10 notable events in Kings Island history
Kings Island is home to some of the most thrilling rides in the world including Orion, which debuted in 2020, and The Beast, which is listed in the prestigious Guinness Book of World Records as the longest wooden roller coaster in the world at 7,350 feet! But rides aren’t the only thing Kings Island has been known for since opening its gates in 1972. The park has also been the site for numerous record-breaking and attention-grabbing events.
Here are 10 of the most notable events in Kings Island history:
- 1972 – The Partridge Family cast arrived at Kings Island to begin filming episode No. 66 in Season 3 of the popular prime-time ABC sitcom. Filming lasted a total of five days, from August 7-11. During the episode, titled “I Left My Heart in Cincinnati”, The Partridge Family actors were shown enjoying attractions that are still in operation today, like The Racer, Grand Carousel, Monster and Race for Your Life Charlie Brown, then known as the Kings Mills Log Flume. The episode, which premiered January 26, 1973 on ABC, is still shown in syndication and available on DVD and represents the most significant visual record from Kings Island’s first season. It’s a must watch for all Kings Island fans.
- 1973 – Episode No. 106 of The Brady Bunch, “The Cincinnati Kids”, was filmed at Kings Island over a five-day period August 20-24. In the episode featuring Robert Reed, Florence Henderson, Barry Williams, Maureen McCormick, Christopher Knight, Eve Plumb, Mike Lookinland, Susan Olsen and Ann B. Davis, Mike takes the entire family on a trip to Kings Island, with the purpose of the trip for him to submit plans for a park expansion project. A mix-up causes the blueprints to go missing, resulting in a search all over the park to find the architectural drawings. The episode premiered on ABC November 23, 1973 and airs a handful of times a year in syndication on TV Land and other channels around the world.
- 1974 – At the age of 69, acrobat Karl Wallenda broke a world skywalk distance record with an 1,800-foot walk from Coney Mall, starting near where the Zephyr is now located, to the 50-foot observation level deck of the Eiffel Tower.
- 1975 – Evel Knievel, the famous death-defying daredevil, made his most successful motorcycle jump on October 25 of this year at Kings Island. The jump took place on a cold, drizzly day in the parking lot in front of 25,000 spectators – 20,000 having bought the combo park and jump tickets – and was broadcast live on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. The event drew the highest ratings in the show’s history with a 22.3 rating and 52 percent share, which meant that more than half of the nation’s television audience watched. It was the last big jump of Knievel’s legendary career, and one of his most notable.
- 1976 – One of the most unusual Fourth of July celebrations took place at Kings Island. Paul Revere was married to Sandra Campbell in front of the then-new Kings Island Theater on International Street, by none other than Uncle Sam! Revere, leader of the musical group Paul Revere and The Raiders, was asked by the park to play two concerts on July 4 and agreed… on one condition: He and Sandy could be married there. The Rev. Gene Skipworth of Forest Park United Methodist Church in Cincinnati performed the ceremony in an authentic Uncle Sam costume. The concerts took place following the wedding in the park’s picnic grove.
- 2008 – Robbie Knievel, son of Evel Knievel, successfully jumped his motorcycle over 24 Coke Zero delivery trucks in the parking lot, the site of one of his father’s most famous stunts, May 24 of this year. Dedicating the jump to his late father and with literally thousands of Kings Island guests and local, regional and national news media gathered around the jump site, Knievel, traveling 95 mph on his motorcycle, hit the three-story tall ramp for his 200-foot long jump, which was completed with theatrical explosion effects and shooting flames. It was quite the spectacle!
- 2008 – Thousands of guests spending Independence Day at Kings Island watched in amazement as acrobat Rick Wallenda walked 2,000 feet across a cable suspended 75-feet above International Street. The 35-minute feat surpassed the 1,800-foot record-breaking skywalk made at Kings Island in 1974 by his grandfather Karl Wallenda, the patriarch of “The Flying Wallendas.” He had helped his grandfather with the 1,8000-foot walk in 1974 as a rigger.
- 2008 – On August 31, Brady Bunch actors Barry Williams, Susan Olsen and Mike Lookinland returned to Kings Island for A Very Brady Reunion. The event featured four, hour long shows in the Kings Island Theater that featured song, dance, and Brady Bunch anecdotes. All four shows were followed with a meet-and-greet, photo and autograph session.
- 2009 – On August 15 of this year, acrobat Nik Wallenda became the third member of the Wallenda family to perform at Kings Island with a skywalk on a cable about the diameter of a nickel suspended 262 feet in the air from the park’s front gate to the Eiffel Tower – a distance of more than 800 feet. While not a record-breaker, it was the highest walk he had ever done and was higher than the Diamondback roller coaster which had debuted this year by 32 feet!
- 2013 – Similar to five years earlier in 2008, Brady Bunch stars Barry Williams, Susan Olsen and Christopher Knight returned to Kings Island May 19 of this year to entertain guests during four shows of song, dance, Q&A and Brady Bunch anecdotes in the Kings Island Theater. All four shows were performed in front of standing room only crowds and were followed with a meet-and-greet, photo and autograph session.
Did you witness any of these events at Kings Island? Share your memories in the comments below!