Theme and amusement parks tend to be great backdrops for films – unfortunately, so many of them are well, lackluster.
This is one of them.
Shortly after the production wrapped up on “Beverly Hills Cop III,” then Paramount’s Great America took a second swing at being in the movies, with the Macaulay Culkin comedy, “Getting Even With Dad.”
At the time, Culkin was the hottest thing in Hollywood. His “Home Alone” series made him an instant sensation. Literally every studio was willing to pay big bucks to have him appear for them.
They probably should have thought about that a little bit harder…
Fun fact: “Fiddler’s Fling” at the park was renamed and rethemed to “Centrifuge” for the film – and the theme has stuck to this day.
Unfortunately, just like it’s counterpart filmed at the same park, “Beverly Hills Cop III,” this film was also a commercial bomb at the box office, losing nearly $12 million for MGM back in 1994 (That’s nearly $20 million today). On Rotten Tomatoes, it’s overall rating reflects that.
So the next time you ride Centrifuge, know you’re riding a piece of Hollywood – at least a small piece of it. Just don’t expect Macaulay Culkin to be riding next to you…
Recently, I had the pleasure to give a “Grand Tour” of California’s Great America to “The Coaster Guy.” Kurt runs a very in-depth site that focuses on his home park, Six Flags Magic Mountain – but also covers other parks that he visits in his travels.
If you’ve never been to his site, I HIGHLY recommend taking a few minutes to go over there and peruse it. It’s always great to meet up with like-minded enthusiasts – and especially ones who share the same passion for parks that I do. I just hope I didn’t make him completely sick showing him all the intense flat rides at the park!
Kurt, I promise that I’ll make it out to Magic Mountain – and look forward to a “smooth” free fall on Drop of Doom!
For more information or to see the Great America update, visit: www.theCoasterGuy.com
Fans of classic roller coaster designs rejoice – one of the original looping coasters has received a new lease on life.
If you’re a hardcore roller coaster fan – you should instantly recognize the the motion being mimicked in this commercial – for the uninitiated, it’s the famous profile and movements of the Schwarzkopf Shuttle Loop.
Sadly, only half of the installations of this compact, but thrilling ride remain in the world today. The one we’ll be focusing on resides at Walibi World in Belgium.
The ride, originally called “Turbine,” had been closed since 2008, when parts simply ran out to repair the ride. (Schwarzkopf went under well over a decade ago). But the park had an idea – they contacted current coaster manufacturer Gerstlauer and asked, “Could you modernize the launch system on ‘Turbine’ to make it faster, more reliable and cheaper to operate?”
Turns out they could!
With a newer, more reliable launching system, utilizing all of the original track, mind you – Walibi went a step further, by giving the attraction an entirely new theme and completely enclosing the ride’s track. “Turbine” would enter the new millennium with a modern, linear induction launch system and be re-born as “Psyké Underground,” a dance club themed coaster.
Now at first thought, the theme might be a bit too much – a bit “over hip,” if you will. But after seeing the effects and how they work in tandem with the storyline of the ride – well, it WORKS!
For fans of this type of ride (and you know who you are), you’ll also be happy to know the ride still goes “all the way” up the back spike as well.
With the success of this transformation, my attention turns to another classic shuttle loop that has cheated the wrecking ball several times: “Montezooma’s Revenge” at Knott’s Berry Farm.
Because Schwarzkopf went out of business in the mid-1990’s, many of the parts for the ride have become scarce or must be manufactured in-house at enormous expense. When the clutch for the flywheel system burned out in the mid-2000s, many fans wondered if the ride would simply be removed, because of the lack of available parts.
With the recent closure of “Greezed Lightning” at Kentucky Kingdom, many of the parts and indeed the train from that ride (which itself was a combination of the original “Tidal Wave” weight drop shuttle loops from the two Marriott’s Great America parks) were purchased and shipped to Knott’s earlier this year to assist in keeping “Monte,” as it’s affectionately known, up and running.
Built in 1978, it’s the last flywheel shuttle loop of it’s kind in the United States, and one of only TWO left operating in North America).
A modification and modernization such as the one done to “Psyké Underground” in Belgium not only could keep the ride around for many more years, but could also significantly lower overall operating costs. No need to enclose the ride – though it would certainly make for a different riding experience with those strobe lights in a tube!
Now, I know, it’s not the “classic” launch system…but to me – it’s still the same ride if the track layout and design isn’t modified. The renovation done at Walibi World just goes to show, that a brilliant design, no matter the age, will ALWAYS stand the test of time!
And for those who are fans of the bouncy, modern dance soundtrack for the ride, you can find it here and on iTunes: