Scott
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Monday, September 20, 2010 1:53:57 AM


Farewell to the Carnival King, 1972

FRED SHANNON / DISPATCH

In August 1972, the funeral procession for the "Monarch of the Midway," carnival king Floyd E. Gooding, was led by a silent calliope. When he died, it was front-page news in The Dispatch.

Gooding was president of the Columbus-based Gooding Amusement Co., the largest outdoor amusement company in the world. (Gooding Co. rides were staples at the Ohio State Fair and many other midways and fairs for decades.) He spent 67 years in the carnival business, after starting at age 10 as a merry-go-round ticket seller. He was buried in Glen Rest Cemetery east of Reynoldsburg.

Floral arrangements included a 30-inch merry-go-round and a three-foot ferris wheel. Among mourners were former Ohio Gov. James A. Rhodes and former Columbus Mayor M.E. Sensenbrenner.

Gooding Amusement Co. rides at nine sites in three states operated on the day of the funeral, although each carried swathes of mourning cloth. The merry-go-rounds, long a Floyd Gooding favorite, were operated for free for two hours during the funeral.


FILE PHOTO
In this 1966 file photo, Floyd E. Gooding stands next to a German-made wooden lion in the reception room of his office building at 3200 Valleyview Dr.

An Ohio farm boy, Gooding was born in 1895 in Ashtabula County. His uncle was in the carnival business, and Floyd would help out. When Floyd was 21, he and and his brother, Arby, combined their savings, borrowed money from a bank and bought a ferris wheel and a merry-go-round with $5,000 working capital. The amusement company grew to be a multimillion dollar corporation.

In 1946, his company bought Scioto Ranch Park (now the site of Zoombezi Bay) and named it Floyd Gooding Amusement Park. (The City of Columbus would later buy it, followed by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.)

During his career, Gooding served as president of the Showmen's League of America and of the American Carnivals Association, but he had a lot of other interests in addition to carnivals and fairs. He was president of the Boys Club and associated with the organization since its founding in Columbus, and a member of the Columbus Zoo Commission. A staunch baseball fan, he was director and trustee of the Columbus Jets, and one of the baseball club's original founders in 1955.

At the time of the formation of the Jets, he listed as reasons for his willingness to join the baseball syndicate: "For civic pride; for love of baseball; for the kids and for the community."

He was director of Columbus Boychoir and was involved with Big Brothers, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, and the Elks, Moose, and Eagles. He was also a founder of the Dutch Uncles Club, a group of local businessmen that sponsored activities for needy children.

He was especially proud of a certificate from President Herbert Hoover in appreciation for his Boys Club activities.

One of his biggest dreams was realized in 1960, when he opened his ultra-modern plant and office building on Valleyview Drive on Columbus' west side.

In 1983, 11 years after his death, The Dispatch reported that his will was in the final stages of being settled and that he left $50,000 each to the Boys Club, Columbus Youth Foundation and the Columbus Zoo.





john777
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Monday, September 20, 2010 8:00:50 AM
very interesting
thanks for posting
with it and all for it
john 777

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flamo
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Monday, September 20, 2010 10:38:42 AM
There were times back then when Goodings would list 14 units in the AB or billboard. All their wheels were Eli 12s. He was in every sense a true showman.
I'm there, Old, Tired, Broke and Henpecked
RideMan
Monday, October 4, 2010 7:56:54 PM
This is the most I have ever seen about Floyd Gooding in one place. It is also the first I had ever heard any mention at all of Scioto Ranch Park. i've recently determined that Olentangy Park closed in approximately 1940 when the LeVeque Brothers bought the property, and I know that at least the carousel from Olentangy Park ended up at Gooding's park, but there seems to be about a 6-year hole in the timeline.

In the Eli Bridge history book, there is a photo of Gooding taking delivery of Aristocrat Wheel #1000, and I always wondered if that was the one that operated at Wyandot Lake right up until they auctioned it off in 2006. I crawled all around that Wheel at the auction (no, I didn't climb it) and couldn't find any kind of a data plate.

Thanks, Scott, for posting that article!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
Pinetar
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Tuesday, October 5, 2010 5:05:30 AM
Quote:

quote:


Originally posted by RideMan

This is the most I have ever seen about Floyd Gooding in one place. It is also the first I had ever heard any mention at all of Scioto Ranch Park. i've recently determined that Olentangy Park closed in approximately 1940 when the LeVeque Brothers bought the property, and I know that at least the carousel from Olentangy Park ended up at Gooding's park, but there seems to be about a 6-year hole in the timeline.

In the Eli Bridge history book, there is a photo of Gooding taking delivery of Aristocrat Wheel #1000, and I always wondered if that was the one that operated at Wyandot Lake right up until they auctioned it off in 2006. I crawled all around that Wheel at the auction (no, I didn't climb it) and couldn't find any kind of a data plate.

Thanks, Scott, for posting that article!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.



You vanished after that auction. Slammer?[:)]
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Soda Guy
Tuesday, October 5, 2010 8:31:07 AM
Scott
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Tuesday, October 5, 2010 11:26:45 AM
Quote:

quote:


Originally posted by Soda Guy

Thanks Scott for posting.



Your welcome guys

Seems like my post are dead on, and way off the mark [:p]
with-it
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Tuesday, October 5, 2010 12:57:57 PM
He's the reason Ohio Fairs are like they are. There are plenty of Fairs in Ohio where the Show has no Game or Food locs or very limited space. Some Fairs the games are nowhere close to the rides.
RideMan
Tuesday, October 5, 2010 1:44:06 PM
Pinetar, I'll tell you what happened...

I had a button in Safari that opened a whole slew of tabs of discussions and such that I was monitoring, but where I was a less active participant...here, DMN's Avid forum, Avid's user forum, and a couple of others. Those other sites stopped working, and I gradually stopped pushing the button.

I've been around, just not around here. Mostly over on CoasterBuzz and back in my oldest haunt, rec.roller-coaster. You can credit cny_chris with reminding me to stop back here (and with unfreezing my long-dormant account).

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
vcanfield
Wednesday, October 6, 2010 2:45:16 AM
Quote:

quote:



In 1946, his company bought Scioto Ranch Park (now the site of Zoombezi Bay) and named it Floyd Gooding Amusement Park.



According to Billboard (via google books), Gooding bought the park from the Haenlein estate in 1956. The Zoo Park name must have been in common use by 1942.
rodler
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Saturday, October 9, 2010 9:48:23 PM
Here is a great short video of Goodings Million Dollar Midway at the Missouri State Fair in 1959. Enjoy!


RodB
Skywheelrider
Monday, October 11, 2010 11:33:13 AM
Great article. Thanks for sharing it, Scott. Would have enjoyed seeing that operation in person.
"Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first." -- Mark Twain
RideMan
Saturday, October 16, 2010 4:33:17 PM
Quote:

quote:


Originally posted by With-It
He's the reason Ohio Fairs are like they are. There are plenty of Fairs in Ohio where the Show has no Game or Food locs or very limited space. Some Fairs the games are nowhere close to the rides.



Ah, see, as I am an Ohio native I didn't realize our fairs are that unusual. So Gooding stuck to rides, then, and didn't run much of a games or food operation? I think I saw a great example of what you're talking about at the Fairfield County Fair last night. The rides take up a whole corner of the fairgrounds, and there is very little in the way of food or games anywhere near the rides, then there are separate areas with rows and rows of food joints.

I also think it is interesting to see how much inertia there is at work in the fairs. The ride selection is different now that Bates has the fair, but the layout of the grounds is exactly the same as it was when Pugh was running the show. The Ohio State Fair is something of an exception as the midway has been completely relocated twice and the entire fairgrounds layout has been shifted about a block to the North in my lifetime. Eliminating the grandstand and building a big parking lot to the North has a lot to do with that.

With any luck I'll have a video on-line of the Fairfield County Fair "soon".

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
Bill P
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Saturday, October 16, 2010 4:54:12 PM
Come to think of it Canfield follows the Ohio pattern too. Not much food near the rides but rows of food elsewhere.
Pinetar
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Saturday, October 16, 2010 5:09:26 PM
Gooding had no food or games but still booked many. He was shroud, loaned the fairs money so that they were indebted to him. He brought in rides, paid zip on games.

He used many, many, independent ride operators, F&B got their start there .
Roberto Meluzzi, Poor Jack, us and others. He also started fair dates on a sat. so other shows could not play the spot.

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