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Phantom Theater Display this Year


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20 years from now someone would like to see those. Or, in the alternative, some collector might pay a LOT more for them if they were less weather-worn.

Unfortunately, there isn't much motivation at the park level to preserve things like this. We've seen some nice things tucked away for preservation's sake, but these figures are being put to good use this way. If the park were to sell them off, the money would most certainly make its way up to an Ivory Tower in Sandusky, never to be seen again.

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  • 2 weeks later...

As a 19 year old who grew up going through Phantom Theater, it's awesome to see these out every year. It is a shame to see the condition they are in. My question is, are they really keeping the others in storage just to keep them nice for selling? Seems like a waste to me. I'd pay money to see em ;)

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What many don't know is that most of the Phantom Theatre figures hands and heads were actually latex masks or "shells" over plastic frames. (Those with moving parts within the facial features and hands used latex shells. Those without were made of hard fiberglass/plastic.) Latex breaks down over time, and thus those using shells/masks simply melted over the years. In the early years, when the attraction was kept in it's best condition, the park would contact AVG (AVG was the company that provided the animatronic characters and effects for the ride) to supply replacement masks/hands for the figures as they "melted."

AVG had molds of the original ride design clay sculptures. When contacted by KI, they would pull out the approriate molds and pour in liquid latex. After that, exanding foam spray (yes the type you can buy at Lowes for insulation purposes) filled the center. Once cured, the mold was opened and each mask/part was hand painted by an artist according to the original character design specs by R&R Animations. (R&R Animations designed the concept/story/characters for the ride.) The foam sprayed in the center had formed a stiff "core" (similar to those styrofoam heads that wigs are stored on) that enabled the artist ease in painting. The masks, once complete, were shipped to KI still on the foam heads. The maintenance team at KI then removed the masks from the foam core and replaced the deteriorating ones.

This was a costly expense - and eventually the park cut the budget for it. Thus Phantom Theatre suffered and became a shell of it's former self. Quite frankly, those that only experienced Phantom Theatre in the last 4 or 5 years of it's life really only saw half original attraction. The first time I rode Phantom Theatre (June 1992 - inaugural year) I was absolutely astounded at it's quality. But then over the years effect after effect kept dissapearing. Many of the Phantom Theatre figures were in dissaray by the time the attraction closed.

When I toured Phantom Theatre on foot (the last year it was open) many of the costumes on the figures had been ruined by melted/dripping latex over the years. (Not to mention just general dirt and filth) There was a maintenance bay in the show building where the replacement parts were stored. They literally had dozens of the foam heads and old deteriorated shells/masks laying around.

How any of the shells/masks have survived this long is beyond me - especially since the figures have been used outside in the weather for a few season now. However, even if they had been stored in a climate controlled environments they would not have lasted. The outside elements, no doubt, are greatly speeding their demise, but ultimately nothing lasts forever. Think of them like a plastic Halloween costume stored in an attic - over time they simply dont last.

Here's some photos I took just after they began disassembling Phantom Theatre. The pictures actually make the figures look pretty good. However, in person it was a different story - they were in bad shape.

Shaggy

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Guest TombraiderTy

Thank you so much for posting those pictures, Shaggy! They're really fascinating.

I actually contacted R&R Designs a couple years ago, asking about Phantom Theater and Adventure Express. I received a reply with the following collection of pictures attached.

All photos courtesy R&R Designs

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Breaker board and animatronic shown in HWBeast1039's original post

charactersy.jpg

conceptpt.jpg

hangingstagehand.jpg

Characters have, I believe, been part of Haunt decorations before

furnaced.png

Furnace now part of Slaughterhouse, animatronics have been part of Haunt before

maestrof.jpg

groupsr.jpg

mummyo.jpg

Mummy and gargoyle have been part of Haunt before

usherp.jpg

Usher has been part of Haunt before

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Chandelier shown was used by Fairfield High School for their performance of Phantom of the Opera a few years ago

masksq.png

After showing him (R&R's president) a picture of the characters' current fate (outside as Halloween props), he responded:

Thanks for the photo, those characters were really made to be seen in the dark under proper show lighting, it's a shame to see them thrown outside in a pile.

Of course, you could argue that setting them up outside is still better than simply throwing them away. I definitely enjoy seeing them every year, although I wonder how many seasons they'll last.

Oh, a question that somebody may be able to answer... Phantom Theater consisted of 30+ characters, including repeats (as Shaggy's post shows). Only a limited number are placed outside each Haunt, so what about the rest? Are they all in storage somewhere, or were they scrapped? Or something entirely different?

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Oh, a question that somebody may be able to answer... Phantom Theater consisted of 30+ characters, including repeats (as Shaggy's post shows). Only a limited number are placed outside each Haunt, so what about the rest? Are they all in storage somewhere, or were they scrapped? Or something entirely different?

I have been wondering this as well. It would be amazing to see them all again. My question is - if still on KI property, what will they eventually be used for?

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First off, thanks for the pics, Shaggy & Tombraider -- those really brought back the memories.

I know the chances are slim to none, but ever since it left, I've been hoping for Phantom Theater's return to King's Island as a dark ride sequel of sorts. While Boo Blasters was a slight improvement over Scooby, the gun system is terrible (they rarely work properly), and the ride feels cheap / stripped of personality in comparison to Phantom. So, I've been wondering a couple things...

If some enthusiast or competing park wanted to replicate Phantom Theater, could they, or does KI hold some kind of exclusitivity agreement? Secondly, I'm not sure what PT originally cost, but since the ride system is already in place, the concept and detailed plans are already complete, and technology is likely cheaper and more reliable today, could PT be resurrected at a fraction of the cost in comparison to coming up with a brand new dark ride concept?

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While Boo Blasters was a slight improvement over Scooby, the gun system is terrible (they rarely work properly), and the ride feels cheap / stripped of personality in comparison to Phantom.

And I feel that Phantom Theater felt cheap / stripped of personality compared to what that building was as Enchanted Voyage (and even Smurf's Enchanted Voyage, although I liked it better in its original version).

I can certainly understand how a lot of people feel the same way as you about Phantom Theater though, especially if that's what you grew up with as many posters here did. No disrespect meant to all the PT lovers out there (personally I liked it but didn't love it), I'm just old enough to remember when the attraction in that building was a lot better. ;)

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I guess that's true. I've always been a fan of creepy animatronics though, and it was unexpected to see PT's level in an Ohio amusement park. I'm hoping the next remodel (and please don't let it be 10 years) has far less black-lit cardboard and non-functioning guns.

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Boo Blasters and its predecessor Scooby Doo is nothing but a cheap cardboard cutout attraction for babies. Phantom Theater was a far better attraction on par in some ways with Disney's Haunted Mansion. It was dumb for them to take such a classic attraction and redesign it for 2 years old.

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This was a costly expense - and eventually the park cut the budget for it. Thus Phantom Theatre suffered and became a shell of it's former self. Quite frankly, those that only experienced Phantom Theatre in the last 4 or 5 years of it's life really only saw half original attraction. The first time I rode Phantom Theatre (June 1992 - inaugural year) I was absolutely astounded at it's quality. But then over the years effect after effect kept dissapearing. Many of the Phantom Theatre figures were in dissaray by the time the attraction closed.

Shaggy

The conditions of the figures aside, what other effects went missing through the years? I can remember the effects lost on Flight of Fear, Tomb Raider, and Italian Job, but while I did ride PT its opening season, I was only five at the time.

Thanks!

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I remember going on a tour before Scooby Doo went in. One of the coolest things I thought was that behind the Opera scene they actually had a spare piece of massive glass in the event that the giant piece making up the window was damaged. Since there would be no way of getting a new piece of glass into the building without removing the roof, they had to store the extra piece there during construction..

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A couple of years ago, they had the Phantom Theater figures set up on a stage at the end of International Street right after the fountains by the Eiffel Tower. They also had the music and character voices from the ride playing. I stood there in awe for minutes! It was a very eerie, yet very beautifully put together scene. It's one of the best scenes Kings Island has put together and I've been going to Fearfest/Haunt since it started. I hope, hope, hope they put the Phantom Theater figures back to that same set up next year. I understand why and am glad that they change the scenes each year, but this is one that didn't need to change.

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