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Friday, April 30, 2010

My 1980s Monster Plantation Model

At some point in the 1980s, I made my own Monster Plantation ride.

I started with a great battery-operated Water Coaster toy.  This used real water, and it was great fun watching the little people race through the tiny water flume and up the lift hill over and over again.  The rafts would actually splash water out of the track sometimes.

I made cut-outs of the monsters using the Monster Plantation Postcard book illustrations as a guide.  I drew the monsters on pieces of plywood, then my Dad cut them out for me, and I painted them.  You can see the high-tech hot glue and wood triangles used to stand the monsters up.

I included the Boat Eater character from the ride for the "finale."  There was a great picture of him in an issue of the National Geographic World magazine that I used as a reference.

Also part of this model is a PVC figure of Fuzzball, a little alien creature from the 1986 Michael Jackson 3-D film, "Captain EO."  This movie was shown at Disneyland, Epcot, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris.  "Captain EO" recently returned to Disneyland, and is expected to return to the other Disney parks in the near future.

Snarf from the Thundercats animated TV series can also be found here (twice!).  These are Snarf "strawholders" from a Thundercats Burger King Kids Meal from 1986.  I was thrilled to get these.

The pink, bat-like plastic figurine seen here is a character named Belfry from the 1986 Filmation animated TV series, Ghostbusters (not to be confused with the famous Bill Murray movie from 1984).  Filmation based this cartoon off of their own live-action TV series from 1975.  I thought Belfry looked similar to Mizzy Scarlett's pet, Tatty-too, from the Monster Plantation ride.

Audrey 2 the plant from The Little Shop of Horrors is also here.  This toy had been filled with candy (just open Audrey 2's mouth!).  Feed me!!!

I painted the ride track and the Boat Eater with glow-in-the-dark paint so I could run the ride at night.

The Water Coaster bit the dust many, many years ago and wound up in the trash.  I miss it.

I still have my wooden monsters, though.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Monstore at Six Flags Part 5

At the Monstore, you can buy plush toys of Marshall Billy Bob Fritter, Calvin, and Buzby (in two sizes).  The characters' names are not shown on their tags---I'm just a nerd that knows their names.

It's interesting that the monsters they chose to make into plush toys are the characters that look very much like dinosaurs.  Just noticing that.

Monster Mansion merchandise also includes these three magnets shown, and identical keychain versions.  Mugs, shirts, and other souvenir logo items are also available.

The switch plate shown is from 1981.  In the late 1980s, I wrote to Six Flags asking if they had any more Monster Plantation Coloring Books (which were sold when the ride debuted), and they responded, letting me know they did not---but they sent me this switch plate and a Monster Plantation Postcard Book (which you can find on my blog) for free!  How very nice!

A Monster Plantation poster was also sold, and it is on display in the Monstore's museum.  In this picture, you will also find a Six Flags Over Georgia book by author Tim Hollis.  I actually got to meet the author in 2006 when he was writing this.  You can find my name and one of my Six Flags souvenirs in his book!
In 2009, the monsters got another store (sort of).  The park has a discount store, and in honor of the Mansion, it became Billy Bob's Bargain Bonanza.  I did not have a chance to enter this store, but I did notice that it sold merchandise from Disney/Pixar's Ratatouille!

Hopefully I'll make it back to Six Flags Over Georgia soon to see if there are any new monstrosities in the Monstore.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Monstore at Six Flags Part 4

The Monstore features a great Monster Plantation museum, featuring a display of some of the figures used for the original 1981 attraction model.  These were sculpted by a very friendly and talented artist named Larry Nikolai.  Many of these pieces are, well, in pieces now, sadly.

This display features the flasher monster, who looks a little like a naughtier version of The Great Gonzo from The Muppets.

Also seen here are two Marsh monsters---the one with the grasping claws is from the Treasure scene.

Next time we'll see some of the merchandise from the Monstore.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Monstore at Six Flags Part 3

Shown in the first picture here is concept art of a monster named Pookie with his ice cream stealing "friend" Filly.  Filly was also used in a display fixture seen in Part 1.

Next we see the elephant-like (or anteater like) dancer monsters.  These were removed from the ride years ago and never returned.  I'm guessing they broke down and are possibly in the living room of a Six Flags employee now.

We also have an early concept of Marshall Billy Bob Fritter.  The animatronic Plantation version of Billy Bob did not have nostrils, but the Mansion version does.

Also shown here is the large mural in the museum section.  The statue bird is represented here, though he is no longer in the ride.  Mizzy Scarlett is part of the mural that I missed (my antique digital camera had no more memory!).

The black and white drawings are Monster Mansion addition concepts.  The monsters on the player piano and the interesting wishing well ideas did not make it to the new version of the ride.  The photo monster and the water spout monsters managed to find their way into the Mansion, though.

I'm not sure if the "totem pole" monster concept was for the Plantation or the Mansion.  These monsters decorate the stand of the display used for The Monster Plantation's ride model figures, which will be seen next time!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Monstore at Six Flags Part 2

The ride photo pickup counter inside the Monstore features rarely seen concept art for the Monster Marsh.  For the most part, the scarier monsters have been "kept in the dark" for merchandise and promotional materials over the years.

I would love to buy postcards (or a book) featuring the creative, energetic artwork on display at the Monstore.

I love the drawing of the Lagoon Goon musicians on the wall here.  There was another member of this Dixieland group--a harmonica player---shown in another piece of artwork that I saw in a Monster Plantation online article written by artist and theme park historian Christopher Merritt (he just released a new book called Knott's Preserved, covering the history of Knott's Berry Farm theme park in California.  I've never visited the park, but I've met Christopher Merritt, and he is such a nice guy, I'm getting his book!).

The Harmonica monster must have been cut early in the design process.

The image of the hillbilly monster with the "accordion monster" is part of a large mural in the museum section of the store.  This must have been taken from an early idea, because there is no accordion monster in the ride.

The cheerleader monsters are featured prominently as part of fixtures in the store.  I am actually shocked that they did not make plush toys out of these characters.

The framed artwork of the cheerleaders also on display includes two characters cut from the scene.  They are featured in The Monster Plantation Coloring Book, so they must have been cut at the last minute.

There's more in store from the Monstore!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Monstore at Six Flags Part 1

When The Monster Plantation opened in 1981, Six Flags Over Georgia got a new gift shop called the Monstore.  Since it was located right in front of the ride, it was the ideal place to buy Monster Plantation items.  The shop did not have a monster theme aside from the name, and it was mostly a generic toy store.

Around the time the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes characters became Six Flags mascots in 1985, the Monstore became Looney Tunes Treasures.

In 2009, the shop became the Monstore again, this time with monsters everywhere.  The store is decorated with artwork created by Phil Mendez and the crew at Gary Goddard Productions for The Monster Plantation.  Some ideas that did not make it to the ride can be seen in the Monstore (the monsters playing croquet seen here are not in the ride, for example).

Here you can also buy the photo that Papa Razzi, the photo monster, took on your trip through The Monster Mansion.  I did not check to see how much the picture was, but I bought plush toys of Calvin, Marshall Billy Bob, and 2 different sizes of Buzby, the mascot of the ride and the store.

I think it would be cool if the Monstore sold PVC figures of the Monster Mansion characters.  I'd lose it if they did mini figure collector packs (like the ones sold at Disneyland and Walt Disney World) of ALL the ride's monsters!

I'd also love to see a Monster Mansion storybook.  A coloring book and a postcard book were released in 1981 (you can find the great images from the postcard book here on my blog).

The Monstore also features a mini-museum, with some fantastic artwork and some of the figures created for the ride model of The Monster Plantation.  Stay tuned for more!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Monster Plantation/The Monster Mansion Part 7

Luckily for us, Marshall Billy Bob Fritter and his dog, Fritter Bitter have found a (very loud) cannon to fend off the deadly denizens of the Monster Marsh.

We find ourselves back with the friendly monsters.  In The Monster Plantation, the final picnic scene is set during the afternoon.  For The Monster Mansion, it's nighttime.

For The Monster Mansion in 2009, a kinetic light show and dancing fountains were added to the finale.

The Lagoon Goon Musicians are in this scene, and they kick up the music!  Mizzy Scarlett tells us that she's happy we made it out of the Marsh.  Then she asks, "Don't you just feel like singin'?"

The ride's theme song plays here, and a new feature for the Mansion is an animated "follow the bouncing Buzby the monster" karaoke-type display so you can sing along with the music.

A little monster named Buster is doing some fishing here, and he's caught a skeleton!  Buster is one of my favorite monsters.  The pond Buster fishes in doubles as an elaborate fountain now.

Buzby, the ride's green monster mascot, sits on a "G'Bye Y'All!" sign and waves at us.  For The Monster Mansion, Buzby sports some bling and flair that lights up.

The boats then push through two large doors into a dark room.  All of a sudden, two large red eyes light up above our heads.  For the final scene, our boat enters the toothy mouth of a ferocious beast called the Boat Eater.  For The Monster Mansion, a new loud horn sound was added for a startling monster "sneeze" (though this sound could be interpreted as the monster breaking wind).

The boat travels through a tunnel that doubles as the Boat Eater's throat.  We then exit the building and are back at the load and unload area.

I hope y'all enjoyed your trip through The Monster Plantation/The Monster Mansion!

Next time, we'll take a trip to the Monstore nearby, where you can buy your on-ride photo.