(June 20, 2014) The ghouls and goblins of Trimper’s Haunted House are turning 50 years old this summer.
The spooky ride on the Boardwalk not only boasts one of the world’s oldest, continuously running dark rides, but the longest, clocking in at just over five minutes from the time visitors enter on Dracula’s coffin carriage to their exit.
Each day during the summer, as many as 1,800 Boardwalk guests stand in line for the ride, which has built a significant fan base over the years, said ride aficionado and author of “Trimper’s Rides” Brandon Seidl.
“It’s an Ocean City landmark,” he said. “A lot of people travel from all over the country to see it.”
The Haunted House opened in the summer in 1964, thanks to the mastermind behind the spooky scenes Bill Tracy.
Following closely the works of Walt Disney, Tracy designed approximately 80 projects up and down the East Coast and across the country, but Trimper’s Haunted House is one of the few that have survived fires and vandalism.
Tracy specialized in dark and spooky rides, but also created jungle-themed attractions and Trimper’s Pirates Cove.
“Tracy was a pioneer in the industry and he was able to create these never-before-seen characters,” Seidl said. “He was really a brilliant artist.”
From the Haunted House’s Upside-Down Room, which uses bolted décor to give riders the sensation of traveling on the ceiling, to the dizzying Revolving Barrel effect that makes them feel like they are falling into space, Tracy was famous for his illusions.
Granville Trimper, grandson of Trimper’s founder Daniel B. Trimper, commissioned Tracy to build the ride because he was impressed with other attractions the artist had designed.
Celebrating it’s golden anniversary, the Haunted House is no small project to keep up and running, Seidl said.
“It’s not just ‘go in and turn the lights on,’” he said.
Many effects have been restored over the years and the Haunted House has many new additions, including a recent makeover of the Torture Chamber family, which had to be removed from the ride for a few weeks and taken to an artist’s workshop.
“The Trimpers have done a lot to make sure it stays around,” Seidl said. And combined with Tracy’s design a half century ago, he believes that’s why this ride has outlasted so many others.
Learn more about the Haunted House on Seidl’s website www.ochh.net. Visit Trimper’s Rides online at www.trimpersrides.com or stop by the amusement park on the southern end of the Boardwalk.
For more Trimper’s history, see Seidl and co-author Monica Thrash’s pictorial book “Trimper’s Rides,” available at Trimper’s park or through www.arcadiapublishing.com.