5: Best Thing Not There Anymore

A film by Greg Stacy

[Interior. Love's Restaurant. Evening. Stacy sits at a table, messily devouring a huge plate of ribs. Barbecue sauce covers his hands, his clothing and the table. Every so often, he flings a bone over his shoulder, and we hear it land just out of shot. A waitress paces anxiously in the background.]

Stacy: Nowadays, it is difficult to imagine that such a place as Lion Country Safari ever existed. After all, there was so much about it that could have gone very, very wrong. Despite the park's sternly worded warnings about keeping your windows rolled up, there was really nothing to stop some publicity-seeking, suicidal teen from getting out of his car and feeding himself to a Bengal tiger. Besides, as my own little encounter proves, a rolled-up window is scant protection from a charging rhinoceros. One is reminded of the scene in Jurassic Park in which Jeff Goldblum's character dryly observes that the chief distinction between the dinosaur park and Disneyland is that the Pirates of the Caribbean don't eat the guests. Lion Country Safari had the constant potential to become a real-life Jurassic Park, and while my family's experience seems to be the closest any guests came to getting killed, one of the park's chief zoologists was crushed by a rampaging elephant.

[Stacy flings a rib over his shoulder, and it lands with a noisy clatter on the plate of the diner in the booth behind him. The diner stands up, furious.]

DINER: That's it. I'm kickin' this sorry bastard's ass!

WAITRESS: Please, sir—I've already called the police!

[African veldt. Daytime. Stacy is being chased through tall grass by the now-enraged rhino from the opening scene. Slightly out of breath, he continues with his monologue as he runs for his life.]

STACY: Perhaps the most astonishing thing about Lion Country Safari is that a version of the park still exists today on North American soil. Go to, and you will find the website for a Florida version of the park. Go hop on a plane right now, and within a few hours you'll be nose-to-snout with lions and tigers and rhinos like my friend back there. . . .

[Stacy arrives at a gray VW bus. He hops aboard and speeds away from the rhino just in time. As the bus vanishes into the distance, we hear Stacy's voice one last time.]

STACY [voice-over]: If you do go, just remember to keep those windows rolled up. And for God's sake, before you go, get that transmission fixed.


The festivities continue...
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