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Thrills Being Drained From Thrill Rides

March 13, 2004

Regarding "Around and Around and ... " (editorial, March 7), on the tempest over the spinning teacups at Disneyland: I am reminded of Judge Benjamin Cardozo's famous analysis of a Coney Island amusement park attraction known ominously as "The Flopper." The plaintiff, a "vigorous young man," was injured when he stepped on the Flopper's moving walkway and subsequently sued the amusement company that operated the ride.

Cardozo would have none of it: "There would have been no point to the whole thing," he stated in the 1929 opinion of the New York Court of Appeals [on which he was serving], "no adventure about it, if the risk had not been there ... [t]he tumbling bodies and the screams and laughter supplied the merriment and fun."

I am certain that old Walt is not the only one spinning in his grave.

David M. Marquez

Los Angeles

*

Re your editorial: My husband, then single, was an original employee in 1955 of Disneyland, on a part-time basis while he was going to Long Beach State College as an engineering student. He was hired as a ride operator and soon promoted to supervisor of the teacup ride. Of course I heard many stories over the years about the park. Walt Disney used to walk around the park, talking to the ride operators to ask them what the people taking the rides were saying about each ride, and how they liked it and what, if anything, they wanted changed.

The teacups were originally not turnable. However, the first thing that everyone wanted to do was to spin the wheel. Walt, as he wanted to be called, asked my husband if that was possible to change, and the answer was yes. A short time later it was done -- each cup could spin if the occupants wanted it to do so. I am delighted, as well as my family, that my husband played a part in such a fun ride. However, now I'm dismayed that it has been changed.

For my husband, and for Walt, as your editorial said: "Imagineer a device to slow the spinning of old Walt in his grave."

Gloria Pritchett

San Clemente

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