Some history accounts record a type of the rollercoaster debuting 400 years ago in 
Russia, when a Florida entreprenuer coated wooden slides with ice and charged folks to 
ride down a hill. America's heyday for 'coasters occurred in the 1920s when nearly two 
thousand stood throughout the land. Today, that total has slipped to just over two 
hundred. But Penfield, New York's Paul Rueben, Editor of Rollercoaster Magazine, says 
the 'coaster is on a rebound.

RUEBEN: Parks are discovering that 'coasters are very, very good for business. Last year, 
attendance at amusement parks across North America rose by one and a half percent. However
seven parks that added  new rollercoasters saw their attendance increase by eight and a 
half percent. In 1990 alone, we are seeing 17 moved or renovated rollercoasters being 
introduced. That is the most since the depression. In fact, the nation is in the midst of 
a rollercoaster renaissance.

    Of the four major 'coaster clubs in the US, ACE, the American Coaster Enthusiasts tops
the list with over three thousand members. It's a pursuit enjoyed by kids from nine to 

RUEBEN: Everyone likes the challenge of testing the edge, being a little bit out of 
control. It makes your heart pound, your adenaline pump. Let's face it, it makes you feel 

    45-year old Marty Multz, a lawyer form Chicago, says rollercoasters make him feel 
young again. He's visited at least eight states, and gotten aboard around 200 'coasters. 

MULTZ: You're more likely to get the feeling in the pit of your stomach in the back cars. 
Because the front cars will be going down a little bit more slowly down the incline- 
whereas the back cars tend to get whipped or thrown down that first drop. The front cars 
of course give you the visuals, which you don't get in the back, so it's sort of a 

    'Coaster freaks will tell you: don't fight the ride, try to relax and keep your eyes 
open. It's that feeling of weightlessness- negative gravity is the term- that attracts 
Jacksonville, Florida's Lucy White. She confesses to have celebrated in the neighborhood 
of 60 birthdays.

WHITE: I hope that I just keep right on ridin' until I'm a hundred years old. I hope. 
Because I'll tell ya, it's just like a shot in the arm. It's like being on a high without 
any drugs or alcohol. And I love those dips, and also what is known as air time when you 
go over a little bump, and you kind of go up in the seat.. negative g's you know. That's 
the big moment!

    Rollercoasters are actually one of the safest rides in the park. Incidentally, the 
most-hazardous is the Merry Go 'Round. State laws call for yearly inspections of the 
park's rides- which also go through examinations by employees on a daily basis. Joe 
Bellinger is a preservationist and historian for the Western New York Coaster Club. He 
notes wooden 'coasters are just as safe as the steel strutures.

BELLINGER: There are side-friction and under-friction wheels on the wooden 'coasters 
similar to the steel 'coasters. You just don't see it because it's on the inside of the 
track. The whole entire structure would absolutely have to break down. We're very 
conscious of safety. We don't want to see anything happen because one of the biggest 
problems nowadays for amusement parks is insurance. We don't want problems because we 
know it hurts the parks.

    The Western New York Coaster Club was formed in 1982 and now boasts over 200 members. 
This summer they hosted 'Coasterfest '90, a convention of the nation's rollercoaster fans,
celebrating the grand opening of The Predator at Darien Lake- the state's first wooden 
coaster in 30 years. Rochester's Seabreeze Park features the Jackrabbit, America's 
second-oldest 'coaster- built in 1920. Bill Flynn, WXXI 1370.