Did you know Bob designed and operated the first games at Six Flags Over Texas for the 1973 season? When he was asked to put them in, he went to Garnet Walker who had the games concession at the State Fair of Texas. Mr. Walker’s advice, “Hell no, I’m the only person who could do that, who do you think you are?” Bob immediately accepted the Six Flags offer and his games were a huge success.
Through the years of Minick Associates, Bob and Rich designed many operator games, operator sections of parks, arcades, arcade sections and my personal favorite – Skeeball Palaces.
My first year working in an amusement park was 1973 for Bob as a game operator in his first games operations. I started in The Cannery. You received two bean bags for 50 cents and if you could knock all the empty cans off the table you won a “plush”. A simple game who’s secret was simply playing it enough to get the hang of it. Bob designed the games to give out 30% in merchandise. Nearly everyone was a winner. Bob insisted all the operators make a big deal when a “guest” won. As Bob told everyone, “this person may never win another thing in his life. Make it special.” And we did.
Bob named the area Doc Snooker’s Magnificent Game Emporium. It was magic.
Here’s a picture of Bob’s Cannery and his drawing. Pretty special, especially to me.
I took the Walt Disney signature on muslin along with the 1952 letters from Koneta Roxby, Librarian for Walt Disney Productions (as it was called then) for Helen, Uncle Owen Pope’s sister, to check out Sunday. She confirmed the signature is Mr. Disney’s, but of course I need conformation from official Disney historians.
Lars Iverson, an old friend and amusement park professional is already on the job helping me find those who can verify. Lars’ wife and daughter work at Disney World and he has lots of connections. Lars is also very into memorabilia, the perfect sleuth for me.
Here’s a photo of the Pope House in Disney World. Aunt Dollie and Uncle Owen were the only residents of Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Bob spent summers with them at Disneyland. When he was old enough to work at the park, he explained, “I would roll out of bed, walk under the bridge and report for work on my job as ride operator on Snow White‘s ride.” Shortest commute ever, best first job ever. Is it any wonder Bob continued in the amusement park world the rest of his life?
So I’m going through Bob’s office. Inside a very brittle envelope was several letters from Koneta Roxby, Librarian, Walt Disney Productions, 2400 West Alameda Avenue, Burbank, California, dated 1952. The letters are referring to Aunt Dollie and Uncle Owen’s miniature horse show. Also inside the envelope was this big square of canvas with Walt Disney’s signature. I’d asked Bob years ago why the signature was on canvas and he said we needed to ask, Aunt Dollie, but of course, we never did. We thought they would both always be around. Uncle Owen’s sister, Helen lives here in Dallas. I think a visit is in order. And a trip to the framer’s for a frame for this canvas. We museum framed so much memorabilia, can’t imagine how this one slipped by.