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Removed Attractions Removed Attractions/shows, etc.

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Old January 23rd, 2012, 04:08 PM
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cleusk cleusk is offline
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Default The Sensational Sense Machine

Here are all the posts I could find about the Sensational Sense Machine.

Greg Pogue
I was 'Foreman' of SSM for a while. It was considered a 'training' ride for new foremen at the time. I later graduated to Roto Disco then culminated my Rides career at Bumper Cars. by then the hydraulics had been cannibalized, or so they said, to keep more high profile rides running, so the thing didn't even move with the action on the film. So all day you would just count out the appropriate number of guests from the line, let them in, close the doors (hydraulic mechanisms, of course) and start the short film. One day, just to change things up, I loaded the projector with a film that had a completely different theme, that we had never used while I was there, just to surprise the other guy working there. I forgot to put the wing nut on the feeder reel. So the strange film started and ran for about 30 seconds, then we heard this awful crash from the projection room. The reel, already having some angular momentum, rolled and bounced down the metal stairway to the ground, trailing a ribbon of film behind. The film still in the projector stalled and the segment in front of the lamp melted, in that classic movie theater-like fashion. Of course I was terrified that a 'sup' would find out and I would get fired. Hah! But we laughed about the whole thing for weeks.
As far as a ride 'Gone Wild' I don't know if SSM would have ever qualified, even with a catastrophic malfunction. The worst thing that could have happened is that it could have stopped, tilted to one side, and then the doors wouldn't open. Imagine being trapped in a little metal box in the sweltering August heat with about 20 other sweaty bodies. I spent so much time in the little shed that held the reels of film, rewinder, and the ride's electronic equipment, that I can visualize it as if it were yesterday. The computers that ran the ride were monstrosities by today's standards, with all sorts of LED indicator lights. They probably had less memory than my PDA and drew several orders-of-magnitude more power. The good thing was that they had to be kept cool, so there was always a nice air-conditioned place to hang out during breaks from the grueling routine of opening the chain, counting out the appropriate number of guests, and closing the chain again. And the ride itself was air-conditioned, too. A slacker's paradise, rivaled only by the old Western Union booth. And it is funny to think that the projection system consisted of, well, a film projector. Now a good laptop could run the whole thing, audiovisuals and all.
I can't imagine it ever being that thrilling. Wait in line for who knows how long to get into a little box that pitches and rolls to simulate riding on what? Roller coasters! Why not just go get on a real roller coaster? I don't know what they were thinking. Maybe they were just trying to get ahead of the curve on the whole 'virtual reality' movement in amusement. It still cracks me up now to think about the computer that ran the thing. It took up half a wall and must have drawn about a kilowatt of power. And probably had about a tenth of the computing power of my PDA. It even had little rows of LED lights that indicated something (I don't know what!) that danced and blinked during the film while the ride itself sat immobile, inert. Even the fact that it used a big reel of 'film' makes me chuckle, too. Now a laptop could run the whole thing, audiovisuals included from it's hard drive, and the whole production would easily fit on one of those CD-ROM discs. I mean the film was only about six minutes long. The reel plus film must have weighed 20 pounds easily, and was about the diameter of a car tire. (There were three copies of the program on each reel--we had two reels.) The stupid thing must have cost them a bundle. I remember the heavy pre-season marketing, with the television and radio ads including the phrase "...and the SENSATIONAL SENSE MACHIIIIIINE!!!!"
The ride itself even had its own step-down transformer for power, so there was a box back there with the warning "13200 Volts".
The SSM was not 'in' a building, but, rather, was a sort of metal box on hydraulic stilts. The structure in front of the ride was just a facade to conceal the exterior of the ride. There was a little shack behind the ride that housed the computers and was where we rewound the films. You got up to the projection room by climbing up one of those moveable metal stairways like the ones they use at an airport so you can board a plane while it is sitting on the tarmac. Of course we never had to move it away from the back door of the ride when I worked there because the thing didn't even move any more.
I wonder why they didn't just close the ride down when it became inoperable. I was embarrassed to work there, because guests would shake their heads as they left, wondering why they hadn't just spent the time eating a pink thing or cruising around to another, operating, ride. It seem the best way to 'train' potential foremen would have been to have them work alongside experienced foremen at larger rides. I am starting to wonder if some of the 'training' rides like SSM and Roto Disco (I was foreman of both) were just a sort of 'sidetrack' in the Rides 'career' path that really went nowhere.

Alan Cochran
It was a late-1970s precursor to the movie-with-moving-environment stuff like the SpongeBob attraction. The SSM was in a small space at the front of the Park once occupied by the Missile Chaser; the entrance was around what's now the photo stand near Looney Land.

Scott Reynolds
I remember it sitting back there rotting with peeling paint around 87 or so. It was kinda hidden behind the stores to the right of the photo booth. It might of been removed in 83 but I tell you it was in pieces by then and was basically only showing the movie with no "sensational senses" by that time.
Kinda sad, it was actually a very advanced attraction for its time and was in many ways ahead of its time. The park now has the 3d theater which is technically a more advanced more modern version of the SSM and is roughly in the same area of the park.

Michael Hicks
The motionbase hydralics quit working a lot and by the second year it was run without them, just as a mini "Chevy Show"-type attraction. As I recall the ride film shown, it started with the Screamin' Eagle (from SF in St. Louis) then was all SFoT rides (Spinnaker, Runaway Mine Train, ShockWave, etc.). What a novel could "ride" rides that they already had in the park, although it did give younger riders a taste of these rides that they were too small for until they were older. In hindsight, I guess at that time it was better to spend 15 minutes in line for a virtual trip on the ShockWave than 3 hours for the real thing.

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