June 11, 2005
Garrison Keillor: We're in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, on the Cuyahoga River the Cuyahoga Falls, which in Minnesota we would call the Cuyahoga Rapids, since the drop doesn't occur all at once but over about two miles, but maybe I am being too literal. At any rate, Cuyahoga Falls, so-called, is proud of the fact that it falls 220 feet whereas Niagara falls 170 feet, so it advertises itself as bigger than Niagara Falls. Yet Cuyahoga Falls is not the tourist destination that Niagara Falls is, and I would argue that this is because Americans prefer a sudden fall to a gradual fall. Americans are willing to go and look at a river cascading over a precipice in a mighty torrent, more so than look at a river that is moving fast over rocks, what we in Minnesota would refer to as "white water" or a "rapids". To me, this suggests the need for construction. (BIG ENGINE OF STEAM SHOVEL, SHOUTS OF CREW. JACKHAMMER) Americans don't care if it's natural or manmade, they want to see a gorge here. And we can do it, Cuyahoga Falls. (FN ON P.A.: Fire in the hole. Fire in the hole. BIG EXPLOSION) A couple thousand tons of dynamite and you can make Cuyahoga Falls into a Falls, as we in Minnesota would think of a Falls. (FN on P.A.: Four, three, two, one. BIG EXPLOSION) It'll take a year, but it can be done, through a combination of digging a gorge through the town of Cuyahoga Rapids, as we would call it, using dynamite and perhaps cruise missiles (DIVE BOMBER, BOMBS FALLING, EXPLOSIONS), and also building up the river upstream from the gorge, hauling in billions of cubic feet of dirt (BIG TRUCKS, EARTHMOVERS) to make a mountain, which the Cuyahoga River would then be pumped up using 20,000 hp hydraulic pumps (TURBINES) and what this is going to give you is a 2000 foot waterfall here in Ohio (AWED WONDER) visible for 500 miles, floodlit at night, that's is going to make Cuyahoga Falls, which then truly will be a Falls, into a tourist mecca. You'll have people coming for hot-air balloon rides (HOT AIR BALLOON, PROPANE BLOWER, RIGGING, TALK) and naturally there'll be helicopter rides (CHOPPER) and there'll be airplane rides (PROP PLANE) and the airline pilots are going to fly over and (JET HIGH IN SKY) show people Cuyahoga Falls, and there'll be a steamboat ride at the bottom (STEAMBOAT) and there will be fine restaurants at the top of the falls (CORKSCREW, POP, POUR) and a bunch of beer joints down at the bottom (POP CAN, BEERY LAUGHTER) and eventually they'll put in a giant water slide all the way down, 140 stories, a corkscrew (KID GOING FAST DOWN SLUICEWAY, ACCEL) water slide that shoots you into the pool below with a force of 6 G's. They'll start filming soft drink commercials here.
Fred Newman (SINGS): Toga! Toga!!! Cuyahoga!!!
FN: Cuyahoga. The uninhibited soft drink in the 48 ounce jug. (GLUGGING)
GK: There's lots more. Tall buildings, shopping centers I see a major metropolis rising around the falls, once it becomes a real vertical waterfall and not just a horizontal one and you know, there's going to be a bond issue and you folks of Cuyahoga Falls are going to have to vote. I just hope you vote yes. Cuyahoga Falls needs a Falls. That's what I say. Two billion, ten, fifteen, whatever it costs. I come from Minnesota, a flat state. We're not going to come to Ohio to see a rapids. (GURGLING WATER)We want a waterfall. (ROAR OF FALLS)