The Wildwood Boardwalk has long been home to an abundance of games of chance and skill throughout the years and we all had our favorites. The Record Wheel in front of Morey's Pier was, by far, my favorite game to play ( I mean who wouldn't want a chance to win a record album of your choice for a quarter), but there was one game that stood out visually for me and that was the Monkey Race Water Gun Game. I believe it first appeared in the late 1970's (probably not long after the movie release of the highly anticipated 1976 Dino De Laurentiis remake of King Kong). The boardwalk game featured colorful gorillas that would race up poles as the players fired a steady stream of water from their pistols into fixed targets located at the base of each pole - "Shoot the water in the hole Watch the monkey climb the pole". It was just a simple boardwalk water gun game but, for whatever reason, it screamed Wildwood and is a memory that really resonates with me. The gorillas were actually repurposed plastic King Kong coin banks which were made in the 1970's by the Universal Statuary Corp. and were only produced in black plastic, but for the game they were repainted in a variety of colors so players could pick their favorite monkey. For many years Louis Penn owned and operated multiple games along the Cedar Avenue boardwalk located under Castle Dracula and for a number of years this was one of them. The photos of the game pictured here were screen shot from a video by Vincent A. Desiderioscioli and, thanks to him, we can all see this game in action once again. Just click down below on his video 'Photon Of Wildwood'.
Pictured above is an original King Kong bank produced in chalkware by Universal Statuary Corp. from my personal collection.
Special thanks to Vinny Desiderioscioli - and to Frank Basile who, for many years, worked Lou's Monkey Race Game on Cedar Avenue Boardwalk.

Copyright 2001 Ralph Grassi