While my wife and I were sitting down for our expensive lunch while at Six Flags St. Louis, we were deciding what we would do after lunch, while our food was settling. We thought about either riding the Ferris Wheel or taking the Railroad Train around the park, then a guy in a Hawaiian shirt came walking by with a loudspeaker in hand. He was shouting into his loudspeaker announcing that he would be making a movie with the Pink Panther and that we should come along and make Movie Magic with him. So we did.
We headed over to the Palace Theater, where a lady greeted us, and we took our seat in the uncomfortable bench chair. It was about five minutes until the show started, so we had to time to check out what was in front of us. On the stage, there was a huge green screen, two cardboard box style film cameras with a digital camera placed inside. I knew that it was a digital camera because the LCD screen was sticking out of the cardboard boxes. I also noticed that there were a few wind machines and black lights. So from this first observance, I figured that this is definitely for the kids, but it should still be fun. Also remembering that I am a filmmaker, hopefully I might learn something, which I did.
The show begins, and the Pink Panther steps out of the green screen. He is snooping around the stage until he comes across a safe. He opens the safe, and steals the script entitled “Big Hollywood Movie”. From there he makes his escape back through the green screen, and then enters the two main players, the director and his assistant. They have a talk with the audience about how they are planning to make this great movie, until they realize that someone has stolen their script. They begin to ask the audience and all of the kids in the theater start shouting, “It was the Pink Panther!”. From there the Pink Panther shows up on the screen, and apparently because he has made this movie, he is able to go into Hollywood Land. So now the director, who is a really goofy guy and his assistant, the goofy girl, realize that they must make a movie so that they can enter Hollywood Land to get their script back.
They start out by getting five kids from the audience and they give four of them roles in the movie, while the one extra kid is the cameraman. He gets to operate the cardboard box of a camera. The kids get put into their costumes and the director assists them in front of the green screen as they create scenes of the kids in outer space, running from bulls, under the sea and other places. Once they have this footage, they send the actors back to their seats, and they call on a few more kids to come up and participate. Throughout the show they use about 12 – 15 kids in the movie. Eventually after 30 minutes, they create a movie, which is shown to the audience, and they can now enter Hollywood Land and retrieve their stolen script. All it took was some searching, skiing on the snow covered mountains, and a boxing match with the Pink Panther.
It was quite fun, and I did learn a few things even though I am 25 and it was a kids show. While one of the kids was skiing on the snow covered mountains, they had to create the effect of snow flying in the air. To create such an effect, you take a big fan and you attach a suds machine to it and when it is fired up, the wind shoots the suds into the air with our actor in front of the green screen, thus creating artificial snow. Another thing that I learned, but kind of knew already, was that when using a green screen you really do want to have the screen taut. Because the actors were stepping through the green screen, the screen did not stay very taut, and you could see it in the final product. In most shows and movies, this is unacceptable, so it was good for me to see someone do this poorly.
Overall, this show was entertaining. The mix of about 20-25 small kid’s enthusiasm with the two goofy actors on stage, really does bring back the kid inside of you that just really wants to burst out. Not only was it fun, but it was also educational and important to make sure that the artistic spark is kept alive in not only children, but the adults as well!