With Halloween just around the corner my thoughts at this time of year always turn to Dr. Paul Bearer and fond memories of Creature Feature. I recently contacted Busch Gardens to see if I could solve the mystery of where Dr. Paul Bearer's hearse had gone to and if it would be on display this year. I was seriously considering paying it a visit this Halloween and I wanted to be certain it was there and on display before I let the Tampa tourist-trap give me a wallet-ectomy! To Busch Gardens credit they did respond to me E-mail. I suspect it was only because I told them I had a vacation planned around this event. The gentleman responding, Scott Swenson, is the same person who told me "not interested" last year when I contacted them about displaying the costume and then would not respond when I inquired as to why they had the change of heart. Here is the unedited truth about Busch Gardens' and Dr. Paul Bearer's hearse:
Sent: Wednesday, October 01, 2003 7:08 PM
Subject: Dr. Paul Bearer's Hearse
The following was submitted to the A-B Parks Comment Form:
Comments: Do you still have Dr. Paul Bearer's hearse and will it be on display
this year for Halloween? I want to plan a trip to Busch Gardens for my family
to see it but I cannot find any mention of it in your publicity. Please advise
so that I can make plans. Thank you.
From: Campbell, John (BGT)
Sent: Monday, October 06, 2003 4:05 PM
Subject: RE: Dr. Paul Bearer's Hearse
Dear Mr. Tucker,
Thank you for your e-mail. We have forwarded your message to the appropriate
area of our park for a reply. If your e-mail requires further research it may
take 7 to 10 business days to obtain the information you require, however,
most of our responses usually take only 2 to 3 business days. It is a top
priority of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay that we communicate with our guests in a
Internet Correspondence Coordinator
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Subj: RE: Dr. Paul Bearer's Hearse
Date: 10/7/2003 11:33:17 AM Eastern Standard Time
To: John.H.Campbell@BuschGardens.com, ATucker909@aol.com
Dear Mr. Tucker,
We do still have Dr. Paul Bearer's hearse, however, it is not on display as it
was a couple of years ago. It is currently being used as a prop in "The
Mortuary" haunted house. It has had a paint job and may not be as recognizable,
but it is one of the 2 hearses used by Dr. Paul.
I hope this answers your question and that you will come out to be scared at
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Make it Safe, Easy, Quality, and Memorable...and SCARY!
Subj: Re: Dr. Paul Bearer's Hearse
Date: 10/7/2003 7:11:34 PM Eastern Standard Time
I am very sorry to hear that you have repainted the hearse. If it is not being displayed as Dr. Paul Bearer's hearse and has been repainted to make it look like a generic hearse then it really holds very little value to Dr. Paul Bearer fans other than just passing trivia. Thank you for the information though, at least it keeps me from wasting my vacation plans.
Well, there you have it fright fans! Apparently Busch Gardens cares so little about the hearse that they just repainted it to use it as a generic prop! After the painstaking restoration job they did you would think they would have at least donated it to a museum in Tampa or something a little more worthy of this treasure. Perhaps I am bias but I find it hard to believe that the trademark hearse of the longest running horror host in the history of television holds so little interest to people that it would be reduced to a generic prop. Busch Gardens has now officially joined my "Do Not Patronize" list along with the Tragic Kingdom, Disney World. Remind me some day and I will tell you the sad story of how Disney went out of their way to destroy the 20K Leagues ride because they care so little about nostalgia and tradition. I encourage any other Dr. Paul Bearer fans out there to contact Busch Gardens at the E-mail address above and express your interest in having the hearse put back on display the way it was meant to be. I doubt there is any hope of them actually listening but maybe they will send you a free case of malt liquor!
- ED Tucker-
"What I did say was that had it not been for the Beatles the other bands would not have been an issue." (Quoting Mack Beasley from his letter, last issue...---N)
Yes Mack, I agree about this.
I never argued that, I simply argued that it's silly to assume that Hendrix or Pink Floyd would never have gone the path they went if The Beatles hadn't been making music; that's ridiculous. Yes, they were technically first, but I hardly believe music would have stayed the same of the Beatles were not to have formed. Someone would have done it either way, and I'm sure that Hendrix, who loved the blues, would not have simply forgone music. That's too hard to believe. Yes, on a historical level, they were the ones to open the floodgates--but that's just some record executive's pick. What if he had picked another band? And just because you are first, doesn't mean you did it best. This you did not comment on.
"The Beatles did borrow from others, who doesn't? Do you think just maybe others borrowed from the Beatles? As far as I know, that's the way all music (art) works." (Quoting Mack.---N)
Also agreed, but that's not the root of my opinion. I simply said that they were over-rated and should not be getting the credit for inventing things they did not invent just because they popularized it. This you also ignored.
"One more thing Terence, what the hell does a song lasting for more than five minutes or not having an extended guitar solo have to do with anything? I wasn't aware that the longer the song and more mindless the guitar, the better the band was." (Again, quoting Mack.---N)
Um, yes it does mean the band is better. If you are a great guitar player than you can turn your music into higher art. I can tell you this that as a blues fanatic and amateur blues historian, I would never say that The Mississppi Shieks were more important artists than Robert Johnson. I think Nolan would back this up. Lennon and Harrison themselves admitted they weren't really great guitar players. So yes in MY opinion that makes Hendrix or Clapton a better guitar player. Just to see Hendrix playing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Woodstock, you can hear in that solo every guitar sound from 1969 till 2003, from grunge to new wave to heavy metal (you don't hear that on Abbey Road) . Sorry, but that's not mindless, it's brilliant. So yes, that does make him a better guitarist than Lennon. Yes guitar some guitar solos by The Grateful Dead and others are mindless, pot-addled drivel. Im sure you would say that every record produced after Sgt. Peppers or The White Album took from the techniques pioneered there. So that makes them better. There is no difference. Plus, as far as most are concerned, extened guitar solos orignated in the 1960s and we all know that the Beatles didn't do those. Yet, they "are" the '60s? I mean are you saying that if someone my age who grew up listening to the blues of the 1920's and 1930's thinks that other bands sound more important or that I hold a band like Love in greater favor than the Beatles means completely nothing just because you were born in the '60s? (Ahem..well, '50s, but yeah.---N).
I think that The Beatles obviously hold a lot of nostalgia for you and that you and me will never agree on this but like you I don't take my letters completely seriously. I have fun with them. Mike Smith can tell you he thought I was a bastard before he found out that I'm not really all that serious. I'm purposely cynical but I do it in a humouros way. So no hard feelings. Plus if you were to ask me who I think would be shown in the future to be the most imporant artist of the '60s I would say Bob Dylan. Why? Simply because he's a god among mortals.