The police commissioner takes a three-story fall off
the Gotham City Hall balcony in the new Batman Stunt Show at Six Flags Great
Of all the flashy scenes in the "Batman Stunt Show", premiering tomorrow at Six Flags Great America, producer Peter Alexander's favorite is the explosive finale:
"The Batmobile drives though a brick wall, and then these air cannons blow pipes off (the wall), and there's a staggered series of explosions of fireworks and flames, and the whole place [Axis Chemical] blows u p. It's really pretty cool."
Alexander, former executive producer at Universal Studios
in Orlando, Fla., is both a fan and a master of cinematic-style, controlled
chaos onstage. He is president of the Totally Fun Company in Clearwater, Fla.,
where he oversees Batman Stunt Shows at several Six Flags parks.
Last year, the caped comic book character with the black-and-yellow logo became big news at Six Flags in Gurnee with the opening of Batman the Ride, a hair-raising, leg-dangling, outside-looping roller coaster ride that left me feeling loopy.
This year, the dark avenger of the night himself stars
in the "Batman Stunt Show", an 18-minute, live-action, pyrotechnic-packed
presentation that will be performed several times daily.
The show is filled with visual excitement, including
"flash curtains" of fireworks, car crashes, fist fights with realistic
("twack") sound effects, motor cycles flying off ramps, a stuntman's
three-story plunge off a balcony, and "flame effects" (an entertainment
industry term for exploding balls of fire).
The action occurs on the stage at Great America's brand
new Batman Amphitheatre, which I visited last week. Entrance to the arena (situated
between the Demon coaster and Splashwater Falls) is through a big drain tunnel
at the Axis Chemical Plant. (It was there, according to the "Batman"
movie, that bad guy Jack Napier fell into a vat of acid- an accident that turned
him into the ghoulishly disfigured Joker.)
The Chemical Plant comes complete with beak-away bricks
made of latex-coated foam. "It's a real movie kind of constrution,"
said Alexander. Pieces of the wall go flying when the Batmobile crashes through.
There are several talented performers in the show, which
is directed by veteran stunt coordinator James Winburn. (Amont his credits are
"Cagney & Lacey", "Magnum P.I." and many movies including
the original "Halloween" and "The Big Chill.")
But the shows biggest star, according to Alexander and Winburn is the super-sleek, jet-black Batmobile, with hatches that open, rocket launchers, a blow-away tailfin" (that gets blown away by the Joker) and "Blind-driver capability," which means it
looks as if it is driving itself.