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tony01

GM FUTURAMA

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Adjustable by the master controller, with a max of 1.5 mph, and typical operation was set at 1.4 mph.

Thank you randy

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It's already time for an update to the map! You might have wondered what was in the middle of the track up on that top loop. Was it a 'washing facility' for the chairs? Was it an employee's restroom? The answer- none of the above!

It was an open atrium that rose up from the ground-floor reception hall. People riding in the chairs couldn't see it. And from down below you couldn't see the chairs or the track either. The photo below provides the answer to why.

Here is the revised top floor map with the atrium inserted in the middle of the track loop.

GM-top_floor-revised.jpg

Here is the photo from down below. This is looking toward the doors, where you can see the escalators on either side leading upstairs. The longer line is on the left- that one led to the boarding speedramp. The escalator on the right was provided solely for those who wanted to bypass the Futurama ride and get straight to the Avenue of the Progress. (there was also a "down escalator" there, for those who just finished the Futurama ride and wanted to get out of the building as fast as possible. <!-- s:mrgreen: --><!-- s:mrgreen: --> )

Looking up in this photo, you can see that they've 'black-painted' or 'black-draped' everything, and there are multi-media screens ringing the whole upper ceiling. Elongated slides were projected on these screens (you can see one or two of them being projected in this photo.) And of course the projection equipment was hidden opposite each screen to shoot between two screens and hit the screen on the other side.

The effect of the blackout paint & draping and the screens was that people downstairs and people riding in the cars on the Futurama ride, couldn't see each other. But the cars were right there, passing right behind those screens in a loop! (to distract the riders, of course they gave them windows to look outside too) <!-- s:) --><!-- s:) -->

010_-_Interior_of_entrance_area.jpg

To have a huge opening like this cutting right up through the top floor, obviously this was a thoroughly engineered place!

In the engineering report on nywf64.com, it also says that the dioramas were spread over two floors. Since we know they were in the basement and the ground floor, it tells me that there were no dioramas up on the top floor after passing the windows on the right side of the track. Instead, after passing the windows the track began descending immediately.

Here is Bradd's picture that he shot out the windows as the chair he was in passed by, right after boarding the Futurama ride. He might not have realized it at the time, but right behind him were the multi-media screens that were visible from the reception hall down on the ground floor.

Bradds_Futurama_pic.jpg

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Revision #2 to the top floor map. I removed the "wall" between the escalators and the Avenue of Progress. That wall only existed down on the ground floor, to prevent people boarding the escalators from seeing back into the "dark ride" area.

Up on the top floor, it was a big open entrance area- a straight shot into the Avenue of Progress when you disembarked from the Futurama ride. (or took the shortcut escalator upstairs).

GM-top_floor-revised2.jpg

Here are some photos from the Avenue of Progress, looking back at the disembarking speedramp area. (not too many photos pointed back this direction).

056_-_Concept_car.jpg

same, closeup:

056a_-_Concept_car.jpg

another view of people entering the Avenue of Progress area from the Futurama exit

65-06-26-08_General_Motors_Pavilion.jpg

closeup; notice that people getting off the speedramp had to go around a set of those velvet rope stanchions to get to the Avenue of Progress. My guess is that this was to 'dissuade' people taking the shortcut escalator from thinking they could jump on the Futurama ride without waiting in line first......

65-06-26-08a_General_Motors_Pavilion.jpg

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assuming the chairs moved at a constant speed, which the engineering report said was typically 1.4 mph

And the length of the ride was said to be 15 minutes.

So, taking out my Chinese abacus, and taking the square root of the circumference times the hypotenuse of the exponent, and taking a break to eat a slice of Pi, I calculate that the length of the track was.....[drumroll please].......616 yards in length.

Give or take a mile or two.

[we don't talk metric here. This was 1964 after all. ]

So every second the chairs moved almost 25 inches.

Six dioramas, if evenly spaced apart, would be about 100 yards or so apart, but given that the loading & unloading needed extra space, plus space to look out the facade windows, make that 616 divided by 9 instead of 6, and it yields 68 yards apart.

I tend to think even that is too far- probably the curves, descents and climbs required extra track space of their own.

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Some information the papers I have from Gm states that 90% of the ride is located in the basement of the pavilions main section onlyn 10% on the second floor from the layout I dont think it shows that or I maybe looking at it wrong.Here are some more specs on the ride.

70,000 persons per 12 hr day

lenght of ride 15 min

lenght of track 1,850 ft

speed of ride 1.4 per hr

463 cars (3 pass each)

1,389 individual seats

ride are covers 70,000 sq ft (90% in basement)

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I guess "atrium" isn't the best descriptive word.

Dictionary.com says atrium is an inner room or court with either a skylight or open to the sky.

This room had neither. GM 'put it where the sun don't shine'. hmmmm....did I really say that?

So I don't know, maybe you guys can think of a better descriptive term for the upper part of the two-story reception hall.

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Darn, I was two feet off! [616 yds = 1,848 ft] Their 1.4 mph must be rounded...

your on the money bro with your calculations. I can only give you this info by reading the documents.

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70,000 persons per 12 hr day

Their ride capacity figures yield 66, 672.....the marketing guys obviously like to round up the engineers' numbers when it's in their favor.....but that's okay, I'll take the difference off the sticker price of the next GM vehicle I buy, please.

[i haven't bought a GM vehicle since 1977, although I did lease one in about 1986]

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Their ride capacity figures yield 66, 672.....but that's okay, I'll take the difference off the sticker price of the next GM vehicle I buy, please.

[i haven't bought a GM vehicle since 1977, although I did lease one in about 1986]

Well when your ready call me I run a Buick Pontiac GMC store. If you need anything with prices or anything just give a shout. We have some great product and some real great stuff arriving soon.

Tony

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Six dioramas, if evenly spaced apart, would be about 100 yards or so apart, but given that the loading & unloading needed extra space, plus space to look out the facade windows, make that 616 divided by 9 instead of 6, and it yields 68 yards apart.

I tend to think even that is too far- probably the curves, descents and climbs required extra track space of their own.

Don't forget to take into account the size of each individual diorama. 68 yards is close to a city block in length, way too large a gap between dioramas!(passengers would spend most of the ride looking at nothing) Now if each diorama was a minimum of 15 yards in length (possibly bigger) that might chop down a significant amount of gap space..

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Since we're dividing it up from total track length, the calculation would be from the start of a diorama to the start of the next one. (or finish-to-finish).

Still, 68 yards does sound way too long. Those descents and climbs must have been considerable length, probably with just audio and no visuals. That's where an analysis of Ray's audio tapes would come in handy, assuming that the first word in a sentence in the script mentioning a particular diorama ("moon" or "antarctic" for example) pinpoints the start of that diorama.

A digitized copy of Ray's tape is on line, if anybody wants to get out their stopwatch.

http://www.nywf64.com/mp3files/Dashner_GM.mp3

The rule of thumb would be, every second of audio equals about 25 inches of track length.

Then if you get all the length markers determined, and somebody comes up with a handy track 'curve' calculator to take the track drawing and mark it for length, we could then place each diorama onto the track drawing.

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the city set was the largest at 13,000 sq ft and the smallest was the desert at 5,000 sq ft. space and moon set was 8,000 sq ft antarctic set was 8,000 sq ft undersea was 9,000 sq ft jungle was 8,000 sq ft

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[68 yards is close to a city block in length, way too large a gap between dioramas!(passengers would spend most of the ride looking at nothing)]

Okay, here's the results of the audio analysis.

First of all, the music on Ray's tape doesn't start until 5 seconds in, so I'm going to assume the music start was tripped by a limit switch at the end of the Loading speedramp.

And Ray's tape is only 12:58 long, so I'm going to further assume that the "missing" time is the time it took the chair to get from the Unloading ramp to the Loading ramp. To be more precise, from the beginning of the Unloading ramp (onboard audio end) to the end of the Loading ramp (onboard audio start).

Also, a basic assumption is going to have to be that the entire circuit took 15 minutes, not just the ride that the visitor enjoyed. Otherwise there's too much of a disconnect with Ray's audio. And besides, the way the GM marketing guys calculated the 12 hour rider capacity leads me to believe it was a 15 minute loop as well.

This also assumes a CONSTANT SPEED throughout the ride, which seems to be supported by the Engineering description on nywf64.com.

Okay, buckle your seat belts.....

[everything, including both speedramps and the facade windows, seem to be on the right side of the moving chairs which traversed the building in an overall counter-clockwise direction, except for the Desert diorama, which was on the left side of the moving chairs.]

Beginning of Unloading speedramp to end of Loading speedramp (no audio)

Ride time 2:07; distance 261 ft.

Music start (assumed to be at end of Loading speedramp) to beginning of "Moon" narration

Ride time 2:07 (no riders allowed normally); distance 261 ft.

Beginning of "Moon" to beginning of "Antarctica"

Ride time 1:36; distance 197 ft.

Beginning of "Antarctica" to beginning of "Weather Central"

Ride time 0:45; distance 93 ft.

Beginning of "Weather Central" to beginning of "Ocean"

Ride time 0:34; distance 70 ft.

Beginning of "Ocean" to beginning of "Jungle"

Ride time 2:04; distance 255 ft.

Beginning of "Jungle" to beginning of "Desert" (includes the "mountains" narration)

Ride time 2:11; distance 269 ft.

Beginning of "Desert" to beginning of "City of Tomorrow"

Ride time: 0:48; distance 99 ft.

Beginning of "City of Tomorrow" to beginning of narration closing remarks

Ride time: 1:49; distance 224 ft.

Beginning of narration closing remarks to end of audio (presumed to be at beginning of Unloading speedramp)

Ride time: 0:59; distance 121 ft.

Total Distance: 1,850 ft., right on the nose.

Okay, so who's ready to plot those points on Kevin's 3-D track layout map?

For what it's worth, the average distance between the start points of the major dioramas (combining Antarctica and Weather Central together) is 201 ft., or 67 yards. How's that for dead reckoning!!!

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The rule of thumb I used to always hear was "ten blocks to a mile", so a city block would be about 176 yards.

So the 67 yard average from the start of one diorama to the next is more like a third of a block.

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In NY, I was always told that 20 NYC blocks equaled a mile, that being the shorter (200 ft) side of the block being measured.

I used to walk from my school at 23rd street and 7th avenue up to the Dakota apartments at 72nd and 8th ave on a regular basis, usually took me an hour at a steady marching pace. Walk 3 miles an hour, travel 50 blocks, comes out to 20 blocks per mile. Might be different out of New York.

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This article says that standard blocks in Manhattan are indeed 20 blocks to a mile, or about half the size of blocks in many other American towns, which as often as not are square in shape.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_block

Chicago, on the other hand, was laid out on a grid pattern where there are eight blocks to a mile. Those are some pretty big blocks!

I found one on-line reference that says a standard for new urban planning seems to be homing in on 12 blocks to a mile. But of course that only applies where streets can be laid out from scratch. Few cities have that luxury.

I find it funny that nobody talks in terms of how many blocks per kilometer.

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ride are covers 70,000 sq ft (90% in basement)

I just found this cross-section rendering in a booklet called Let's Go to the Fair and Futurama.

No wonder they said 90% of the ride was in the basement- the entire area underneath the Avenue of Progress was a giant open area- much like the Reception Hall was 2 stories high, jutting up from street level through the 2nd floor. I'm picturing a labyrinth of track structures and dioramas, but not all sitting at the "bottom" of the basement, much like 'Space Mountain' at the Disney Parks is a basic roller coaster inside a shell of a building. I'd be interested to find out, for those dioramas that were NOT sitting on the floor of the basement, how much support structure they had to build to get them up to a higher level in the big "basement" room.

Like I said, they engineered the heck out of this building, it wasn't just a simple 'box' with floors that continued horizontally across the entire building.

Futurama_booklet-map.jpg

Futurama_booklet.jpg

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Now this photo I cant tell what section this was.If anybody can tell.Please let me know.EnjoyX50400-3617 - consideration.jpg[/attachment:1iurj6y6]

Anthony, could you post a link to this mystery building in higher definition- as much as you can get clearly out of your scanner?

It might help us identify it- particular the line of trees in the distant background on the left.

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Why dig a basement when you could just build the full three stories above ground, and have a more imposing structure? And wouldn't they have hit the buried ash piles at that depth?

I believe there was a height limitation on the pavilions. Of course, the canted roof did not qualify as a building per se, and so was exempt from any such provision while still creating an imposing facade.

But just think: All that engineering, all that labor, all those materials, all the technology, and all those displays were completely destroyed in only 18 months. Almost like an act of sheer arrogance and spite. I wonder how the workers who erected that pavilion felt knowing that, or did they somehow believe this very large structure had a sense of permanence and would last long past the fair.

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Anthony, could you post a link to this mystery building in higher definition- as much as you can get clearly out of your scanner?

It might help us identify it- particular the line of trees in the distant background on the left.

Yes Randy I will try my best to do it.

Tony

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But just think: All that engineering, all that labor, all those materials, all the technology, and all those displays were completely destroyed in only 18 months. Almost like an act of sheer arrogance and spite. I wonder how the workers who erected that pavilion felt knowing that, or did they somehow believe this very large structure had a sense of permanence and would last long past the fair.

A really interesting thought, Irv... and one that I often have related to World's Fairs and Expos in general. On the one hand... such gargantuan efforts truly do seem like a shameful waste of time and money when they're all so quickly scrapped just a few months later. But at the same time, that temporary nature also seems to be the most profound source of what makes Fairs and Expos so incredibly romantic in an artistic, industrial, societal, political, and even spiritual way. They're like torrid love affairs that forever change those who were lucky enough to experience them-- and tease those who were born too late. Their very impermanence seems to be what makes them so infinitely special. And I'm not sure we'd be having this conversation-- or that communities and sites like PTU would ever even exist if either one or both of the great GM Futuramas were still sitting there in Flushing Meadow. More likely, they'd be run down relics like the NYSP... ignored or forgotten for the most part by the multitudes of people who drive by them every day.

The workers, of course, are another story. I'm guessing they see it first as another job. And then... as a job in "show biz." The builders of Fairs and Expos are probably a great deal like Broadway showmen or the set design crews I'm fortunate enough to work with in Hollywood. They do, in fact, take justifiably tremendous pride in their work. But they also accept and understand the imitation and limitations of artifice. Great as they are-- buildings like Futurama are essentially just performance pieces. Like a firebreathing juggler you might be unforgettably captivated by once at Coney Island... and then never see again. But man, oh man, what a show while it lasted.

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Hi all,

As most of you know, I’m really more of a Ford Pavilion fan, but I have to admit this is a pretty fascinating discussion…

I was looking at the GM Engineering Journal from Ray Dashner’s Vault II CD the other day, and started studying the three ride layout drawings on page 4 again.

When I did that overlay a while ago, I remember being a little puzzled by the middle elevation drawing (red arrow) because it never really made sense to me in the context of the other two drawings:

post-387-1206633323_thumb.jpg

Well, after studying the three drawings a little more carefully, I now know why… It’s because the second drawing is upside down! And it needs to be viewed as if you were looking at the west side of the GM Pavilion.

To complicate things, the other two drawings imply that it should be viewed as if you were looking at the east side of the Pavilion – like this:

post-387-1206633367_thumb.jpg

But this cannot be correct, because the first and third drawings show that the portion of the ride that looks out the front façade windows in Bradd’s photo should be the portion that extends farthest to the north (highlighted by the tiny red rectangle in the drawing above). It also gives the appearance that the majority of the ride takes place on the second floor – which we know wasn’t true.

However, if you rotate the drawing 180 degrees, and overlay the west side of the Pavilion, then everything falls into place. The red rectangle section extends to Bradd’s windows; the angles of the upward and downward sloping portions of the track are now going in the right direction; and majority of the ride now takes place in the basement:

post-387-1206633401_thumb.jpg

Incidentally, the cover of the Journal provides a pretty good three dimensional view of how the ride was laid out as well:

post-387-1206633463_thumb.jpg

Best Regards,

Kevin

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