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Arts & Culture

Live Active Cultures

On the road to Sally Corp. with the merry pranksters of Theme Park Review

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We were greeted by the singing grizzly in the lobby and continued with a comprehensive look at Sally’s offices and manufacturing facilities. CEO and co-founder John Wood, assistant VP of creative services Jan Sherman and VP of design services Drew Hunter were just a few of the high-level employees who showed up on a Saturday to show off their work. Highlights of Sally’s “fun factory” included:

• Footage from Sally’s new Justice League 3-D ride in Australia, the first to feature New 52 superhero designs direct from DC comic artist Jim Lee.

• A skinless animatronic character being painstakingly programmed to lip-sync a pop song.

• The massive model from Sally’s first project proposal, a vehicular shooting gallery based on Filmation’s Ghostbusters cartoon that was “the best dark ride never built.”

• Rare photos of the short-lived Hard Rock Park’s Nights in White Satin: The Trip, the first (and only) family-friendly LSD simulator.

• A gallery of interactive guns, including “turkey callers” wielded in Holiday World’s Gobbler Getaway, and pistols used to capture Christmas presents in the North Pole Adventure, an oddity that is inexplicably popular at Happy Valley parks across China.

Near the end, after testing Sally’s new VIPER light guns, I wondered aloud when interactivity would evolve beyond shooting stuff. I was told they have experimented with Kinect-style controller-free gesture tracking, but that the hardware wasn’t yet advanced enough to handle hundreds of riders. When it is, I’m sure Sally will be there first.

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