This project started in 2002 as a result of a challenge. Since I had such a vivid memory of this ride and some of the original music in my collection, I decided to build a ride-through soundtrack just to see if it could be done. I originally used Cakewalk Home Studio 2002 and for many revisions later. Some of the music and sounds were "stand ins" until I could find all of the original or original-like sounds. This project spanned Windows 98, XP, 8 and three different audio editing applications. At times, it was a compatibility nightmare.
There are some notable facts about some of the sound in The Spee-Lunker Cave. The music was mostly "found", one exception being the Sailors Hornpipe. It may have been custom made as the producer of the sound in the ride was a trained musician. In my replication, I had to re-create a midi file for it myself and voice it to sound original.
The opening music is a small clip from a composition by Claude Debussy. The colorful, playful music of this French composer so captivated a young English boy that it inspired him to pursue a career in music. That young man was George Martin, long-time producer for The Beatles. The music for the largest scene in the first half of the ride was recorded by Enoch Light in 1958. It is from an album that was number one for thirteen weeks back in the day. Light was a fanatic in using the finest recording techniques available and one of the first to exploit stereo, which was very new at the time of this recording. Back then, extreme left and right channel separation was popular as noticed in this recording. Light also preferred 35mm optical sound recording at one time, over magnetic tape. It is possible this piece was recorded optically. This played in stereo in The Cave, which was the first darkride to have stereo playback sound. Stereo playback was in at least 4 places in the ride.
The source of the original calliope recording used in the ride is elusive or just doesn't exist as I have never been able to find it. It was important to find the original as it played a critical role in blending the first scene to the third scene. I never found it and I had to use substitutes that were close, but I wasn't happy with. It was disheartening to me not to be able to find it. Then in about 2004, I acquired a recording somewhere that I didn't really listen to very close until about April 2013. That's when I discovered this calliope version of "here comes the showboat" that contained the rare bridge that no other version had. This recording had the right sound, just too slow. I speeded it up, equalized it to emphasize the frequencies I wanted predominate and drenched it with specially tuned reverb. That's as close as I could imagine getting to the original. I tuned it to eerily combine with the other scenes.
In the earliest years of The Cave, the thunderstorm seemed to sound like the speakers were placed in snare-drums to make up for lackluster speakers of that era that just couldn't punch thunder. I don't think the snares lasted long afterwards. It took years, but I happened onto a thunder sample that reminded me of The Cave storm scene.
Another strange thing was the water drips close to the fishing Spee-Lunker. In my earlier versions, I used the actual sound of dripping water in a cave. But that just didn't sound like THE CAVE. I realized that nothing in The Spee-Lunker Cave was real by design as it mimicked a dream, more or less. I didn't get the sound of the dripping water right until I used something that was NOT water. I'm not telling. This is nearly the identical sound as the original.
Oh, what's that when we plunge down from the lift back into the flume? That music piece is from Igor Stravinsky's Firebird Suite. Except if you are familiar with it, you don't remember it being played like this. That's because I altered it. In The Cave, the tempo* of this piece was greatly speeded up, which is what I did. I also spiced the sound to make it sound like those speakers it was played through.
Let's see, what else. Oh, there is a little scraping sound where the lobsters chained to work. It's in this if you listen close. The blizzard scene is from the same recording that that was used in The Cave originally. The other music and sounds didn't have any special story about them. The are just there. How many music and sound clips are there total? I don't know. You count them. If I think of anything else I forgot, I'll add it here.
*I was completely baffled by this piece playing at the "drop" section of the ride. To think it was a speeded up version of "Firebird" eluded me because I knew the digital audio tools necessary to increase tempo without changing pitch didn't exist in the sixties. BUT, they actually had an analog tool called a "Rate Changer" that would do just this. They would thread tape from a reel-to-reel maching through a box that had 4 heads on a flying drum. They could increase the tape speed then reverse the drum heads backwards to restore pitch. It could be used in reverse and also to change pitch without changing the tempo.