Sunday, January 9, 2011

Watch the Tram Car, Please

If you've ever been to the Wildwood, NJ Boardwalk, these five words are undoubtedly ingrained into your brain for the rest of your life. The famous Wildwood Tram Car, or "Sightseer" has been on the boards since the 1940s...and since sometime in the 70s, has had a recording blasting out "Watch the Tram Car Please" to keep unaware walkers from getting run over.

When I was a kid, I swear the driver had a mic & PA system, and would announce where the tram was stopping, along with WTTCP.

The tram used to be painted bright yellow with blue racing stripes down the side. Sometime, I think in the 70s, they started adding advertising signs on top of the engine car. I remember them mostly being for cigarettes. There were a lot of ads for cigarettes and booze on the Wildwood Boardwalk in the 70s. You don't see that so much anymore.

Last photo I saw of the Tram, it was "wrapped" in a red and white Coca-Cola advertisement. I'm sure Coke paid a pretty penny to ruin the tram's appearance. It's great that the company running the tram can make some extra advertising money during rough economic times, but at what expense? The original, 60+ year old style is gone. Along with it has gone some of the charm of old Wildwood. But the reality is,  fewer people like me, and you, who loved Wildwood in the old days spend money there, and more and more kids (who are spending dough) want more and more excitement, thrills, and modern diversions. Wildwood will have to adapt to the new generations, as it did to adapt to our generation with more rides and t-shirt shops. I just hope the people doing the adapting realize that they can adapt without destroying the past.

-Christopher Pinto, author of Murder Behind The Closet Door, the Wildwood Paranormal Murder Mystery

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