On this day 40 years ago (Feb. 6, 1979), the world’s longest wooden roller coaster was named The Beast.
During the two years between planning and constructing the ride, Kings Island officials tossed around many name ideas, but nothing stuck. After hearing construction workers refer to building the coaster as a “beast of a project,” Kings Island’s public relations manager at the time, Ruth Voss, approached park executives with the idea to name the ride The Beast.
Everyone thinks of a beast as a large, frightening, unusual animal. That description certainly fit the ride. It accurately conveyed the image of the awesome physical characteristics of the 7,359-foot long coaster and its unique use of the rugged, wooded, previously raw and undeveloped forest.
To see what avid roller coaster riders thought of the name, Kings Island conducted interviews with members of five special groups. They included males and females in their early teens, late teens and early twenties. All had visited Kings Island during the previous two seasons in 1977 and 1978 and had ridden the Racer.
The group felt the name conjured up impressions of wildness, fright, challenge and power. Some of the responses included:
“Something that’s out in the woods and kind of sitting there and terrifying.”
“That name would really make me want to get on it.”
“It says, ‘This isn’t going to be cotton candy and snow cones; this is going to be something special.’”
The iconic logo for The Beast was created by a national advertising firm, Lawler Ballard Little, and later that year won a creative design award from the prestigious New York Advertising Club.
Since its debut in 1979, The Beast has given more than 54 million rides, the third-most in park history behind the Racer (105 million) and K.I. & Miami Valley Railroad (56 million). Its record year was 1980, when 2.1 million rides were given.
The Kings Island blog will serve as the hub for all Beast 40th Anniversary news and content. Fans of the ride will be encouraged to visit the blog and share stories of their favorite Beast memories. Other blog features during the season will include a timeline detailing significant moments in the ride’s history, interviews, fun facts, behind-the-scenes meet-up opportunities and more.
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