Rocky Point’s cool Whips!

Cover Photo

Throughout a good part of its run from 1847 to 1996, Rocky Point Park hosted an amusement park staple known as the Whip.  If you missed out on riding the Whip before it was removed sometime in the 1980s, I’ll try to bring you back with this blog post.  If you were fortunate to ride it, hopefully this will rekindle some fond memories.

The Whip was a ride originally designed and built by W.F. Mangels Company of Coney Island, New York, United States.  William F. Mangels patented the Whip in 1914 and it soon became an extremely popular ride.

Mangells
Mangels

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Here’s how Wikipedia describes it, although as a veteran Whip rider, I can’t say it does the ride justice.

“The ride consists of two circular wheel-like turn-table platforms on opposing sides of a rectangular base. Motors turn a cable that leads a number of 2–3 person seater cars that are attached, around a laminated wooden track. The ride follows the track while the cable turns. When the car reaches one of the turn-table platforms, the speed picks up forcing riders to one side as the car whips around the corner.”

The Whip shot into the spotlight early on when it was featured  prominently  in the 1917 silent movie “Coney Island” starring Fatty Arbuckle.

fattyconey_medium-jpg
Fatty Arbuckle rides the Whip in 1917 silent film comedy ‘Coney Island’ Courtesy of Amusing The Zillions.

It is not known what exact year Rocky Point Park received its first Whip but it’s believed to have been sometime during the Harrington Era, possibly in 1920.

TheWhip
Courtesy of Rhode Trip Photography.

Rocky Point’s Whip was located near the rear of the park’s midway, near the loading area for the Wildcat roller coaster and the Mill Chutes Tunnel of Love ride.

Whip Pre Two
Courtesy of John Carothers
Whip Pre1
Courtesy of John Carothers
ticket
Rhode Island Historical Society

Whips with 8, 10, or 12 cars were available during this timeframe, and there’s no documentation to pinpoint how many cars Rocky Point’s had.  Hence, we don’t know if this Whip survived the 1938 hurricane, or was replaced by a new model shortly after Rocky Point reopened in 1948.

One thing for sure, Rocky Point’s post-1948 Whip was a 10-car model as seen in this 1957 photo.

Whip1948
Providence Journal photo

The Caruso Family owned and operated the Whip in its post 1948 location along side the Arcade.

1957.jpg
Providence Journal photo

When the Flume was added during the 1971 season, the Whip was moved to the front of the midway to fill a void left by the departing Cuddle Up ride.

Whip Thompson
Courtesy of Mark Thompson

In keeping with Rocky Point’s famed policy of recycling signs, the Whip was now the “Ride, Hug, and Swing” which was actually the verbiage on the back side of the Cuddle Up sign!

Don Tassone
Photo credit: Don Tassone
Whip 1970s
Courtesy of Bill Luca
Whip Darlene
Courtesy of Darlene Sabol

 

Whip1970s three
Anita Cerri Ferla/You Must Be This Tall movie collection

Those who rode the Whip in this location will never forget disembarking at the conclusion of the ride and feeling the sun-fed heat from the metal gridiron piercing the bottoms of your Keds or Chuck Taylors as you “hot footed it” to the exit!

Whip 1970s Two
Courtesy of Dusty Leigh Landry
ProJo
Providence Journal photo

Rocky Point replaced its Whip with the Apollo 11, again, sometime in the 1980s.

Creelman
Courtesy of Marilyn Creelman

Where the Whip’s contents ended up, is not known, although the former Whalom Park (Lunenburg, Massachusetts), still in operation at the time, had been collecting components from closed Whips for decades in order to keep its vintage ride up and running.  So it’s possible that former park scooped it up.  Below is a blurry photo I shot in 1997 with a Fling Camera of the Whalom Whip.  You can see the mismatched art on the cars.

Whalom Whip
Photo by George LaCross

If you want to ride a Whip today, the closest one is at Playland Park in Rye, NY.  And trust me, it’s worth the three-hour drive.  Playland has the best Whip I’ve ever ridden!  This Whip debuted with Playland Park in 1928 but several accounts indicate that the ride was relocated from the former Paradise Park, also in Rye, which had closed a year earlier.  The cars on Playland’s Whip were replaced with then-newer Mangels models in the late 1940s.  Here’s a fan’s video.

 

Whip nameplate
Playland Whip photo by George LaCross
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2 thoughts on “Rocky Point’s cool Whips!

  1. I do recall that HOT platform in the sun. Most other parks had theirs under a roof (Lincoln Park, Playland, Knoebels to name a few), but you could fry an egg on those metal plates at Rocky Point!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for mentioning my family and our long history with Rocky Point Park. Yes, we owned The Whip and The Rockets as well from 1948 until the early 60’s, as you know. It was exciting as a little kid to have the run of the Park, and ride for free on everything. Later, as I got older, I sold tickets in our Ticket Booth for both rides..I also knew how to operate both rides. In fact, my whole family worked the rides in one way or another..My Mom and sister worked selling tickets, my older brother, Richard, operated the Whip, my Dad, when he was there, would operate either the Whip or the Rockets. It was an exciting childhood, and every kid’s dream..kinda like joint the circus.. it shaped my life and gave me lifelong wonderful memories.

      Liked by 2 people

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