Remember how the Zippin Pippin sat abandoned at Libertyland while preservationists squabbled with very serious people who saw the wooden coaster as an impediment to progress? Here's an update on the ride fit for a King, which now operates at Bay Beach Amusement Park in Green Bay, Wisconsin:
• On July 14th, the Zippin Pippin welcomed its 200,000th rider, the number park officials hoped to reach before the season ends in September.
• WWE stars Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov stopped by to take the plunge. Marella's comments: "The Zippin Pippin is fantastic. First you have the suspenseful sound of tic, tic, tic, tic, going up the hill. Then on the top you see the beautiful view of the bay and the kids playing, and then comes the terrifying moment when you look down and see the drop and then, (gasps), it was fantastic."
• Last week the Zippin Pippin was featured in a Newsweek article titled "The Scary Summer: Can't-miss Roller-coasters." Newsweek called the Pippin "the very definition of an old-school thrill ride."
Graceland has given the green light for Elvis-themed restaurants in Eastern and Central Europe. According to one report, the "post-communist countries missed the Elvis phenomenon and want the American experience." Insert your own punch line about exporting obesity and/or fried peanut butter sandwiches.
Elvis chum Jerry Schilling tells the The Atlantic about taking LSD with the King: "Elvis and I started having an entire conversation just by laughing. I stared at Elvis, and he seemed to morph into a child. He was this plump little boy, at times insecure. The more I stared, the more he changed. Eventually, I saw him as a baby smiling back at me, contented as could be."