Tuesday, June 17, 2003

National Roller Coaster Museum and Archives Announces Planned Gravy Exhibit

In the May-June issue of ACE News, which, remarkably, arrived during one of the identified months, many enthusiasts' questions about the National Roller Coaster Museum and Archives ("NRCMA") (associated with the American Coaster Enthusiasts [ACE]) were answered.

The most important question answered? That's easy: "How the heck can NRCMA fully recognize the contribution that gravy and gravy-related products have made to ACE and, more generally, coaster enthusiasts?"

Wherever the NRCMA facility will end up, we can now be assured that it will contain a significant and historically exhaustive look at gravy, including a high-tech interactive mammoth gravy boat.

"It's important to us that gravy be recognized," said Carole Sanderson, ACE Dictator-for-Life. "Sure, the buffets more broadly are also important -- and that's recognized by the fact that fully sixty-five percent of our museum's space will be devoted to three separate buffet-based restaurants, including Old Country Buffet, Huge-Ass-Creating Buffet, and All-You-Can-Gorge-Yourself-On Buffet -- but gravy is really in a class by itself."

Reports indicate that the gravy exhibit will be a walk-through, but, recognizing the effects of its subject, a moving walkway will also be available for those who tire easily.

The first room will have a inch-by-inch recreation of the first ACE buffet at which gravy was served (in mid-1979), as lovingly documented in the Robb Alvey film Gravy Memories, produced by Ken Burns. Alvey will have a central role in designing the room, as he possesses the only known footage of the revered first gravy serving.

The next room, called "Gravy: the Semi-Liquid Substance that Brings Us Together," will have a timeline of gravy through the years and, on weekends only, opportunities to sample all the gravy, from the "Greed Gravy" of the 1980s to the "Gravy.com" of the late '90s...and, of course, the "XTreme Gravy" of 2002. Visitors will be strictly limited to two quarts of gravy per visit.

After a series of small rooms where visitors are surrounded by holograms and wax figures of ACErs eating glass after glass of gravy, the exhibit concludes with the Gravy Boat Ride. In this special attraction, designed for free by Sally Corp., visitors will enter a small indoor water park, but this will be no run-of-the-mill water park. Instead, all 20,000 square feet will be in the shape of an enormous gravy boat and, instead of chlorinated and sanitized water, the attraction will use genuine pork gravy. (During Lent and certain other religious holidays, a soy-based gravy will be used.)

"And the greatest part," exclaimed Sanderson, "is that every single patron will be naked!"

The museum is scheduled to open in 2008. Invitations to the premiere are expected to arrive three months after the event.
Nebraska Enthusiasts Celebrate New Roller Coaster Installation

Members of the Nebraska Out-and-back Roller Coaster Club, also known as the "NO Roller Coaster Club," had reason to celebrate on Tuesday, June 3rd, as the state's first new roller coaster in almost 30 years, simply named "Kiddie Coaster," was installed inside the Big Kmart at the Imperial Mall located in Hastings, Nebraska.

The mall, a Six Flags property purchased for approximately $320 million, held a "media day" event to celebrate the grand opening of Nebraska's newest, and currently their only, roller coaster. Reporters from the Hastings Weekly Trader Classified Ads newspaper arrived and covered the story with enthusiasm.

The coaster was designed and built by Innovative Concepts in Entertainment, Inc. of Clarence, New York, at a cost of about $4000.00. It stands approximately four feet tall at its highest point and has a top speed of just over two miles per hour. Riders sit in the one seat train, drop four quarters into the slot directly in front of them and hold on for dear life as the mighty wooden twister takes its passenger on a ninety-second run through the wild banks and turns, crossovers and ups and downs of one of four different track layouts. The rider selects which layout they wish to brave by simply pressing their choice on the roller coaster's super high-tech built in touch-screen television monitor.

NO Roller Coaster Club member, Lance Farston, was so excited when he heard that a new coaster was coming to Nebraska, that he camped out in the parking lot of the Hastings mall for the forty-nine hours preceding the ride's media day opening just so he could be the first one in line to ride the fabulous new thrill ride.

"It was worth every minute that I waited," insisted Lance. "Don't let the name fool you. This is definitely not your run-of-the-mill children's roller coaster. In fact, the coaster packs quite a wallop. It's the best thing to come to Hastings since the Payless Shoe Source store opened here last fall. The ride is so technologically advanced too. I just pop in my quarters, touch the magic TV screen, sit back and enjoy the ride! I can't wait to ride it over and over again and again!"

Francis Rockswell, another NO Roller Coaster Club member, was also present at the ride's media day celebration. Francis came to the mall on opening day with the intention of setting a new world record for riding a roller coaster over and over again non-stop longer than anyone else ever has before.

"I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate this great new coaster's grand opening event," said Francis. "I really thought I was going to break the record too."

Francis was off to a great start, but, three hours and $122.00 later, he ran out of quarters. "I guess I really underestimated how many quarters I'd need to break the world record," lamented Francis.

Francis has already vowed to attempt his record breaking feat again next week right after he cashes his paycheck from his job at the Imperial 3 Theaters. "I'm working a lot of extra hours this week, so I'll have more quarters the next time," Francis said.

The Nebraska Out-and-back Roller Coaster Club has managed to secure some exclusive ride time on the Kiddie Coaster for NORCC members only on Sunday, June 22nd from 11:00am until 12:00 noon. Members are encouraged to arrive early and bring lots of quarters.

UPDATE: ARN&R has just learned that the Kiddie Coaster, which was touted by Six Flags Theme Parks as a "brand new" coaster installation, was not new at all. In fact, the same coaster had previously operated for years at the Wal-Mart in Elk Mountain, Wyoming. It was purchased by Six Flags Theme Parks, disassembled and shipped to Nebraska where it was reassembled and repainted in an attempt to pass it off on to unsuspecting Nebraskans as a brand new coaster, as reflected in this exclusive photograph.



--JWS