PBS affiliate posts Kings Island documentary

Posted Friday, August 28, 2009 11:41 AM | Contributed by BoddaH1994

As early as 1964, the design and concept of a groundbreaking amusement park was growing in the mind of an ambitious young man by the name of Gary Wachs. Until this time, modern amusement parks were leaving roller coasters and other thrill rides out of the mix. Mr. Wachs knew that bringing back the thrill to amusement parks was a path that would be as profitable as it was popular in the future of entertainment. After a five-year struggle, Gary's dream became reality when Kings Island opened to the public in 1972.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 4:17 AM

This is one of the best documentary of an amusement park I've ever seen. No junk info and cookie cutter filler like cable always has. Very interesting.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 10:31 AM

I kinda disagree. Not to be too nit-picky (god forbid) but in the segment I watched (Coney Mall) there was a bit of wrong information here and there. For instance, and I don't know how those guys don't remember, but I know for a fact that the Whip and the Wild Mouse didn't make it from CI to KI. In fact, the Wild Mouse didn't even operate at Coney the last few years they were open! I think the log ride or maybe Galaxie (or both?) had come along by then to take it's place.

Footage seemed to be a little more current than historical, too. Maybe the only shot of the Dodgem they could find was of the current one, but I was looking forward to seeing the original ride as well as their unique Cuddle Up in action. Vintage shots of the Flying Scooters and Tumble Bug were so blurry and montage-y. I can't imagine there isn't decent footage out there somewhere of those rides, and I'd have chosen to forego the artsy effects in exchange for a real shot, even if it was somebody's home movie.

Sorry. To be fair, documentaries like this don't come along very often, I thank them for it, and overall a pretty good job. I'll definitely give the other segments a look-maybe my review will improve! (I'm especially interested in the one dedicated to the conception of the park. I had forgotten all about that funny freeway sign announcing the upcoming park!)

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 10:35 AM

I just wish they would've found someone who knew what they were doing when the video was encoded. It's called deinterlacing, my friends!

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 1:56 PM

Boy that brought back some memories. As a kid we always made a trip to Kings Island. I sure do miss the enchanted voyage with Gulliver.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 3:07 PM

That was a really good documentary, better than most of the Travel Channels stuff. I believe I saw another PBS documentary about 3 years ago where this group of kids went around to different smaller parks like Lake Winnie and it was as good as this one, but I cant think of the name of it, it would be nice to see some more PBS roller coaster documentaries!

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 4:39 PM

I really enjoyed that. I heard a few mistakes. But, overall, I think they did a very good job. I learned a lot.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 8:05 PM

I really enjoyed it! It brought back a lot of memories. :) I was surprised that they didn't mention The Bat, though.

Otherwise it was a great documentary!

-Tina

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 9:42 PM

It was a decent show to watch, some of the facts were hard to swallow, like no other coaster had been built untl the racer was built. The smurf ride was cool, so was the enchanted voyage, can't say the phantom theater was worht it, but scooby is alright. Heck I would have love to take one of the first rides on the Beast with out the brakes, they would be amazing. I love the scenic shots they have of the Racer with no action theater in the center. Great coaster wish it still had one side running in backwards.

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Sunday, August 30, 2009 9:31 AM

I believe KI's Racer was the first wooden coaster to be built since 1964's Mr. Twister at Elitch. Dennis Speigel uses 1946 as the benchmark, which may be just an accidental transposition, but in terms of modern popular culture is kind of a chunk of time. Oh well, now at least the Cincinnatians who view PBS will know for sure they have something special.

Incidentally, Talonstruck, I don't think there was ever a day when you could get a brakeless ride on the Beast. What you could get, though, was a bankless ride - the first turn and the helix in their original profile were practically flat compared to the way they are today. If you think laterals on the ride are strong now! I think the re-profiling took place the 2nd season, but may be wrong. The tunnels were different that first season, too, there was just underground sections. The walls covering the final helix and the 2nd tunnel weren't completed until later.

As far as the brakes go, they used to be skid, or sled style brakes, as that was the style for wooden coasters when the ride was built. That meant the ride could vary much more than it can with magnetic brakes. What you could hope for was a ride at night right after a really good rain! It really cut loose, and I can remember rides where the train would coast more than halfway up the second lift before it finally got caught by the chain.

I think the Beast is really rockin this year. Smooth and fast.

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Monday, August 31, 2009 3:07 PM

I'm not sure if it's my computer, but the video stops and jumps alot. I really noticed this when they show a coaster speeding by. I searched for this documentary on youtube, anyone see it on there or have any suggestions? Thanks :)

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Monday, August 31, 2009 3:40 PM

I hope they put this on dvd and sell it.

I would buy it.

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Monday, August 31, 2009 6:09 PM

It would also be good if they put it up online in the correct aspect ratio. I downloaded them all to my computer and forced 16:9. It was better, except for the deinterlacing artifacts as Jeff mentioned. Having said all that, I'm thankful to CET for putting this miniseries together. It was very interesting.

Last edited by GoliathKills, Monday, August 31, 2009 6:10 PM
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Friday, September 4, 2009 7:41 AM

RCMAC said:
I believe KI's Racer was the first wooden coaster to be built since 1964's Mr. Twister at Elitch.

Actually I can think of two wooden coasters that were built in 1968. The Zingo at Bells ( Tulsa, Oklahoma ) and the Shooting Star at Lakeside ( Roanoke/Salem, Virginia ).

However I can't think of any wooden coaster that was built in 1969 or 1970 or even 1971 prior to KI's Racer opening.

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Friday, September 4, 2009 11:26 PM

Good lookin' out, Chriscub. Out of curiosity I had looked at the ACE website to see if I could determine what wooden coasters were build in the 60's and either I missed those two or they failed to mention them.

Ok, now, with this correct information does '68 to '72 seem like that long a time? Not really. I wonder if there hasn't been a more recent similar dry spell in construction of wooden rides. Or have we been able to count on at least one a year?

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Saturday, September 5, 2009 12:06 AM

Why not just use the search and sort function over at RCDB?

1962-1973 (USA only)

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Saturday, September 5, 2009 12:06 AM
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Saturday, September 5, 2009 11:55 PM

Awww... you darned kids and your new fangled gizmos.

Truth is, I went to RCDB and poked around but I guess I didn't know how to narrow the search to year opened. I left both sites wishing for a quick reference timeline - turns out it was there all along.

Thanks.

And look - come to find out the only year void of wood construction was 1971. Don't tell KI.

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Saturday, October 3, 2009 1:08 AM

I thought the Scooby Doo was considered a 1971 coaster...

I finally watched the series tonight. Jeff is right about the encoding: a 16:9 image squeezed into a 4:3 resolution and encoded with icky WMV. I ended up downloading the whole series, stitching it all together and throwing it on a DVD, then watching it on my TV, so the interlacing shouldn't have bothered me, except that they totally screwed it up by using a weird vertical resolution that meant that when I stretched it out the lines didn't match up. Interlacing is OK so long as you do not scale vertically by any value other than a power of two. My other technical gripe is that many still photos and some old film was stretched to 16:9 instead of cropped or masked.

Production wise, it is a good series, runs about 95 minutes. The producer did a pretty good job of putting it together, although he's not a very good host. Luckily, he is mostly off screen, letting his interviewees do most of the talking.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Saturday, October 3, 2009 12:46 PM

I have it bookmarked, but still haven't gotten around to watching it yet. Maybe I'll find some time this weekend.

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