Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Blast From The Past -- Herschell's Mad Mouse

"Every Allan Herschell ride carries a tradition of competence that distinguishes it's owners as men who know and appreciate the best."

You can certainly tell from this ad tag line, it wasn't published in the last fifty years. The year was 1959 and the Herschell company was touting their Mad Mouse. Back then Herschell billed itself as the world's largest ride manufacturer, their first Mad Mouse appeared at the Alabama State Fair in 1958

The Mad Mouse proved to be very popular, with a delivery schedule of about one ride every two weeks during the first half of 1959, Production later increased to one a week, with more than 30 of the rides sold by 1960, About half of those Mice were placed in parks. Twenty Three of them ended up in the USA, presently only three are still operating. The Joyland mouse, in Lubbock Texas, was relocated from Bell's in Tulsa Oklahoma. The Mad Mouse currently thrilling riders at Marshall. Wisconsin's Little Amerricka was originally at Enchanted Forest in Chesterton Indiana. And, Quassy Amusement Park's, Monster Roller Coaster in Middlebury, Connecticut, is the last Mad Mouse operating in it's original location.

The ad continues,"The Mad Mouse packs the ride of a major coaster into a fraction of the midway space at a fraction of the major coaster cost. And in many respects the Mad Mouse is much more than a coaster. Its individual cars can take tight turns that give riders the exquisite thrill of flying off into space. Not only is it exciting for the riders, but it is also a thrilling show for spectators, for the track is designed to put the action in full view of the crowd it draws like a magnet."

A Mad Mouse uses single-car trains on a track with very tight turns. The cars wheels are positioned closer to the rear of the car than a traditional coaster. The front of the car travels past the turn before changing directions, giving the sensation that the car will fall off the track.

The Herschell Mad Mouse coasters have a more conventional style of non-tubular steel coaster track, with straight cross-ties and no separate guide rails. The track structure is identical to that used on the Herschell kiddie coasters. In fact, the Herschell ads for their 1960 portable roller coasters claim that they have Mad Mouse-style undercarriages

And, the ad concludes with these words,"We are proud of Allan Herschell's most brilliant achievement. Ride the Mad Mouse at your first opportunity and you will quickly see why it's the most wanted most admired new major ride."

I'm not sure I would consider the Mad Mouse the company's "most brilliant achievement," but Scott might feel a bit differently, the mouse that was located in Chesterton is responsible for starting his coaster enthusiasm. Personally, I have a fondness for their kiddie coasters, but that's another Blast!


Ericka said...

Hi, There is also a Mad Mouse ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in England which I have ridden several times myself. The front of the car does indeed go out over the track prior to the turns which are sharp and instant. It is a great thrill ride without the huge height or straight drops which you find on a lot of modern roller coasters.


Steve F.