The world's most authentic roller coaster and amusement park expert!

Posts tagged “travel channel

Throwback Thursday – My First Roller Coaster

Copyright 2015, Kris Rowberry

This may well be the very first roller coaster I ever rode…

Copyright 2015, Kris Rowberry

At the Santa Clara County Fair!

As you can tell – it was a terrible experience that ruined me for the rest of my life 🙂


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:

Byron Tweet 2

“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:

Thrill Factor IMDB

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.


God and Aliens Tell Woman To Go To Closed Amusement Park

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…

A woman accused of leaving her eight-month-old baby alone in the parking lot of a Carolina-based amusement park says God and aliens told her she needed to see the park.

Francis Greene and her boyfriend, Jason Lee, reportedly left the infant inside a truck in the Carowinds’ parking lot back in April, according to a report from the York County Sheriff’s Office.

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Security at Carowinds found the vehicle abandoned in the drop-off area of the parking lot and found an eight-month old baby inside the vehicle, alone, and crying.

The guard called investigators and said it was nearly 20 minutes before Greene and Lee came back to the vehicle.

Lee told investigators that Greene wanted to see the park, so he came with her to see it. They reportedly initially took the little boy inside, but brought him back to the truck.

Greene told investigators that she “heard voices from God telling her to go to the park,” the report states.

“The voices that she thought were God, were actually extra-terrestrials, and that they wanted her to leave her body behind and come with them,” deputies said Greene told them. “Greene said that she decided against that because she wanted to stay with her family.”

 

Read the full story from WBTV here: http://www.foxcarolina.com/story/27906860/report-woman-says-god-aliens-told-her-to-go-see-amusement-park?clienttype=generic&mobilecgbypass


Arrow Development documentary coming from Great American Thrills and American Coaster Enthusiasts

GOING HEAD OVER HEELS FOR SOUTH BAY HISTORY

Former ride manufacturer to be featured in new documentary from local filmmakers


MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – Great American Thrills® and Totally Twisted Media are proud to announce a historic partnership with American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) Worldwide, Inc. to produce a documentary on the former Bay Area amusement park ride manufacturer, Arrow Development. The film is expected to premiere at the IAAPA industry trade show in Florida this November.

Several of the most prominent and respected names in the amusement industry have already signed on to participate in the documentary. These include: Cedar Point, Irvine Ondrey Engineering, Silverwood Theme Park, S&S Sansei and Six Flags Magic Mountain, among others.

The documentary is being produced by the all-volunteer team behind the award-winning “Lost Parks of Northern California” series, with filming beginning shortly. Nicholas Laschkewitsch and Kris Rowberry are leading the project:

“Everyone knows Silicon Valley is famous for technological innovations,” said Rowberry. “But very few people are aware that the valley that gave us Google and iPhones also spawned the world’s first log ride and tubular steel roller coaster, along with countless other ride innovations.”

Joining Rowberry as Executive Producer on the project is Nicholas Laschkewitsch, Video Promotions Coordinator for American Coaster Enthusiasts.

“Arrow Development and its mechanical marvels have always mesmerized me and held a special place in my heart,” said Laschkewitsch. “The sheer opportunity to be able to tell the story of Arrow to the masses is a dream come true.”

Fans can keep up with the latest happenings on the project by following American Coaster Enthusiasts on Facebook and Twitter or by using the #RideWithACE hashtag. To join ACE, visit: www.ACEonline.org

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How You Can Be a Part of the Arrow Development Documentary

Many people have expressed interest in either helping out or participating in some way with our newly announced documentary on Arrow Development. So, here’s three quick ways you can be a part of history:

1.) Join ACE:

As a recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the members of the American Coaster Enthusiasts are all about the preservation and enjoyment of amusement parks and roller coasters. By joining, you’ll help preserve our incredible amusement heritage, while becoming part of one of the largest and most respected roller coaster organizations in the world. Learn more at: www.aceonline.org

 

2.) Contribute photos or videos of Arrow rides, both past and present:

Do you have some “vintage footage” of older Arrow rides? Maybe a photo of you and your family next to a defunct Arrow coaster? Feel free to send them to: socialmedia@greatamericanthrills.net and we’ll do our best to get them in the documentary – with proper attribution, of course.

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3.) Join us for a shoot!

We’ll be announcing exact dates and locations for shoots across the United States and Canada – so who knows – we just might be at your home park this summer! 529207_572552719484421_2065013057_n


Great American Thrills Celebrates Five Year Anniversary

Kris Rowberry at Six Flags Magic Mountain

Half a decade.

That’s the length of time it’s been since I decided to put my nose to the grindstone and dedicate a good portion of my life to the Great American Thrills® brand concept.

This month we’ll be celebrating all that we’ve accomplished with this little WordPress site, as well as the incredible future ahead of us. Thank you all for being a part of this crazy thrill ride called “life.”

Here’s to the next five years!

Kris Rowberry at Six Flags Magic Mountain


Insane Coaster Wars debuts new season, but still needs some off-season rehab

After filming all last summer, Indigo Films‘ “Insane Coaster Wars” debuted it’s third season last night – and I can’t help but comment on their latest “effort.”

The premise of the show, is a decent one – have people vote on specific aspects of certain rides, then rank them against other coasters around the world. Seems straightforward, right?

Experiencing a film date in St. Louis last summer.

At issue with most coaster and park enthusiasts (who make up a large number of the viewing audience) however, is the continued downgrade in quality of the traditional summer “coaster show” over the past few years. “Insane Coaster Wars” is just the latest in a string of low budget, low quality productions from powerhouses like the Travel Channel and Discovery. Just look at some of the reactions from last night’s debut:

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So what can this show do to make itself better in the eyes of it’s core audience? Read on:

 

1.) Stop hiring actors and talk to real “coaster enthusiasts”

Original screengrab by Dan Hower (who's also in the second row with Alyssa Schipani). Used with permission.

Original screengrab by Dan Hower (who’s also in the second row with Alyssa Schipani). Used with permission.

SPOILER ALERT: Television isn’t what it always appears. Multiple sources have confirmed to this website that the “coaster enthusiasts” featured in each segment are actually…wait for it…local actors found on Craigslist, hired for around $300 each.

Yup, Craigslist. Home to “Casual NSA Encounters” and apparently beautiful & young roller coaster junkies. Didn’t you wonder why those featured riders always seemed to speak really good english…in the middle of Taiwan and Costa Rica?

Those “friends from college” who “visit the park all the time” – it’s usually their first trip ever to these parks. Yet, the graphic in the lower third clearly says they’re “Coaster Enthusiasts.”

Last night’s episode featured two “coaster enthusiasts” who had never been to Kennywood – and in fact, had not been to a park, “in years.” True enthusiasts don’t take years off – they rarely take months off.

What’s even more ironic – if the production company wanted to save  up to $1200 per segment (and it’s obvious they do) simply stop hiring actors – just call on the local region of the American Coaster Enthusiasts – not to just fill the seats, but to TALK on camera. Not only are many of our members familiar with being interviewed – we’ll do it for FREE!

Some of the phrases that are used by these actors must also drive park managers nuts. Things like, “I felt like it was about to fly off the track,” or “I can’t believe I survived,” really make PR Managers have GREAT days. Simple rule to follow: Never mention death or dismemberment on TV when referring to amusement parks. You don’t say “bomb” at airports and on planes…

 

2.) Compare rides “Apples to Apples” 

Outlaw Run and La Avalancha? How are those two rides even remotely similar? (They do both loop, but they’re built completely different). The best way I can describe it – it’s like comparing apples to oranges. It’s as if the people in charge took suggestions from people who actually knew what they were talking about – then threw those papers up in the air, and randomly pulled out rides.

 

3.) Be wary of those who make money off parks

Robb Alvey – who was once the  “host” of the program –  has now been relegated to a “Creative Consultant” production credit off-screen (which is a major improvement in my humble opinion). That being said, his wife was featured on the premiere show as a coaster enthusiast, along with one of their friends. I’d call them non-actors, but both he and his wife have agents.

Now, doesn’t this scream nepotism to anyone else besides me? Then again, at least us true coaster enthusiasts know she actually is quite knowledgeable about the subject.  Too bad the producers edited her in a way that ensured she sounded just like any other clueless park guest.

Don’t even get me started on how his presence on the production team could directly influence his view count (and income) on his commercialized videos on YouTube…

 

4.) Allow park experts or bloggers to vote, not the general public

Let’s face it – most of these Craigslist actors (and indeed other park guests) don’t even know about the other rides they’re comparing, so how exactly can you compare them if you’ve never been on them…oh wait, isn’t that how the Mitch Hawker Poll runs? : )

 

Conclusion:

While the show did make some minor improvements and tweaks, it’s still the same copy / paste generic “coaster show” that’s polluted the airwaves for far too long. Yes, the POV is good, but it’s everything around it that just brings the show down.

If you’re looking to support a quality roller coaster / amusement park program, consider sharing our “Great American Thrills” concept with your favorite cable channel or production company. We promise the enthusiasts we feature – will actually know what they’re talking about:


Industry Leaders Support Great American Thrills

You’ve seen the recent support from coaster fan sites for Great American Thrills®, now – we’re proud to have industry leaders Irvine Ondrey Engineering stepping up and sharing our idea for a better amusement park travelogue show!

Industry leaders support Great American Thrills®

You know you’re onto something when fans of the industry you want to highlight like the idea – but when companies WORKING in the industry you’re looking to highlight want to help spread the word – that gives you an extra-special feeling.

I’m fairly certain “Insane Coaster Wars” (by Indigo Films) or “Ride-iculous” (by High Noon Entertainment) don’t have that sort of support from within the industry they’re covering; but then again, neither of those shows are as “authentic” as Great American Thrills®!

Thanks again, Irvine Ondrey Engineering – and remember, we can’t do this without YOU! Keep sharing the video with all your friends, family and favorite television networks – let’s get Great American Thrills® on the air, together!


Great American Thrills TV Pitch Gaining Steam!

This week, we were honored to watch as several of our friends in the amusement industry stood up and said, “WE WANT GREAT AMERICAN THRILLS® ON OUR TV’S!

From our friend, The Coaster Guy:

Kurt Dahlin, The Coaster Guy

To our friends on Screamscape:

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To our new friends at BehindtheThrills:

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It looks like the Great American Thrills® pitch is really gaining steam! We’ve also been contacted by several other sites interested in interviewing both Nicholas, Robert and I about the project – so stay tuned and KEEP SHARING THE VIDEO WITH YOUR FAVORITE CABLE CHANNELS!


Great American Thrills® Official Pitch

After months of planning and years of dreaming – I am proud to present the official “pitch” video for our Great American Thrills® concept:

But, we need YOUR help! We need you to share this video with all of your friends, family and websites that you visit, especially television social media pages, such as Discovery, Travel and Destination America. The more eyeballs that see it, the better the odds of it being discovered – so SHARE AWAY!

From our press release today:

NEW COASTER SHOW CONCEPT AIMS TO SHOWCASE AMERICA’S GREAT AMUSEMENT PARKS

 REDWOOD CITY, CA: Today, Kris Rowberry and Nicholas Laschkewitsch, producers of the popular “Lost Parks of Northern California” series, are proud to debut the official television “pitch” for their Great American Thrills® travelogue show concept. It can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeIJ6Kd__M0

The show follows host, Kris Rowberry, as he and his crew – headed by Laschkewitsch – travel the country to find their next thrill, based on suggestions and recommendations sent to them via social media, using the #GreatAmericanThrills hashtag.

“We all know social media is a huge part of our lives now,” said Rowberry. “So why not use it to its full potential – beyond just getting something trending?”

“Other shows may use hashtags or handles, but we’re the first one to utilize the medium to this level,” said Laschkewitsch. “In the process, we’re getting the authentic park experience from the people that know parks the best – their fans.”

Contributors to the show have the opportunity to join in on the fun: if their post is chosen, they get an automatic invite onto the show – which offers the chance to be on TV.

“We noticed that most ‘coaster shows’ have featured the same three parks,” said Rowberry. “We want to tell the stories and meet the people of the other 99% of amusement parks here in America.”

“When coaster enthusiasts aren’t watching the current slate of ‘coaster shows,’ that should tell you something,” said Laschkewitsch. “Our concept is simple: Bring back the passion of enjoying the great American amusement park, with the latest in modern technology.”

“But we can’t do this show alone,” said Rowberry. “We need fans of coasters and travel shows to tell their favorite cable networks they want to see Great American Thrills® on the air this summer!”

Both Rowberry and Laschkewitsch are proud members of the American Coaster Enthusiasts, an organization dedicated to the preservation and enjoyment of roller coasters worldwide.


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!


Great American Thrills Filming at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Today

If you’re in need of a serious park fix in Northern California today, come on out and cheer us on at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk this afternoon.

We’ll be filming a “pitch” video for networks and production companies, hopefully to get the “GAT” concept on the air!

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If you’re not able to make it out to the beach, you can still participate! Just tell us the next great ride you want us to ride by tagging your post on social media with #greatamericanthrills, just like this:

Twitter Example

We’ll be using the posts in our post-production work – so POST AWAY!

– KR


Lost Parks featured in the Huffington Post!

Kris Rowberry, Roller Coaster Expert

Add another media outlet to the list of organizations that have discovered the charm of the “Lost Parks” project – today, we’re featured in The Huffington Post!

Huffington

Read the article, here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/16/lost-parks-of-northern-california_n_4456181.html

2013 has been an amazing year for coverage – I cannot wait to see what 2014 has in store for us!


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:

Trademark Approved

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).

Hot damn!

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!


Documenting the Lost Parks of Northern California on NBC Bay Area

For those of you who missed the story that Garvin Thomas of NBC Bay Area, did of us, they’ve just posted the link (and article) online. We’ll try to embed the video here shortly, but until then…

You can find the article here, or copy/paste the link below:

http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Documenting-The-Lost-Parks-Of-Northern-California-232016161.html

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Thanks for the Follow, Destination America!

It’s always great to receive new followers on social media – but some, such as the one I received last evening, are very special!

Destination America follows Great American Thrills

Thanks for the follow, Destination America – glad to have you along for the ride! This tweet brought to you by Verizon Wireless 4G LTE…

Destination America is a partner channel with Discovery Communications, and would be a WONDERFUL place to have Great American Thrills show just how amazing our amusement parks are – (wink wink, nod nod) after all…we invented them!

I look forward to sharing my passion of amusement and theme parks with you, Destination America – in addition to my extensive knowledge of Talkeetna, AK ; ) Have you ever tried their pancakes?

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The People Behind “Lost Parks” and the Manteca Waterslides

Despite how it may look, there are many, MANY people who are involved in the production of “Lost Parks of Northern California.”

Without them, I would not be able to look as good as I do presenting it. With that, here are all the people it took to bring the Manteca Waterslides episode to life:

Al Garcia, Waterworld California: A big thanks goes to my longtime friend Al Garcia, who is the Marketing Sales Coordinator for the park. He gave us his personal stories of Manteca – in addition to allowing us to capture some unbelievable angles of the water slides in his park – including this particularly moist one. Visit his park (when it’s open) at: www.waterworldcalifornia.com

Roger Ross & Ryan Davies, California’s Great AmericaFor allowing us to film inside their Boomerang Bay water park and make that historical connection to the slides in Manteca, I am forever indebted to you both. Here’s hoping that we get to work together again soon, or maybe even catch a Sharks game together this season. Visit their park at: www.cagreatamerica.com

Mike Brown and the Entire Brown Family: Mr. Brown – thank you for giving us the opportunity to share your family story with us – and thank you even more for opening up to us about all the history you hold in your memories. I can always say that I hung out with the owner of the Manteca Waterslides, and bought him lunch, while we shared stories and went through old photo albums. We will wear our Manteca “Anniversary” hats with pride.

Debby Moorhead, Vice Mayor of Manteca: Debby was crucial to us tracking down and getting permission from the current owners of the slides, as well as a great interview and one of the few, genuine politicians we’ve ever met. Sounds like Manteca is THE place to be in the coming years…we can’t wait!

ProAM USA: There is no way we would have been able to capture some of the beautiful shots in this video without winning a Facebook contest from these guys. (Seriously, we actually won a Facebook contest and got a camera crane!) Our new DVC60 camera jib was put through it’s paces this episode and we cannot wait to see what else we create with it.

Oh, and we’d love to model some of your other products, by the way…

Robert Ingle: Those promotional photos of me in the slides “acting” were all captured by Robert – who’s got quite the eye for awesome photos. But, his real skill is to blend in so I don’t even realize he’s taking my picture. I think there’s a career for you at TMZ if you’re interested, Robert.

And for those of you wondering, it’s Robert’s face that closes out the first episode in the credit roll…

Taylor Evans: I’ve never had a script supervisor before – but if I ever can hire one, it would be Taylor. He kept me on track and motivated as best as the Costco hot dog I bought him for lunch. For such complex shots, he was able to let me relax and do my thing, while he made sure the script still made sense. He also was responsible for the “summer winding down” edit that we thankfully caught that day.

And finally, I’ve saved the best for last – and with good reason, too.

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Getting direction from Nicholas, with Taylor holding the sun reflector. (Photo by Robert Ingle)

I first met Nicholas Laschkewitsch a little less than a year ago – and I couldn’t have asked for a better person to partner with on this series.  We’re three episodes into this once “little” project – and he somehow continually finds ways to both amaze and astound me with his work, both as a cinematographer, video editor and field producer.

This, mind you – without any professional training or experience. Nicholas simply has an eye for good work – and I could not be more fortunate to have found him and work with him on this series. He is just as much responsible for the success of this series as I am in front of the camera and doing research. Here’s to many more fun projects with the best producer I could ever have asked for.

If you haven’t seen how all these people came together on this project – look no further!


Lost Parks, Episode 3: “Manteca Waterslides”

I am proud today to release our third episode in the “Lost Parks of Northern California” series, focusing on the “famous” Manteca Waterslides!

Learn how the modern water slide was born just off of Highway 120 in Manteca, where you can still go to experience pieces of the park today and why people still call the chamber of commerce, asking about the slides…nine years after the park closed for good.

This was on all accounts – the most difficult video we have produced thus far. The technical aspects alone were enough to make both myself and my producer, Nicholas Laschkewitsch throw a fit. But, we persevered – and are proud to show you our work of the past few months.

“The Lost Parks of Northern California” is produced in association with the American Coaster Enthusiasts, Northern California region. Learn more about them at: www.acenorcal.org


How Can I Help with the “Lost Parks” Series?

We get this question fairly often in the ol’ e-mail box. The short answer – YES! YES YOU CAN HELP!

How? Well, that’s easy:

 

1.) Share your park experiences with us:

A souvenir, photo, home video or even just a story – part of the mystique of these lost parks is the strong memories they evoke. We’re always on the hunt for a visual way to tell the story of the parks we’re featuring.

 

2.) Share us with the World:

We’re big on social media – so we’d love to expand our reach. But that’s where YOU come in. If you see a post that you enjoy, here’s a few ways you can help out the “Lost Parks” project:

“Like,” comment on and share posts, photos and video on Facebook.

Retweet items from our Twitter accounts.

+1 things from Google Plus.

Post our videos on your own website via an embedded file.

Plus, we’re always looking for new partnerships, so feel free to shoot me an e-mail at kris.rowberry {at} gmail.com

Having trouble finding items on our social media feeds? Just use hashtag: “#lostparks” to find most of our work.

Tell your favorite cable channels (Discovery, Travel, Destination America, History) or local broadcast stations that these guys would make a great series for them via, their social media pages.

 

3.) Tell your friends:

Seriously, even in this uber-connected world we live in, word of mouth is still one of the best ways to get the word out on what we’re up to. Tell your friends, show your family – heck, you just might find a few memories come up in the process!

 

With just those three simple steps, you can help Lost Parks of Northern California grow by leaps and bounds. Who knows where it will lead us (but that’s part of the journey – so let’s ride!)


What does #LostParks Mean?

We’re “The Lost Parks of Northern California” – a web video series trying to track down any and all remaining pieces of the 30 amusement parks that have closed here in Northern California over the past 150 years.

And odds are – you saw us at work at California’s Great America today!

#LostParks quite simply, is our hashtag – a way for people to find out what we’re up to in a fun and engaging way across social media platforms. Come for the journey – stay for the history…ride with us!


Lost Parks Makes Major Connections!

Look who decided to give us a “like” on one of our behind the scenes shots from this past weekend:

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You can imagine my shock when I checked my Instagram feed this afternoon…

We’ll look forward to sharing more with you, Discovery Channel! But, we’d really like for you to come along for the ride with us! : )

Call us anytime – we’re only shouting distance away from M5i and the Mythbusters!


The Amazing People Behind the Scenes of “Lost Parks”

The forthcoming episode of the Lost Parks of Northern California was easily our most complicated – and yet it will be our most beautiful, too. But it’s not just me that makes it look good – it’s three talented individuals, Taylor Evans, Robert Ingle and Nicholas Laschkewitsch that make it (and me) look so good.

In addition – what you may not know – is that we’re not making any money on the project. In fact, we lose money on each and every shoot, whether from travel expenses, to material from historical societies – it all costs money. But, we think bringing these parks back to life is more about expanding our skills and more importantly, reclaiming our amusement heritage.

Without these folks behind the scenes, I wouldn't be able to complete this series!

Without these folks behind the scenes, I wouldn’t be able to complete this series! Photo by Ace Northern California, used with permission.

In addition, this upcoming episode would not have been possible without the efforts of the Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Manteca, Debbie Moorhead. Without her connections, we would have never been able to get permission to film at the slides final resting place. In addition, her interview at the Chamber of Commerce was just spectacular and was full of incredible information…

Wrapping up the interview with Mayor Pro Tem, Debbie Moorhead. Photo by ACE NorCal, used with permission.

Wrapping up the interview with Mayor Pro Tem, Debbie Moorhead. Photo by ACE Northern California, used with permission.

I knew working on this series would mean making connections to make it all work – I just didn’t think it would be so much fun to do it!

Producer Nicholas and I with our new favorite tool, a ProAm USA DVC 60 camera crane. Thank you Facebook contests!

Producer Nicholas and I with our new favorite tool, a ProAm USA DVC 60 camera crane. Thank you Facebook contests! Photo by ACE Northern California, used with permission.

Now, we jest need some production companies to sit up and start taking notice! C’mon guys, let’s hear from you sooner than later!


The Most Bad Ass Amusement Park Ride That Never Was

Eat your heart out, Intamin and S&S fans!

Eat your heart out, Intamin and S&S fans!

Yes, amusement park safety technology was pretty much non-existent back in the last 19th century, but you have to admit that this free-fall ride concept was far beyond the acceptable level of crazy for it’s day.

According to io9.com, this is from, “An 1891 issue of Scientific American. (It) showcased this invention by a one Monsieur Carron of Grenoble, France. In short, Carron had invented an amusement ride that involved 15 patrons falling almost 1,000 feet inside a 30-foot-long bullet, which then would land inside a champagne-flute-shaped, 180-foot-deep well.”

Eat your hearts out, free fall fans. This thing is crazier than the looping waterslide at Action Park in New Jersey. (The only difference – that was ACTUALLY built!)

The article also goes into very specific details on how the “ride” would work:

“Mr. Charles Carron, an engineer at Grenoble, has analytically studied the conditions in which the punctuation of the water by such a shell would be effected, and the reactions that the passengers would have to support. The conclusions of this study show that there is nothing, either theoretically or practically, opposed to its construction and to its operation in falls reaching three hundred meters. The accompanying figures give the general aspect of such a shell capable of accommodating fifteen passengers falling from a height of 300 meters […] The passengers would be securely seated in arm chairs that exactly followed the contours of their body.”

Nevermind the fact that there’s no lap bars to hold you in, or that the wind conditions at 1000 feet are far different than those on the ground. (Trust me, I used to work with an airship company – they’re WILDLY different!) True, in principle it makes sense – but we all know from the Mythbusters that real-world results can always vary!

Here’s my question – who’s ready to queue up for a modern take on this?!?


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Luna Park Video Continues to Amaze!

I had the fortune of meeting with Greg Baumann, Editor-in-Chief of the Silicon Valley Business Journal recently – and it turns out he loves learning about Silicon Valley’s history, too!

Thanks Silicon Valley Biz Journal

Let’s hope he enjoys all 23 of the other Northern California lost parks we’re aiming to cover – thanks, Greg!

If you haven’t already checked it out, view our complete “Lost Parks of Northern California” series here: www.greatamericanthrills.net/lostparks