More vintage Kennywood footage in new Rick Sebak documentary |

More vintage Kennywood footage in new Rick Sebak documentary

Shirley McMarlin
WQED documentarian Rick Sebak with mascot Kenny Kangaroo while filming at Kennywood Park in 1988.
A new Kennywood documentary titled “Don’t Stand Up” premieres 8 p.m. May 2 on WQED-TV.
More thrilling coaster footage is included in the new Kennywood documentary, “Don’t Stand Up,” premiering 8 p.m. May 2 on WQED-TV.

“Don’t stand up!”

The phrase has warned countless amusement park riders, and now it’s the title of a new Kennywood documentary premiering at 8 p.m. May 2 on WQED-TV.

The sixth program in documentarian Rick Sebak’s local WQED “Nebby” series, “Don’t Stand Up” was funded primarily by a 2017 Kickstarter campaign.

“I now like to think it’s the third part of a trilogy,” Sebak says. “We just shot so much material for ‘Kennywood Memories’ back in 1988, and so much of it is fun to watch, that we decided we had at least another half-hour of really good stuff to share.”

For 31 years, footage shot in 1988 at Kennywood by Sebak and his WQED crew sat in the station’s basement archives, according to WQED. Sebak had the footage digitized, and he and his colleagues put together a program titled “That Kennywood Summer,” which hit the air in January.

Enthusiastic public reaction led them to use more of the material in the new program, WQED says.

Kennywood’s season starts to crank up this weekend, when season passholders will be able to come to the park from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Sebak’s “That Kennywood Summer” will be screening in the park’s 4D Theater. Kennywood opens to the public on May 4 from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

“Don’t Stand Up” features historian Charles J. Jacques Jr. on the Racer and the Auto Ride, along with familiar characters like Beth Snodgrass at the Wave Swinger, and maintenance men Bryan Bartley and Geno Chamboredon at the old shuttle-loop coaster called the Laser Loop.

“We also have some new interviews, including some good stories from ride operator Paul Kuszaj at the train,” Sebak says. “We included just one soundbite from Paul in ‘That Kennywood Summer,’ and his family contacted me with the sad news that he had passed away seven years ago. But they loved seeing him alive and healthy, and I told them we have more stories from him, and we have included them in this new program.”

Sebak says this is probably the last use of the Kennywood footage.

“There are still a few great shots we won’t get to include,” he says, “but I don’t foresee another episode from this vintage footage.”

“Don’t Stand Up” is made possible by the Buhl Foundation, Huntington Bank, Levin Furniture, Louis Anthony Jewelers and more than 1,400 people who contributed to the “Nebby” Kickstarter campaign.

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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