Hello my name is Tony Deutsch from Watchthetramcarplease.com and it is my pleasure to be a guest blogger on the Beachfront Blog. I see that my good friend Jack Morey is a blogger now, so this blog is for you, Jack.
Today let me take you on a magic journey back in time to the spring of 1977, when Mariner’s Landing was born. After the Morey’s sold the Ocean Holiday, where I worked with Lee Brash and Barry Gehring, all three of us were on our way to the heart of the Wildwood boardwalk to open the Morey’s new amusement pier. It was an exciting time for me. The face of the boardwalk was going to change forever. The former Marine Pier was still standing on the first day we arrived, and like a rag-tag army we started disassembling the old, tired rides and installing new planking. Everything was changing so fast- every day a new office, dressing rooms, game stands, ticket booths, Hitchcock Manor and a new restaurant were being built. The restaurant was where Jumbo’s stands today. It was called WUVS and they had great burgers. Their deal was 3 burgers for .99 or a coke, fries, and burger for .99! So, I would buy both for 1.98, and eat 4 burgers, a coke and fries! And who could forget the WUV juice – a signature fruity non-carbonated drink.
Ok… lunch is over. Let’s get back to work! Bob and Ed, our ace carpenters, built the new entryway and put up our new Mariners Landing flags. These guys could have built you a roller coaster out of Popsicle sticks. They were extraordinarily talented craftsmen who two years later would build me two portable bumper boat pools so I could assemble the ride in Puerto Rico.
The pier was taking shape and I could not wait to arrive at work every day. Now we were ready to place and assemble the new rides on the pier. Many of us stood on the end of the pier, (where the waterpark stands now) anxiously looking to the north for any sight of Harry Kane of Kane’s Cranes, driving a large crane down the beach towards us. Then we heard a faint noise in the distance and people hollered, “I hear him!! He’s here! He’s here! I see him!!”
Like Kris Kringle, he just appeared out of nowhere, lifted the rides onto the pier and we started assembling them. Every day a new ride was rising up. We were looking good and getting excited about opening day. There was no waterpark yet, but I would help build that the following year and be among the first riders to test the new slides.
We opened in the summer of 1977. Donna Summer and the Bee Gees topped the charts and disco filled the ocean air on the pier. I remember the first day we opened. The pier had a contest to find a treasure chest buried on the beach containing a voucher for a thousand dollars. I remember playing Percy the Pelican and standing with Will Morey Sr., his Wife Jackie and her brother Barry Gehring as they gave the winning contestants the prize.
That summer I worked 7 days a week, 12 hours a day and loved every minute of it. One day I remember walking to the back of the pier and Will Sr. was in front of me. I saw him bend over and pick up a napkin and put it in the trash. I was ashamed, because I must admit that I walked past the same napkin a few minutes earlier. But Will Sr. picked it up.
“Hmmm,” I thought to myself, “I should have picked up that napkin.” Today I walk on the pier and it’s spotless; you never see even a napkin on the ground. I can see Will Sr. smiling in appreciation.
Tony Deutsch moved to North Wildwood in 1975 to spend his sophomore, junior, and senior years at Wildwood Catholic High School. He went to work for the Morey’s as a pool boy at the Ocean Holiday Motel in Wildwood Crest, NJ, with Lee Brash and Barry Gehring. In 1977, the Ocean Holiday was sold to purchase Marine Pier, which today is Mariner’s Landing where Tony worked for Will Morey Sr and Barry Gehring.
Tony owned an Auto Body Repair shop for 14 years, has been married to his wife Joanne for 25 years, and has one son, Anthony, who works for the Morey’s at Mariners Arcade. After his business was sold, Tony went to back to college to pursue a career in Information Technology. He works as an Information Technology Specialist and Network Administrator.
In the summer of 2011 Tony designed and created The Boardwalk Blog, a blog about the Island of Wildwood and the people.