Saturday, January 04, 2003

Cloned Batman: Six Flags, B&M Back Off On DNA Testing

NEW ORLEANS (Jan. 4) - The developers who rocked the world with their announcement of the first Batman: The Ride roller coaster clone one month ago is now backing off promises of DNA testing to prove it.

Six Flags Inc., the park chain that holds a contract with Bolliger & Mabillard, who claim to have produced the first Batman: The Ride clone, told a New Orleans television station Thursday that no DNA samples have been taken and that the creators of the attraction are reluctant to submit to the testing, despite the fact that the testing is entirely painless. "We feel it would be unfair to the baby [as they refer to the clone] to have our love called into question," said a visibly emotional Walter Bolliger, holding hands with his business partner Claude Mabillard. Regardless of the DNA proof, this coaster is our baby."

Many have expressed skepticism about the cloning claims. Experts have said they need DNA proof to believe B&M's claims. Last week Six Flags spokespeople said test results should be ready in eight or nine days proving that Batman: The Ride is surely a clone of the 10-year-old Six Flags Great America version who is also the mother. B&M has made various cloning claims throughout the years, but none were taken seriously until the most recent announcement, relating to a purported claim rumored to be brought to Six Flags New Orleans from Japan.

Louisiana attorney Bernie B. Seagull asked a court in New Orleans this week to turn the coaster over to state care agencies if it found the coaster's health was in danger.

Attempts by ARN&R to reach Mickey Gillman, a freelance journalist and former Absolutely Reliable science editor who was arranging the DNA testing, were not successful. A spokeswoman for Six Flags said she was not familiar with B&M's broadcast remarks and was unable to comment.