St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri on April 20, 1990 · Page 73
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri · Page 73

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St. Louis, Missouri
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Friday, April 20, 1990
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Page 73
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ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH (1 EVERYDAY SECTION FRIDAY, APRIL 20, 1990 - '"!.Ji!.":.7i t, It .in i ,j!k tijff ,.bn bu. 7S off ft ,tlr f , nib vd .IS ToT. TO?. .00$. Stil' dul EW tOi 19(1, Jio 10 i of i .1 Mil .cto vav Tx 10IC x7K-p Sb ' 3iuv mm sTi rnr jerry ,f BERGER Cards-Cubs Series Is Already A Winner WINDFALL: Six weeks away, and the June 1-3 weekend series between the Cardinals and the . Cubs already appears to be another bonanza for the local economy. Guest rooms for June 2 at all downtown inns are sold out, and fewer than 500 rooms for June 1 are still available at the Clarion, Sheraton-St. Louis and Embassy Suites. Add to that 17 meetings being held the same weekend, including 1,600 dele gates of the International Association of Psycho- Social Rehabilitation Services, and you might have a city on a roll. Of the visiting baseball fans alone, Frank VIverlto, spokesman for the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission, is estimating an expenditure of $4.5 million for hotel rooms, tickets and food. QUOTEM OF THE WEEK: Not to be missed the recording on the mailphone of Channel 4's Al Wiman: ;Tm speaking on the telephone ngnt now, that s why I can t talk to you. HONORABLE MENTIONS: LeAnn Vollbracht, a Talent Plus model, will marry Grey Eagle chairman and prez Jerry Clinton in a private ceremony May 26. By the way, Clinton s still in the fastest lane around. He just winged it back from Mustique in the Grenadines, off the coast of Venezuela, to attend a party. Princess Margaret and Mick Jagger are among the only 65 residents on that isle " Happy birthday to Vito Favazza, who's being feted all week on his 68th birthday at his namesake, the 12- year-pld restaurant on The Hill. Speaking of The Hill, that was Catherine Ruggeri, topper of the neighbor hood association Hill 2000, addressing the member ship at Zia's on Tuesday. The topic: a city living program in The Hill neighborhood, consisting of offering a taste of The Hill tour and selling the area via food-related industries. "We got a great interest level, said Ruggeri 1 Jim Brown, supe of the public works department in The Village of Edmundson, and his wife, Ruth, will toast their 56th wedding anniversary April 28. . . . . Vet CBS Records pundit Gene Denonovich has won braids as coordinator in the cultural affairs department of the University of Missouri at St. Louis. With the turf goes the responsibility of booking con certs with Virginia Edwards for the Premiere Per formances series. SIGHTEMS: In a salute to resident painter Tom Garesche, Linda and Joe Edwards have dressed up their Blueberry Hill display windows with a still-life mannequin of the decorator on a ladder. "Some think it's Tom working day and night," chuckled Joe. The make-believe Garesche is surrounded by a rainbow of Brod-Dugan paint chips. . . . . Just like its predecessor, Flo's, at St. Louis Centre, Bob's Bar & Grill shuttered with no notice to the mall's personnel. It came in like gangbusters and tfent out like a rocket. n: . ' i MEMO TO READER'S ADVOCATE: In some editions of Tuesday's P-D, my mug was superim posed on a photd of a bomb detector developed by Thermedics Inc. in the business briefcase feature. It was caused, according to the definitive source, by the Everyday section's front page pressing against the back of the section carrying the bomb detector photo. In other words, the ink was still wet and it "offset" onto the page like a rubber stamp. With that in mind, a flurry of phone calls and mail about the incident not all complimentary was fielded by yours truly. As my late idol, Mr. Winchell, might've reported in folly: " "Mr. and Mrs. North and South America and all ships at sea: The well-known ayem newspaper stir-fry-news specialist, Jerry "Babe" Berger, has been revealed are you ready for this? as a bomb detector expert! Some editions carried photos of a new luggage bomb detection device with a color imprint of the widely known visage of The Kung Fu Berger. "Company officials were unavailable for comment, though sources indicated red faces abounded; it seems Berger, who reputedly has exceptional news-finding abilities, has lately expanded them Into a 'nose for news' manufacturing company that uses his special insights to peer into luggage. This formerly well-kept secret may trip the News Nuggeteer, whose contract with the ayem newspaper forbids commercial exploitation of his services. "When asked for a comment, St. Louis comptroller Virvus Jones went on record: 'I don't know anything about moonlighting bomb activities, except I've heard Margaret Kelly is going to conduct an audit of those people.' Sources at an optional newspaper indicate they are in possession of a videotape of 'Babe' Berger inspecting the Thermedics Inc. assembly line, assisted by 'Sugar Schoemehl and 'Perfect' Peach of the current in-gang at City Hall. County Exec H.C. Milford, quizzed by a reporter, indicated, 'No comment. I don't run with royalty, and my own private jet will soon be delivered by Emerson-McDonnell (Oh, you didn't know they will soon merge?). LET 'EM EAT CAKE: Apparently, homemaker Terri Lott wasn't the only customer who raced to Dierberg's West Oak Center for white bread this week. The supply was exhausted by Wednesday. Explained store manager Jim Gerst, "We just under-ordered. Our business on Monday and Tuesday was more than we had expected." Gerst agreed that the end of Passover had something to do with the demand. APRIL 20, 1766 The first St. Louis wedding was celebrated that of Toussaint Hunaud, a Canadian-born hunter and trapper, and Marie Joseph Boujenou, whose father had been one of the town's first settlers. As was the custom in r French culture, a contract was drawn up between the marriage partners. Neither was to be responsible for debts incurred by the other before marriage, and Toussaint was to present his fiancee with a wedding gift of 500 pounds. The bridegroom was decked out in a new .buckskin suit, with embroidered moccasins and other Indian-style finery, and the bride wore a simple homespun gown decorated with a handkerchief fastened at the throat. The ceremony was performed by a missionary priest, as St. Louis had no resident pastor. Excerpted from Frances Hurd Stadler's "St. Louis Day by Day" (The Patrice Press, St Louis) . Story by Patricia Corrigan . Photos by Larry Williams Of the Post-Dispatch Staff OW HIGH is Sam High I on the new, improved, I faster-than-ever I Screamin' Eagle at Six Flaes Over Mid- America? He's so high that the attraction's breathtaking, 87-foot drop is nothing compared to his ecstatic state of mind. Sam High, president and chief executive officer of Philadelphia Toboggan Co., was in St. Louis recently to oversee installation of the new Screamin' Eagle cars. High helped design the new cars, and he also painted them. Then he came to town Just before the park opened to ride In them, to try different seats and race along at 70 miles per hour around the twisting, curving, three-quarter-mile track. "I always like to ride a new product, and the Screamin' Eagle is definitely faster," High said. "It's still smooth, just like the day it opened. But now you're really flying, and you don't get a chance to catch your breath. This one rates right up there with the basic state of the art." High's predecessor at Philadelphia Toboggan Co., John Allen, designed the Screamin' Eagle, which opened at Six Flags in 1976. At that time, it was the world's longest (3,872 feet), tallest (110 feet) and fastest (62 mph) roller coaster. Records show that 17,665,513 people have gone on the ride since its maiden voyage. Now, High's new, faster cars are in place; six bright red cars on each of two trains. With the exception of the lead car, each car has only two sets of wheels, instead of four, and that creates less friction and less resistance on the track. Hence the eight additional miles per hour, which translates into 2 minutes and 8 seconds worth of thrilling ride versus the old, stodgier time of 2 minutes and 20 seconds. In truth, for most people the ride doesn't last long enough to allow in-depth intellectual comparisons of past and present rates of speed. Besides, it's more fun to hang on, open your mouth and scream and just give yourself over to the moment, or moments, as the case may be. Just after his first ride of the day, eyes atwlnkle and smiling face aglow, High waxed eloquent about roller coasters in general. "A wooden coaster is noisy, It vibrates, you get the perspective of the world whizzing by. On a steel coaster, It's smoother, quieter, and there's no structure around you. The sensations are different. "I contend that people ride roller coasters to defy their inner fears of height and speed. Riding a roller coaster the first time Is testing your fear. After that, after you've done it once, you want to "" - :fjy ; r?psiTMTl n c P II Screamin' Eagle at. , !fJ fl . . j Six Flags Over Mid- ' ' f. 5 ' J fe America. x : ' , ; . ""TT RIGHT: Sam High, 2 y " Jr"i pres dentof m rtT SrnSjJJi Philadelphia v.U j-mnmrmJRs ustmmmm-JirihJi faster cars. I .lLLi. ....jrij:a-J mm ffl m JJUl J u uLJll f r )t utl "ii 1 i n i II r i . r ' If" 1 n 1rfll ' if i iu AJiMI n hi: lf.": ' ' TV- '. fffl . ; ' I- -1 " "If '? ' n Mr p Ki- liiWr'Vi -'if: ' 'fa- hH lh-f A I' ' Li v -A ll ? ' f4 il I " -f4 - hi it ' flf ;4 !. ;J s ' r I iM,.l2ft .,., I.. ...J j:..: Mi ::.m . : The roller coaster's speed has been increased from 62 mph to 70. do it again to experience the sensations the lifts, the drops, the bugs in your teeth, the thrusts from side to side, the free-floating feeling all those different sensations." Personally as well as professionally, High is a wooden roller coaster man all the way. "You really can't compare the two. They are different rides. I've never built a steel coaster. I've never been Involved with one. Frankly, I've never been interested in one," he said. "Steel coasters are just amusement rides. When you've ridden a wooden coaster, you know you've ridden a roller coaster." Sam High was 25 years old the first time he stepped aboard a roller coaster. After preparing for a career as an industrial engineer, High had gone to work for John Allen at the Philadelphia Toboggan Co., a family-owned firm that has manufactured amusement park rides since 1902. "My dad is a lawyer and his dad was a lawyer I come from a whole family of lawyers, but they also happened to own this company. I didn't know that until 1959, when one day my dad took me to see John Allen," High said. "I figured I'd give it a whirl, so I took a cut in pay and started working in the office. After I'd been there six or seven months, John Allen gave me a movie camera and told me to go film the ride from the front seat of a roller coaster. "I'd never been on a roller coaster. In fact, I was afraid of roller coasters. Where I grew up, we only had a scrungy amusement park. But I didn't speak up; I went out and spent my first ride filming the experience. Then I went back to find out just what riding a roller coaster was about." High worked his way up through the company and became president In 1971. Fourteen people now work for him. Originally, the firm was called the Philadelphia Carousel Co. and specialized in carousel horses. The founder had once operated a carousel at a park and decided he could make a better one. He also had operated a small roller coaster, and at some point he changed the name to the Philadelphia Toboggan Co. (At the time, roller coaster cars x were known as toboggans.) This highly specialized company gave us not only the original Screamin' Eagle cars and the new Screamin' Eagle cars, but also the long-mourned Comet at the Forest Park Highlands, a wicked wooden coaster whose terrifying curves and drops still lurk in the memories of many St. Loulsans. Apparently, the first roller coasters were built In the Soviet Union about 400 years ago. Writing in the Los Angeles Daily News, Fred Shuster noted, "Coasters were born in Russia in the 16th century when an enterprising showman discovered people would actually pay to be terrified. A wooden slide was built, covered in ice and customers were charged to ride down the hill on small sleds. "Russian nobility, led by Catherine the Great, enjoyed the ice slide so much she had the sleds fitted with tiny wheels so they could operate in the summer. In the early 1800s, the French adopted what they called the Russian Mountains in and around Paris. These faded from popularity later In the century, but by that time, coasters already had appeared in North America." The first prototype coaster was adopted from the Mauch Chunk Railway, a gravity-powered railway used to haul coal from the top of Mount Pisgah down to the Lehigh River Valley in eastern Pennsylvania. By 1870, the 60-mph railway was See EAGLE, Page 8 Kevin Kline In A Comedy Of Errors By Richard Freedman Newhouse News Service NEW YORK FORGET ABOUT Robocops, Cyborgs and Terminators: The real two-fisted macho hero of our time is the pizza vendor, as Hollywood is finally coming to discover. Consider: An Oscar nomination went to Danny Aiello for his embattled Brooklyn pizzeria owner in "Do the Right Thing." But he was an irascible character, and his refusal to hang pictures of black sports heroes on the walls of his pizza parlor helped set off a race riot. Quite the contrary is Kevin Kline's Joey Boca in "I Love You to Death." Tacoma, Wash., pizzeria owner Joey loves just about everybody, which is how he nearly winds up dead. It seems his naive wife (Tracey Ullman) and mother-in-law (Joan Plowright) gang up on the libidinous Joey and hire drugged-up hippie hitmen William Hurt and Keanu Reeves to kill him. But despite their many efforts, Joey survives. Best known recently for his Anglophobic crazy Otto in "A Fish Called Wanda," Kline, an experienced Shakespearian, distinguishes between varieties of nuts: "Joey and Otto are both larger than life, and drawn comedically," says the St. Louis native. "But Joey has a love for life, a Rasputinesque refusal to die, while Otto with his fixation on Nietzsche Is so negative, he just spews meanness. Whereas Joey loves everybody." "I Love You to Death" is an ethnic black comedy directed by Lawrence Kasdan, who earlier directed Kline In "The Big Chill" and "Silverado." The movie is based on the actual case of Tony and Frances Toto of Allentown, Pa. Frances, It seems, made five unsuccessful attempts on her erring husband's life. "At the time, the story was in The National Enquirer and on the Phil Donohue show," Kline says. "She's served four years in jail. It seems the sleeping pills she laced Tony's spaghetti sauce with so slowed his metabolic reactions that he was impervious to bullets and throttlings." Did Kline ever meet his real-life prototype, the lustful pizza chef Tony Toto? "No. I never even heard of the story when it happened. I just read the script when it was floating around, and I loved it. "Besides, there comes a time to do non-research in such matters and go with the author's script." Right now the versatile Kline is rehearsing "Hamlet," both as director and star, at the Public Theater, where it's scheduled to open in a few weeks. How does he manage both assignments, each of which separately could kill a See KLINE, Page 10 Kevin Kline plays a pizzeria owner in "I Love You to Death." : v. A v.v '""'Wto'r,. . . s.WfSfe.; .. jmataoirtwitft " ' V'-',-''V V

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