WEST MIFFLIN, PA
There are surprises in Rick Sebak’s latest documentary, “That Kennywood Summer,” but the biggest might be this: an interview at the top of the Thunderbolt roller coaster.
The film, culled from more than 40 hours of unused footage shot 31 years ago at the West Mifflin amusement park, is sort of a Part 2 to 1988’s “Kennywood Memories.” That earlier documentary prompted two dozen visits by Mr. Sebak and his film crew and has become a staple of Pittsburgh nostalgia.
“That Kennywood Summer” airs Thursday at 8 p.m. on WQED, with repeat showings Feb. 3 at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. The one-hour “Kennywood Memories” will also be broadcast that afternoon, at 1:30 p.m..
While kicking around ideas for his “Nebby” series of half-hour docs, Mr. Sebak realized it might be worth taking another trip back to the 1980s.
“It’s interesting to look at the world, 31 years ago,” he said. “It’s been even more fun for me to see how much I don’t remember, like this interview with the guys from the Raging Rapids.”
WQED had boxes of 125 original 20-minute Betacam videocassettes. As he began scrolling, Mr. Sebak said he was “immediately taken by the clothing and hairdos.” It was the era of short-shorts, feathered hair, and not a cellphone in sight.