Thursday, May 11, 2006
The Bradys and Kings Island
Well it’s almost summer and people will soon be heading to various amusement parks for family fun. The one that is closest to my home is Kings Island. It replaced the old Coney Island that sat on the banks of the Ohio. Ironically the old Coney Island site is sort of making a small comeback with smaller attractions at a more affordable price these days. When I was younger and it was considered old fashioned I didn’t understand the need for a new park. Every night there would be ads saying something like only 7 days left till Coney Island closes for good. I was so angry for the closing of Coney that each time I saw one of those ads I almost didn’t want to go to Kings Island. But next year when it was opened my family went. I remember the first day and being more tired from walking around there then I ever was at the end of the day with Coney. KI was bigger. So big I almost put a hole in my shoe from all the walking. However, KI to me was not better. My favorite place then as well as now was the Coney Island area where they had the old rides from Coney. Kings Island did have one promotional gimmick that Coney never had. On one trip in the early 70’s America’s favorite family came for a visit. The Brady Bunch came to Kings Island. According to Barry Williams’s book Growing Up Brady, these kids who had been to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon were looking forward to their visit to Cincinnati to shoot an episode of their show. What they didn’t know was that at that time Cincinnati was not use to TV and film crews who practically have to take over the area to get the job done. Add in that the park was not closed down for those days but open to the public and KI was in a small town suburb with only one motel and you have a recipe for disaster. When that episode of the show airs on TV you can see people in the park looking twice at the actors and pointing. At the end of a hard day of work the actors had a hard time getting to their rooms. With only one motel in town it was not hard for fans to figure where they were staying and each day had a huge crowd of fans to politely push their way through to get to and from the park. I am sure the kids on the show looked forward to the Cincinnati trip thinking it would be mostly them getting the A list treatment to all the rides on the park. As small towns go they probably did get the best treatment they could get at the time. But no one was ready for all of it. The chapter about this experience in Mr. Williams’s book is called The Fishbowl. So you know exactly how he felt about it. One experience could have cost them all their lives if not for Robert Reed and how he got sick on rollercoaster’s. Because of this Mr. Reed is not on the rollercoaster scene. He did watch them set up for it and saw how the camera was mounted looking backwards so they could show the kids faces as they rode it. Mr. Reed wondered what would happen to the camera once it hits 60 mph and gets to the overhead stuff on the tracks. He had them measure it and they found out that they had to lower the camera or it would have hit something and flew off and hit the kids in their faces. Just as all seemed well the producer said to run the car through without anyone on it. The crew thought it was a waste of time as they were ready to shoot but they did. To their horror the car came back without the mounted camera. They set it up again and ran another test. This time everything was fine. The actors were then put in and the scene was shot. Barry Williams said when you see that episode and think they look horrified it is because they were. So this is a very memorable show of the Brady Bunch for all concerned.