Introduction to series “Super ‘70s and ‘80s.”
Introduction to subseries “Sea World superheroes show” (including list of interviewees).
Skiers, part 7 of 10—the relationships.
SWSH = Sea World superheroes
AFTER THE SHOW CLOSED
Have you had anything to do with superheroes since?
Al Kelley: I was Robin at a Halloween party and made a point of watching all superhero movies such as the Superman and Batman movies.
Bill Peterson: No, not really. My son was into it as a child—wore a cape it seemed forever. If we forgot his cape at home, his mom had to pin a dish towel or something to his T-shirt or he was not happy. Bill’s wife Barbara] I think he wore a cape until he was about five years old—night and day.
Bill Schwartz: Yes, I have a collection of about 2,000 comics. I collected and drew comics as a kid. I do not collect anymore but I still have my collection. I have seen just about every superhero movie made, especially Marvel [ones]. I am a big comic fan.
Nancy Radant Combes: Nope, just in my dreams.
Randy Messer: The company I’m currently with Digitec promotes itself as creative and we did a staff shoot where we all dressed as superheroes/villains.
Shirley Duke: My son collected comic books, especially Superman and Spider-Man. For my daughter’s first Halloween, I sewed her a Wonder Woman costume. She won 1st place in her age group at Disney World.
How long did you keep the show on your résumé? What other jobs, if any, did the SWSH help you get?
Al Kelley: It landed my current job as an animal trainer. I worked 25 years as a full-time animal trainer and when they closed the Ohio park for good I ended up at Dolphin Cay, Atlantis, in Nassau, the Bahamas.
Betsy Maher (Hawkins): I did some artwork while skiing for the marketing department. [Around 1986] I interviewed with Sea World marketing the day the graphic artist [on staff] left to have her first child. Good timing.
Bill Schwartz: It’s still on my résumé.
Gary Thompson: It is still on my résumé along with all the shows I have ever done.
Jeff Parnell: I taught a real estate developer’s kids to ski and he gave me a job when I was ready to leave [Sea World]. That was how I got out. It wasn’t easy to find a job that paid as well and was as much fun. There were guys much older than me that stayed too long.
Jody Spence: My skiing career was my first career, on and off for 15 or so years. I had two kids while I was skiing. It has always been part of my résumé
Linda Knapp (Moffett): A few years. It never really helped me get a particular job, just showed that I was a reliable employee. It has always been a conversation starter, however.
Randy Messer: The Sea World mention on my résumé always helped even if unrelated to the job, such as programming.
Reyna Blasko: I spent 15 years water skiing professionally. It is so sad other people do not have the same opportunities.
How many SWSH performers have you been in touch with continuously since the show ended?
Suzanne Schwartz: Several! And it was via Facebook that we found out about a 50th birthday party that was taking place for John Macqueen (AKA “John-Boy” or “JB”). John started at Sea World in Ohio when he was 15. Sharkey and I decided we simply couldn’t miss that occasion and flew back to Orlando (from California) to surprise him at his party. There were a bunch of former skiers there. It was a wonderfully special, spectacular night.
Bill Schwartz: I’m in touch with about ten skiers on a regular basis. [In 2009 we] had a reunion birthday party for John Macqueen and there must a have been 30-35 skiers from back then who came. Two flew in from California and one from Ohio. It was fantastic. We socialized till 3 a.m. I would say we all have a timeless friendship.
Bubby Snow: Nearly every skier in the show.
Carl Lipsit: Only one.
Dave Madeline: We just had a kind of birthday party [in late 2009]. That was the first time I’d seen most of them in 20 years.
Diane Smith: Past Christmases, I would look forward to the wonderful updates from my friend Debbie Blake (Berndt), who was instrumental in teaching me to become the skier that I was. She often gave up her lunch breaks in order to show me how to be a better swivel skier. She had my greatest respect; she could do anything on skis and she was afraid of nothing. We used to get together when our children were young and I would take my girls to Sea World to watch her ski. Sometimes I will run into other locals, like Mary Beth McMurtrie, and when I do, we remember each other and catch up. I guess it is good that we can still recognize one another after so many years. Perhaps [your] project will bring us all together again.
Doby Buesse: About a half dozen.
Gary Thompson: None continuously but several from time to time.
Janalee Zimmerman (Addleman): Unfortunately none.
Jeff Parnell: The youngest skiers on the team were myself, Mark Taylor, John Macqueen, Greg Galloway, and Doby Buesse. We stay in touch to this day.
Kaci Whittenton (Hedstrum): Mary McMurtrie is the only one I really kept in touch with and she keeps me up-to-date the on skier scoop.
Linda Knapp (Moffett): At first, quite a few. Over the years hardly any.
Lori Taylor: One, my husband Mark.
Mark Gutleben: I’m in touch with Fontaine periodically. He’s the only one I could contact. If I had other numbers I would. Roland Hillier was teaching King Hussein’s kids how to water ski. They paid to fly him out to Saudi Arabia. I’d like to talk to him again.
Nancy Radant Combes: Lots and lots.
Sherry Wickstrom: None. I used to date Dave Madeline and we would call each other on occasions.
Shirley Duke: Not too many since the 10-year reunion. We were supposed to have a 20-year reunion but it didn’t materialize. My husband and I were busy raising our three children and going to ski tournaments. Dave Madeline is the only one that my husband and I have stayed in touch with regularly. I went to Bob Borth’s memorial and reconnected with the skiers who were there. Sometimes we see Bill and Barbara Peterson around town. They came to our 30th wedding anniversary.
How many SWSH performers did you reconnect with via Facebook?
Christina Ashley: Many!
Cindy Barhoff (Clasen): Two.
Kaci Whittenton (Hedstrum): I haven’t really reconnected with any of them but Facebook has enabled me to get a peek into their family and what they are all doing as grown-ups. It’s fun to see what they are all up to—children and grandchildren.
Kerry Lloyd: Not on Facebook. I’m not a me, me, me kind of person.
Margie LaPoint (Bates): The girls and guys in the show were some of my best friends at the time. I have not connected with any of them through Facebook, though I would like to.
Mary McMurtrie: It was wonderful…found just about everybody again.
Nancy Radant Combes: Lots.
Sherry Satterfield Runion: I value the relationships, especially how in the last few years [we] have made an effort to stay connected or to reconnect. My dear friend from Sea World Ohio, Cindy Clausen Barhoff, and I just got back together via Facebook. Another happy reunion—planning to meet before year's end and spend time together.
Shirley Duke: I didn’t know there were any [on] there. I think I’ll do that.
[UPDATE: I’m happy to report that even more have reconnected since this series began!]
Next: skiers, part 9 of 10—the skiers' lives today.