June 23, 1993
'Batman' flies at Magic Mountain
Stunt, laser shows featured at park
By RICK BENTLEY
California TV Editor
VALENCIA - Against a background of stark black-and-white buildings, the rusting form of the Axis Chemical smoke stack loomed. With a flash of light and a cloud of smoke, a black form was spit from the top of the stack. After a short flight against the blue sky, the form fell behind a building.
Moments later Batman was alive and well and beating up the Joker and his thugs.
That might sound like a scene from the original Tim Burton
"Batman" movie, but it actually was a scene that will be played out
five times a day for the amusement park-go-
ers who stop by the new "Batman Stunt Show," which debuted Saturday at Six Flags
A maximum crowd of 2,5005 fans will be able to watch Vicki Vale being terrorized by goons on motorcycles; Commissioner Gordon being blown off the balcony of the Gotham City" City Hall; and Batman and Joker in a pyrotechnic battle complete with Batmobile and Jokermobile.
"This is one of the two new shows we will be adding," Joe Schlllaci, president of Six FIags Magic Mountain, said during a preview of the stunt show for the press. "Six Flags has long been known for its rides and this is a major departure for us."
Besides the "Batman Stunt Show" - that features 20 minutes of POWS, Zaps and Thuds - the park has also added a 15-minute "Batman Nights, Fireworks and Laser Show." Three lasers systems producing 300 laser beams with produce images for the show. Two water curtains reflect the laser graphics over the skyline of the "Batman Stunt Show."
Peter Alexander, producer of the "Batman Stunt Show", has been working on theme park shows for more than a decade. Before bringing the adventures of the caped crusader to life, he worked on efforts ranging from the Universal Studios "Conan" show to designing the "Back to the Future" ride at the Universal Studios - Florida park.
"The pyrotechnics were the hardest part of this show," Alexander said after putting his cast through several of the stunts. A total of 38 pyros simulate effects from car crashes to missile blasts. "Because there are stunt men running around in the middle of the pyro effects, everything has to be timed to the second."
To make sure there were no mistakes, work on creating the show started in November and rehearsals began May 5. The cast for the local show had spent time at the Six Flags Astroworld "Batman Stunt Show" rehearsing while the local set was being constructed.
Rick Smith, who portrays Batman in the show, said the local stage was just a little smaller and had a few changes which meant the cast was having to make a few adjustments.
"As far as getting to wear all black costume", Smith Smiled from under the familiar cowl and said, "This is anything but cool. The suit is very hot. But, it really is a great job to be able to have this job as Batman when I am not working on movies."
While Smith and the other male members of the cast came from stunt backgrounds, Marilyn Olsen, who portrays Vale, said she was contacted because of her training in dance and experience with acting battle work.
"Most of what I am doing in the show is mime. I have to direct the audience to the action", Olsen said.
The "Batman Stunt Show" is scheduled to run
several times daily through Sept 7. "Batman Nights" runs nightly (except
Mondays) at 9:30 through Sept. 26.