Playland and shows me the check for $50K. Holy cow!! $50K?? She must really be something!
There I was, riding in the truck on the way to SF, imagining a pristine piece of antique animatronics, sealed in a glass enclosed, climate controlled, UV protected case! After all... We were going to retrieve her from a museum, right? Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!!
Above: Mark Hersey experiences his first 'Close Encounter' with Laffing Sal at the Wickett Museum.

Right: Mark has Sal all bundled up for the trip to her new home in Santa Cruz.
We arrived at the Wickett "museum" to find a very shabby Sal, precariously perched there with all the mountains of eclectic, eccentric stuff that John Wickett had collected over his life. We're paying how much for that? Holy cow again! It wasn't until much later that I realized her value didn't lie in her state of preservation, but solely in her historical significance to the amusement industry, and especially to the people around the San Francisco Bay Area.