Veteran attraction artisan Bob Baranick was one of the set designers and lead model makers on Laboratory. Bob’s career spans over four decades in the entertainment industry. In addition to his Landmark Entertainment Group and Goddard Group credits, he has worked with Walt Disney Imagineering on some of the Disney parks’ most iconic attractions.
Sculptress Terri Cardinali was a founding member of Landmark Entertainment Group, and worked on numerous projects during her sixteen year tenure as Senior Sculptor. In April of 1986, Terri worked with Bob Baranick to craft the elaborate Laboratory concept model, and is officially credited as the “Dimensional Designer.”
Terri’s incredible portfolio is an eclectic mix of toy, theme park, television, and film design. Her nearly forty year career has included such diverse clients as Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Sanrio Company in Japan, and Playmates Toys, Inc.
Tony Christopher is the co-founder of Landmark Entertainment Group, and is credited as an executive producer on Laboratory.
Prior to forming Landmark, Christopher worked at the Walt Disney organization creating and managing various live stage spectaculars and attractions.
On site, Donald Cox served as Production Supervisor for Busch Gardens during the installation of Laboratory.
Art direction credit for Laboratory goes to Joe DeMeis, assisted by Lee Congiardo. Joe was one of the original founders of Landmark Entertainment Group, and for over 20 years he was responsible for the signature look of most of Landmark’s themed projects.
As a former Disney Imagineer, DeMeis developed attractions for Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Epcot Center, and Tokyo Disneyland.
Robert DeLapp was the special effects designer for Laboratory. He began working with Gary Goddard immediately after high school, eventually serving as Director of Special Effects for Landmark Entertainment Group. Robert also created the subsidiary Roboshop, Inc., which handled the fabrication and production of robotics and special effects for three major theme parks: Universal Studios Florida, Sanrio’s Puroland and Harmony Land, in Japan.
Gary Goddard was involved with all elements of Laboratory, from concept and writing, to design and installation.
He started his career at Walt Disney World, where he served as director of the very first Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue show. Gary later became the youngest designer ever engaged by Walt Disney Imagineering at the time, and later went on to form his own company, Gary Goddard Productions (GGP), in 1980. GGP became Landmark Entertainment Group in 1985, the same year that Laboratory was designed and built by Gary and his team.
Rich Hoag, writer and director of The Enchanted Laboratory, was a founding member of Landmark Entertainment Group in 1980. In the late 1980s he was named Vice President of Show Development, overseeing dozens of show-related attractions that the company designed and/or produced. In 1990 he was named the executive producer on Harmony Land, an entire theme park in southern Japan.
Rich left the company in 1994 to pursue other interests, but credits Laboratory as one of Landmark’s ten most popular attractions.
“Hundreds of show elements came together on this attraction,” said Hoag. “It was a very magical experience, I was proud to be a part of it”.
Mike Hodgson is credited as the set designer on Laboratory.
A Renaissance man on Laboratory, Ted King was part of the creative team that originally developed the show concept back in the early 1980’s. He later served as soundtrack producer (including writing the music and lyrics to the “Flying” song), was the figure animator for Pellinore, Elixir, and Talon, and even makes a vocal cameo in the show as the “voice” of It.
In addition to numerous domestic and international producer credits before and since, Ted was Vice President Senior Producer for 17 years with Landmark Entertainment Group, during the time Laboratory was created.
Pete Menefee is credited as the costumer designer for Laboratory. A multiple Emmy-Award-winning costume designer, Pete has gone on to create inimitable work with musical superstars, variety productions, and Nevada’s costume-spectacular stage shows.
Rebecca Mills was the Laboratory character designer.
A former performer and manager at Cedar Point and Opryland USA, Joseph Peczi was Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s first entertainment manager, joining the pre-opening team in 1974. Peczi was promoted to Corporate Director of Busch Entertainment Corporation (BEC) in 1982, where he oversaw the Laboratory project from initial concept through completion. Joe became BEC’s Corporate Vice President and Executive Producer for Entertainment in 1993, a title which he held until his retirement in 2006.
Show and animation control on Laboratory was credited to Bill Synhorst, of Triad Studios.
George Wade was the project manager on Laboratory. Beginning his career at Walt Disney Imagineering, he has participated in some of the industry’s most prestigious projects, including Tokyo Disneyland, Universal Studios Florida, The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, EPCOT Center, Luxor Hotel and Casino, the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, The Mirage Hotel and Casino, and the Crayola Experience.
Ed Zeigler was the lighting designer for Laboratory.
Additional Busch Gardens creatives credited during the opening of Laboratory include Mike Cross (General Manager), Linda Cuddihy (Entertainment Manager/Vice President), Terri Beals (Costume Production Supervisor), Alan Stein (Corporate Director, Entertainment), and Roland Salmon.
Lewis Arquette voiced Pellinore, and was best known for playing J.D. Pickett on the television series, The Waltons. He was father-in-law to actress Courteney Cox, film composer James Newton Howard, and actors Thomas Jane and Nicolas Cage.
Don Messick voiced Elixir, best known for Scooby-Doo, Bamm-Bamm Rubble from The Flintstones, Papa Smurf and Azrael on The Smurfs, and Astro from The Jetsons.
Soundtrack composer, lyricist, and producer Ted King lent his voice to the growls and snarls of It under the grating, as well as the floating skull (“There’s no telling what’s in store, ha ha ha …”)
As for Talon? Ted King remembers “There was a marketing guy who worked for Landmark, Mark Driscoll, who did the best dog voices ever. So we brought him into the studio one day to record about a hundred barks and whines. It was perfect for Talon, the pet Dragon.”
“The model had perhaps more detail than most show models we have been a part of before or since,” recalls lead model maker Bob Baranick. “It had every special effect working in it including flickering candles.”
“We put all the money into the sets, costumes, and effects you saw in the show,” art director Joe DeMeis explains, “and when art work and drawings were completed for a design, we did the Art Directors model that would be used do all the final working drawings and bidding for construction. What went into that model you got on stage 99% of the time. That’s how accurate I was in art direction. I wanted to tell the story in 3D, I was – and am – a story teller.”
The model only featured the detailed stage, and not the side walls of the house (audience seating). “We didn’t build that area into the model,” DeMeis remembers, “so it was left to the end to decide if there was any money left.”
Unfortunately, inevitable budget overruns meant the house walls ended up being much more sparse than the creative team would have liked. “But you did get a beautiful theater and stage set,” Joe continues, “How I miss that set and the folks at Busch Gardens. Great people who appreciate quality.”