In September of 1982 (ironically on fireman's weekend) a suspicious fire started next door under Arthur's T-Shirt shop and tore through the 3600 block destroying the Fun Shop and the adjoining stores including Lou's Las Vegas, Grandpa's Restaurant, A and B Sales and Snow White Restaurant. The blaze drew thousands of spectators and visiting firemen still in town for the weekend convention of the NJ Firemen's Association. The million dollar block quickly burned to the ground and the original Fun Shop was gone.
The Sunday morning blaze looking South over the Jack Rabbit Roller Coaster.
Another overhead view of the fire looking Northeast toward Mariner's Landing.
The charred remains of the 3600 block. The Castle stands in the background along with the short lived Tubes of Terror ride on Nickel's Midway Pier.
The following year Bud's daughter Kathleen and her husband Larry Graber leased a store off of the Boardwalk at the corner of Lincoln and Ocean Avenue to start anew. The store would be called Cookie's Fun Shop and would continue to operate at that location for the next ten seasons. In that period of time the culture changed and so did the Fun Shop - concentrating less on pranks and magic and more on Rock and Roll merchandise. The Fun Shop would eventually end up back on the Boardwalk at their current address of 3912. Through the 90's the pranks and magic were completely eliminated from the store and the business relied heavily on Rock and Roll and movie memorabilia, posters, T-Shirts, buttons, stickers and music CD's. Larry and Kathy Graber continue to operate the business Albert and Kate Cohen had started almost 60 years ago and have even recently brought the gags back to the shop. The Fun Shop was a perfect fit for Wildwood's kitsch and was by far the coolest store on the Boardwalk. A true experience of american pop culture and another great Wildwood memory.
A Special thanks to Elliot Cohen, Rita Best and Kathy and Larry Graber for taking the time to share their memories.

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Copyright 2004 Ralph Grassi