'Back to the Future' Ride Recedes into Past

Universal Studios' Hollywood theme park gave their visitors one last go on the Back to the Future ride this weekend before retiring it Monday. The ride was state of the art when it debuted in 1993. Now it seems dated and isn't as popular as it used to be.

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ROBERT SMITH, host:

Happiness - and life for that matter - can seem like an amusement park ride. You have your ups, your downs, but eventually it's all over.

That's the bad news for fans of the "Back to the Future" ride at Universal Studios in Hollywood. The thrill ride based on the 1985 movie took its last shake and shimmy last night before closing for good.

Unidentified Man #1: You are about to embark on a high-speed time travel adventure in which your eight-passenger DeLorean time machine will simulate aerial acrobatics.

SMITH: Who knew there were so many fans of "Back to the Future"? They lined up all day yesterday, some wearing costumes.

But Sydney Walker(ph), who works at the park, says that recently the ride hasn't been very popular.

Ms. SYDNEY WALKER (Park Employee): This last crowd that you see coming in is the most that I've ever seen for "Back to the Future." So it's time, you know, it's time to get something else. People are ready.

SMITH: Heck, kids today probably couldn't even pick Marty McFly out of a lineup. And even sadder, a few can.

Mr. SAM FLYBURGER(ph): My name is Sam Flyburger. I am 16.

Mr. EDDIE EGANS(ph): My name is Eddie Egan, and I am 13.

SMITH: Now, you two weren't even born when "Back to the Future" came out. Why are you such a fan?

Mr. FLYBURGER: It's corny but it's timeless. It's goof-tacular. I mean it's funny how crazy it is, like it's such an '80s look on what things would be like, as if the '80s would go on forever.

SMITH: But nothing lasts forever, not even long amusement park lines.

So we're getting into the DeLorean now, it seats eight. The little bar is coming down. Now, this is my first time. Am I going to be terrified?

Unidentified Woman: Absolutely not. It is - it's just a simulated movement. You watch the screen and it's going to simulate the movements that are appearing...

SMITH: Whoa.

(Soundbite of movie, "Back to the Future")

Mr. CHRISTOPHER LLOYD (Actor): (As Emmett Brown) When you see the DeLorean accelerate to 88 miles per hour and (unintelligible) accelerating now to 60 miles per hour, 65, 75, 85 (unintelligible)...

SMITH: Whoa!

At the end of the ride, two guys in their late 20s rush for the exit to get back in line and do it again.

Mr. BLAKE JOHNSON(ph): My name is Blake Johnson. This is my buddy Keith, and we're huge BTTF fans and...

KEITH: BTTFTR - the ride.

SMITH: I have to say, after having gone on it, the graphics are cheesy. It's not that scary. Michael J. Fox isn't even in it. I mean, what's the attraction of this ride?

Mr. JOHNSON: The attraction is, is you know, when growing up as a kid, watching "Back the Future," you know, you always thought that that's real, that's time travel and Doc's out there and maybe one day you'll be able to get a ride with Doc, and maybe, you know, go back in time or go to the future. And this is - when you're a young kid and you come to the park and you go on this ride, that's your chance. And I guarantee that's all you're talking about the rest of the day. And it's a sad day because, well, the ride's history.

SMITH: Everyone keeps using the word nostalgia, and it's so odd. It's nostalgia for a future that never happened and probably never will.

Mr. JOHNSON: That is weird. And it comes down to the fact where, you know, we don't know what's going to take place in the future, but I hope the DeLorean is still around.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SMITH: Sorry, Blake. The DeLoreans are going into the storage, and the space at Universal Studios is slated for a new thrill ride based on a more timeless product from the '80s: "The Simpsons."

(Soundbite of song, "Back In Time")

Mr. HUEY LEWIS (Vocalist, Huey Lewis & The News): (Singing) Gotta get back in time. Gotta get back in time...

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