January 09, 2022

Photo Essay: Six Flags Magic Mountain's Movie Star Rollercoaster, The Revolution (Since 1976)

It's funny that the first indication I had that there were vintage areas of Six Flags Magic Mountain to explore ended up being part of the last historic ride I discovered  at the park in Valenica, California after a year of investigating. 

Oh, sure, I'd been to Six Flags Magic Mountain once in 2011—but I didn't take any photos and therefore didn't remember much of anything. I think I thought at the time that my visit would be one of those rare occasions when I could just enjoy myself and not feel compelled to document everything. 

I realized I was wrong when I returned to our local Six Flags for its "Holiday In the Park" drive-thru event in December 2020, in the thick of the pandemic. 

I'd been driving under the rollercoasters and couldn't see much beyond the holiday lights in the darkness until I reached what I later discovered was the Calle de la Revolución in the "Baja Ridge" section of the park...  

...where I spotted some "ruins" that looked like they were trying to look like adobe. 

Not exactly the wizards and trolls that I thought might still be around from the "Magic Mountain" days—but definitely something old. 

That area was one of the first I explored after things started opening back up a bit and I signed up for a season pass, hell-bent on peeling back the layers of time at the 50-year old park. 
But it wasn't until December 2021—just weeks before my season pass would expire—that I discovered that Calle de la Revolución leads to the former Plaza de la Revolución (now the plaza entry to the X2 rollercoaster), once the queue area for one of the most historic rollercoasters in the country (according to The Coaster Guy). 

It's The New Revolution Classic—which originally opened as the Great American Revolution in 1976, in honor of our country's bicentennial. It's gone through a number of rebrandings—including in 1981 with the debut of the Baja Ridge area of the park, when it was made over to reflect the Mexican Revolution as La Revolución

The looping rollercoaster with a tubular steel track—the first of its kind in the world—was built by Intamin, with contributions from famed German engineer Anton Schwarzkopf and German designer Werner Stengel. It was designated an American Coaster Enthusiasts landmark in 2002. 

That wasn't just for its groundbreaking design and influence on future rollercoasters—but also for its place in pop culture history. 
In 1983, it portrayed the "Whipper Snapper" at the fictional "Walley World" (a.k.a. Six Flags Magic Mountain in National Lampoon's Vacation

In 1978, it had a cameo in the first five minutes of the TV movie Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park
But its big starring role was in the 1977 film Rollercoaster, where the movie's climax takes place. After seeing the movie (trailer below), I knew I had to go back one last time and ride the rollercoaster myself. 
I found lots of other intriguing remnants of Magic Mountain's history, which I've chronicled in my KCET article "Beyond Colossus: Tracing 50 Years of Thrilling History at Six Flags."

But also stay tuned here for more in-depth dispatches from eight months' worth of research and multiple visits to the park. 

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