Friday, April 25, 2014

Classic Arrow Rides - Where are they now?

Confusion Hill Streamliner - Smashed by an Ent   8^(

One of the interesting things about Arrow rides is how enduring they are.  The trains and carousels were all built in the fifties and sixties.  Theme parks come and go, but somehow the rides live on. Today we're going to look for places to go and get a ride on an early Arrow amusement ride. All the ones I currently know of are in California, but I'd be glad for any updates.

I'm not including Disneyland's King Arthur Carousel, as it is actually a refurbished Dentzel.

If King Arthur is included, this might be a comprehensive list, as the 1980 Press Kit for the opening of The Bat at Kings Island, indicates that Arrow had built 8 carousels since it's founding in 1947. That may not be inclusive of the other circular, carousel like kiddie rides which Arrow produced.


The Big Red Barn
1000 U.S. 101, Aromas, CA 95004
(831) 726-3101

Bishops Pumpkin Farm
1415 Pumpkin Ln, Wheatland, CA 95692
(530) 633-2568

Happy Hollow Zoo and Park
1300 Senter Rd, San Jose, CA 95112
(408) 794-6400

Kennedy Park
19501 Hesperian Blvd, Hayward, CA
(510) 670-7275

Kiwanis Kiddieland Carousel
Fuqua Park
US-81 and Beach Road
Duncan, OK 73533

Micke Grove Regional Park
11793 N Micke Grove Rd, Lodi, CA 95240
Phone:(209) 331-7400

Pixieland Amusement Park
2740 E Olivera Rd, Concord, CA 94519
(925) 689-8841

Roeding Park
890 W Belmont Ave, Fresno, CA 93728 
(559) 621-2900

South Coast Plaza
3333 Bristol St (at W Sunflower Ave), Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 435-2000

I've also seen a photograph of an Arrow pony on a carousel in or near Collingwood, Ontario. If anyone has any information on that, please let us know.

Bishop's Pumpkin Farm (was @ Balboa Fun Zone) 


Kiwanis Kiddieland, Duncan, OK
Kennedy Park
Happy Hollow

Micke Grove State Park, Lodi, CA

Roeding Park 
South Coast Plaza


Burke Junction
Cameron Park
3300 Coach Lane
Cameron Park, CA 95682
Phone:(530) 676-4188

Central Park
50 East 5th Avenue
San Mateo, CA 9449a
Note: Only open on weekends from 11 AM to 3 PM

Confusion Hill
75001 North Highway 101, Piercy, CA 95587
(707) 925-6456

Happy Hollow Zoo and Park (Danny the Dragon)
1300 Senter Rd, San Jose, CA 95112
(408) 794-6400

Pixie Woods
125 Bridge Place
Stockton, CA 95202
Phone: (209) 938-1555
Toll Free: 1 (877) 778-6258

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
400 Beach St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 423-5590

Uesugi Farms Pumpkin Park
14485 Monterey Rd, San Martin, CA 95046
(408) 778-7225

Old #9 at Burke Junction

San Mateo Central Park

Confusion Hill

Danny the Dragon

Old #6 at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Pixie Express (also No. 9) in Stockton, CA

Uesugi Farms
On eBay in 2013
Private Collector - previously at Memphis Zoo and ridden by Elvis!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Special Treat -- 1986 Arrow Dynamics Ad (8x10)

This Arrow ad ran in the April 26th, 1986 Issue of Amusement Business Magazine.
We've cleaned it up and resized it to 8x10 at 300 ppi, so it will fit a standard photo frame.

A Historical Overview of Arrow Development

One of the interesting things about Arrow is how the company changed over the years. If you haven't heard of Arrow before, don't be surprised.  Most of the time they were too busy to worry about advertising and the work they did for Walt was on contract. It wouldn't be until 5 years after Disneyland opened that Arrow would be partly owned by Disney.

You may have heard of Karl Bacon and Ed Morgan, the two founders who Robert Reynolds focused on in Roller Coasters, Flumes and Flying Saucers, but there is a lot more to the story.  In addition to Karl and Ed were Angus (Andy) Anderson and William Hardiman. The early news stories make it clear that the four were co-founders in every respect, sharing the work, successes and failures thru the first 15 years. They even passed around their titles, acting as president, vice president and secretary on a rotating basis.

Their wives also played a role from the start, as this fall 1945 photo attests.  In fact, if not for Phyllis Anderson's (fourth from the left below) faithful clipping and preservation of the photos, newspaper articles and brochures from those early days, a lot of this retelling might not have even been possible.

Ed + Betty Morgan/Andy + Phyllis Anderson/Karl + Jane Bacon/Bill + Evelyn Hardiman 
Arrow Development incorporated in the state of Californina on November 16, 1945. From then until 1956, Anderson, Bacon, Hardiman and Morgan were the core team.  About 1956, Anderson and Hardiman would leave to start their own construction company. Walter Schulze bought a 1/3 interest in Arrow around that time, borrowing $15,000 from his mother Edna. Until then, the accounting had been one of Bill Hardiman's primary roles.

Schulze appears on the far left in a photo of Walt Disney inspecting one of Arrow's vintage cars. (Walt is on the far right.) Before that, he and his wife Pauline had done accounting for Dura Bond Bearing, who's owner gave Arrow $5000 worth of work to tide them over when Luscombe Aircraft went bankrupt in 1948. At that time, Arrow was building parts for an aircraft crop dusting kit.  In 1957, Schultze was managing Arrow's ill fated Playtown Kiddieland project in Palo Alto. For more details on Walter Schulze's significant role at Arrow view our posting on him.

Walt Disney was so committed to Arrow's success that he bought 1/3 of the company in 1960.  The May 20th issue of Film Daily had an article entitled; Disney Buys Interest in Outdoor Amusement Firm. The purchase would come after over three years of relationship building between Walt's and Arrow's staff and owners. With such a huge role in the development of those early rides, Disney did not want Arrow's future to be in doubt.  Interestingly, Arrow suffered from some of the same cost estimating issues that plagued Disney during their early years, with development costs often exceeding estimates and profit margins slim to none.

In 1965, Ron Toomer was hired to work on water flow issues on Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean and engineering for the Run-A-Way Mine Train at Six Flags Over Texas.  Ron was the first degree'd engineer at Arrow, having graduated from the University of Nevada in 1961 with a BSME.

Ron Toomer - the coaster designer with the queezy stomach.

In 1971, Dick Nunis, then chairman of the Disney Park Operations Committee, informed Ed and Karl that with the opening of Central Fabrication Shops in Orlando, Disney would be bringing the ride development efforts in-house. The next year Karl and Ed would sell Arrow to Rio Grande Industries. In 1977, Arrow would open a 120,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Clearfield, Utah. By 1980, they were no longer operating in Mountain View and Ed and Karl were both in retirement.

In 1981 Huss Maschinenfabrik purchased Arrow from the Rio Grande, merging the two entities to form Arrow-Huss. The company would start having financial difficulties, partially due to investing heavily in the Darien Lake theme park and the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition.

On January 2, 1981, Dana Morgan (Ed's son) would file an application for a Certificate of Authority to operate in Utah for Arrow Huss, Inc., listing Klaus Huss, Urs Affolter and Robert Peers as Directors and himself as President. Dana estimated Arrow’s gross worldwide business transactions for '81 at $8 million and the value of the company at $5 million, however his revenue projection for operations in Utah for that year was zero.

Two years later, Dana would leave Arrow-Huss to start D.H. Morgan Manufacturing in Scotts Valley, CA, and begin building versions of several classic Arrow rides, including electric cars, an Omni-mover type system for Kings Island and refurbishing the Santa’s Village Carousel. His legacy in the amusement park business in California deserves it's own story.

By March of 1984, control of Arrow shifted entirely to Bernd Zwickau and Boyd Draeger.  One year later Arrow-Huss, Inc. filed for bankruptcy.

The December 31, 1985 Utah restated certificate of incorporation would change the company name to Arrow Dynamics, Inc., with a valuation of $12 million and Norman Scott, Ronald Toomer, Otis Hughes, David Klomp and Ray Crandall as Directors.  From 1986 forward, the company would operate as Arrow Dynamics.

Arrow Dynamics Stock Certificate bearing the signature of R V Toomer

As part of the bankruptcy agreement, Arrow Dynamics was limited to engineering. A sister company, Fabriweld, was formed and located right next door in the Freeport Center. Mostly composed of ex-Arrow employees, and incorporated on June 29th, 1987, Fabriweld made track for Arrow and Vekoma, which was acting as Arrow’s European distributor. Over the next ten years Arrow Dynamics would produce some of the fastest, largest and highest roller coasters in the world, but struggle financially on the big rides, mostly due to the high cost of R & D.

In 2000, Ron Toomer retired.  On December 3rd, 2001 Arrow Dynamics would file for bankruptcy with $ 2.2 Million in debts. Their last project was the supporting tower for the 2002 Olympic Cauldron.  

2002 Winter Games Olympic Cauldron

In November 2012, S&S Worldwide Inc., entered into a binding agreement with Sansei Yusoki Co., Ltd., of Osaka, Japan, whereby Sansei acquired 77.3% interest in S&S. Signage at the 2012 and 2013 IAAPA Attractions Expos promoted the new company as S&S - Sansei Technologies.

As of 2014, S & S continues to develop amusement park rides and has a web site at

1945 to 2001 isn't a bad run, by any measure.  Thanks for visiting and helping us keep their memory alive.  Please tell your friends about the blog and help spread the story.

(Thanks to Kevin Russell and Carolyn Anderson Moyers for the images of the Stock Certificate and foundation celebration.)

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Arrow Dynamics News DIRECTIONS Volumes 1 & 3

Thanks to the generosity of Shane Huish, who was a big Arrow fan as a boy, I've just received nearly three pounds of material with hundreds of pages and photos of rides and projects from the 70's and 80's, while operating in Utah both as Arrow-Huss and Arrow Dynamics.

While some material from this time period has been posted previously on other blogs and sites, I've never seen any of the series of Dynamic's semi-annual industry newsletters before.

So, with out further adieu, are issues of the Arrow Dynamics News DIRECTIONS.

The first features articles on Kings Island's Vortex, Boardwalk Baseball's Grand Rapids and a photo of two of the ride vehicles for the Gee Bee Racer Suspended Coaster, which premiered at the 1986 IAAPA show in Orlando and was used at Bobbijaanland in Belgium.

Next comes The Iron Dragon, A look inside Quality Control, a brief bio of John Lane and a group shot of the Drafting Team.

The third issue covers The Magum XL-200 at Cedar Point, The Great American Scream Machine and brief introductions to some of Arrow's Suppliers.

Busch Gardens Tidal Wave wrap up the last issue of 1989, with stories on Excalibur at Valley Fair and a preview of the Bat.  Bios on Dal Freeman and an award for Ron Toomer.

Volume 1, No. 1

Volume 1, No. 2

This issue features The Iron Dragon, A look inside Quality Control, a brief bio of John Lane and a group shot of the Drafting Team. That looks like a map of Disneyland on the wall behind them!

Volume 3, No. 1 (1989)

The Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point in Sandusky Point leads off in this issue, followed by the Great American Scream Machine and bios of Bob Hughes and Larry Hays and a few suppliers.  On the tailgate is a story on the Ninja.

Volume 3, No. 2 (1989)

Busch Gardens Tidal Wave leads off this issue, with stories on Excalibur at Valley Fair and a preview of the Bat. Bios on Dal Freeman and an award for Ron Toomer.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Disney, Hewlett Packard & Arrow Cross Paths

As mentioned in the previous post, another Bay Area company played a role in the stories of both Disney and Arrow.

Founded by Stanford classmates Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, one of Hewlett Packard's first products was an audio oscillator.  In 1938, a sound engineer working on Fantasia saw the HP Model 200A audio oscillator and asked Bill Hewlett to make some modifications, which led to the Model 200B.  Disney ordered eight, at $71.50 each, and used them to test the audio recording equipment and unique multi-channel speaker systems used in the 12 specially equipped theaters which showed Fantasia in 1940.

Between 1940 and 1952, HP would add the 300A Wave Analyzer, 160-A Q Meter, and 400B Volt Meter to their product line-up and upgrade the 200A to the 200A/B in 1952.  

Both HP's audio and radio test equipment used coils in their oscillator circuits and Arrow Development made four machines to wind coils which HP used in their products in 1951.

Note that Karl is listed here as treasurer of Arrow. Over the years, the four founders would often swap titles; yet another example of their collaborative approach to running the company.

If you get the opportunity to visit the Disney Studios in Burbank, one of the HP Audio generators is on display in the Studio Labs area;

Friday, April 18, 2014

Mine of New Ideas at Disneyland (1955)

This article first appeared in 1955, in a number of papers, including Billboard Magazine. 
Some of the  images in the original did not reproduce well and have been simulated.

Mine of New Ideas

The “magic kingdom” of Walt Disney, whose cartoon character creations are better known to more kids than soap, amply displays the result of 20 years planning - and dreaming.

Costs $17,000,000

The “kiddieland for adults,” as Disney chooses to describe it, has sparked much new thinking among fair executive and amusement park operators and the results of this new thinking are expected to show up on many fairgrounds and amusement parks in the years ahead.

Disneyland, which cost $17,000,000 when it opened on July 18, started fabulously in June 1953, when Disney retained Stanford Research Institute, under the direction of C. V. Wood Jr., to survey different sites for the 160-acre park.  After the survey was completed Wood was assigned by Disney to act as vice-president and general manager of Disneyland, Inc., to continue with actual construction and organization.

Selection of the Anaheim, Calif., site was made from among many after a year’s study in location analysis and a complete search of land records.  Among other qualifications, utility conditions, accessibility, topography and environmental characteristics were considered.  Even annual rainfall figures helped in making the final decision.  The Institute also conducted a complete economic feasibility study of attendance patterns for amusement areas and the projection of annual rate of operation for Disneyland.

 Built to 5/8 Scale

The park is constructed on 5/8 scale, necessitating special material from mills.

The scheme followed in the various diversions is in keeping with their titles. Tomorrowland features equipment to fit the future.  The chairs, benches, and accessories are the product of inventors’ imaginations as what will be used in the future.  Frontierland is enhanced by gnarled pine posts picked up by Disney on a trip to Jackson Hole country in Wyoming.  And a feature is the 105-foot paddle-wheeling river boat, Mark Twain.  Adventureland is tropical in design with trees from Australia, South Africa, China and Japan.  Plastic life-like “animals” are electrically operated and mechanisms open the jaws of rhinos and other jungle beasts.

Re-Design Basic Rides

Fantasyland, the amusement ride section, brought new types of devices into the field.  Some bear a small basic resemblance to conventional rides.  A Merry-Go-Round purchased from J. W. (Patty) Conklin arrived in the United States with two outside rows of horses as jumpers and the inside one stationary.  The stationary one was converted to jumpers and another jumper row was added to make it four-abreast.  The Arrow Development Company in Mountain View, Calif., worked overtime to complete its contract for over $100,000 for making new rides designed by Disney and refinishing others.  The basic work on the Mr. Toad cars was done in the Arrow shops along with building the Tea Cup Ride, portions of the Casey Jr. train, and the working section of Dumbo.

Disneyland will never be completed in the sense that Disney will sit back and consider all has been done.  To offer something new and keep the magic kingdom more alluring, Disney will do more and more dreaming and planning.  That’s what makes it Disneyland.

(Note: The images in the copy of the article were very poor and have been reconstructed to recreate the feel of the original. -df)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Casey Jr.'s Spring 1955 Test Run

A HUFFING PUFFING SUCCESS - "The Little Engine That Could" climbs a steep makeshift hill in Mountain View during a grueling "shake-down cruise" this week in preparation for its installation at Disneyland.  Talking over results of the test are Angus Anderson and Karl Bacon (at the throttle) who helped build the engine. (Palo Alto Times photo by Gene Tupper)
"Engine that could" proves that it can in MV test run


"The Little Engine that Could" huffed and puffed over a 45 percent "hill" in Mountain View this week and found, by golly, that it could.

Huffing and puffing right along with the plucky little engine were officials of Arrow Development Company and Walt Disney, for whom the Arrow people have recreated the legendary locomotive.

The test run at Arrow's Moffett Boulevard plant provided a preview of what will be a portion of Disney's gigantic "Disneyland" in Southern California.

The story of "The Little Engine that Could", for those who may not know it, involves a diminutive engine which volunteers for a job shunned by bigger and more powerful locomotives, and, with grim determination, hauls a tiny trainload of toys over a hill to waiting children on the other side.

Disney, showing no mercy on the fairytale, told the Arrow people he wanted an engine that could pull six cars with half a dozen adults in each of them - a capacity load for Disneyland - up a 45 percent hill.

Arrow's engineers did a bit of huffing and puffing themselves over making the fairytale come true. But, like the persistent engine, they found they could.

With assistance from a 1955 automobile engine, automatic transmission and other modern-day devices, "The Little Engine that Could" chugged doggedly up a make-shift wooden hill in Mountain View, hauling weights equal to a capacity load.

At Disneyland, recorded sound will be dubbed into the little engine's dramatic battle with the hill, in keeping with the children's story.

On its assent, the engine will groaningly repeat: "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can." the tempo of these utterances varying with the degree of progress.

Once over the summit, the engine will coast down the other side crying joyfully: "I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could!"

Arrow is also building component parts for the six train cars, remodeling a merry-go-round, 55 feet in diameter, which will be the hub of "Fantasyland" and erecting several other rides for "Disneyland".

Disney and four of his associates, who hope to open their spectacular recreation park in July, visited the Mountain View firm recently to survey the progress.