Hello friends! We’re long overdue for an update for Ride to Heaven. In 2016, the creative team behind the film changed its title from Bible Storyland to Ride to Heaven: An Existential Theme Park Mystery to reach a wider audience and better encapsulate what the documentary is about.
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Rest In Peace
Since our last update, Harvey and Stephanie have said good-bye to several important participants in the film. As it turns out, it was very fortunate that Harvey set out on his quest when he did. It would have been impossible to make the same film today, as several people Harvey interviewed, who provided essential information about Bible Storyland, have since passed on.
In 2013, Rev. Trustan A. Hart embarked on the actual Ride to Heaven. Rev. Hart was the only living participant in the Bible Storyland story whom Harvey found to interview. (He’s pictured in this photo with his wife, Jean.)
In December, 2013, Harvey, Debi, and their son River said goodbye to their beloved pet Mimi, one of the stars of Ride to Heaven and Harvey’s main foil. Mimi had been a gift from Debi’s good friend and fellow voice-over actress E.G. Daily in 1998. (E.G. had received Mimi when she played the role of “Babe” in Babe: Pig in the City.) Here, Mimi is looking feisty, featured on a Tokipoki trading card.
In February, 2015, Rev. Canon Malcolm Boyd also passed through the Pearly Gates. Before becoming an Episcopal priest, Rev. Boyd had been a young Hollywood movie producer who partnered with legendary actress Mary Pickford. As a minister, he supported the American civil rights movement by marching with Martin Luther King and the Freedom Fighters. In the 1970’s, Rev. Boyd became one of the first openly gay priests in the United States and an activist for gay rights. He was also a best-selling author who wrote over 30 books. Harvey felt fortunate to be able to hang out with Rev. Boyd (pictured here with Stephanie) for a few hours in 2010 during his interview for Ride to Heaven.
Finally, actor Dick Valentine (pictured here with Harvey) passed away in March, 2016. Valentine had been a neighbor and good friend of Nat Winecoff, the visionary and producer behind Bible Storyland. We like to think that these dear friends have been reunited at last.
Since our Los Angeles premiere in 2012, audiences for Ride to Heaven have continued to grow. The filmmakers were very honored when Ride to Heaven was selected by the organizers of the 2013 Honolulu International Film Festival to receive a Silver Lei Award In April, 2013!
In April, 2013, Ride to Heaven also had a screening at the United Film Festival in Los Angeles. Harvey and Stephanie were joined at the festival by Howard Simpson (first from left, below), the graphic artist whose striking black and white illustrations of the park and its creators were featured throughout the film.
In June, 2013, Ride to Heaven was screened at the Interrobang Film Festival in Des Moines, Iowa, and in September it was named an official selection at the Burbank International Film Festival in Southern California.
Our First Museum Exhibit
Bruce Bushman’s concept artwork for Bible Storyland was featured in the “Never Built: Los Angeles” exhibit at the A+D Museum (also known as the Architecture and Design Museum) in Los Angeles from July to October of 2013. This photo shows the catalog cover for this popular exhibit.
In September, 2013, the museum held a special screening of Ride to Heaven. This picture, taken at the exhibit premiere, features Stephanie, Harvey, and two wonderful fans who had flags and a T-shirt made for the event. (Notice the fans’ T-shirt says, “I survived Jonah’s Whale, Bible Storyland” and Harvey is wearing a pig tie.)