Dark Ride innovator John Wood and family entertainment center pioneers Jim and John Huish inducted into attractions industry’s Hall of Fame
By AT Staff | November 20, 2013
ORLANDO, Fla. — The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) inducted dark ride developer John Wood and the forefathers of the family entertainment center industry (FEC) Jim and John Huish into the IAAPA Hall of Fame. The IAAPA Hall of Fame honors legends and pioneers for their significant and lasting contributions to the worldwide attractions industry. The awards were presented on Nov. 19 in Orlando, Florida, during the Kickoff Event at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2013, the premier annual conference and trade show for the global attractions industry.
“The 2013 IAAPA Hall of Fame inductees are an inspiration to the global attractions industry,” said Ron Gustafson, 2013, chairman of the IAAPA Hall of Fame and Archives Committee and director of marketing and public relations for Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury, Connecticut. “From reinvigorating family dark rides around the world by adding interactivity to expanding miniature golf courses with arcades and attractions, these three individuals revolutionized the attractions industry.”
Dark Ride Innovator: John Wood, Sally Corporation, Jacksonville, Fla., United States
As CEO of Sally Corporation, John Wood’s ideas and creativity revived dark ride attractions and filled a niche market around the world. During the 1980s when roller coasters were in high demand, Wood added the interactive element of a moving shooting gallery and modern technology to traditional dark rides. He also added music, sound effects, and modern scenic design. In 1986, when the first Sally Corporation ride opened at Alton Towers in Staffordshire, England, there were a limited number dark ride attractions functioning in the world. Today, there are 57 entertaining guests in 14 countries.
Modern-Day Family Entertainment Center Founders: John and Jim Huish, Huish Family Entertainment, Tukwila, Wash., United States
Twin brothers John and Jim Huish are considered to be forefathers of modern-day family entertainment centers. As freshman in college in 1957, the young entrepreneurs built and opened a small miniature golf course, using packed sawdust for the fairways and greens. John and Jim spent the next 20 years building and operating a series of miniature golf courses across Central and Southern California, which evolved into the influential chain of Huish Family Fun Centers. They added game rooms to the facilities in the mid-to-late 1960s and billiards tables shortly thereafter. By the mid 1970s the Huish brothers established J&J Amusements, a premier supplier of go-karts and bumper boats and they built a center that included miniature golf courses, batting cages, game rooms, and trampolines. In the early 1980s they added outdoor skate parks and go-kart tracks to the list of facilities they developed before Jim was killed in a construction accident in 1984. John forged ahead for the next 30 years, acquiring or building a nationwide chain of water parks and family entertainment centers as well as the Bullwinkle’s Restaurant Franchise.
Since that time, dozens of industry pioneers have been honored, including: Walt Disney (Walt Disney Company); Milton Hershey (Hersheypark); Bob Rogers (BRC Imagination Arts); Will Koch (Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari); Bo Kinntorph (Liseberg); Franz Mack (Mack Rides/Europa-Park); George Millay (Wet ‘n Wild); Jay Stein (Universal Studios Florida); Geoffrey Thompson (Blackpool Pleasure Beach); and Antonio Zamperla (Zamperla). A complete list of inductees and video tributes are available at www.IAAPA.org/about-iaapa/awards/hof-selection-criteria/hof.