Shooting the Chutes, Sea Lion Park, Coney Island 1896





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Published on Mar 9, 2009

Filmed June 18-23, 1896. Edison Manufacturing Co.
Filmmakers: William Heise and James White (for Raff & Gammon)*

A lively scene on the famous water chutes on Bergen Beach at Coney Island. This is the original Shoot-the-Chutes designed and built by Captain Boyton. He was inspired, by the Midway attractions at Chicago's Columbian Exposition of 1893. Boyton surrounded his ''King of All Amusements'' with other rides on Coney Island and in 1895 opened Sea Lion Park, the worlds first enclosed outdoor amusement park, followed by George C. Tilyou and Steeplechase Park in 1897. Steeplechase has become the template for amusements parks since. Boyton would eventually lease his park to Fred Thompson and Elmer Dundy who would replace everything except for the Shoot-the-Chutes. They opened Luna Park on May 16, 1903 and quickly became one of the most successful amusement playgrounds that Coney Island would have. -TR

There's the Bow'ry boys with Nellie,
and the East Side girls in style.
the girls from up in Harlem, too,
and Johnny with his smile,
the merry-go-rounds and coasters
are crowded all the while,
With future wives and husbands,
down in Coney Isle.
- 'Down in Coney Isle' by Charley Fremont 1895

Captain Paul Boyton was the man who pulled Steve Brody out of the East River after Brody allegedly leaped from the Brooklyn Bridge on a dare in 1886. A fascinating character and an important story in the lore of 19th century New York. Here's the story as reported in the New York Times July 24, 1886: http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-...

See the 3 part film 'Rube and Mandy Visit Coney Island' for some great views of Steeplechase and Luna during its first few months of operation in 1903.

* Frank R. Gammon and Norman C. Raff were promoters and distributors for Thomas Edison's Vitascope.

01/04/12 - 3,367


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