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Swiss Bob and Sky Diver

This Belle Freeman Estate postcard shows the Swiss Bob in the foreground and the Sky Diver at the other end of the Casino Pier.  I know from reading the posts at some of the Jersey Shore and Seaside Heights Facebook sites that the Swiss Bob was the favorite amusement ride of many locals and visitors.  Family friend  Jimmy DeLucci (and maybe a friend of yours too) was one of the ride operators in the 1970s.

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35 responses »

  1. Great Picture! You May Remember mee Everybody!! I use to Run The Swiiss-bob And Himalaya In The Late 70s And Early The 80s I was the Guy On the Mic! You Wanna Go Faster ya yyaayayayyaa I was the guy that Rocked those 2 Rides for years and had the best sound sysytem on Casin Pier! And They were the Fastest Rides on The Boared walk hold Tight Now! That was Mee the best time of my Life! The Jerzey Shore Seaside heights it was Clean and Great People! I use to Run Full Loads Of People for hrs in Those days On a Saturday and wenesday nights fireworks! My Voice was Shot bye the Time i went Home lol! Those were the Best Days Miss it So Much! Thanks Rocky

    Reply
    • Right on, Rocky.

      I was one of those summer Seaside kids that rode the Swissbob ALL the time. In fact I rode it with my mom. I was between 11 and 14 back then and boy, that was a zippin’ ride. I remember your ayayayayayayayaiii-iiiiiiit’s the swisssssssss-bob, hold on please! That was great. Back then I don’t think I could go on that ride enough. Here’s one 55 year old kid that still remembers the good times on that ride that you gave us. Thanks for the years of fun.

      Reply
    • Just want to thank you Rocky. My best memories of my childhood was the car ride from Mystic Island to Seaside Heights for the games on the boardwalk Lucky Leo’s and eating at JR’s before hitting the amusments. My favorite ride was the Swiss Bob. I would ride it over and over. It was magical. Thanks for helping with the magic.

      Reply
  2. The Himalaya and there was a major wind storm thats blew the Sky Diver over and it toppled On top of the Himalaya! i was almost killed i was the Operater of the Himalya On Casin Pier when this happened July 12th 1982 at 435 pm !ill never for get this! Also I saved like 45 peoples Lifes! iI felt something was gonna happen got on the Mic and said to all the Tiders im gonna stop the Ride because of the Storm and lightning and rain and ill give you your Tickets back! Soon as i did that! The ticket box on the side of the Ride blew out and the Sky diver came down on me in the booth! Crushed the Booth like a Pan cake i was very lucky and lived! Something ill remember the rest of my lifee!And the Himalaya and the Swiss-bob and they were the 2 best rides that i Ran for many years On Casino Pier in Seaside Heights! Oh yeaa!

    Reply
    • I have the local newspaper articles and photos from that storm. I’ll try to get around to posting them soon.

      Reply
      • Chris, I just came across some pictures that might be of interest. The website I found them at incorrectly states the time as late 80’s, but I know (as Rocky stated to the exact minute) that this happened in July 1982. I hope you can post some of these or similar pictures here.

        Bob W.

      • I will post them over the weekend. I have the news articles from when the accident happened that I will scan and post too.

      • Good morning Chris. Hope your well. I been in Florida and maritta Ga for the last 6 months finally back at the Jerzey shore! If you can or anybody if you have Pictures of the Swiss-bob and Himalaya in the laste 70s and early 80s Please post them! I have Pics i took some Pictures when i ran the Swiss-bob and Himalaya then i just have to look threw all my Pictures ounce i do ill Scan and post! Please let me know thank you Rocky

      • CHRIS,I HAVE PERSONAL PICTURES OF THAT ON MY PROFILE PAGE.IT’S ALSO ON MAY’S HIMALAYA PAGES TO.

  3. I remember the days when Albert (heavy set man) used to operate the Swiss Bob. They all worked for Edy Meyer, later when the matterhorn was added to the inventory Albert took over main operator there. Kevin last name unknown was then primary operator on Swiss Bob. Gerhart first name unknown was primary operator on the Himalaya at that time.

    Reply
  4. I rememeber Big Albert he was around a long time! I was a kid the matterhorn was were you would leave Casino Pier it was on the Right side last ride! I remember his Voice Its Time to almost go upside down hold tight now and he would do his saying! I remember he us to play the song bye Billy Preston all the time wanna Go Around in Circles! Those Guys ran those Rides Before me early 70s kevin there was a guy JJ He ran the Swiss-bob with Kevin Jimmy! And A few others! Yes it was Eddy myer shows from but Bruno Capol i guess in the family some how took over from Switzerland the Swiss-bob Himalaya and Jet Star late 70s! I remember all those guys i use to sit in front of the Ride as a kid saying to myself im gonna run that Swiss-bob when im old enough! I even said to my Dad and sister being a child after getting of the Ride! i will be in the booth Doing the Swiss-bob my saying You Wanaaaa Go fasterrr And here we Goo AIE AIE AIE AIE AIE ITS The Swiss-bob its the fastest Ride On the Boaredwalk hold real tight now And sure enough i was Running the ride! I Ran thousands of People On a Saturday Night Holidays wenesday firework night! Broke records in Riders in how many people I ran on that ride in one single night from lets say 8pm until like 1am! I wish i could find Pictures of these 2 Rides in days I ran them Late 70s early 80s! Also they have a video ove 1970 of seaide heights and another one! I wish they had one for the 1980 or early 80s! Also i Ran More People on the Himalaya in the history books in Those years too! Alls i can say Seaside the Casino in those days were the best! And it was Fun! God bless Rocky

    Reply
    • Also dont forget about the red and white light show, white when boarding and red when it hit top speed. No computers in those days, great job again Rocky. Bruno Capol WAS the owner of the Himalaya when the Sky Diver fell. There is a good artical in the Ocean County Review about it, along with pictures. I have pictures after the insurance co surveyed the damage. It is amazing you made it out of there alive, one guy we knew had a broken wrist. We were going to meet some friends who were getting off work then to go to the Baby’O later. I actually saw it fall, it twisted back and forth, I thought it was headed for the ocean. The other thing that people dont realize is that not to long after that happened we were running Casino Pier and the roof of Henrys Playland collapsed sending tons of water onto the boardwalk, and people scattering again.

      Reply
    • sorry to say rocky,and you can ask eddie petel,i ran the most people in one day memorial day weekend in 1974.i even beat the jet star.the total was over 5500!!!!i was running the ride just one way.

      Reply
  5. i worked on the pier 78-79. i was one of the gouhls running around in poes haunted house in 78. went to doorway to hell in 79, i think ed dimaio sold poes then and it turned into some shops. i was working in doorway to hell for a few weeks until i got fired for not popping out and scaring people because i was behind the walls scoring with chicks too many times! crazy, girls would come in and trail behind and be like, hey youre cute, and bam! haha. their girlfriends would come back through an hour or so later going “did you see a girl that was wearing……..” and she would come out with our makeup all over her….. i went from there to the jet star. bruno capol owned the jet star, himalaya and swiss bob that year, and i remember his name on our checks. when it would rain, the track got dry and rusty, and wed have to climb it and diesel it. rain and ligntning shut downs and id scoot over and work on the himalaya. i remember everyone working that pier. drifter on the zipper, pete, danny(worpo) on the enterprize, me and steve on the jet star, joey fernicola was working on that ride with the swings, i found out he was actually from my town a year ahead of me in high school. he died a year or 2 later when his carload flipped over on the parkway on the way to seaside and he flew out of the convertible. little tiny dude with curly blonde hair, i gave him the nickname woodstock, he reminded me of the bird in peanuts. it stuck. there was harpo, cant remember what ride he worked, actually i think i remember him on the ring the bell. that thing was great. the juice head guidos would come by with their chicks and try to hit the bell and look bad, then our skinny asses would walk up right after and swing the hammer with 1 arm knowing the right technique and ring it no problem and make them look like idiots ;). i remember a lot of the chicks running the kiddie rides, and a bunch of them living in the kathleen rooms/apartments. ended up running into a couple of them who recognized me many many years later. my old neighbor is still in touch and good friends with one, and she actually rented one of my apartments a while back. great times, i could go on and on…..

    Reply
  6. remembered some other stuff……fritz would run the himalaya sometimes when someone was on break……funny listening to him do it with the accent. i remember him being really drunk one night, we were all laughing, too funny…..i still have my black and yellow casino pier hat with the smily face on it….i remember one year lightning hitting the skyride that was on the pier and one of the fiberglass cars melting down on to the go cart track. gary mahana at doorway always putting in the one white out contact in his eye. he was a weird dude though…..one car on the jet star would stick on the second brake if you didnt brake it with light pressure. i remember getting in trouble for doing crazy shit on the jet star. handstand on the rails of the car after it went around the first turn and got back up the hill, before it went back down, and then hanging off the side of the car as it went around the inside 360 degree curve towards the end of the ride while avoiding the structure sticking up inside……crazy days………great down there then. i still have 2 houses down there, and hate the town now, i dont even like going there any more. white trash, and horrible atmosphere…….i hate saying it, but its true….

    Reply
  7. This postcard brings back many memories for me and I could have even been one of the folks walking along in this picture. Behind the Swiss Bob is a carpet slide ride that I recall going on. You climbed up some stairs, sat down on top of the carpet, then came back down through a spiral-shaped slide. This was before the larger slide rides were built (both piers had them and there was a third one next to the Big Wheel at the center of the boardwalk (where the Coin Castle arcade is now).

    I didn’t know any of the operators personally, but I spent a lot of time on the pier on those rides or watching other folks on them. I definitely recall hearing “ayayayayayayayaiii-iiiiiiit’s the swisssssssss-bob”, and once in-a-while a rider “losing his lunch” after one spin too many. I also remember seeing the lights turn red (someone else commented on this) when the ride went full speed.

    The roller coaster in the background is not the Jet Star, but I do remember riding on it. I believe the Jet Star was set up in 1972. It came from Palisades Park which closed in 1971. For its first year or two on Casino Pier, there were signs affixed to the ride stating that it was the fastest roller coaster ever built. In later years, safety guards were welded to each of the cars to keep you from extending your arms and hitting something. The guards didn’t look too good though and were eventually removed. It also had a great light display, the chaser lights with mirrors going up the side of the lift, the rotating radar antenna on top of the Jet Star sign, which lit up, in different colors.

    I was also around close to the time the storm hit and toppled the Sky Diver onto the Himalaya in 1982. The headline in one of the newspapers read: “Sky Diver takes a Dive”. Before the 1982 season, the Sky Diver had been positioned to be parallel with the length of the pier (like it is shown in the postcard), but by1982 it had been turned 90 degrees, so when it fell, the Himalaya didn’t have a chance. That Himalaya was removed and replaced with an older model (without a roof on top), just to get through the rest of the season. The Sky Diver was never replaced, but I still saw some still in operation in other amusement parks for many years after this.

    1982 was also the last year for the Sky Ride (over the pier), the Wax Museum, and in the fall, a section of the Casino arcade building was torn down to allow Ocean Terrace to run through uninterrupted to the north end of town. The Merry-Go-Round (now called the Dr. Floyd L. Morland carousel) was almost lost that year. It used to have fluorescent lights on it and it was showing its age. I remember seeing Dr. Moreland overseeing its restoration and operating it after the Arcade building was reopened in 1983 with the new Castle facade (that it still has today).

    Reply
    • Good Morning Bob, Im the guy who was crushed inside the Himalaya booth in 1982 it was July 12th at 438 pm! Ill never forget that day when the Sky diver ride fell on top of me in the himalaya! I saved 45 people lives that were on the ride before the wind and rain came out of no were! I got them off 5 minutes before the Sky diver came topling down on the himalaya! I ran the Swiss;bob and Himalaya for many years on Casino Pier! I was the operater of both of them for many yrs! Those were the best yrs in Seaside with the biggest crowds! my voice was shot at the end of the night on a saturday with nonstop full loads of people from 8pm until 1230! I loved it one of the best times running those rides in Seaside! Bob Very nice artilcle that you wrote! Thanks god bless Rocky

      Reply
      • Hello Rocky, I wasn’t on the pier that day, but I remember that storm event in 1982 very well. The weather changed quickly and out of nowhere the storm appeared. I think a section of the roof on Henry’s Playland collapsed during the downpour, and on a July afternoon, the pier had to have been busy with little time to evacuate.

        It was a front page story in the Star Ledger and the Review, I wish I had saved the articles they printed. It could have been a much different outcome for the people you helped safely evacuate. Glad you made out okay and lived to tell about it.

        I know it took a while on normal day, to unload the Sky Diver of riders. There was a curved platform that allowed you to change out more than one car at a time, but that day you probably had to fight the wind to keep the ride from turning, spinning each car upright, and have the wheel stop in just the right spot.

        Most of the damage was cleared away by the time I got to see what happened in person. That Himalaya was replaced by an older one without a canopy just to finish out the season.
        I missed the canopy that year, because the ride would usually continue to operate when it rained. In the past, I was lucky enough to be on it during a brief rainstorm, and got a few extra turns.

        With both the Swiss Bob and Himalaya, there would be someone in the booth (probably you), with some turntables and a microphone to cut in with “do you wanna go faster???!!!….”. I think the more the riders yelled back, the sooner the ride would pick up speed. There would also be someone collecting tickets and making sure you were secured in your seat. They would hop on and off the ride while it was already moving, and I was amazed how they could time it just right.

        Having a sound system was a big deal back in the day and I think those 2 rides were the first to have one. I remember the “Stereo” speakers in front of the Swiss Bob. At top speed, the lights would go red and the horn would sound. The Himalaya had the siren and the strobe lights.

        A lot of good memories for me.

    • ONCE AGAIN I HAVE TO STEP IN.THE JET STAR THAT WAS PUT UP ON THE PIER CAME OVER FROM GERMANY AND THE YEAR WE SET IT UP ON THE PIER WAS 1970.I KNOW CAUSE I SET IT UP AND WORKED WITH ROLAND SHWARZKOPT AND ANOTHER BIG GERMAN FELLOW.THOSE WERE THE YEARS I WAS WORKING ON THE HIMALAYA AND IN 1971 BEGAN TO OPERATE THE RIDE.THE REST IS HISTORY.

      Reply
  8. No single ride, past or present, represents Seaside heights to me more than the Swiss Bob. The energy and the sounds. Rocking music, an operator who’s become legendary (how telling is that), and of course, that horn you could hear from every corner of town. If the could only find one and restore it to put back on the boards like Kennywood did. (the German Banyan kurve one like the original, not that Chance knockoff) Just one thing to say in closing…Are YOU ready to go FASTER??!!

    Reply
    • John M. Gassaway

      When I was a kid we use to go stay at a house that My Great Grandfather Rev.Brandt built ,just north of casino pier. I use to walk down to the park just to go ride on the Swiss Bob! Some of the best times I had were in & around that old park. It was such a Blast ! when the Hit Music played Let the Good times roll ! That Machine was flying around the track at what seemed like break neck speeds . When the Operator asked if we wanted to go faster & we yell hell yes ! I would love to restore that machine . I am currently restoring a circular saw mill. But , I bet if I had the Blue prints I could fabricate a Swiss Bob . Or restore a used one . In fact the worse shape it is in the better it is for me . the old saw mills use a cable to pull the log carriage by the 6 Ft. circular saw blade. I remember looking at the star roller coaster & seeing a cable attached to a rig that pulled the car to the top of the roller coaster before the operator switched off the release to disengage the car . That Coaster was a real thrill also! Boy I sure miss those days! Then their were the fire works . What a neat park! Dose any one know where the old Junked rides end up ? If so, I was very serous about restoring a ride

      Reply
  9. bob bollerman

    I did love this ride. I was friends with big Bob he operated the Matahorn and stored the swiss bob sound system in his home over the winter. Bob and I Hung at Hulabaloo in T R. Also can’t forget Gearhart Rasper who operated the Hymaleya. An other favorite. All were imported by Eddy Meyer Show. This was a time, and great memories.

    Reply
  10. Great reading all the stories of Casino Pier, I also worked on the Matterhorn,1973 with Bob [Abert] Strecker,that year “Brother Louie” was the summer song.Then we both moved up to the Swiss-Bob,1974, I worked there till 1977, then came back after the Himalaya was back on the Pier & operated the Himalaya 1983- 1988 ,Sal Milano bought it from the Edy Meyer Show after it got crushed & had it up & running in 83. The same Himalaya that came in new & we all set it up in the summer of 1975. Albert’s closing song on the Swiss-Bob in the 70’s was “Rocket Man” & mine on the Himalaya 83-88 was “Bohemian Rhapsody” & still my favorite to this day ! Every day & night was a story & best times never to be forgotten with hundreds of great memories & friends,Thanks…..Jimi

    Reply
  11. Albert “Bob” Strecker trained me to operate the only Himalaya in Oklahoma, which was owned by Bell’s Amusement Park. I ran it during the amusement park’s summer seasons for three years (1972-1974); he ran it during the fair while I ran joints (games) or concessions for the park during the Tulsa State Fair. The park was located on the fairgrounds and shared the midway with Murphy Bros. Expositions, who I later ran the Flying Bobs for.

    I learned and replicated his whole act with his permission, even down to closing with Rocket Man. It was a great time, and I would like to get a chance to meet Bob Strecker again. Oh, and I can still yodel,….Aye, yi yi yi yi yi yi yi …..It’s the Himalaya…..Hold tight now, it’s the fastest ride on the midway.

    Sadly, the amusement park and Himalaya are long gone now.

    Phil Hensley
    philip-hensley1@cox.net

    Reply
    • Phil,I’m still in touch with Albert[Bob Strecker] ,he lives in Texas & I’m still at the Shore. I also went to Bell’s Amusement Park To visit & stay with Albert during the 1981 Fair & ran the Himalaya . Met the entire Bell’s family & made me feel at home,it was a special & great time.

      Reply
  12. …Being raised in upstate N.Y. in the 60s &70s, I was lucky enough to have a dad w/ a good paying job which allowed us (via introduction to the area from family friends) to vacation 1 week each year in a rented cottage just off the south end of the Seaside Park boardwalk/midway beach area from 1969 thru 1977…to answer the earlier posting here, the Jetstar (during my 1st visit in 1969 ) was named “Hells’ Angles”-(prob. changed name due to family themed park??)..the Swiss-Bob was instantly my all time favorite, & immediately made me a boardwalk ride junkie–I still remember the “stereo” logoed speakers cranking out the 5th Dimension’s “Sweet Blindness” hit as I rode it round-n-round, as well as Vanity Fair’s “Hitchin’ a ride” on the Hymalaya a couple of years later…ironically, a Seaside Park Hymalaya was sold to a local park (Sylvan Beach- near where I now live) a few years ago-went and rode it/took pics & now use pic of it as laptop wallpaper to remind me of those happier times–went back to the Seaside area in 2002:TOTALLY “gone” forever as to the good old place it once was…thanks for the info/memories here, oh fellow ride junkies!!!! ~Pitts~

    nfo within here–THANKS for the update!!)…wentback to

    Reply
  13. Amy Baldesweiler

    I am so glad i found this page. I loved the Swiss Bob, my all time favorite ride on Casino Pier. I am a child of the 70’s, spent many a week down Seaside with my friends. After this horrible storm I wanted to show my own kids what Seaside was like when i was their age. A simpler time, Thank you for giving me memories that are precious and bitter sweet. I wish there were you tubes of these rides for prosperity. I only have one question for any of you, Who played Mountains Mississippi Queen? Thats the song i remember when i think of these rides, lol!

    Reply
  14. FUNNY I LIVED ON THE CASINO PIER MY WHOLE LIFE AND RAN THE HIMALAYA FROM 1971 TO 1974.I WORKED FOR EDY MEIER SINCE 1969 AND STAYED WITH THE HIMALAYA,EVEN WHEN I WASN’T WORKING ON THE PIER SETTING IT UP ALL OVER THE STATES.I ALSO BEGAN BRINING THE MUSIC YOU WOULD HEAR ON THE HIMALAYA AND SWISS BOB FROM THE MID SIXTIES AND INTO THE LATE SEVENTIES.I WAS WELL KNOWN FOR THE MUSIC WE WOULD PUMP OUT ON THOSE RIDES.

    Reply
  15. THE HISTORY OF THE HIMALAYA ON THE CASINO PIER GOES BACK WITH ME WHEN I WAS 9 YEARS OLD,THATS WHEN THE HIMALAYA ARRIVED ON THE PIER.THAT WAS 1962.I FELL IN LOVE WITH THAT RIDE THE FIRST DAY I SAW IT AND WAS ALWAYS UP ON THE PIER HANGING WITH FRITZ(MY SECOND FATHER) AND EDY.IN THE MID SIXTIES ABOUT 1966 THAT’S WHEN I MET GERHART(GEARS) AND BECAME INSTANT FRIENDS.THAT’S WHEN I STARTED BRINGING MY RECORD COLLECTION UP TO THEM TO PLAY ON THE RIDES.THE FIRST SONG I HEARD ON THE HIMALAYA AT NIGHT IN 1962 WAS BOBBY ROE’S “SHEILA”.

    Reply
  16. THE PICTURE YOU SEE ON THE PAGE HERE IS 1969,THE FIRST YEAR I WORKED ON THE HIMALAYA.THATS THE HELLS ANGELS ROLLER COASTER IN THE BACKGROUND AND THE HIMALAYA HERE STILL HAS THE WOODEN LETTERS ON THE FACADE.THEY WERE REPLACED THE NEXT YEAR WITH THE FIRST LIGHTED SIGN ON THE HIMALAYA IN 1970.WE WOULD ALWAYS SELL THE HIMI’S FROM THE PAST YEAR AND GET A BRAND NEW ONE ALMOST EVERY YEAR.AND YES AMY THE YEAR WAS 1970 WHEN WE WERE PLAYING MOUNTAIN ON THE HIMALAYA!!!!!!

    Reply
  17. The Swiss Bob is a legend, but its The Enterprize that I wanted to see again after viewing photos of the roller-coaster in its new location. (currently located somewhat off-shore due to storm).
    So here you go, a little something that got stuck in my brain from somewhere in the seventies, “YOU RODE THE CORROSION, NOW GET-ON THE SOUND EXPLOSION! iTS THE ROCK ‘N ROLL ENTERPRIZE! NOT 68. NOT 70, SIXTY NNNNNNNNNNINE MILES AN HOUR….I just loved those chants. The song that I remember while the ride was lifting-off is Born to be Wild played at full-blast of course. From The Swiss Bob, it was some Elton Jon, maybe Goodbye Yellow-Brick Road, or something more mellow
    Ride-operators had navy blue long-sleeved wind-breakers with those rainbow-metallic, iron-on letters that spelled the name of their ride, or at least ENTERPRIZE operators did.
    The cool prize of the day back then, besides giant stuffed animals ha ha, were those logos of bands and beer brands etc. behind glass in various size picture-frames.
    I haven’t been there in awhile but I can still remember the chance to win a carton of Marlboros, or “burros”, as we called them, for the gamble of a quarter or two.

    Reply

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