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Wild Bill’s Dark Ride Paradise

A letter By Chuck Burnham and Alex Alvandian

In a time of economic uncertainty, the proprietor of wild bills nostalgic center, in Middletown, CT, Bill Ziegler, is busy building his dream of providing a fun, nostalgic place to celebrate a retro amusement experience for the entire family with an interesting “twist” to offer affordable fun and memories. Against the backdrop of the present day digitized and socially desensitized society, it’s a breath of fresh air to experience a place to let your imagination run wild and rekindle the love of your childhood days on a midway full of fun houses, dark rides and old fashioned New England style treats long since forgotten. With the help of long time friend and well known midway artist/ designer, Chuck Burnham, the dream of building a working memorial filled to the brim with the sometimes scary, but always fun, dark rides and fun houses of midway’s past has become a reality.

The fifteen minute walk through “Haunted House” fun house, is the first of many such rides this duo has diabolically devised for the growing public that misses these attractions dearly. “The only thing we are now missing is enough funds to build them faster,” Ziegler says. “Wild Bills Nostalgia Center is not just a store, it’s a way of life, and we have volunteers, plenty of spirit, and well wishes, but it’s not enough,” says Chuck, adding that, “Most parks hang their hats on their “virtual experiences”, where here at Wild Bills you can have “actual fun experiences.”

Wild Bills has been an institution for almost three decades, and finally the time has come for a documentary film (which is currently being shot) to explore the planning, building, and opening of these wonderful old attractions that have completely disappeared from the amusement park landscape. Bill and Chuck are currently restoring five of these attractions at once, many of which are known as “Pretzel Dark Rides” (a type of ride which has currently dwindled into obscurity) and have accepted little help and in order to finish the dream for all those who are young at heart, the Kickstarter program has been recently mentioned as a resource for this incredibly unique project to flourish. The documentary itself will be a fascinating look into the lives of people who literally “work in the dark”.

Chuck Burnham "The Dark Ride Artist"

Chuck and Wild Bill Breaking Ground on the Main Fun house Building

A Trip Back in Time

At the request of Wild Bill himself, lets take a trip back in time… The year is 2004.  The film is "bobble" by Jen Lame.  Enjoy

About the film…

Originally Posted on April 20, 2012

Wild Bill’s Dark Ride Paradise will focus on the creation of a walk through fun house and the installation of several dark rides at Wild Bills in Middletown.  We will follow Chuck and Bill as they create the attractions.  In a larger sphere the film will delve into the world of fun houses, dark rides, carnivals and the showmen who populate these spaces looking at the creative process of the amusement industry from start to finish.  Filming has already begun.

Construction of the largest walk through fun house in America has begun at Wild Bills Nostalgia shop in Middeltown Connecticut.

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