Author Archives: Rod Miller

About Rod Miller

Who are you? Who who, who who. Husband and father, son, grandson. Graduate, employee, friend, colleague. Writer, editor, proofreader, artist. Thinker, planner, builder. Also a minister. What are the odds? Still letting go of the 20th century.

HOME OF THE BEAT, LAND OF THE RAVE!

Undeveloped by modern standards, Sam’s property nevertheless had all the characteristics necessary to become a prosperous theme park…or at least, Sam could build them into it.  Served by two automobile bridges and two railroads (the Yazoo and Tupelo (Y&T) and the Chicago, St. Louis, and New Orleans (CS&N)) across the river, Rockville was a farming town ripe for development.

Pledging to preserve the agricultural tradition, Sam at first built the entire project on an elevated shelf, allowing the residents to continue farming below the city and opening up irrational-appearing possibilities in architecture.

Ultimately, in 1962, this plan was abandoned and the rich soil was moved inland. Those who wished to relocate did so to continue farming while the Dude ensured the land’s arability.  This left the specially-designed substructure open to more possibilities than ever, as Bop’s environmental and emergency services, culinary, and supply systems began operating underground and never interfering with Parkgoers.

Visit Bop City today!

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Sam and the Legitimate Businessmen

Although Ginger Wind may have been Sam’s greatest personal nemesis, he and the Park faced other challenges from many quarters. Even before the Park opened, Sam had encounters with parties opposed to his vision. Of course the Morris family was desperate to retain its power and schemed against Sam for years. (They seldom presented a direct, provable attack.) More direct but much less diligent were the organized crime bosses who began threatening Sam long before the groundbreaking. Here is a transcript of one of their later meetings.

mob mtg

Bop City, Sam’s office, 1957

Sam meets with concerned businessmen

Sam: Come in and be seated, gentlemen. I hope your flight in was pleasant.

Joey Gargan: We didn’t come here for pleasure. Don’t build your toy city.

Sam: Well, I can’t say you’re overly subtle. I suppose we won’t mince words then. We will build Bop City. Ground was broken over two years ago, Bop City Centre is nearly complete and we’ll be hosting events there next year. We have previews of the Park scheduled now and we will have a hot opening in two years. Even if we could have been persuaded not to build, that day has passed.

Mickie Mannheim: It ain’t too late to stop.

Sam: Mr. Mannheim, it was too late years ago. We will open, we will succeed. If this is the extent of your interests, I believe we are done.

Gargan: Slow down, Bop. You’ll stop if we tell you to stop. You were warned to watch your business procedures before you ever started. You been building wrong and we can stop you now or stop you later.

Sam: Actually, Mr. Gargan, you can’t stop us at all. We were well aware of Rockville’s supposed building codes, despite no new construction we’ve seen from the last fifteen years approaching compliance. None of that matters now, of course. In line with the arrangement between Bop Original Properties and the state of Arkansas we are the building code authority for the Park. You people cannot intimidate us, extort from us, dictate to us, or otherwise impose your criminal practices on the citizens of Rockville or other interested parties. Again, I believe we are finished here.

Mannheim: You’re finished, Bop! You’re making powerful enemies, here!

Sam: Mr. Mannheim, have you ever asked yourself, “Why do we never hear of Sam Bop’s enemies? He must have them. Who are they? Where are they?” Excellent questions. Perhaps you won’t have to learn the answers. Good day, gentlemen.

<Sam stops recorder, leaves room, and the lights drop to brown>

Sam had other, mostly earlier meetings with these and other legitimate businessmen, but this short exchange was both the most intense and, as it would turn out in our opening year, quite pivotal.

In 1959, as part of Bop City’s opening festivities, several of the most popular package tours were booked. Among them was a tour featuring Davey Viera, P.J. Richards, and Slim Laidlaw. The Winter Shimmy Showdown had played Cleveland, Indianapolis, Peoria, and St. Louis, and was on its way to Bop City when the plane the headliners were traveling in had engine trouble and crashed in a field in southern Missouri. Initial reports told of no survivors, and it looked like Bop would suffer under the onus of rock music’s first tragedy. But as the world would learn, that was not to be the case…

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Dark Quantas

One of Sam’s bigger surprises came when he found how few villains he needed to create for the Fight Seenstm. He had imagined  a necessity for dozens, even hundreds of foes for the quantas, but learned almost from the beginning that many performers couldn’t wait for their quantaparts to square off against a rival, resolving conflicts both real and fabricated the performers themselves could never see come to a conclusion otherwise. Sam had anticipated the collaborative nature of the performers leading to endless groupings, from duets and small combos for one-off projects to much larger and longer-lasting congregations. He did not foresee the jealousies and rivalries that also arose, mostly eliminating the need for creating true villains out of whole cloth.

This result was also healthier for guests because Fight Seens seldom have a violent resolution, more frequently turning at some point into cooperation between the combatants to quell a common threat. This allows fans of both sides of the battle to enjoy their favorites in action without fearing the outcome  and still being able to praise their heroism. Even some of Bop’s highest-profile celebrities have opted for a darker turn on their quantaparts; from Grease Monkey and the Wild One in rock’s golden age through the Hot Rod Gang, the Rough Boys, Mr. Wicked, Lord Velvet, the Deviant, the Heroes of Horror, the Visigoth, Last Chance, Loge, Dr. Robert and the Model Citizens, the Jackpots, Dreadlok, Radio Pirate and the Freebooters, and Broken Promises, Sam was astonished at the number and variety of artists who asked for their quantaparts to be given a sinister turn. The phenomenon endures, and appears to be unconnected to the nature of the original. Even the brightest, rosiest pop star may opt to have her quantapart turned dark.

ceremony rev

Some originals have had it both ways. While all Jesse’s quantas have maintained their original’s  essential personality, some performers who have had more than one quantapart created have asked that different aspects of their personalities be emphasized. The most famous example is probably Bryan White-Duke’s multiple quantas; while his first quanta, the re-imagined Image, was a traditional hero, later quantaparts such as Space Driver and Savaj exhibited less wholesome qualities. Other performers with multiple quantas bear discussion another time.

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