Ron Toomer vs. Dana Morgan

Monday, July 1, 2002 5:33 PM

These two guys are/were big coaster designers of thei time.

Ron Toomer created the great Magnum XL-200 and Pepsi Max Big One, not to mention countless loopers and other hypers.

Dana Morga took Ron Toomer's designs, enhanced them a little, and created bigger, badder, and more extreme hypercoasters, with Mamba, Steel Force, and Steel Dragon 2000.

So I ask you, who is the better roller coaster designer?

I like Ron Toomer better, because without him, there would be no ideas for Dana Morgan to think about and build these great roller coasters. Ron Toomer revolutionized the coaster industry, while Dana Morgan continued the tradition.

Anybody else?

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WHAT'S THE MATTER COLONEL SANDERS? CHICKEN!?

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Monday, July 1, 2002 5:37 PM
Let's see Morgan build a looper. Then we'll have a competition.

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Off with the trims!
My fellow Americans; Let's Roll!
Woodencoaster.com

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Monday, July 1, 2002 6:37 PM

I agree, it's hard to compare.

Besides, individually these guys only did a portion of the job. The profile I believe for both Magnum and Steel Dragon was done by Steve Okomoto (correct me if I'm wrong on that).

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
"We used to hate people, now we just make fun of them. It's more effective that way." - KMFDM, "Dogma"

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Monday, July 1, 2002 6:41 PM
...at least we KNOW Okamoto RIDES the rides....LOL....;)
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Monday, July 1, 2002 6:42 PM

No you are right Jeff, Okomoto did PR, Maggie, Steel Dragon, Steel Force, Mamba, etc.

For sure Dana Morgan had a lot of input but I think he lets Okomoto do the designing and he sticks to the business side of it.

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The Beast and Night, They go together like Peanut Butter and Jelly

*** This post was edited by MagnumForce on 7/1/2002. ***

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Monday, July 1, 2002 7:02 PM
Either way you look at it, Toomer was a poor designer and engineer. He is responsible for almost all of Arrow's problems, save for the newest headache with X.

Not riding his creatons was one of the biggest problems, as he never knew how bad (rough) they were. Additionally, Toomer was responsible for the "cookie-cutter" layouts of all pre-TT Arrow loopers. He also made some major mistakes just because he failed to think some things through properly. I admire a lot of people in the industry, but Ron Toomer isn't even *close* to being one of them.

-Nate

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Monday, July 1, 2002 7:17 PM
But without Ron Toomer who knows where we would be today...

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Formally Known as Ozzyhead.

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Monday, July 1, 2002 7:53 PM

coasterdude318 said:
Either way you look at it, Toomer was a poor designer and engineer....Not riding his creatons was one of the biggest problems, as he never knew how bad (rough) they were.....

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, WRONG.

When Ron Toomer created most of his coasters, he had NONE of the tools designers have today.

He didn't have the FEA (finite element analysis) per foot that today's designers have at their desktops. He had no way of knowing the stresses on the trains, the supports, the tracks or the riders that engineers do today. Nor did his civil engineers....the computing horsepower simply didn't exist. In those days a processor faster than 150 Mhz was considered a 'supercomputer' and was considered so advanced it couldn't be exported from the USA.

His 70-80 foot looping coasters--when well-maintained--work just fine. His hypercoaster designs--when well-maintained--stand toe-to-toe with anything out there....and if you don't know that for a fact, visit CP for CoasterMania ERT and figure it out yourself.

He made bold efforts to innovate without the tools common in the 1990s. They weren't always successful, but the effort was there. His customers called for taller, faster, longer, loopier and he always did his best to oblige them.

Frankly, other designers with the tools he had to work with built some of the worst headbangers ever (read: B&M's one and only Space Diver) and some firms with today's modern tools still build coasters that are pretty shaky (read: Vekoma vibration a la Deja Vu or Flying Coaster) even if they are somewhat less than violent.

Ron Toomer was the pioneer who all of coasterdom owes a tremendous debt. When other firms refine his groundbreaking work into the latest and greatest, they all know whose shoulders they're standing on...

-'Playa

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The CPlaya 100--6 days, 9 parks, 47 coasters, 2037 miles and a winner.....LoCoSuMo.

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Monday, July 1, 2002 8:01 PM

CoastaPlaya said:

He didn't have the FEA (finite element analysis) per foot that today's designers have at their desktops. He had no way of knowing the stresses on the trains, the supports, the tracks or the riders that engineers do today.



That's odd...since it seems that Schwarzkopf knew a lot about the stresses on the track and supports. Some of his coasters look like they are barely standing but are structurally fine. He also seemed to know how to get the g-forces just right.

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Monday, July 1, 2002 8:08 PM
Actually without Toomer, Dana Morgan might not be in the field of coasters period. Toomer and Dana Morgan's father were partners at Arrow in the beginning and without Toomer the first Morgan might not have been in the coaster business. Anyway, to compare is pretty tough, seeing as Toomer has a much larger selection of rides and types, while Morgan does hypers and , well, hypers are it.

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HuKeD oNN fonickS dusinT wOrK"[;.

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Monday, July 1, 2002 8:09 PM
Exactly - Schwarzkopf was able to create smooth, thrilling, *and* successful rides at the same time Toomer was creating several disasters.

I can give credit to Toomer for his earlier rides because you're right - technology wasn't there. But his refusal to change as time passed was an ultimate flaw, eventually leading to major problems for Arrow. Toomer was still creating rough rides just as B&M (among others) was building rides like Kumba and Batman: The Ride. Read "Roller Coasters, Flumes, and Flying Saucers" and you'll get even more insight into what a fool Toomer was, especially since most of his mistakes had nothing at all to do with computer technology!

-Nate

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Monday, July 1, 2002 8:26 PM

Wow, You guys have NO respect for the man who started it all. Can't you say ONE nice thing about the man. Give him at least a little credit. Some of his rides are STILL great after all these years. What if he were reading this topic.

Just a little credit?

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KoRn is the Mellennium Force of ROCK

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Tuesday, July 2, 2002 5:18 AM

I was about to say... Toomer did what he could with the tools he had available at the time. Maybe you're too young to remember, Nate, but when I was in high school (and Magnum was built), the average desktop computer was less powerful than a Gameboy. They were still teaching drafting with pencil and paper.

Hey, I just realized why architecture turned me off as a career... too much manual math!

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
"We used to hate people, now we just make fun of them. It's more effective that way." - KMFDM, "Dogma"

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Tuesday, July 2, 2002 5:29 AM
Let's get the history straight, shall we?

Arrow Development was founded by Karl Bacon and Edgar Morgan, the two guys who invented the log flume and the steel roller coaster and the Corkscrew.

Ron Toomer was hired on for one of the Runaway Train projects and ended up staying with the company for decades. I'm not sure which was the first he worked on; it may have been Cedar Point.

Dana Morgan is Ed Morgan's son. Dana was actually President of Arrow Development in the mid to late 1980's. When long-time Arrow employees bought the company to rescue it from bankruptcy circa. 1987 and moved it from Mountain View, CA to the Clearfield, UT facility, Toomer became President of the company, and Morgan stayed in California and started his own company, building wood roller coaster cars (and a few other rides) and preserving the Giant Dipper.

Notice that Morgan really didn't get into the steel coaster business until after Arrow started a major reorganization process...if I remember correctly it was a reorganization that resulted in the exits of both Dal Freemen and Steve Okamoto from Arrow. Okamoto went to work for Morgan and immediately did the copies of his Magnum for Cedar Fair (Wild Thing, Steel Force, and Mamba). I don't know what he's up to now, but I guess he left Morgan when Chance bought the company.

(Note that this is not a definitive history. It may contain serious errors or omissions. Corrections are welcome.)

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2002 5:43 AM

RideMan said:

Ron Toomer was hired on for one of the Runaway Train projects and ended up staying with the company for decades. I'm not sure which was the first he worked on; it may have been Cedar Point.



Actually, he was hired to work on the Runaway Mine Train at Six Flags Over Texas (I'm guessing he actually rode this one even though I have heard it was called the scariest coaster in the world...at that time).

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Tuesday, July 2, 2002 5:56 AM
Rideman, I believe that I read (somewhere) that Okomoto is now working for a new coaster company that designs- what else?- hypercoasters! Too bad I forgot the name or where I read it...
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Tuesday, July 2, 2002 7:42 AM

coasterdude318 said:
Exactly - Schwarzkopf was able to create smooth, thrilling, *and* successful rides at the same time Toomer was creating several disasters.

Except Anton wasn't being asked to build 140-150 foot tall multiloopers, so we really can't compare apples to apples.

He did have a suspended coaster in the works, but went bankrupt before it was built. I guess we'll never know how that would have turned out.

-'Playa

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The CPlaya 100--6 days, 9 parks, 47 coasters, 2037 miles and a winner.....LoCoSuMo.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2002 7:55 AM

Yes, Okomoto left Morgan when it went to Chance. He and another guy (forget his name) apparently started a consulting firm. I saw him at IAAPA, but don't remember the name of the new company.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
"We used to hate people, now we just make fun of them. It's more effective that way." - KMFDM, "Dogma"

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Tuesday, July 2, 2002 8:03 AM

dexter said:

Wow, You guys have NO respect for the man who started it all. Can't you say ONE nice thing about the man.

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KoRn is the Mellennium Force of ROCK


Hmm... Lemme see. UHHH! UHHHHHH! MMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't.

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Why do they report power outages on TV?

*** This post was edited by S00perGIR on 7/2/2002. ***

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Tuesday, July 2, 2002 8:10 AM

I know that one of the SoCal sites stated the name of the firm Okamoto works for in their Solace coverage, but I can't find it now. :(

EDIT: It's Dynamic Designs. http://americacoasters.com/SpecialFeatures/wintersolace/solace2.html

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"drop rides, not bombs."

*** This post was edited by chris on 7/2/2002. ***

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