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A look back: Superstar TV

 Many fans of the Disney-MGM Studios have an attraction that is extinct and has been for years now.  One of my favorites was Superstar TV.  Superstar TV had an interactive element to it where guests would be selected to be put in front of “green screens” to reenact scenes from popular television shows.  The attraction first opened in May of 1989 when the Disney-MGM Studios opened to the public and was sponsored by Sony in the ABC Theater that housed about 1000 people.

The purpose of this attraction was to educate park guests in that guests are shown how color screens allow the merging of pre-recorded film and live action.  In the time of this attraction, the Studios still had an educational slant to it and aimed to teach park guests about the film making business as seen in other attractions such as the Backlot Tour, Monster Sound Show and the Magic of Disney Animation.  The lucky people chosen for these roles are selected from the crowd waiting to go into the theater before being lead off for costuming, makeup and meeting the directors. The remaining guests move into the theater in preparation for the show.

The attraction started out with scenes from a number of shows including:

  • The Today Show with Dave Garroway
  • I Love Lucy
  • General Hospital
  • Gilligan's Island
  • Bonanza
  • CBS News - Live From the Moon
  • The Three Stooges
  • Cheers
  • Golden Girls
  • Late Night with David Letterman
  • The Tonight Show
  • Howdie Doodie (Later replaced with Home Improvement)

Each show has about 6 skits needing a human participant with a Disney Cast Member MC'ing the show.  The audience could either watch the action as it was happening in front of them or on the televisions above them where the elements of green screens were replaced by the proper backgrounds to make it look like it would on television.

What made this attraction so fun was every show was different because it all depended on the guest whom was selected.  The guest was given costume and/or makeup and a quick script to memorize backstage before the attraction began.  Some guests were more entertaining than others based on how they would respond to the scene.  In the I Love Lucy scene, it was really funny when they sped up the conveyor belt and to see the reaction to the guests.  This reminds me of the water tank portion of the Backlot Tour where guests act as sailors on a ship and must react to audio and special effects queues.

In the summer of 1997, the attraction was rehabbed to incorporate new shows and make the attraction more up-to-date. However the changes couldn’t save Superstar TV and sadly Superstar TV on September 26, 1998 to be replaced by a stage version of the animated television show Doug. Superstar could never get the numbers of the other high profile attractions in the park (i.e. Tower of Terror and the the then soon to be opened Rock ‘n Roller Coaster) and it always struggled as the great show nobody could find.

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A regular look into Disney's Hollywood Studios, both past and present, with commentary and analysis from Matt Hochberg.


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Posted: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 by