Sunday, December 02, 2007

"A dark ride"

The Wisconsin Union includes a Rathskeller — with murals done originally by German immigrant artists and a set of great local and regional beers on tap. I go to the Union often for meetings, and occasionally to grab a bite between meetings. For a while, I've noticed that the staff — who usually wear t-shirts or something identifying them as working at the Union — often have shirts that say something like …
The Rathskeller: This is a dark ride.
In the literal sense (here), it's hardly a stretch ... except that the vehicle is your feet. (Roller blading or skateboarding would be frowned on, and we park our bikes outside.) But then I wondered if there was more to it, and saw in the wikipedia entry linked above this line:
On The John Larroquette Show Larroquette's character hung a carnival sign in his office during the first episode: "This is a Dark Ride." He suggested the sign should also be posted "at the end of the birth canal."
Hmmmm. I liked the notion of the Rath as carnival ride, but the notion that the Rath is the path to your birth (as an adult, presumably — a rite of passage allusion?) would be pretty good.

If anybody knows the story or has ideas on this slogan/t-shirt, I'd love to hear from you.

Image from here.


Anonymous said...

A dark ride is an indoor amusement ride where riders in guided vehicles travel through specially lit scenes that typically contain animation, sounds, music, and other special effects. The name can be misleading, since a dark ride does not have to be dark – it is simply enclosed, so it is only illuminated by artificial means. Nevertheless, most use special lighting to achieve theatrical effects. Selective use of darkness is advantageous because it helps hide the mechanisms of the ride and because it can increase the visual drama of the experience. The first dark rides appeared in the late 19th century, and were called "scenic railways" and "pleasure railways".

Anonymous said...
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