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"SCR*EA*MS and Dreams" premieres today

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"SCR*EA*MS and Dreams" premieres today

Postby marcos » Sat May 21, 2011 11:03 am

Just announced on the park's Facebook page:

"Today is opening day for Screams and Dreams, a behind-the-scenes look at the first years of Great America. Don't miss Volume One of this documentary with fun stories about our park that have never been told before! Check it out this season in the Pictorium."

And this comment from Angie Lovell McAvoy, Great America's First Lady in 1981:

"If you worked at the park when it was Marriott's Great America, played at the park, took your dates there, took your kids, or just want to see the making of an amazing theme park, this movie is for you! I can't wait to see the finished product! Thanks to Entertainmnet and some VERY talented, caring individuals. It was a labor of love."


-Mark
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Re: "SCR*EA*MS and Dreams" premieres today

Postby marcos » Sun May 22, 2011 7:45 pm

Before I get started, special thanks goes out to Steven, who was listed three times in the film's credits, along with greatamericaparks.com. I knew Steven was going to be involved somehow! :)

I wanted to go yesterday, and I did, but there were no showings after 4 PM.

I ended up seeing the show twice today, at 3 and 4. (Due to severe thunderstorm warning and/or lightning, the big rides all shut down around 3:30, so I went back to see the show again.)

Wow, what an awesome presentation, and a full 30 minutes at that!

I am really, really, really impressed with the dedication and enthusiasm of the park employees/management who have been there since 1976 or close to that. Several of them were interviewed for the film.

After talking to the A/V Entertainment tech, it sounds like this will be available for purchase on DVD towards the end of the season, probably around Fright Fest. The next installment of the series will likely be next year or possibly the year following. It could be about the Six Flags (pre Warner) era. Production for current installment started around Fright Fest last year, and concluded a few weeks ago.

The presentation started with a typed quote from J.W. Marriott, Jr., and then went straight into the 1979 TV Special shot in Hometown Square, disco and all, heh.

Holy cow, were there many, many, many Marriott commercials and Marriott references. Angie talked up how big the Grand Music Hall productions were, with large casts, full orchestras and all. The shows often had two casts, since they ran from park open to park close. The Mardi Gras parade which ran daily from 1976 through 1987, had full marching bands, jugglers, and more. Any of these things are just plain unimaginable today. Let's face it, entertainment at Gurnee these days is barely there. ("Screams and Dreams" is actually the only show running in the entire park until June 11!)

The presentation went into some detail about the custom design, architecture/construction, costuming and themeing.

After talking to a few people my age and a little older after the show, it had an emotional effect on them. One person said it brought tears to his eyes, and the other said it made him feel young again. Other comments I heard during the show from people sitting around me, were how cool Tidal Wave and Sky Whirl were. Both rides were covered in detail.

It was a little surreal to see the Pictorium being constructed, and how the seating was carved out of the limestone in the hill, while watching the film in the very same building, heh.

So, now I have to sing, since I cannot get the jingle out of my head...

"We're Marrrriott's...Great aMERRRica, we're Marrrriott's..."

Let the good ole' days roll!


-Mark

P.S. Santa Clara folks, your park was mentioned once...now, maybe Six Flags can license this to Cedar Fair to screen this somewhere in Santa Clara, but not the Pictorium, of course. :( Honestly, there was very little "Six Flags" in this presentation, and only a few Marriott things that would not translate, such as the American Eagle and White Water Rampage. I know, it won't happen, and that's a shame, since so much of the two parks' heritage is the same or at least very similar.
Last edited by marcos on Sun May 22, 2011 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "SCR*EA*MS and Dreams" premieres today

Postby MGA1 » Sun May 22, 2011 8:02 pm

Thanks for the review, Marcos! I'm looking forward to seeing the film myself on Great America Alumni Day. I'm hoping many of the Marriott-era employees I knew will be able to attend that day.
"...and enjoy the rest of your day here at Marriott's GRRRREAT America"
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Re: "SCR*EA*MS and Dreams" premieres today

Postby marcos » Mon May 23, 2011 1:51 pm

My pleasure, MGA1.

I would love to hang with the alumni crowd from here on Alumni Day at Gurnee. :) Hearing the stories alone would be priceless!

I was 10 when the park changed hands, but I do have 5 years of vivid memories of the Marriott days. So strong was the influence of Marriott's Great America in Gurnee, that my first job while in college and later (almost) career were with Marriott, from 1993 until 2000. I spent more time learning about the company and its former and current operations than I care to admit.

I wish I could paraphrase the quote at the start of the presentation from Bill Marriott, but I know I'll mess it up. I remember it starting off with "Marriott's Great America was (and is)..." something about the values/spirit/patriotism of the country. What caught my attention was the "and is" in parentheses, so I'm thinking that might be a recent quote from Bill. He was listed in the credits under "Special Thanks To" or something similar. I clapped when the quote appeared on the screen. :)

One other thing about the presentation...before and after, they had a CD running the audio of many MGA commercials. Most sounded like TV commercials, but some appeared to be radio spots. Most of them I had heard on this website, but there were a few I had never heard before. Anyway, that was a real nice nostalgic touch...I'd really like a copy of that CD!

After the show is over, you will really feel like the Marriott era is alive and well...until you leave the Pictorium, and soon have a reality check. For one, the exterior of the Pictorium has really needed at least a partial paint job for several years now!

To end on a positive note, I love how Logger's Run at both parks still has the original Great America logo/font on the fronts of the logs. I had the pleasure of being the only person on the ride on a cool night at Halloween Haunt in Santa Clara last October. Just yesterday, I rode LR in Gurnee for the first time in many, many years. LR in Gurnee just opened this past weekend, I think, but Yankee Clipper is still closed, and is supposed to open in June. I haven't been on YC in many, many years, either.

Here's something interesting...Gurnee currently uses an apostrophe in "Logger's Run," whereas Santa Clara does not. From this website, it appears there wasn't an apostrophe to start with. Who knows? :)


-Mark
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Re: "SCR*EA*MS and Dreams" premieres today

Postby jimmy gimbels » Wed May 25, 2011 3:44 am

It appears that SixFlags is playing the nostalgia angle this year. The new movie leaves one with the impression of what Great America was and was meant to be. Under Six Flags, the park has been in a slow decline and is only a shadow of its former glorious self. Great America is no longer a theme park, just a common variety amusement park...and even in that category it fails. We have bare earth and dead trees where there should be landscaping. Many closed shops and eateris. A very small staff for a 300 acre park. Peeling paint and buildings falling apart. I won't even try to explain the horrors you find "backstgage."

Under the Marriott watchful eye:
- landscaping was amazing. Remember the huge handing planters in New Orleans?
- amazing variety of shops with handcrafted merchandise
- decent to amazing food (Andre's French Fries!) at fair prices
- parking lot trams
- a variety of shows with large casts and live music...plus a marching band
- rides cleaned inside and out

I could go on and on. I've worked for both the Marriott and Six Flags versions of Great America. I assure you, Marriott was a whole lot better. The movie made me long for the Marriott days.
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Re: "SCR*EA*MS and Dreams" premieres today

Postby RandyV » Mon May 30, 2011 8:18 am

If the park makes this available on DVD someone please let me know. I'll pay someone to grab a copy and mail it to me.

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Re: "SCR*EA*MS and Dreams" premieres today

Postby steven » Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:57 pm

Hi, Mark!

Thank you for the report and the kind words! I can't believe that this thread somehow escaped me until now and I just now read your report. I am very excited to see the film! I'm glad that you liked it. Sounds GREAT to me!

Thanks again.

Steven
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Re: "SCR*EA*MS and Dreams" premieres today

Postby MGA1 » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:10 pm

Screams and Dreams Vol 1 and 2 are posted on Youtube by user sfgamfreek. If you're interested in watching, here's the URL:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ra-Dv8eU0Uw
"...and enjoy the rest of your day here at Marriott's GRRRREAT America"
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