Legacy of Arrow World Premiere in Downtown San Jose
It’s the day after Christmas – and you didn’t get what you wanted, did you? That ugly sweater, socks or worse – underwear!
Have no fear – we’ve got you covered…
Give the gift of an experience that they won’t soon forget – a ticket to the world premiere of ACE’s “The Legacy of Arrow Development,” presented by the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk!
Tickets are just $10, with a $10 upgrade available if you’d like priority seating, reception and Q&A with the filmmakers. You can purchase your tickets here or at the Montgomery Theater Box Office.
We’ll see you in your best suits and dresses on the evening of January 23rd!
What Happened to Lost Parks of Northern California?
Many of you have been asking, “When will we see another episode of “Lost Parks of Northern California?”
Well, “Lost Parks” has been on a bit of a hiatus this year – but there’s a perfectly good explanation for it:
We’ve been working all year on a documentary on the history and legacy of former amusement ride manufacturer (and Bay Area company) Arrow Development!
But, don’t worry – the award-winning show will return – just as soon as we recover from the workload of the “Legacy of Arrow Development” project!
Travel Channel’s Thrill Factor: Needs More Hosts, Less POV
I’ve written at length in the past about just how poor the current slate of amusement park shows are, but mid-summer this year, there was a glimmer of hope. A new show, starring former Mythbusters stars Kari Byron and Tori Belleci began filming and was being promoted on social media:
“Thrill Factor,” produced for the Travel Channel by BASE Productions, seemed to have everything going for it – personable hosts with a resume of quality, entertaining programming. So, has the show lived up to the lofty expectations of both theme park and Mythbuster fans?
Sadly, not for me.
Let’s begin with the premise…something tells me the elevator pitch for this show was: “It’s Mythbusters – at an amusement park.” And the segments with Kari and Tori are the best parts of the show – as you’d expect from seasoned pros like them.
The hosts test a different theory revolving around rides each and every episode – which sounds great, but I suspect they’ll run out of things pretty quickly. But then – just as the show is about to eclipse the lift hill into excitement – the show quite literally goes off the proverbial coaster rails and quickly transitions from the host segment into a new one, where POV footage (forward and reverse) is shown.
Now, I’m not sure if the show just ran out content and had to fill time – but the seemingly random cuts to POV give the show a manic feel, as if the viewer is assumed to have ADHD and couldn’t possibly focus for more than five minutes at a time onto the screen.
The POV segments take what could have been a fun concept – and just kills it, whereas focusing on both Byron and Belleci would have sufficed and indeed, made the show better, in my opinion.
If the content isn’t there to fill the full half hour – something’s wrong with the concept. Kari and Tori – who are very good at interacting with their fans on social media and are genuinely nice people in real life, too – deserve better after helping refine one of the most successful, educational and entertaining shows ever to come out of Discovery Channel.
According to the most recent IMDB rating – it looks like I’m not the only one who thinks the show could use some off-season work:
FULL DISCLOSURE: Along with my producers on the “Legacy of Arrow Development” roller coaster documentary: Nicholas Laschkewitsch and Robert Ingle, we’re still looking for a partner on our own amusement park travel program, of which you can find our teaser trailer conveniently located below:
No wonder Travel Channel never called me back after my audition for “Travel Channel Star” back in February…this show was already in development…
BOTTOM LINE: Drop the POV segments from the show and expand the host’s time on screen – and you have the rare opportunity to have a “coaster show” that lasts longer than two seasons.
Riding Roller Coasters to Preserve History
With the exception of wooden roller coasters, most of today’s state of the art thrill rides are designed by European firms. But in the 1960’s, Northern California-based Arrow Development was the company that parks around the world came to for the latest in steel coaster innovation.
Last month, a small crew of volunteers from American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) Worldwide, Inc. crisscrossed the country to tell the story of an American manufacturing legend that entertained millions. The team visited amusement and theme parks with prominent Arrow rides, including: Six Flags Over Texas, Cedar Point, Kennywood, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Lagoon Park and Silverwood Theme Park.
Nicholas Laschkewitsch is the Video Promotions Coordinator for American Coaster Enthusiasts:
“The story of Arrow is the story of the American dream,” said Laschkewitsch. “Four steel workers quit their jobs to form their own company in a car garage and quite literally, turned the world upside down.”
Kris Rowberry is the Executive Producer, as well as the host of “The Lost Parks of Northern California”:
“Everyone knows Silicon Valley as a hotbed for technological innovations,” said Rowberry. “But few know that the valley that gave us Google and iPhones also spawned the world’s first log flume and corkscrew roller coaster. It truly is a forgotten piece of our national history.”
Robert Ingle is a Producer on the film as well as a Photographer:
“This project will literally bring history to life, as well as preserve it for generations to come.”
The public is welcome to join the team on the journey by following American Coaster Enthusiasts on social media or by using the #RideWithACE and #LegacyofArrow hashtags. Fans can also visit: my.aceonline.org/arrow
About ACE: Founded in 1978, ACE is a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation, promotion, appreciation and safe enjoyment of roller coasters. With more than 5,000 members across the globe, ACE is the largest amusement park enthusiast organization in the world. In addition, numerous television outlets such as the Travel Channel have prominently featured ACE and it’s members.
ONE WEEK to the big announcement from Great American Thrills!
We are exactly ONE WEEK away from our biggest announcement EVER!
Have you figured out all the clues? Tell us on social media what you think the big announcement will be and be sure to come here at 2:43pm on 3/14/15 to find out what all the fuss is about…
Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the 1915 World’s Fair in San Francisco
What better way to celebrate the centennial of the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition – than with our award-winning episode of “Lost Parks of Northern California” – feel free to share with your friends, family, SF fans and local television stations!
It may have been a century ago – but pieces of the fair are still very much with us today! #PPIE100
Newest Lost Parks Episode Debuts – Frontier Village in San Jose
These are the days I look forward to the most. After several months of blood, sweat and tears, we are finally ready to pull back the curtain on our latest “Lost Parks of Northern California” – presenting San Jose’s beloved Frontier Village.
Be sure to LIKE and SHARE the video with all your friends, family and favorite television networks and personalities – let’s make this the biggest Lost Parks episode EVER, TOGETHER!
Lost Parks of Northern California wins at the 2014 CreaTiVe Awards
Pardon us if you’ve already heard the news, but…we think it’s worth bragging about:
“Lost Parks of Northern California,” the series produced by ACE Northern California and Great American Thrills took home the award for “Best Community Access Television Series – Professional” on Saturday at the CreaTiVe Awards in downtown San Jose.
The show airs on both CreaTV San Jose and Peninsula Television here in the Bay Area.
We could not have done this without everyone who we’ve met along the way, contributed a video or photo at a lost park they once visited, or simply shared their experiences with us. Thank you for the opportunity to live history vicariously through you! Here’s to many more awards and celebrations.
And yes, you’re allowed to say, “We knew them when…”
What’s Ahead for Great American Thrills in 2015
Now that the calendar has been officially flipped over to 2015, we wanted to fill you in on what’s to come for the year ahead with the Great American Thrills® brand.
Season Two of “Lost Parks of Northern California” continues, with two more episodes, featuring Frontier Village in San Jose and the 1939 World’s Fair on Treasure Island. Both should debut in January and March, respectively.
Also, you can look forward to Season Three of “Lost Parks” debuting in late Spring, with episodes focused on Scotts Valley’s “Lost World” and Redwood City’s “Marine World Africa USA.”
We’ll also be providing you content from our partner sites, such as The Coaster Guy, Thrills by the Bay and Park Journey, in addition to revamping our website to be more user friendly.
And finally, we’ve got something truly special up our sleeves for 2015. We can’t tell you what it is just yet – but we think that every amusement and theme park fan will enjoy it for years to come. Stay tuned to our social media feeds for the latest…as they might have you going around in circles!
So, as you can see, it’s going to be another fun filled and busy year for Great American Thrills®. Be sure to share us with your favorite cable channels, networks, friends and family – we’d appreciate it!
Here’s to the year ahead of us – let’s ride, everyone!
Bay Area Proud and “Lost Parks”
It’s crazy to think how time flies by, but this week marks one year since were had the incredible fortune of being followed for the day by Garvin Thomas of NBC Bay Area.
Surreal, nerve racking, inspiring – all words that would describe us that day. But Garvin and his assistant kept us at ease – they never were intrusive, yet you knew they were there. They never got in the way, yet somehow always got the shot they needed. In case you missed it, here’s the story that Garvin produced.
But Garvin didn’t just stop there. He went a step beyond. When a TV station tried to hire me away from my current gig, Garvin was more than happy to dish out advice – good advice mind you – that has served me well ever since.
The motto at my high school was “Men and Women for Others.” I must say, after meeting with and working with Garvin – he is the living epitome of that phrase. I can only hope to someday return the favor. Maybe with a mention in an Emmy speech…or how about the CreaTiVe Awards if we’re nominated?
New Lost Parks Episode on 1915 Pan Pacific Exposition in San Francisco!
It was our most challenging “Lost Parks” episode – ever. More locations that we’ve ever done before. More money spent than ever before – but it was all worth it.
Presenting the first episode of SEASON TWO of the “Lost Parks of Northern California” – the Pan Pacific Exposition (World’s Fair) of 1915:
Be sure to LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE the video with all your friends, family and favorite cable networks – who knows, we might someday take the show national – but we’ll need your help to do it!
New Lost Parks Trailer for 1915 Pan Pacific Exposition
Yes, it’s been awhile since our last episode of “Lost Parks of Northern California” but I can assure you – the wait is worth it.
Presenting the first teaser trailer for our next episode, the 1915 San Francisco Pan Pacific Exposition (World’s Fair). We expect to wrap on the episode and debut it before #CoasterCon this summer.
If you’re a fan of amusement parks, roller coasters, history, organs and trains – you cannot afford to miss this episode!
Follow the journey by searching #LostParks on your favorite social media network!
RollerCoaster Tycoon Celebrates 15th Anniversary
Today marks the 15th anniversary of the first release of “RollerCoaster Tycoon” – arguably one of the most popular simulator games of all time. It also marks a milestone – millions of hours wasted playing the game by it’s combined players…
Take yourself back a decade and a half…the only true simulator game that was commercially available was “SimCity” – but it’s time on the top was soon to be ended.
An unknown Scottish designer, named Chris Sawyer partnered with artist Simon Foster and composer Allister Brimble to create the game-changing simulator. Famed ride designer, John Wardley was even brought on as a special consultant.
Like many park fans, I was introduced to this program via a free, downloadable demo, that had a time limit and did not have the ability to save games.
The game allows players to either create an entire amusement park from scratch, or build up and maintain an existing park, within a set of pre-determined parameters.
It also featured an easy-to-understand user interface, which allowed even the most novice of players to step immediately into gameplay.
While initially a commercial flop – word spread quickly through the amusement fan community, who in turn told their friends about the quirky and addictive game, and it soon became a sleeper hit. There are three “versions” of the game, with expansion packs for each one.
Atari recently announced a fourth “sequel” to the original, dubbed “RollerCoaster Tycoon 4.” It will be released for iOS devices in summer, 2014.
The mark of a good game is the length of it’s shelf life. With many people still playing the original version, RollerCoaster Tycoon has stood the test of time – and is still going strong. Even with new rivals popping up, such as NoLimits and Theme Park Studio, RollerCoaster Tycoon continues to hold a significant audience, when many other games gave gone the way of the Dodo.
Heck, there was even a RollerCoaster Tycoon pinball machine – endorsed by the American Coaster Enthusiasts, no less! Not too many brands can brag about that:
In addition, many variants of the “tycoon” style of game have popped up since the initial release of the original RollerCoaster Tycoon. Games such as Prison Tycoon, Railroad Tycoon are among just a few to enter the market. Even SimCity tried to get back into the fray, with the poorly received “Sim Theme Park.”
Special thanks to Lost Parks producer, Nicholas Laschkewitsch for suggesting this post! Got a good post idea? Feel free to send it in!
Week of Big Announcements!
This week, Great American Thrills® is proud to announce not one, but TWO major initiatives regarding the brand and television concept that are sure to rock your socks off!
Major Announcement #1 – “Codename: Showbiz”
Some of you have heard rumblings that “Lost Parks” wasn’t the only project we were working on – and I’m happy today to confirm that this is absolutely true.
We will be premiering an entirely new travelogue / roller coaster / amusement park show concept in the next few weeks. And while we’ll need YOUR help to get it to as many eyeballs as you can – we’ll get into that once it arrives. Oh, did we mention this project is ALREADY trademarked, copyrighted AND registered with the Writer’s Guild of America – so don’t even think about stealing it.
Major Announcement #2 – “Project Neptune”
Over the past two years, I’ve seen this website go from a simple WordPress blog, to a significantly more complex “destination” on the web – and the web traffic proves. it. As a result – the site isn’t working as well as it should – and changes will have to be done far more than just cosmetic.
While the timeframe for “Neptune” is not set in stone, expect major changes to the website (in terms of design and interface) to begin showing up over the next few months.
So, why the name “Neptune?” Honestly – it sounded cool – so don’t read into it too much!
This February will be the 4th official year of work (on and off) on this project. It’s amazing to watch it all coming together – slowly, but surely – we’re inching closer to our goal of bringing Great American Thrills® to the masses. We’re so glad to have you along for the ride!
Lost Parks Featured in the Santa Cruz Sentinel
Santa’s Village continues to bring in the press coverage! Today, we’re featured in the Sunday Santa Cruz Sentinel!
Not exactly sure WHEN I changed my last name to Rowland, however…
For those of you who don’t get the paper, you can read the article online, here:
KION Central Coast News Features “Lost Parks of Northern California”
Not even a day after our story aired on KSBW – leading off the newscast, no less – KION Central Coast News got in on the “Lost Parks” action, with their own report!
Special thanks to reporter Cassandra Arsenault for coming out and recording us! (And for nerding out briefly on Boston area amusement parks, too!)
On a side note – what is it about Boston area-born reporters and the Bay Area? That’s two now!
Second side note – we’re filmmakers – someone reported it – so it’s official!!!
Jump to the story by clicking the link, below:
Lost Parks Featured on KSBW Action News!
Chalk another news outlet onto the list that’s discovered the charm and passion of the “Lost Parks of Northern California” series…KSBW Central Coast News led their newscast with a story on our project!
Check out the the video, by clicking the link, here:
Great American Thrills Trademark Approved
If you’re looking for the next great travel show about amusement or theme parks, coasters or thrill rides – your search just got easier and your costs just went down, because Great American Thrills® is now an officially recognized and registered trademark!
There are some moments in life that are just photo-op worthy. Yesterday, I was fortunate to experience just such an occasion:
As of November 26th, 2013 – Great American Thrills gets a little modification – a circular “®” attached, to be specific. It now can be considered a brand with the U.S. Government! (Sans paying taxes as a corporation).
Sadly, I had to wait until yesterday to pick up the paperwork – and let me tell you – it feels a whole lot more real when you’ve got that sheet of paper (in a protective cover) in your hands!
According to my preparing attorney, Michael Bosworth of IPx Law – I was the first person ever to want to come and pick up the paperwork in person. Certainly I was the first to take a photo of it, too ; ) Never being one to turn down the opportunity to be in front of a camera – I couldn’t resist…
Three years of planning and saving brought me to this moment – and now we’re almost ready to take the next step in the five year plan.
Mark my words – 2014 will be the year of Great American Thrills®, and we couldn’t be happier to have you along for the ride!
Busy Week for Lost Parks of Northern California
Despite the fact that we weren’t nominated for Creative Awards from CreaTV late last week, we haven’t let it get us down. In fact, we’ve had more media than ever contact us about the “Lost Parks” series!
Just this week, we’ve been in contact / interviewed with :
Oh, did we mention we’re still trying to finish the Santa’s Village episode, too? : )
Stay tuned everyone, we’re not the fastest growing amusement / theme park website on the web for nothing!
Featured in the San Jose Mercury News!
Big thanks to Mike Cassidy, who wrote a wonderful column (in the business section, no less!) about how we use technology to save parks that have been lost to the sands of time!
Read the full article, here: