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2010 UPDATES

December 24, 2010
Happy Holidays!

As a special holiday treat, we are releasing a new and improved photo page featuring the largest known collection of Bill Tracy photos in existence! A special thanks goes out to all that have made The Bill Tracy Project a success this year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

December 23, 2010
Bill Tracy's full name given to him at birth according to his birth certificate is Thomas Tracy.

According to a document about his father, Newton A. Tracy, Bill Tracy's full name was originally Thomas H. Tracy, III. This is further reinforced in another document about his grandfather, Thomas H. Tracy, that lists the names of his six children, one of them being Thomas H. Tracy, Jr. Bill Tracy was the third Thomas H. Tracy. The 1920 U.S. Census lists his name as Thomas H. Tracy, III. But then, the 1930 U.S. Census lists his name as William T. Tracy. Therefore, his name was changed sometime between 1920 and 1930. Finally, on his birth certificate, William is handwritten in front of the typed Thomas Tracy verifying his official name change to William Thomas Tracy. The reason for the change is currently unknown.

If he would have not changed his name, you would be currently visiting The Tom Tracy Project! Interesting, huh?

December 21, 2010
Check out this vintage Amusement Displays ad that appeared in the November 15, 1969 issue of Amusement Business. You'll notice that the webbed design in the center resembles a perspective image of Tracy's famous revolving barrel that often included rock patterns painted in fluorescent colors. Classic TRACY!

December 19, 2010
Check out an article that appeared in the August 25, 1962 issue of Amusement Business about a new dark ride designed and built by Kenneth G. Boyle of KD Enterprises in Sunnyvale, CA. According to this article, this was the first dark ride built using these new one-piece fiberglass cars. KD Enterprises is the company that supplied Tracy with the ride car that he called the Hush-Puppy.

December 18, 2010
Enjoy an article including rare photos of the Jungle Land walk-thru attraction at Storytown U.S.A. in Lake George, NY that appeared in the June 16, 1962 issue of Amusement Business.

December 16, 2010
Pretzel Amusement Ride Co. placed this advertisement in the November 15, 1969 issue of Amusement Business and featured the Haunted House at Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, NJ. Tracy was responsible for the facade of this double-decker dark ride and Pretzel executed the gravity-powered ride system. Tracy's incredible facades helped Pretzel sell dark ride packages and secure many successful contracts during this time period.

December 14, 2010
This letter to the editor appeared in the July 28, 1962 issue of Amusement Business and was written by William Hunt of Hunt's Pier thanking the magazine for the story, which included a photo of Bill Tracy taken on the newly-opened and highly-successful Pirate Ship Skua.

December 12, 2010
Check out an article showing the construction of Castle of Terror at Rocky Point Park that appeared in the August 11, 1962 issue of Amusement Business. This popular attraction was later renamed House of Horrors and survived until the park closed in 1995.

December 9, 2010
Here is a letter to the editor, written by Bill Tracy himself, that appeared in the January 6, 1962 issue of Amusement Business. Tracy's sense of humor, brilliance, and creativity is priceless. Nothing like some free advertising to promote your own company!


October 31, 2010
Happy Halloween! In celebration of the two-year anniversary of The Bill Tracy Project, we are releasing our feature presentation.

Introducing: The 40th Anniversary of Whacky Shack at Waldameer Park

October 25, 2010
All Bill Tracy enthusiasts should keep an eye out for our two-year anniversary feature presentation set to launch on Halloween! It is guaranteed to be truly WhAcKy!

October 19, 2010
Check out an article on repairing Celastic that appeared in the April 28, 1962 issue of Amusement Business. The large skull used for demonstration purposes is the same one that appeared on the cover of the 1962 O.D.D. catalog entitled We Work in the Dark. Did the demonstration for this article possibly take place in Tracy's workshop?

October 4, 2010
Check out a small advertisement that appeared in the April 11, 1960 issue of The Billboard. As seen in the ad, a Tracy dark ride started at a bargain price of only $12,000!

September 21, 2010
This photo of Bill Tracy attaching his name tag while checking in at a convention appeared in the April 21, 1962 issue of Amusement Business.


September 19, 2010
Check out an updated photo gallery of the Haunted House at Camden Park taken in the summer of 2009. This was a joint venture with Pretzel Amusement Ride Company and is one of two surviving Pretzel-built gravity dark rides. Keep an eye out for one of Tracy's practical jokes in the black and white ghost painting. Enjoy!

September 14, 2010
Photos of Ocean Playland's Ghost Ship are very rare and hard to come by. Thanks to John D., we are excited to add the first color photo that we have ever seen of Ghost Ship to our collection. This photo was taken from one of his father's slides. Check it out!

September 7, 2010
Thanks to Al Alven, a Wildwood historian and enthusiast, we are pleased to release the full photo showing Bill Tracy standing on the deck of Pirate Ship "Skua". This photo was taken around the opening of "Skua" and shows Tracy standing at the far right wearing a dark colored shirt. "Skua", a walk-thru attraction at Hunt's Pier, opened in 1962 and unfortunately closed in 1989. Click photo to enlarge and enjoy!

July 30, 2010
Jackpot!

We all know Tracy had an incredible imagination when it came to advertisements and promotions. But, this one tops them all. Check out a newly-discovered advertisement from the March 24, 1962 issue of Amusement Business where Bill Tracy is depicted as “Bat Boy.” In this photo, Tracy is standing in front of several of his bat props from Riverside Park in Agawam, Massachusetts. Priceless!
July 19, 2010
We are excited to share an image of the original ride layout for Pirates Cove at Waldameer Park in Erie, PA. The layout was drawn by Bill Tracy and is dated November 3, 1971 as a revised copy. Enjoy and be sure to check out other ride layouts!
July 9, 2010
Kennywood Ghost Ship Fire Confession???

A few weeks ago marked the 35th anniversary of the fire that destroyed one of Tracy's most famous attractions, Kennywood Park's Ghost Ship. This sad and tragic event took place on June 19, 1975 and was determined to have been an "electrical fire". A website was just discovered that contains an eerie post that disputes the cause of this fire. A man actually confesses to starting the Ghost Ship fire! Read it for yourself and you decide, was this an "electrical fire" or did this man turn one of Tracy's finest into a pile of burned wreckage? Explore the following three links and try to piece this puzzle together. Speak your mind in the forum! 1 | 2 | 3

May 31, 2010
As good photos of Bill Tracy become harder and harder to come by, we are always captivated when a new one surfaces. Check out a great photo of Tracy judging at an event from the March 29, 1953 issue of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Tracy is in the left-hand photo, second in on the left.

May 27, 2010
Waldameer Park’s Whacky Shack, built by Bill Tracy in 1970, turned 40 this past weekend and we celebrated in style thanks to a great event put on by DAFE. The day of fun included ride time on Whacky Shack and Waldameer’s Pirates Cove, and a behind-the-scenes look of both the rides. We also had the opportunity to speak with two folks at the park who worked with Tracy. It was an interesting day to say the least. A plethora of updates will soon follow, but in the mean time check out photo galleries of Waldameer’s Whacky Shack and Pirates Cove.

April 5, 2010
Check out an article from the March 1, 1950 issue of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune where Bill Tracy is featured in a photo with some of his ceramic sculptures (left). For more on Tracy’s sculpturing endeavors, read the Early Years section of the biography. Click image to enlarge.


March 28, 2010
Let’s all wish Bill Tracy’s Whacky Shack at Waldameer Park a Happy Birthday! The famous attraction is turning 40 this year, and just as the park is about to open for the season, the Wine Cellar stunt is undergoing a major refurbishment. Check out a great set of photos contributed by park worker Randy S. who is carefully attempting to bring the stunt back to its original glory.

February 16, 2010
We are happy to release a full-frontal view of the Haunted House at Trimper's Amusements in Ocean City, Maryland from the 1970s era before the second-story addition was finished thanks to the Ocean City Life-saving Station Museum website. You will notice that there is no ticket booth, no second story fence, shorter façade roofline, and additional columns near the front of the building (which are actually located near the back of the lobby today). Eat your hearts out; this is true Bill Tracy style!


January 15, 2010
Take a look at this rare advertisement for the Tracy Parade & Display Co. from the November 26, 1955 issue of The Billboard. This was an extremely remarkable find for us as it is the first marketing publication unearthed from this company.


January 9, 2010
We are excited to announce that the DAFE organization (Darkride and Funhouse Enthusiasts) has published our updated Bill Tracy biography as a nine-page spread in their quarterly magazine entitled Barrel O’ Fun. Surprisingly, the front of the publication showcases a rare photo of Tracy from a 1961 advertisement!

Those who are interested in receiving Barrel O’ Fun, attending dark ride events, and receiving other club benefits can join DAFE by visiting their website. If you are a dark ride lover, it is truly a wise investment! A special thanks goes out to Rick Davis for assisting with this project.


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