Running the Ride
From late summer in 1981 to early 1985, Gaylin – Williams Carousel Enterprises operated the carousel. A small staff was retained year-round, additional operators were hired for the summers. Art-oriented individuals who liked children were hired. The days were long and often unbearably hot during the summers, cold and short during the off-season. There were regulars who came to ride on the weekends that we got to know. Many thousands flocked to the beach during heat waves, filling the carousel building to beyond capacity and loading the carousel packed full for every ride. Not everyone treated the carousel with respect and that was hard. We worked as a team, though, and made it though difficult riders. The best comment was by an 8 year-old boy, “Did the horses used to be real?”
B. Williams photos
A log was kept for each day of operation with a ride count for regular riders and for The Friends of the Santa Monica Pier Carousel, the carousel’s non-profit support group, who rode free for an annual membership fee. On busy days in the summertime, there was barely enough time to count the tickets before the next ride began.