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2009 UPDATES

December 24, 2009
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from The Bill Tracy Project! Stay tuned for some incredible updates and additions in 2010!

December 15, 2009
Last weekend, the founders of The Bill Tracy Project congregated in Pittsburgh, PA for a winter meeting to discuss the progress and future updates of the project. One of the highlights of the weekend was a visit to Isaly's, a nostalgic, old-fashioned luncheonette that features diner-style breakfast and sandwiches only 1/8 of a mile north of former West View Park, which was home to three popular Tracy attractions. The blast-from-the-past experience was complete with old photos of West View Park, friendly faces, delicious food, and yes, even a little bit of Tracy. Located on the wall near the restaurant’s entrance is Bill Tracy’s original cow head skull from his Boot Hill walk-thru attraction, which was originally built at West View Park in 1964. The prop is in pristine condition and appears to have original paint. A visit to this one-of-a-kind diner is highly recommended, not only to experience the spirit of Tracy, but to indulge in Isaly’s famous chip-chopped ham sandwich.

November 12, 2009
We are pleased to announce that we have solved one of our Bill Tracy curiosities. We discovered that the actual location of the unknown Haunted House attraction in our curiosities section was Pavilion Amusement Park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. For many years, this photo was thought to be Tracy’s Haunted House from Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, but thanks to the curiosity and correspondence from a fellow enthusiast, we have obtained several other photos of the same attraction that confirm its location. Enjoy browsing through our new Pavilion Amusement Park project gallery!

October 31, 2009
The wait is over! Our one-year anniversary special presents a new and improved Bill Tracy biography that will take you on a complete journey through Tracy’s life with never-before-released information and photos. Enjoy, and Happy Halloween from The Bill Tracy Project.

October 18, 2009
We are pleased to announce the upcoming release of a brand new biography containing information about Bill Tracy that no other organization has ever released for our one-year anniversary! The new biography, consisting of 12 chapters, will also include numerous photos from Tracy’s early years including his involvement in parade float building. Be sure to stop by on Halloween to read about Tracy’s complete journey in the amusement and dark ride industry!
September 25, 2009
We are pleased to release a photo of Bill Tracy as a young man.

September 21, 2009
We are pleased to release our first photo of Bill Tracy as a boy.

September 16, 2009
We are pleased to release photos of Bill Tracy's sister, Laurabelle Tracy. Laurabelle was born in 1915 and died in 2006. The baby in the right photo is Laurabelle’s daughter.

September 9, 2009
We are pleased to release photos of Bill Tracy's mother, Juanita Tracy. Juanita was born in 1889 and died in 1970.

September 2, 2009
We are pleased to release photos of Bill Tracy's father, Newton A. Tracy. Newton was born in 1888 and died in 1939.

August 28, 2009
The Bill Tracy Project will be releasing never-before-seen photos of Bill Tracy, his father Newton, his mother Juanita, and his sister Laurabelle over the next four weeks.

Each week we will focus all of our attention on one of these individuals. We will begin with photos of his father and conclude this exciting journey into Bill Tracy's personal life with photos of Bill as a boy and as a young man. This breakthrough in The Bill Tracy Project would not have been possible without the very generous contributions of Larry. Larry is the great nephew of Bill Tracy! Larry's mother is first cousins with Willow, Bill Tracy's daughter. While Larry was researching his grandmother Laurabelle Tracy, he stumbled across our website. He shortly thereafter contacted us and the rest is history! Besides his photo contributions, he was also generous enough to share with us many personal documents from Laurabelle, who they knew as Lolly. Some of these recollections from her handwritten/typewritten autobiography, which she unfortunately never finished, will be included in our upcoming revision to Bill Tracy's biography.

A very special thanks again to Larry for sharing these personal photos. Stay tuned!!!

August 25, 2009
We are pleased to announce the recent acquisition of additional images depicting Tracy’s Hour 13 dark ride, built at Miracle Strip Amusement Park in 1965. Although the original façade was built to mimic a castle complete with a two-dimensional whimsical dragon adorning the top, a 1970’s overhaul by Val Valentine, a dark ride designer and builder of the era, would totally change the look and feel of the ride, offering an angry tree and several turrets and towers instead of the original fortress look. The interior of the ride was not modified during the initial overhaul by Valentine, who also designed and built the park’s Old House dark ride in 1967. The name of the attraction changed from Hour 13 to Haunted Castle after only a few years in operation.

When the park closed on September 5, 2004, a group of savvy enthusiasts purchased the elements of the dark ride and moved them to a location where they were able to recreate the ride and run it for Halloween events. The same group is currently in the process of selling it to a party in Oxford, Alabama, where it will have a more permanent setup. Images of the ride setup can be viewed in their interesting Flickr photo gallery. A special thanks goes out to David from King Power Cinema for contributing this new information.

August 19, 2009
With the recent acquisition of an original copy of the promotional brochure that Bill Tracy released in 1968, The Bill Tracy Project is proud to add two additional projects to the ever-growing list of Tracy's work. For the first recently-discovered project, the type is unknown. All we know is that it was listed as Haunted House Lenpage Corp. in Coney Island, N.Y. The second project is a package walk-thru, located at Clementon Lake Park in Clementon, N.J. This information can be found on the last page of the 1968 promotional brochure and is the only information we currently have regarding these two projects. If anyone has any additional information regarding these two projects, please submit your findings to info@billtracy.net.

August 2, 2009
One of the unanswered quickfacts has finally been answered and validated by an article and an advertisement. Bill Tracy did design and install dark rides under another company's name. Universal Design Limited, located in Wildwood, NJ, was known for their monorails and sky towers. UDL, as strange is it may seem, also had a Dark Ride & Display Division. Tracy was the head of this division and built rides under their name from approximately 1964 to 1967. Here is a full-page ad for UDL that appeared on the back cover of the May 6, 1967 issue of Amusement Business. Note: Dark Rides is listed at the bottom as one of the rides and attractions that they design and manufacture. Hour 13, a two-story dark ride at Miracle Strip Amusement Park, opened in 1965 and was one of the dark rides that Tracy built under UDL. Enjoy viewing an article about Hour 13 that appeared in the April 17, 1965 issue of Amusement Business. Note: Bill Tracy is directly associated with Universal Design Limited in this article. Special thanks again to Rick Davis with dafe.org for sharing the article about Hour 13 with us.

July 25, 2009
During the weekend of July 18th, the founders of The Bill Tracy Project and the Bill Tracy MySpace administrator and forum moderator ventured to Ocean City, Maryland for a weekend of analysis, discussion, and to map out the next phase of the project.

During our visit, we were able to spend time observing Bill Tracy’s stunts inside of Trimper’s Haunted House thanks to the hospitality of Scott Hudson, Haunted House manager, and Chris Trimper, Quality Control Coordinator of Trimper’s Amusements. We also spent a lot of time in Pirates Cove drooling over all of Tracy’s drunken pirates and other nautical creatures. Needless to say, we came back with a plethora of discussion points, photos, and new facts. Any new information will be released on this website, as well as Trimper's Haunted House, in the coming months.


From right to left: Wayne Bahur, Founder of The Bill Tracy Project.
Brandon Seidl, Founder of Trimper’s Haunted House Online and Co-founder of The Bill Tracy Project.
Amber Bahur, Bill Tracy MySpace Administrator and Forum Moderator.

July 16, 2009
We now have information regarding one of the three unknown Bill Tracy projects. Wonderland Pier, located in Ocean City, New Jersey, had a dark ride by the name of Ghost Creek Caverns. This ride closed in the late 1980s. It was a western/ghost themed dark ride and had a very unique twist. At the very end of the ride, the car actually went though the park's shooting gallery! A very special thanks to David Promisloff for sharing this information with us. The Bill Tracy Project now has only two unknown projects including the one he executed at Euclid Beach Park, located in Cleveland, Ohio, and the one he executed at Gaslight Village, located in Lake George, New York. Anyone with any information regarding either of these two unknown projects, or additional information/photos of Ghost Creek Caverns, please contact us at info@billtracy.net.

June 29, 2009
Enjoy viewing a photo of The Castle at Lake Winnie Amusement Park which shows what it looked like when it was first built for the 1970 operating season. One of Bill's standard facade themes, the "Kooky Castle," was originally used for the design of this ride. If this photo is examined closely, the standard bat used in many of his interior displays can be seen affixed to the ride sign itself. This is the only photo we have ever seen of the original facade. Even though the facade has changed over the years, The Castle is still in operation today!

June 22, 2009
Bill Tracy, even in his own time, was being recognized as a significant contributor to the amusement park industry. Outdoor Dimensional Display Co., Inc. was honored with the Fred W. Pearce Sweepstakes Trophy at the NAAPPB Convention in 1961 and 1962. The NAAPPB (National Association of Amusement Parks, Pools, and Beaches) is known today as the IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions). Tracy highlighted his accomplishment on the second page of the Haunted House catalog, which advertised his two-story dark ride in 1963.

June 12, 2009
Bill Tracy graduated from Scott High School in 1936. Enjoy viewing the cover of The Scottonian for 1936 as well as the page in the yearbook that includes a listing for William Tracy as a senior. Unfortunately, the yearbook does not include any photos of Bill as he did not participate in any high school sports, clubs, or activities. Scott High School is located in Toledo, Ohio, and is a beautiful and historic school building that still stands today as part of Toledo Public Schools. The school was designed in the modified English Gothic style and was dedicated on June 6, 1913. Today it is an architectural landmark. 'Save Our Scott' is a community campaign to save and renovate Scott High School. For additional information and photos of Scott High School, visit their website at www.saveourscott.com.

June 8, 2009
Check out an original price list from Bill Tracy’s Outdoor Dimensional Display Company that was sent to clients along with initial correspondence and their 1963 product brochure. This price list includes over 50 of the company’s most popular stunts along with prices and case dimensions. It is important to note that this price list was not a part of any original O.D.D. catalog.

June 1, 2009
The Bill Tracy Project is pleased to announce to the entire dark ride community that we have located Bill Tracy's daughter and only child, Willow. After extensive research, numerous phone calls, persistence, patience, and a little luck, we finally located her on November 21, 2008. Willow is alive and well. At this time, out of respect to Willow and her wishes, no other information about her or her recollections of her father will be released to the public. If this were to ever change, any new information regarding her will be released exclusively on The Bill Tracy Project. We have been reluctant to release this information, but due to questions and curiosities raised by the dark ride community, including another well-known dark ride organization, we felt it was the appropriate time to do so.

May 17, 2009
Thanks to a generous contribution from Anthony, the mastermind behind the Mr. Boardwalk website, we would like to present a rare image that features the blueprint and stunt choices for West View Park’s Haunted House. The images clearly show some of Tracy’s most infamous stunts, including the Spider Skull Staircase, Attic Stairs, and Old Mill. Enjoy!

May 4, 2009
Join us in celebrating Dorney Park's 125th anniversary while enjoying two images taken from Dorney's brochure for the 1969 season! This is a fine example of how Bill Tracy's work was showcased by a park in its brochures. The first photo, which appeared on the cover, is of The Coaster Clown. This was installed in 1962, and is the only park front that Tracy was known to have built. The second photo is an aerial view of The Coaster Clown. Journey to the Center of the Earth can also be seen in this photo.

April 20, 2009
Pirates Cove was one of Tracy’s most popular attractions during the “dark ride boom.” Many parks along the east cost commissioned Tracy and his company to build this attraction, which included an enormous pirate on the façade, floor obstacles, and nautical-styled stunts like drunken pirates, skull waterfalls, and killer sharks. Check out the original project proposal from Bill Tracy and his company, Amusement Display Associates, from the early 1970’s that outlines the attraction in full detail. This proposal includes a full price list for the completed attraction, totaling roughly $47,000.

April 17, 2009
Check out an original advertisement from 1965 featuring Tracy’s Ghost Ship attraction at Ocean Playland Park in Ocean City, Maryland. Although very few images of this attraction’s façade exist, this advertisement shows Tracy’s Ghost Ship on the left side of the image, and is recognizable by the large ship mast towering into the sky. Also, if you look closely, you can make out Tracy’s infamous Skull Crab on the façade.

April 13, 2009
Two additional catalogs have been added to the Bill Tracy Project. The first, an original book published by Tracy’s Outdoor Dimensional Display Company, is entitled “The Haunted House” and outlines the two-story dark ride package in full. This catalog is from 1963, and influenced the construction of Trimper’s Haunted House in Ocean City, Maryland, which was erected in 1964.

The second catalog was published for the 1970 season by Tracy’s company, Amusement Display Associates, and outlines the multi-level dark ride packages that he built toward the later part of his career. Both books are extremely rare and include images of stunts and facades not seen in his more common catalogs.

April 2, 2009
Check out an article about the new walk-thru at Hunt's Pier that appeared in the July 7, 1962 issue of Amusement Business. Featured in this article is a photo of Bill Tracy, Bud Hunt, and Guy Hunt looking over Bill's famous stretch rack. This is a new photo of Bill Tracy that we have not seen before and are excited to release it on The Bill Tracy Project!

March 12, 2009
Enjoy viewing an original full-page advertisement from Tracy’s Outdoor Dimensional Display Co., Inc. regarding the Amuse-Pak, the sound system that was used by the company in conjunction with many of its stunts that included sound effects. Although Tracy used an external company to supply the player, he used it with such stunts as the Old Mill, Last Drop, and Knit Wit.

March 9, 2009
Check out the newest Tracy catalog to be added to the Project!
“Plan a winning move NOW for ’64” was released in 1963 under Outdoor Dimensional Display Co., Inc., and showcased several of Tracy’s biggest sellers, including Whacky Shack (which includes a sketch that clearly resembles that of Hunt’s Pier), Lost River, Tales of Alice, Gold Nugget and others. You’ll be able to browse through dozens of stunt photos and descriptions that were never included in Tracy’s original We WORK in the DARK catalog or the Amusement Displays catalog. It is interesting to see just how many odd-ball stunts Tracy came up with during his day, most of which were not very widely known or seen. Enjoy!

March 1, 2009
Now permanent features of the Bill Tracy Project are original client correspondence between Tracy and Granville Trimper of Trimper’s Amusements in 1964 regarding the construction of The Haunted House, an original façade drawing of Trimper’s Haunted House from 1964, and a never-before-seen 1968 promotional brochure from Amusement Display Associates, Inc. Many new Bill Tracy brochures and catalogs will be released in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

February 25, 2009
Folks, slip on over to Trimper’s Haunted House Online over the next few days to check out never-before-seen original Bill Tracy documents, such as ride proposals, correspondence, and blueprints. Eventually, all of this information will be on both sites, but time is currently working against us. Enjoy!

February 23, 2009
We are proud to release the original proposals from Bill Tracy for 'The Haunted House', which was a one-story packaged dark ride that was erected at Trimpers Amusements in 1964. Tracy submitted several proposals to Granville Trimper over the course of agreements before deciding on a one-story dark ride package. Initially, Tracy attempted to convince Granville Trimper to build a two-story dark ride, hence, he sent a two-story proposal during late February of 1964. Granville was not keen on the two-story ride and outside forces would have prevented the two-story ride from being completed by the start of the season. As a result, Tracy sent a revised proposal outlining a one-story attraction two weeks later, which inevitably was built during Spring of 1964.

February 18, 2009
Enjoy viewing newly-released original photographs of Bill Tracy’s sister, Laurabelle Tracy. She was born on May 15, 1915 in Toledo, Ohio and died on March 25, 2006 in Florence, Oregon.

February 9, 2009
I suppose that without the birth of an artist, the brilliant works of he or she will never be produced, and therefore, never be seen. That is why we are happy to release Bill Tracy’s official Certificate of Birth.

January 19, 2009
Just found!!! Here is a photo of Dorney Park's long lost Gold Mine. We now have photos of all six Bill Tracy attractions located at Dorney Park. Was this the smallest facade that Bill Tracy created? If anyone knows of a smaller one, please let us know!


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