Remembering Astroworld

Ah, the good old days. Share your memories of parks gone by, discuss the history of parks and rides.

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Remembering Astroworld

Post by Paul Drabek » Mon May 05, 2008 12:14 pm

Hey all;

I've been wanting to write about my memories of Astroworld for a while now. The big thing that's kept me from doing it is just the amount of time to write all of my memories down. So I'm going to do this bit by bit.

I was a regular visitor to Six Flags Astroworld in the late 1980's. I first went on a trip down to visit my Father who had just moved down to Houston in the summer of 1987. I moved down in 1988 and until I left Houston in 1990 I was at Astroworld whenever I could get there. If I could get some friends to go along for a trip I went. If I could get my Dad (which was pretty rare) to take me and pick me up I went. I even rode my beloved 12 speed there and locked it up on the fence that bordered the parking lot and the 610 loop. Basically whenever I needed a coaster fix I went.

Whichever way one got to Astroworld the first thing you'd see as you came down the 610 was the thin silhouette of the Astrotower poking above the horizon. Soon you'd see the Astrodome and then finally the white curves of the Texas Cyclone would greet your vision. After parking in the Astrodome parking lot you would board a tram to take you across the bridge to the park. Astroworld sat on the opposite side of the 610 loop than the Astrodome. Actually they only had the trams for a couple of years eventually retiring them making everyone walk across the bridge on foot power.

While the trams took you across the 610 if you looked to the left your view was filled with Excalibur; the park's Arrow mine train. To the right was the Texas Cyclone glittering in the hot Texas sun. As the trams neared the gates they circled around a plaza that had a fountain with a huge globe in the middle of it with the Astroworld logo on it. No one in Houston ever called it Six Flags or Six Flags Astroworld. It was always just Astroworld.

You passed through a nice looking entrance plaza to get to the gates where Astroworld had metal detectors even back in the late 80's due to some of the surrounding neighborhoods and some gang activity. I'd always get to the park early so I could be there for the "running of the bulls". Where would we always run as soon as the park opened? The Texas Cyclone of course.

I'll continue there tomorrow.

Have Fun

Paul
Life is short....have fun!

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Post by Paul Drabek » Wed May 07, 2008 4:14 pm

Sitting there waiting for the rope to drop you could always size up your opponents. You could see who was serious about getting to the Cyclone first and who you were going to leave in your wake. I always felt sorry for the poor employee whose job it was to drop the rope because each and every day they were almost ran over.

As soon as the clip was released and the rope began to drop we were over it like a pack of runners leaping over a hurdle. Looking back I don't remember much of what lay between Astroworld's entrance plaza and the Texas Cyclone because most of the time I went through there I was at a full sprint.

The Cyclone's queue twisted around through the structure which was always fun as when the line was full the Cyclone rumbled and roared around you. Yeah now that I know better the Morgan "Coffin Cars" really suck but back then I loved it. The back seat was insane but I tended to gravitate to the front because you could actually see.

Most people know the Cyclone's layout so i won't go into a blow by blow description for you but I think my love for aggressive coasters began there. The first drop was great, then the turnaround then a nice air hill but after that especially after you dove into the structure it was just too much. It's like your brain went into meltdown and you weren't fully able to piece it all together. There were head choppers aplenty. At night the white structure would speed by in a blur and after turning around under the first turn the sudden appearance of the underside of track just a couple of feet above you was terrifying and ultimately what doomed the Cyclone from ever being saved. By the time the train slammed into the brakes you were spent but as soon as you hit the exit ramp (that also snaked through the structure) you were wanting more.

Have Fun

Paul
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Post by Paul Drabek » Sun May 11, 2008 7:37 pm

It was always ending the night over by the Cyclone on weekends back in the 80's as right next to the Cyclone was Videocity. What is Videocity you ask? Well back in the late 80''s dance clubs were the big thing in Houston and Videocity was Astroworld's very own dance club. They actually had a live TV show from there on the local ABC for a while where they showed music videos and cut to the kids dancing every once in a while with some live host.

While I enjoyed the club scene back then I never went to Videocity as I was in a park with a great woodie, 2 Schwarzkopf's, a cool mine train and an Arrow suspended. Who in their right mind would want to dance with coasters nearby?

There was a huge theater just a little walk from the Texas Cyclone. While I was never a big show person but they did have probably the best show that I ever saw at an amusement park on my first visit to Astroworld back in 1987. It was called "A Midsummers Night Scream" and was a really fantastic illusion show with some really fantastic staging, music and magic.

Also back in the USA section of Astroworld was a ride that has pretty much disappeared from the modern amusement park landscape, the Intamin Looping Starship. I kind of understand thew idea behind these rides. I mean swinging ship rides are a blast, especially with a bunch of people so Intamin thought "Why not go all the way around". The problem with this ride were the restraints. Let's see you have an over the shoulder harness that crushes ladies chests and the lap bar crushes guys groins so it's an equal opportunity offender.

Needless to say the Looping Starship didn't have a huge re ride potential and I think I went on it maybe three times.

Now as a hormonal teenager who did make it to Astroworld on a few dates across from the Looping Starship was one of the greatest attractions ever...the Chevy Show. The Chevy Show was a domed building where they showed a movie on the domed roof. From what I remember the movie had nothing to do with Chevys but instead had the camera careening through some hilly European town, some flying shots and some footage of a coaster. But what does this movie have to do with a hormonal teenager on a date? Well there was no seating on the Chevy Show. You had to sit or lie down on the floor masking it a fantastic make out spot. That's why I remember little of the movie.

Have Fun

Paul
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Post by Sora » Tue May 13, 2008 9:03 am

[quote="Paul_Drabek"There were head choppers aplenty. At night the white structure would speed by in a blur and after turning around under the first turn the sudden appearance of the underside of track just a couple of feet above you was terrifying and ultimately what doomed the Cyclone from ever being saved.[/quote]

Some great memories, but how could one head-chopper doom a whole rollercoaster? Doesn't make sense to me. Do you mean the park admin just decided nobody would every want to ride it somewhere else because of this one moment?

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Post by Paul Drabek » Tue May 13, 2008 1:08 pm

Woodpecker wrote: Some great memories, but how could one head-chopper doom a whole rollercoaster? Doesn't make sense to me. Do you mean the park admin just decided nobody would every want to ride it somewhere else because of this one moment?
It was well beneath the current building standards of today so while it was at Astroworld it was grandfathered in once you moved it there would have had to have been extensive modifications to the ride that would have been cost prohibitive.

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Paul
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Post by Paul Drabek » Tue May 13, 2008 2:44 pm

You can see the section in question at 1:05 into this POV video of the Texas Cyclone.

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Paul
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Post by NL_IS_AWESOME » Wed May 14, 2008 5:44 am

One of the best classic woodie out, that was Texas Cyclone at defunct Six Flags Astroworld. Honestly I would say that was looking like a pretty good fun coaster though the side g's are sort of lil' strong.

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Post by NCook79 » Mon Jun 02, 2008 10:41 pm

Paul Drabek wrote:
Now as a hormonal teenager who did make it to Astroworld on a few dates across from the Looping Starship was one of the greatest attractions ever...the Chevy Show. The Chevy Show was a domed building where they showed a movie on the domed roof. From what I remember the movie had nothing to do with Chevys but instead had the camera careening through some hilly European town, some flying shots and some footage of a coaster. But what does this movie have to do with a hormonal teenager on a date? Well there was no seating on the Chevy Show. You had to sit or lie down on the floor masking it a fantastic make out spot. That's why I remember little of the movie.

Have Fun

Paul
Ha! There used to be a Chevy show at SFSTL when I was younger. That's funny. It sounds about the same too - domed screen and all, although there might've been seating, can't remember. That's awesome, I haven't heard "Chevy show" in ages.

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Post by NL_IS_AWESOME » Tue Jun 03, 2008 4:50 am

Just wondering but what is a Chevy Show? I sort of have no idea how it was like, I mean I'd love to know if it was so worthy to have fun or not.

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Post by Paul Drabek » Tue Jun 03, 2008 5:06 am

NL_IS_AWESOME wrote:Just wondering but what is a Chevy Show? I sort of have no idea how it was like, I mean I'd love to know if it was so worthy to have fun or not.
It was basically a primitive Omnimax Movie that was sponsored by Chevrolet so everyone just called it the "Chevy Show".

Have Fun

Paul
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Post by NL_IS_AWESOME » Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:29 am

I see. Okay I will google it more, like using wikipedia so I can dig a plenty of trivias on 'Chevy Show'.

Add: I was able to google it, thanks for your info.
Last edited by NL_IS_AWESOME on Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Lonestarcoaster » Sat Jun 07, 2008 8:50 pm

I didn't get to visit Astroworld very often, so I don't remember much about the park itself, but I do remember falling in love with the cyclone, and going from cyclone to greezed lightnin all day long. Good times.

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Post by NL_IS_AWESOME » Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:15 am

Fantastic as you were then loving Texas Cyclone so much. I would absolutely go with that ride if I really could bring back to the day when Astroworld was still a zippy park had so much pure fun.

I still miss that park. :cry:

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Post by millenium man » Thu Jun 12, 2008 8:56 pm

Texas Cyclone opened today in 1976! :D
RIDE ON!

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Post by NL_IS_AWESOME » Sat Jun 14, 2008 8:54 am

More I miss that woodie. I feel like I just want to have me bring back to the day when that ride was still zippy and delivering so much fun. That must have been so priceless.

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