Jet Scream – Rollercoaster

Hi there, yes it’s been awhile. Well, I’m back today.. That’s one post for August, I’ve met my quota! Here’s a look back to my first looping roller coaster experience. Seeing an old picture from Weird Al’s website brought up old memories of Six Flags. Imagine that?

When I was younger, my parents would buy season passes every year for the local theme park: Six Flags Over Mid-America (later changed to Six Flags – St. Louis). My first experience with a roller coaster was there. I started with a slower mine-ride coaster called “The River King Mine Train“. Then I graduated to the fast wooden coaster called “Screaming Eagle“.

I had been a young coaster enthusiast, except, I still was a little scared of rides that went upside-down. I would sit at the exit of “Jet Scream” with Mom while my Dad & my brother rode it. Of course, this had it’s benefits. The waffle fries stand was at the “Jet Scream” exit. So, eating some cheesy waffle fries and pretending to drive remote controlled boats was how I spent my time while I waited. I was tall enough at 8 years old, but I wasn’t ready.

Then came 1986, I was turning 9 years old. The biggest Ferris Wheel ever was coming to Six Flags called “The Colossus” Unfortunately, after waiting in line forever to ride the thing, I realized how boring it was.

Sure it rose to unbelievable heights, but it was slow. You were locked in a big cage with 9 other people. The thing spent more time loading up, than actually going around. And when it spun around, you got about 3 rotations, and it was time to unload. What a disappointment.

To get over the disappointment of The Colossus, my Dad talked me into going on “Jet Scream”.

It would be the first time I walked through Jet Scream’s iconic neon archway. I would have that animated archway in my front yard if it was available. I guess it’s fortunate for my neighbors that I’m not rich, and don’t know where to buy old neon theme park signs. How cool would it be? Every day from work driving through the archway into my driveway. Neighbors shaking their fists. Yeah, a man can dream.

I had been to Six Flags many times before, but seemed like forbidden territory. Everyone beyond the archway seemed older, like I had just made it into an exclusive club. I made it past the bouncer and the velvet rope. I rode my first looping roller coaster and I loved it. I had gotten over my fear of going upside-down. Since then, I’ve ridden every roller coaster I can, no matter how many twists or loops.

Unfortunately, Jet Scream is no longer around. In fact, it left Six Flags St. Louis 3 years after I rode it for the first time. It moved to Six Flags Astroworld in Houston, TX and renamed “Viper”. The track was painted green, and they added a tunnel around one of the turns. Sadly, Astroworld closed at the end of the 2005 season. So, I never got to ride Jet Scream / Viper again. I don’t know what ever happened to that coaster, it may be in a scrap yard somewhere, but it still remains one of my favorite coasters of all time.

– Greg

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  1. Nice Greg! Love the coasters myself.. I’m an addict. To me, there are no other rides in a theme park (with the exception of Disney). I always thought it would be sweet to ride all of them in North America, but I would have had a hard time stopping there since there are some in Asia that are pretty insane.

  2. @Pat :
    Yeah, my coaster count is up to 70 coasters. I still haven’t been to Cedar Pointe in Ohio. That’s supposed to be the greatest place in the US for rollercoasters, they have something like 20 of them.

  3. @Todd:

    I’d love to do that. I’d paint it back to it’s original blue colors though. The last time it was seen, it was painted an ugly green color.

  4. Sadly Jet Scream died as Viper following AstroWorld’s closing. There is a duplicate coaster at Frontier City in Oklahoma. It’s called The Silver Bullet. It was operational as of last season. the Jet Scream is my all time favorite coaster. Like you, sadly I only had a few seasons to enjoy it before it was relocated.

  5. Virtually identical stories, you and I, Greg. I was born in 76′, so we were about the same age when we went through it. The Jet Scream was almost a rite of passage for our generation in and around St. Louis. My memory of that experience is as clear as if it happened yesterday; Bananarama’s ‘Cruel Summer’s was playing over the PA system as I approached the arch with my uncle. I was raised by a single mom, so any adventures I had which included male bonding of any sort were with my uncles and a rarity. I remember him asking me, “do you think you’re ready?” It was as if I crossed over from a tyke to a ‘big kid’. The thrill of the ride doesn’t stand out. I’m sure it was amazing. What does stand out is that feeling of just being a kid. Our youth was simpler than later generations. I didn’t need a PlayStation or iPhone or 120 dollar shoes. I needed a rite of passage on a summer day with a positive male role model and a good pop song. If I could bottle that feeling, I would hoard it to myself and wouldn’t sell it for all the gold in Egypt. When they tore down the Jet Scream in favor of building a dance club for tweens, I was so hurt; devistated in fact. They weren’t just tearing down a shitty roller coaster; they were removing an experience. I am fortunate, though, that as I grew I learned that the memory of that experience is what matters. I can go back to that moment in my mind and heart that stupid song and get that feeling -if only for an instant- of being ten years old and crossing the Rubicon from little guy to big guy. And in that instant, I, myself, am ten years old again. No wrecking ball or crane can ever take that from me.

    Only Alzheimer’s. 🙂

  6. Man, I could have written this word-for-word, except the part about waffle fries. I was trying to remember if the remote control boats were real. But yeah, JetScream was totally a rite of passage! Born in early ’77. Didn’t a Batman ride eventually go in where JetScream was?

    So many summers spent exercising season passes at Six Flags over Mid-America. Grew up in Glencoe, eventually moved to Town & Country and then Chesterfield.

    Had my mom and brother visit me in LA this past Christmas, took them to Disneyland (where I now have an annual pass). What a blast!