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Bill Cotter

Can you ID this location?

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Anyone know what this area near the Gyrotron was? It looks like possibly some chain saw carving or other sculpting activities. September 1967 (Set 393 #5)

unknown-393-5.jpg

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In fact that was it. My brother was invited to participate and we went as a family to watch him. Didn't win any prize but what a memory. To this day the sound of a chain saw

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Yes, I remember that shot.  It appeared in a local newspaper when I was a kid (in black and white of course) with the caption:  "It will gobble you."  I still have it in a scrapbook.  But I never really knew what Gyrotron was all about.  I do remember that photo made me want to visit Expo.  But when I did, I never saw La Ronde or Gyrotron.  I was too busy hitting the international buildings.

Thanks for posting this, Bill.

Jim

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There is a great article in the April 1967 LIFE magazine story of Expo 67 that interviews the UK guy who designed it.  Very interesting interview.  I hear that the ride was a disappointment.  Apparently the smaller red pyramid had this crab monster (emerging from lava) where you went through his mouth (at the climactic end of the ride) only to find that you are outside.  

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I went on it at least once - maybe twice. Rollercoasters, even timid ones are not my thing. The big thing about the ride was not the monster but after you came out of the first pyramid and into the second the track makes a 90 degree angle DOWN. The chair you are sitting in stays in the original orientation so it seems like you are free falling in slow motion. 

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My recollection is that the cars moved slowly through the Gyrotron, more of a dark ride than a roller coaster.  the vertical "drop" was surrounded by flame-like decorations.

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what was in the first pyramid?  just cavernous darkness with space stuff or was it more compartmentalized like Spaceship Earth ride at Epcot?  Always wanted to go on this...I am sure it was hokey but still cool. 

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The first pyramid represented space. You slowly ascended up in a spiral. It was dark . There were lights representing stars - I can't remember if it was one big star in the center or many stars around. I think there was one large star and several smaller ones. 

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someone must have a photo of inside the Gyrotron.  Please!

 

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I have a photo in my head of that thing. 

I was afraid to ride because after you ascended the spiral the ride left the building and crossed quite some distance through open air into the volcano mouth of the other building. There were several chairs in a row and you were perched rather high off the track without railings. I remember watching with trepidation from the ground as the cars slowly made their way across the exposed track several stories higher than I was comfortable with. I was afraid of that open air bit. My parents had to cajole me into going.

I recall nothing of the spiral upwards as I steeled myself for what was to come. As the ride exited the building and crossed that chasm I held on tight but there ahead of me in the supposedly fearsome maw of the volcano I saw a soda can lying improbably among the glowing lava folds. 

As the ride turned 90 degrees and dropped vertically down, the whole gestalt of the illusion was ruined by that soda can. It also served to distract me from my fear of heights .

The ride proceeded at constant speed throughout. It was not at all like a roller coaster. There was no free fall. I have no recollection of how you got on or off. 

I see the font size changes in the third paragraph of my post above. That was not intentional and there is no meaning implied or secret message intended. Of course if there was, it would be, "Drink more Ovaltine."

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The cars turned to face a moving belt, so you could walk up, sit down, and then they would swivel 90 degrees to start the ride experience.

Here's part of the high up open area, Jim:

gyrotron-1.jpg

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Good lord I need a trigger warning! 

I assume there was some kind of restraint to keep riders seated, but even so, you can see there's nothing but down under your feet. 

Wonder if they stopped the ride for rain or lightning. Being 1967 I can't guess but these days I assume they'd provide a grief counselor for each car. 

Ah! On reviewing the opening post photo I can see it shows the entire length of that outside transit as the track enters the red tower for the vertical descent. 

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That's hilarious--a grief counselor for each car!   I love it.

Thanks for posting the photo, Bill.  I really never knew too much about Gyrotron.  I agree that it does not appear that safety was not the main concern of the design team.  But it was 1967 and in those days, it was pretty much every man for himself in such situations.

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