Transcript: Kennywood Behind the Screams [VIDEOS]

Jack Rabbit

Brian Butko, author of Kennywood: Behind the Screams and director of publications at the Heinz History Center:

We’re at the Jack Rabbit, Kennywood’s oldest coaster, and you can see the double dip behind us that it’s best known for.

The coaster was built in 1920 by John Miller, who had just invented a system for putting wheels under the tracks so that when you go down that double dip it feels like you’re going to fly off but you don’t because the wheels are under there keeping you on the track at all times.

Noah’s Ark

Brian Butko, author of Kennywood: Behind the Screams and director of publications at the Heinz History Center:

We’re at Noah’s Ark and we’re at the mouth of the whale, which has just been added back.

The first whale was put here in 1969. It was removed in 1996, but it’s brand new for 2016 – squishy tongue and all! Not only do we have the big blue whale with its all-seeing eye and that great flappy tail, it also has a spout that spouts out water regularly.

Plus, Kennywood brought back the apple with the worm. It says, “All of the animals in the ark came in pairs. Except the worms … they came in apples.” Of a couple dozen Noah’s Arks built in the 1920s and ’30s around the world, Kennywood has the last one left that’s still operating and you can actually still walk through it.

Grand Carousel

Brian Butko, author of Kennywood: Behind the Screams and director of publications at the Heinz History Center:

We’re at Kennywood’s Grand Carousel with 64 beautifully hand-carved horses, plus a tiger and a lion.

This is Kennywood’s third merry-go-round. The first two went in that building behind us but when this one was brought in for 1927, it was too large so they built this steel structure and the old building was converted into a refreshment stand, which it still is today.

Carousel Organ

Brian Butko, author of Kennywood: Behind the Screams and director of publications at the Heinz History Center:

Music for the carousel is provided by this Wurlitzer band organ, which is even older than the merry-go-round itself. It was built in 1916 and it works like an old player-piano. It has the rolls inside that control the different instruments that you hear when the merry-go-round is spinning.

The Turtle

Brian Butko, author of Kennywood: Behind the Screams and director of publications at the Heinz History Center:

“Riders, at this time, please hold on to the center grab bar and remain seated throughout the entire ride. Enjoy your ride on the Turtle!”

We’re at the Thunderbolt and Turtle, two of the oldest rides in the park that actually started out as something else. The Thunderbolt started out as the Pippin in 1924. The Turtle started out as the Tumble Bug in 1927. And as you can see, we also have Phantom’s Revenge circling them all.

Lost Kennywood

Brian Butko, author of Kennywood: Behind the Screams and director of publications at the Heinz History Center:

We’re on the Pittsburg Plunge, the centerpiece of Lost Kennywood. Built in 1995 on the site of Kennywood’s old swimming pool, which filled almost all of this area. The new themed part is meant to look like the old World’s Fair parks from the turn of the century, especially Luna Park, which was in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh.

Penny Arcade

Brian Butko, author of Kennywood: Behind the Screams and director of publications at the Heinz History Center:

We’re in the Penny Arcade, one of the earliest attractions of the park. This one was built in 1982 but it’s still filled with a variety of games from throughout the years, all the way to modern games and we have some 1970s and ‘80s video games and up here we’re surrounded by all the older machines from the earlier part of the century like this old Model T ride.