Grassy Knoll, as shot by Abraham Zapruder.
If you’re a serious park fan, then you’ve seen the film by now. A gritty Super-8 movie, the colors bleeding at the edges, the background overexposed by the harsh Florida sun. The frame jitters from the amateur camerawork. The scenery streaks with every fast pan.
History in the making.
The car comes down the track towards the station. The driver waves his hand to the crowd. Over by the Teacups, a kid releases a balloon. It drifts northward in the wind, then pops, causing the driver to turn his head ever so slightly. He takes his foot off the pedal and the car slows to a crawl.
Frame 104. The first impact. Car #2 strikes the rear bumper of Car #1. The driver is thrown forward. The seat belt cuts across his waist. A woman in the grandstand stands up, shielding her eyes.
Frame 121. A third car comes round the curb. It hits car #2 full on. Driver #1 is clearly jarred by the impact, his arm extending towards the dash. A girl in line gasps. One of the attendants begins to run, waving his arms. A child in a stroller can be seen mouthing “Caution! You are approaching the unloading area.”
Frame 130. The kill shot. The attendant jumps onto the sideboard of the first car, reaching for control of the wheel. Driver #1 slumps in his seat, annoyed by the pile-up. The fourth car rams from behind, driving the man back and to the left.
Back and to the left.
Back and to the left.
This tragedy unfolded daily on the Grand Prix Raceway (now known as the Tomorrowland Speedway), and Disney’s cover-up extends to the highest level of corporate government. They call it the Magic Rabbit Theory. They say that the pile-ups are the work of a single driver named Oswald, out to cause mischief. They say they can prove it using fancy science labs and some on-board photos from Test Track. Science also says that the guy from Ghostbusters can invent a shrinking and enlarging machine, but use your minds.
If we’re to disprove the government’s theory, we must first show that that the pile-up was caused by a separate distraction. It came not from a classic cartoon driver, but from the Grassy Knoll itself. Here is where the real history is made.
Imagineers attempt to demonstrate the Magic Rabbit Theory using a scale model. Note the early red coloring of Bay Lake Tower, and the original multi-leveled, square-shaped TeaCups.
Parkeologists may recall that this area was originally bisected by an overhead aerial tram known as the Skyway. When it first came to Walt Disney World in the 70s, such conveyances had already been in use for decades. Disneyland was the first to introduce it to the U.S., and Disney World was merely following in its footsteps.
But what the government doesn’t want you to know is that this particular Skyway was special. Upon first glance, it was just your typical straight shot from Fantasyland to Tomorrowland. But right at this spot, directly above the Grassy Knoll and via a special type of pylon, the Skyway did something unexpected.
This was the first right angle for an aerial tram in history. The path from the Fantasyland Station never could have made a beeline for the Tomorrowland Station on the right of Space Mountain. Never could have cleared the hurdle of the Mr. Toad building without altering guest sightlines. Never would have allowed all those pylons to intrude into the Carousel courtyard.
That’s why there had to be a 90-degree turn in the middle of the Speedway, the absolute first of its kind. But the government – your government – doesn’t want you to know about it. The Skyway was removed in the late 90s, with fishy explanations regarding handicap accessibility and spitting problems.
It was enough to drive people to distraction. A cable car turning above them. History in the making. And only the parkeologists can honor its memory.
It’s up to you.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ckramer/ / CC BY 2.0
http://www.flickr.com/photos/joeshlabotnik/ / CC BY 2.0