Over the course of development of amusement rides, "flat rides" which generally occupy a small footprint have been developed for all levels of thrill seekers. Most are variations on a spinning ride concept, either spinning horizontally or vertically, with many finding ways to offer a new twist on the spinning.
After the purchase of Great Adventure by Six Flags in late 1977, many
changes would be coming to the park in the years to come. For
1978, Six Flags added a major new roller coaster, Lightnin' Loops, and a
selection of more generic fun machines including the Wild Rider family
coaster, Monster Spin, Tilt-a-Whirl, and Scrambler rides. Oddly,
mention of the Scrambler as a new addition was never included in any
press releases or printed media.
Initial plans called for the Scrambler ride to be installed near the entrance to the new Lightnin' Loops coaster. The 1978 map labeled the ride with the name "Close Encounters" after the sci-fi hit movie of the same name which was released in November 1977. As is often the case, plans change and the renamed ride was instead located closer to the Panorama Wheel. While the park's 1978 poster map referred to the ride as Hodge Podge, the name used by guests and employees alike was simply Scrambler.
The Scambler was a staple of the Eli Bridge Company ride manufacturer.
This simple ride was always a crowd favorite, mechanically simple to
maintain, and could easily fit in a small area. Initially the
Scrambler was installed on a flat concrete
pad with the drive motor and drive shaft at ground level, with a raised
covering over the shaft in the ride area.
An ornate black wrought iron fence encircled the ride with a very modest set of queue switchbacks stationed at its entrance. A single ride attendant could easily operate the ride with their controls located next to the entrance and exit gates.
The Scrambler was relocated to the site of the Schwabinchen ride just several hundred feet away when that ride was removed for 1987's new attraction Splashwater Falls. The same decorative fencing was used at the new locale and as part of the new installation, the drive shaft was set into the concrete, eliminating the probable tripping hazard. Dizzy riders exiting a ride would welcome as few tripping hazards as possible.
The Scrambler remained very generic and unthemed for many years, not even getting a sign until 1990. It featured the standard fluorescent tube lighting package that came with the ride and the only decor was in the form of decals of the park's name on the back of the cars in 1992.
Shortly after, when Time Warner acquired the Six Flags Theme Parks, great efforts were made to bring themes to their parks. In some cases unthemed sections like the area around the Scrambler were given themes for the first time. To do this many generic rides were given new names and themed elements. Since the Scrambler was next to the Looping Starship ride, the two were thematically linked. Originally proposed as the Scrambler Space Simulator, ultimately the ride would became the Centrifuge "G" Force.
For 1993, the ride was repainted to a deep dark blue and the park logos
removed from the silver cars.
To create a new planned NASA and space theme, elements were added around
the ride. The wrought iron fence encircling the ride was replaced
by aluminum framework and decorative panels made to resemble an actual
space training centrifuge facility. Within, the ride was centered
with new blue shields around its lighting fixtures so a moonlight effect
would enhance the ride experience at night.
The ride's queue area was also made part of the experience with additional structural beams and a massive backlit sign clearly marking the entrance to the new Centrifuge "G" Force attraction.
|Several variations of
the ride's blue decorative panels which encircled the ride as well as
the car graphics were spotted, especially during the early months of the
ride's reintroduction when copyright issues with the use of various NASA
logos were resolved.
With all the increased traffic to the new MovieTown area of the park especially with the addition of Batman the Ride in 1993, the Scrambler found a renewed popularity.
The new signage, fences, and look of the ride went a long way to create the theme. Both the Scrambler (Centrifuge "G" Force) and Looping Starship (Space Shuttle Flight Testing) became part of the new MovieTown area of the park, and the space theme was designed to tie into Warner Brothers' movie The Right Stuff.
|To further extend the
space theme, the courtyard directly outside the neighboring entrances of
the Centrifuge and Space Shuttle rides served as a tribute to those with
the "right stuff." Illuminated signage showed historic images of
space flight while oversized posters adorned the areas perimeter
fencing. A replica of a Mercury
capsule and an authentic rocket engine were placed on display.
Even though a major simulator attraction dedicated to The Right Stuff would open near the Parachuter's Perch ride in 1994, this small tribute display would remain in MovieTown until the end of the 1996 when construction of Batman and Robin The Chiller would change the areas layout and skyline.
|For the 1997 season, both the Centrifuge and the Space Shuttle were relocated closer to the home of the The Right Stuff simulator attraction at the top of the park's major games area. The majority of the Centrifuge's themed elements were also relocated including the decorative superstructure and Mercury capsule.
The new location worked much better thematically with the rest of the
attractions at the far end of the Boardwalk which were all Air Force
themed. The park's old administration tent building was a great backdrop
for the Centrifuge "G" Force which was newly adorned with U.S. Air Force
In 2001, an up-charge simulator ride named Alcatraz The Ride was added inside the admin building necessitating the reconfiguration of the Centrifuge's entrance queue to the front of the ride. The original queue would be repurposed as Alcatraz's entrance including making use of the Centrifuge's light up sign.
The 2001 season would be the last for Great Adventure's original Scrambler-type
ride in the park, although a few attempts to reintroduce it at other
locations in the park were made.
By the 2002 season opener, the ride was removed from the games area with its site left vacant. Although unknown to guests at the time, the area was being cleared for the introduction of the Superman Ultimate Flight coaster for the 2003 season. With such a powerful draw like a flying coaster, the section would not need the Scrambler to clog the area.
Plans were made to relocate the Scrambler to another site in the park. The ride's parts began to show up on the former site of the El Sombrero ride which was also removed after the 2001 season. Ironically, El Sombrero was actually the same Schwabinchen ride removed which the Scrambler replaced back in 1987. A new channel for the rides drive shaft was even cut into the concrete in preparation for the ride's assembly but it would never materialize here and the parts were removed shortly after the 2002 season opener.
|A few weeks later, the parts of the
Scrambler then appeared on the former site of the Pirates Flight ride which
had also been removed at the end of the 2001 season. Once again the parts sat there for
a time but were never reassembled and later removed. This was the last
time the ride would be seen and the Scrambler was ultimately sent from
Great Adventure to Six Flags Over Georgia.
Six Flags Great Adventure original Scrambler ride served the park for twenty four seasons. Whether as a generic Scrambler carnival ride or dressed up as a movie-themed attraction as Centrifuge "G" Force, through the years the ride was loved by many.
|The former site of Centrifuge "G" Force in front of the old Administration Building would become the entrance to the Superman Ultimate Flight roller coaster in 2003. The former Pirate's Flight site would eventually become the new home to the relocated Royal Elephants ride in 2012. In 2012 the park would also open a "new" Scrambler ride, Deja Vu, which was relocated from the American Adventure family entertainment center that was part of Six Flags White Water in Atlanta.
|At Six Flags Over Georgia, Great Adventure's Scrambler operated from 2004-2010 indoors as Shake, Rattle, & Roll. It was removed to make way for the new Dare Devil Dive roller coaster. Where it went from there is unknown.
|Original Spotlight: August 12, 2008; Updated: May 6, 2012; May 26, 2022. GAH Reference#: RIDE-1978-003