The Crazy Dance

Back in Michigan, rather than pursue sign work in Jackson, partly due to the lingering heart break, I sought the friendlier situation around the Elliott Amusement company.

By this time Red had purchased a new major ride. This gave the little show a big, elaborate piece for their summer route of fairs. Plus, Red had a nice piece of equipment to take to the big independent fairs across the country. The ’Crazy Dance’ was a round set of sweeps with tubs dangling between the ends. The entire structure was mounted on a center that had a lift arrangement that would oscillate the whole thing for a unique experience. The controls for revolution, speed, lift and center revolution were operated individually to provide the outer ring of passengers a custom undulating experience.

Red loved this ride. And, so did his crew. He had fun selecting a great song and choreographing a slow, up and down sensation in time with the music for the beginning of the ride. He simply lifted the table and activated the revolve feature with finesse. Then as the song gained impulsion, he turned on the revolve motors and gave them a fast, hectic ride.

He especially liked the Stevie Wonder song, ‘I just called to say I love you.’ While that tune played, he operated the ride in a special way that created an equally wonderful experience for the passengers in time with the music.

His annual route evolved by this time to start mid-winter in south Texas. He bought a winter quarters in San Antonio and traveled west to the big fairs in California during late winter and spring. Then he jumped to Michigan. Spending the summer in Michigan with this spectacular ride on the little show gave the show a big boost. As usual his enthusiasm was infectious and his help was filled with a similar zeal. His business partners had a similar positive attitude.

Tim Bors started in this business as a teenager with ‘Spin-Art,’ – a record turntable modified to lay a piece of cardboard on where the customers squirt paint from condiment bottles onto the spinning card to create a modern art effect. From this simple beginning, he accumulated a fleet of games and rides. He was an aggressive showman with a clear vision of what he wanted. His slogan was: bigger, better, brighter.

Every year he added another game to his line up and in his position as a full partner on the show, he also began to acquire rides.  Although he revealed his request for the next painting to me months in advance, I wasn’t completely privy to all of his plans for the future which logically pointed toward owning his own show.

I kept busy creating spectacular paint jobs that summer. When the fair season began, I included my T-shirt booth in the show’s lineup. Before that happened, I excused myself and went to Nashville to attend a regional Blue Bird rally.

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