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Offline thunderbolt85  
#1 Posted : Tuesday, July 2, 2019 11:21:27 AM(UTC)
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anyone on here work or have any stories on Frankies East Coast Amusements? Would love to hear some stories about this show as they grew from a small show to a big one playing the Big E and other dates.

But as it happened with others Frankies got "top heavy" I guess you could say buying all those new rides, then not keeping them up or the trucks which in the end resulted in them losing good spots and finally going out of business, at least that's what I heard.

I know Strates Shows Enterprise came from Frankies, he had a Mack Music Express as well I believe, Sky Wheel, Diver, standard wheels, Zipper and host of other rides but don't know what happened to them all.

There was another east coast show that only lasted a year but can't remember the name, they had a Sky Diver along with some other good rides. I believe Gene Chaffee had something to do with them, but can't remember all the details so if anyone on here can would love to hear the stories.
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Offline Bill P  
#2 Posted : Tuesday, July 2, 2019 8:09:14 PM(UTC)
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Frankies Amusements was a medium sized show based in Washington, PA. In 1974 he got the Big E for 5 years and relabeled his trucks as "Franikies Amusements presents East Coast Shows". They wanted Conklin but Conklin was not available at that time. I heard Frankie had to go out and buy a used Diver and Skywheel when he got the Big E contract. He continued to buy rides thru the 70's such as a Flying Bobs in 1977. He added the Champlain valley Expo in 1977 playing it on the way to the Big E. In 1978 in an effort to re-sign the Big E he bought the Huss enterprise.
Conklin got the Big E for 1978. East Coast was left with some big rides but not many big spots. I think they played Allentown once in 80 or 81.
The show disappeared around 82 when the Enterprise and a generator were sold to Strates.

The Gene Chaffee East Coast show you referred to was Eastern Seaboard Shows, a one year affiliation between Gene, Dick Janas, Bill Gaeth and Phil Shuler in 1987. The show disolved in 88. Janas, Chaffee & Gaeth went to Corky Powers adding a second unit to Amusements of Rochester. The rides from Eastern Seaboard were scattered. Seabreeze Park got the yoyo. Gillette got the Slide. Chaffee took his pieces with him to A of R for a little while before he started Amusements of Buffalo.
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thunderbolt85 on 7/3/2019(UTC)
Offline thunderbolt85  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, July 3, 2019 10:51:29 AM(UTC)
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Thanks Bill P that is some great information, did Gene travel with Crown Amusements for a time? Someone over there had a Rock O Plane and Raiders (and maybe a couple of other rides), but they left after a few years to start their own show, thought it was him, maybe wrong though.

I wonder what the history is on that Enterprise beside Strates and Frankies. Its been a great investment for Strates, I believe that was the first Huss ride he bought, then the Pirate, TriStar, Rainbow, and finally the Top Spin.
Offline Tornado  
#4 Posted : Wednesday, July 3, 2019 1:19:19 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Bill P Go to Quoted Post
Frankies Amusements was a medium sized show based in Washington, PA. In 1974 he got the Big E for 5 years and relabeled his trucks as "Franikies Amusements presents East Coast Shows". They wanted Conklin but Conklin was not available at that time. I heard Frankie had to go out and buy a used Diver and Skywheel when he got the Big E contract. He continued to buy rides thru the 70's such as a Flying Bobs in 1977. He added the Champlain valley Expo in 1977 playing it on the way to the Big E. In 1978 in an effort to re-sign the Big E he bought the Huss enterprise.
Conklin got the Big E for 1978. East Coast was left with some big rides but not many big spots. I think they played Allentown once in 80 or 81.
The show disappeared around 82 when the Enterprise and a generator were sold to Strates.

The Gene Chaffee East Coast show you referred to was Eastern Seaboard Shows, a one year affiliation between Gene, Dick Janas, Bill Gaeth and Phil Shuler in 1987. The show disolved in 88. Janas, Chaffee & Gaeth went to Corky Powers adding a second unit to Amusements of Rochester. The rides from Eastern Seaboard were scattered. Seabreeze Park got the yoyo. Gillette got the Slide. Chaffee took his pieces with him to A of R for a little while before he started Amusements of Buffalo.



Thanks Bill P.
Yes, ECS played the Champlain Valley Expo, my hometown fair back then. The first year they had trouble getting their equipment from PA up to Vermont (drivers, break downs DOT). I was just a kid back then, but I heard they had unlicensed driver behind the wheel and were left with few drivers. They did have some big iron and had a good midway, from what i can remember...

I remember one year they were going to put the tractor under the Sky Diver center load and the trailer brakes were NOT on (no blocks behind the wheels either) and the trailer end up on its frame portion of the trailer. Hit the ground hard and lots of 8 foot floressent lighting tubes broke...
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thunderbolt85 on 7/3/2019(UTC)
Offline Tornado  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, July 3, 2019 1:24:15 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: thunderbolt85 Go to Quoted Post
Thanks Bill P that is some great information, did Gene travel with Crown Amusements for a time? Someone over there had a Rock O Plane and Raiders (and maybe a couple of other rides), but they left after a few years to start their own show, thought it was him, maybe wrong though.

I wonder what the history is on that Enterprise beside Strates and Frankies. Its been a great investment for Strates, I believe that was the first Huss ride he bought, then the Pirate, TriStar, Rainbow, and finally the Top Spin.



I believe they got the Enterprise new?? At least I remember it looking new...
The first year they had it I helped tear it down. They were still learning the process and lots of shouting going on.
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thunderbolt85 on 7/3/2019(UTC)
Offline olediggerguy  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, July 3, 2019 2:54:10 PM(UTC)
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I played Springfield, Essex with them...I believe they also had alot of rides at the Danbury Ct fair as well.....I remember saying back then they must have one of the best routes in the country. From what I can remember..Frank was a pretty innovative guy. He had Living quarters for a good portion of his crew..which was unheard of in those days.
It was a QUANITY over QUALITY kind of operation....lots of equipment, but always trouble getting it moved, set up on time...and always issues keeping it lit. I know for fact that the powers that be in Springfield at the time were NEVER happy with them.
The ENTERPRISE was one of the first brought into the country. I would argue the first SUPER spectacular on an American midway. A beautiful piece...and the crowds couldn't ride it enough.
He had a CHANCE RADAR...the only one I ever saw..A very cool piece...It never was fully operational.Only One side rotating... Lights spotty..etc etc. I loved watching that piece, it was quite unique.
He Also had a MACK Musik Express. An absolutely beautiful ride that his son Dennis moved.This was a true jag of a human being. While this is only speculation, he was probably a major part in the shows demise.
So I think they expanded quickly, buying all these BiG pieces to keep their spots, and when they lost them, The show was ultimately doomed.
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thunderbolt85 on 7/3/2019(UTC)
Offline Bill P  
#7 Posted : Thursday, July 4, 2019 3:00:22 AM(UTC)
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Enterprise is a 1977 model imported new as far as I know in early 78. Frankie had a Turbo in 1974 and the Mack Musik Express. By 76 he had a Radar instead of Turbo. Don't know if he traded or converted it.
Always had lighting issues. Once saw Diver with 24 of 96 tubes lit on one side.
They booked into NYSF with Strates in 1976. So, NYSF had TWO Divers and TWO Skywheels. Saw Frankies trucks going thru Buffalo Sunday morning but Musik Exp and Skywheel were not up Tuesday night [opening] in Syracuse. Mack had the building up but no ride inside it. Skywheel was spinning the boom shaking all the broken tubes out of it at 8PM. Wheels partially assembled by 11PM. Meanwhile the Strates Skywheel was up front by the pig barn with EVERY TUBE LIT.
Frankie did have the fastest Paratorrper I ever saw. Tubs were upside down at the top. I have a pic from NYSF 1976. I'll see if i can find it and post it.

When I heard about the Enterprise in July 1978 I went to a mall in Erie, PA to see it. Didn't know then I'd see it 4 times that summer, in Erie, at Dunkirk, NY fair, at Clearfield, Pa fair booked with Strates and also at Hamburg, NY with Strates.

Forgot east Coast played Danbury Fair after big E a couple times.
Offline Bill P  
#8 Posted : Thursday, July 4, 2019 3:03:02 AM(UTC)
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In response to the Gene Chaffee inquiry I believe he did travel with Crown for a while before he started Amusements of Buffalo. He may have been with Amuse of Rochester in '88 for a season or two and then with Crown until he started A of B in 1994.
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thunderbolt85 on 7/8/2019(UTC)
Offline britt  
#9 Posted : Thursday, July 4, 2019 7:20:33 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Bill P Go to Quoted Post
In response to the Gene Chaffee inquiry I believe he did travel with Crown for a while before he started Amusements of Buffalo. He may have been with Amuse of Rochester in '88 for a season or two and then with Crown until he started A of B in 1994.




Gene was unit 2 manager for Dick Carl for a few years.


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thunderbolt85 on 7/8/2019(UTC)
Offline carnivalguy135  
#10 Posted : Saturday, July 6, 2019 1:34:44 PM(UTC)
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Thank's Bill P Buzzy Lidey Traveled with Frankie Amusement's Up until He closed where he formed Tropical Amusement's In 1979 which still travel's till this day With His Son Hawk & Hawk's son Gator who Now Run the Day 2 Day operation.They Have about 30 Ride's Nowadays And Run All Around Pennsylvania Area Along with 2 spot's In WV.
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thunderbolt85 on 7/8/2019(UTC)
Offline thunderbolt85  
#11 Posted : Monday, July 8, 2019 10:39:03 AM(UTC)
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I often wonder if it was Frankie's that came thru a small town here back in the 70s. Small shopping center lot, but they had the Sky Wheel set up, really big piece for such a small parking lot. Didn't get to go that time, but have often wonder.
Offline Tornado  
#12 Posted : Friday, July 12, 2019 7:36:52 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: olediggerguy Go to Quoted Post
I played Springfield, Essex with them...I believe they also had alot of rides at the Danbury Ct fair as well.....I remember saying back then they must have one of the best routes in the country. From what I can remember..Frank was a pretty innovative guy. He had Living quarters for a good portion of his crew..which was unheard of in those days.
It was a QUANITY over QUALITY kind of operation....lots of equipment, but always trouble getting it moved, set up on time...and always issues keeping it lit. I know for fact that the powers that be in Springfield at the time were NEVER happy with them.
The ENTERPRISE was one of the first brought into the country. I would argue the first SUPER spectacular on an American midway. A beautiful piece...and the crowds couldn't ride it enough.
He had a CHANCE RADAR...the only one I ever saw..A very cool piece...It never was fully operational.Only One side rotating... Lights spotty..etc etc. I loved watching that piece, it was quite unique.
He Also had a MACK Musik Express. An absolutely beautiful ride that his son Dennis moved.This was a true jag of a human being. While this is only speculation, he was probably a major part in the shows demise.
So I think they expanded quickly, buying all these BiG pieces to keep their spots, and when they lost them, The show was ultimately doomed.


Yes I remember the Radar... Only one i ever saw! Never have seen a Turbo in person though :-(
and yes, i also remember his son. And remember him the same way your do...
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olediggerguy on 7/13/2019(UTC)
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