So, what is this? The Spee-Lunker Cave was a dark ride that Six Flags Over Texas opened in 1964. Talk about the crazy sixties, this ride had it. From concept to design through completion, just the right people, rolled into just the right place, at just the right time. This perfect synchronicity just doesn't happen very often. The result was the strangest, weirdest, most captivating attraction that had appeared in a theme park at that time and remains unforgettable long after its removal. It's uniqueness was shouted near and far to the point that Walt Disney came to see what it was all about, and departed both feeling "one-upped" by this Texas oilman and inspired.
The Spee-Lunker Cave was water-propelled where guest rode in small fiberglass boats into this stage-crafted cave. Inside we found these most odd looking creatures. These were aliens who traveled from another world, crashed and found themselves stranded on Earth. Their planet had very low-level light, so their eyes and skin were too accustomed to the dark. They established a village underground in a cave to escape the earth's dangerous solar strength. They saw by strange light that emanated from their own bodies and nearby surfaces. This bizarre experience that Six Flags Over Texas guests were treated to, was the Spee-Lunkers' "open house" festival where outsiders were invited to for a day, that became frozen in time for the life-span of this fabulous dark-ride.
This ride overwhelmed the senses as guests were immersed, literally into a close encounter with these beings and their activity. Frighteningly wonderful, enchantingly bizarre were just some of the words used to describe this ride and yet, there are really no words to adequately define this masterpiece. This work of art seemed to convince us that we were actually dreaming, rather than depicting and actual setting.
Few records, photos, videos, or recorded sound remain except the building and water path with a completely different theme. Nearly everyone agrees the newer ride is extremely inferior to The Cave. The original 1964 version had a special "magic", whether by accident or design. In 2002, I set out to document everything I remembered about this ride, including building from scratch, a replication of the odd sound of riding through The Cave. My soundtrack was 12 years in the making and I believe I have finally rendered the sound as close as possible.
I also made efforts to define the characteristics that gave this dark ride the special "feel" that left riders spellbound for a few minutes after exiting the peculiar distraction from reality. I made sure I captured the audio magic in my sound-craft. TWO of the most becharming effects are embedded in my ride-though soundtrack. ONE of them has nothing to do with the sound, but it is strongly present in the sound! Can you find it?
TRIVIA: The Cave was being built when president Kennedy was assassinated just a few miles away. Gene Patrick, who designed the scenes, gags and produced the soundtracks for The Cave, was age 22 when it opened. Walter McKeegan, who created the Spee-Lunker character, was age 60 at that time. Patrick was the last member of that team to pass away in 2012. I started work on this crafted soundtrack when I was 49 and finished it when I was 61. Older men finish what they start.
In the early sixties when I was a kid, we were well familiar with the movie; "Journey To The Center Of The Earth" (1959 version). Due to the influence of this movie, I and my peers naturally, and without question, had the perception that the entire ride depicted an underground setting to the end. Even the storm with the wrecked ship and the blizzard were part of an underground world. It wasn't until later when I read an official description in a Six Flags publication that I was jolted to the reality that we exited the cave from the waterfall into the storm. Totally confused my generation of Six Flags guests.