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30 November 2007 - 5:01pm
Rick at The Motley Fool writes amazing columns about the amusement industry.
Of course, as a Fool, he writes nearly exclusively about publicly traded, corporate parks.
Yet somehow, we get a mention every once in a while.
Before we shot our YouTube announcement video on Wednesday, we were all giddy in anticipation and nervousness.
"Let's just try not to make fools out of ourselves," was the rallying cry.
But maybe that's not such a bad thing after all.
30 November 2007 - 1:46pm
It's that time of year when leftovers aren't a burden. They're appreciated. Cherished, even.
So I knew you wouldn't mind a leftover story from this summer.
It was when "Deal or No Deal" came back to town.
More than a year ago, the GM over at Santa's Lodge was chosen to be a contestant. Surprise! It was to air on Christmas day.
Skip is normally a pretty quiet guy. Pleasant, but not someone who seems to crave attention.
Until he's under the kliegs. Then he comes alive.
Skip won a heap of money, but he couldn't tell us till the show aired. (He's on the County Tourism Commission with me; we all noted he was wearing a nice leather jacket the week after he taped the show and nodded at one another knowingly.)
But that was 2006 and this is 2007.
Well, back during the season a crew from "Deal" came back to town. It seems our Skip is one of their most popular contestants ever, so they wanted to shoot an update of Skip here in the town of Santa Claus.
So he brought them to Holiday World.
They did a little bit with John, Skip and his family around the Santa statue.
Skip "whoo-hooed" his way through the day. It was unbelievable the energy he put into this shoot.
Waving. Laughing. Shouting. Whoo-hooing.
It was exhausting.
Next, over to Raging Rapids.
Skip was still full of pep.
And he got the entire family, plus John, in on the act.
Yes, of course. Spin dry at Revolution.
Did Skip have his arms down at his sides even once during the day?
I don't think so.
Good thing we sewed an elastic strap on his Santa hat.
Poor Josh was lugging the heavy camera equipment all day. (He never did take me up on my offer to help shlep it around, thank heavens.)
And now he had to halfway bend over backwards to shoot Skip's rides on Liberty Launch.
"Who is that?" I was asked over and over.
People were amazed when I told them it was the GM from Santa's Lodge.
"We've been there for three nights and haven't heard a single whoo-hoo."
That's probably because he was saving himself. By the end of the day ol' Skip was getting mighty hoarse.
I whispered to John and Josh several times that I'd be glad to take them all to lunch. A nice grilled-chicken salad would have hit the spot by mid afternoon.
But we pressed on.
When Skip finally ran out of steam, we stopped for a snack. Four orders of deep-fried Oreos.
And then we were off and running again.
As they prepared to head out of the station I noticed something.
"Hey, Skip! Your arms aren't up in the air! What gives? And what happened to whoo-hoo? Come on, just one little whoo-hoo for Howie before you ride..."
This is my favorite photo of the day.
Can't you imagine Skip thinking, "I won $136,000 and that was great. I've had fun all day. When exactly did I agree to ride this coaster after eating deep-fried cookies?"
But up, up, up the lifthill they went, Santa and Skip.
And by the time Josh and I caught the train coming back toward the station, Skip had re-energized and assumed his standard position.
He even got Santa in on the act.
John and Josh finished their road trip and got to work editing.
Just this week, they posted their video on Deal or No Deal's website. Click here if you'd like to watch their high-energy report.
29 November 2007 - 8:00am
28 November 2007 - 2:49pm
By this time tomorrow, you'll know.
We taped a 10-minute announcement today, which will appear on YouTube at 9:00 am CST (10:00 am EST) Thursday.
It's the Will & Pat Show, basically (...with one unfortunate, but necessary, voice-over provided by yours truly).
We'll post a direct link to the video here on the HoliBlog tomorrow morning.
And afterwards, please don't email me asking what's the deal with Mrs. Koch and cheese.
I really don't know...
27 November 2007 - 9:00am
So, am I getting on your nerves yet?
For weeks and weeks a barrage of emails has overloaded my Inbox.
And everyone's asked the same thing: We know about Kima Bay, but you promised more.
When will you tell us?
And now, we start talking about 2009.
Is this a typo ... or something far more sinister?
Actually, this isn't the promised announcement. That will come soon. (Promise. Really. No, really.)
This is about an entirely different project. Something just down the road.
An amphitheatre. With 1,500 seats. And a roof.
It's a beautiful facility, located in Lincoln State Park.
Will is heading up the non-profit organization whose mission it is to produce a play about Abraham Lincoln. After all, he grew up here.
All those stories you've heard about his tough childhood? Happened right here.
Remember the one about how he borrowed a book and it got damaged in the rain? Abraham worked for days to pay off the damage...
Yup. Happened here in southern Indiana. His beloved mother is buried here, as is his only sister.
Well, if we do things right, the world will know. Abraham truly grew up here, from the time he was seven until he was 21. Think about it: those are the main years of a child's education; that's when a person's character is formed.
And that's our story.
Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809, so in just two years it will be the bicentennial of his birth. So that's the plan for 2009: get the play open and fill up that theater.
Here's where you come in: In any given month, upwards of 40,000 folks click on and presumably read the HoliBlog (thanks, by the way). Surely some of you know someone who is interested in theatre--or maybe they will know someone who fits the bill. And eventually, we'll find our playwright and general manager. If you would be so kind, send them here for more information. And here's a nice article, too.
Then I can get back to work preparing for us to announce that rest of what's being added to Holiday World in 2008.
That will come soon. (Promise. Really. No, really.)