It was essentially the most harmful water park in America. New Jersey’s Action Park — or “Traction Park,” because the locals notoriously nicknamed it — promised journey, “huge issues for little children to do,” and the grandest water points of interest in the world.
However it was identified for bumps, bruises, dislocated shoulders — and worse. There have been so many accidents the park had its personal ambulances. Tragically, there have been additionally deaths. Three drowned in the wave pool. One was thrown from the Alpine Slide onto rocks the park had been instructed to take away. One was electrocuted after falling into the water on the Kayak Expertise.
Longtime MTV VJ Riki Rachtman, former host of the steel present “Headbangers Ball,” knew nothing of the perils of the park when he was assigned to do a dwell broadcast there in 1993 with particular visitors Alice In Chains. However he was as much as the problem, and Alice in Chains had been the appropriate band to expertise all of it first-hand, bringing swimmies and goggles to the shoot.
“There was by no means a band that was extra enjoyable to do something with than Alice In Chains,” Rachtman tells Selection. “They might all the time do one thing goofy, whether or not it’s being in a mansion with robes and ascots or every part that we did at Action Park. That episode of ‘Headbanger’s Ball’ is essentially the most asked-about episode ever.”
Rachtman — who now hosts two podcasts, The Triple R and Riki Rachtman’s Cathouse Hollywood Podcast — was shocked to see footage of that day featured in the Seth Porges and Chris Charles Scott documentary, “Class Action Park,” when it debuted on HBO final month.
Rachtman — at present on a cross-country bike trek elevating cash for the Alzheimers Affiliation — took a second to drag over and mirror on that day in Action Park, and what he hopes to do with the unseen outtakes and pictures that the documentary missed.
Earlier than the documentary was launched, did anybody inform you that they had been going to make use of that every one footage or how a lot involvement?
I had no concept! And when someone instructed me, I assumed it was only for a second — however I’m in it far more than I assumed I’d be — and I used to be like “Actually?” As a result of proper about the identical week, I had simply discovered a video of all of the unedited footage of the “Headbangers Ball” that we shot there, which I used to be going to finally submit on YouTube.
Did you shoot it across the time Alice In Chains performed Lollapalooza in the summer time of 1993?
I’ve a sense it would’ve been after that, however I don’t actually keep in mind. We did stuff with Alice In Chains fairly a bit. All we did was have enjoyable — no person ever stated, “Let’s not do this.” We had been all reckless, simply children simply having enjoyable. And since we had the digicam crew, we didn’t have to attend in line. So we’d go to the entrance of all of the strains, movie a section, get on a experience after which go onto one other experience. And [at Action Park], we may do no matter we needed in a spot the place individuals did no matter they needed!
Had been you conscious of the park’s repute?
Bear in mind, I’m from Hollywood, so I’d by no means heard of Action Park — I keep in mind being in Hollywood they usually stated “We’re going to shoot at Action Park tomorrow morning,” so I needed to take the red-eye and go proper to the park. It was fairly nuts. I by no means heard any of the unhealthy issues, or about anyone dying on the park. I simply keep in mind being on this chairlift and searching on the [Cannonball] Loop, and I used to be like, “What the hell is that?” They usually stated, “Really, it’s closed down. Any person broke their nostril on it.” I stated, “Any person truly tried it? This has acquired to be the stupidest factor I’ve ever: How are you going to make a water slide with a loop? There’s no method you may’t get harm on it!” I used to be actually pondering this will’t be secure, however I did all of them.
What do you keep in mind most about that day in filming with the band?
I keep in mind us doing the one factor the place you get on little mats and also you [go down a slide] actually quick, and me and Layne [Staley] and Jerry [Cantrell] had been racing, and one of many safety guys fell and we flew all the way in which to the protection wall, and that’s the footage they used in the film. I keep in mind sumo wrestling with Jerry. From what I perceive, as soon as I posted one thing on Twitter about it, the producers stated that was the craziest day at Action Park.
Is the newfound consideration blowing your thoughts?
It’s superior, and I’m going to do a podcast about it. I’m going to point out all of the video footage that I shot. I’m undecided which podcast that’s going to be on but, however it’s going to be on my YouTube channel, which I haven’t actually finished that a lot with. And I’m simply going to do intros and outros to segments and speak about behind the scenes after which play a bunch of unedited stuff, which is de facto enjoyable as a result of it exhibits the band doing what they did: Alice In Chains was nothing however a enjoyable band off digicam.