The following tribute was written by James Elsey in 1999 and was featured in a local Wildwood newspaper.



A letter to the Editor:

On July 6, the Wildwoods lost a good friend as Fred Mahana Jr. passed away. I first met Fred in the early 1970's when he opened Snoopy's Hut, a small hotdog stand in front of the A&P store in Cape May Court House where I was employed. Fred and I spent many a lunch hour talking over his ideas for building unique rides for the Boardwalk. He had an artist draw up a sketch of his proposed parachute ride and knowing I moonlighted in photography, got me to take photos for a proposed spot for his ride on the then Sportland Pier in North Wildwood. This ride was way ahead of its time and Fred managed to get a group of backers to finance his venture. Unfortunately, the backers "backed out" at the last moment and Fred's new ride never came to fruition. Fred came to Wildwood as a young man and along with his parents operated Mahana's Marionettes on the Boardwalk in North Wildwood for many years. Later, Fred turned the business into an eatery that sold great food and displayed the talent and imagination he possessed, in large-scale trains running around the inside of the building along with many other "Freddie Original" decorations. Fred was always working, sometimes only getting by wih catnaps in a small room under the eatery. Over the years we stayed friends and I continued to do occasional photographic work for him and listen to all of his wonderful ideas. The only thing that stopped Fred from becoming the second Walt Disney was money. Back in the 70's, folks were leery to invest in these futuristic rides. Today when we see the fantastic rides that the Morey Organization has provided us, I often think of Fred and think he was born too soon. After many years as a Boardwalk Fixture, Fred and his wife Sylvia sold their Boardwalk Businesses and opened Treasure Island Beach Shop in North Wildwood. Once again, Fred showed us his ability to create the unique in the way he decorated his store. The man had a God given talent. To his wife Sylvia, and to his son Andrew, we send out our condolences. Fred, although you died still a young man, you made many thousands of kids happy with your special talents. You will be sadly missed by all who knew you.

James B. Elsey
Wildwood Crest


Copyright 2001 - 2013 Ralph Grassi