Vintage AstroWorld TV Ads to Remind Us of Summers Past

Categories: Houston 101

Photo unfortunately by Jeff Balke
Of all the photos I've ever taken -- from crappy shots as a kid with a Kodak Instamatic -- to covers of the Houston Press, the above shot is by far my least favorite. Never mind that it's not a particularly good shot -- nice slanted landscape there, Balke -- but it's what it depicts that just kills me.

A few years ago, I was driving along the South Loop when I saw it, the field where I used to spend chunks of my summer. Except, instead of being filled with rides and kids having fun, it was just dirt and shame. Yes, that field is where AstroWorld used to be.

When I saw it, I stopped immediately, grabbed my camera from the behind the seat and shot this photo through the chain-link fence. It was not my happiest moment, but there you go.

So, as we wait out the dog days of summer, why not celebrate what once was and give kids a glimpse of what they missed through the miracle of YouTube videos. And I'm not posting any creepy ads with that weird dancing old man. That freaked me out!

Where in the world but AstroWorld can you have so much fun? Honestly, I don't know. Oh, and they had a killer whale?

WaterWorld! And not the shitty Kevin Costner joint.

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Pam Woody
Pam Woody

Love the video of Texas Cyclone, ride that roller coaster hundreds of times.


Awesome reminders!!!  And remember your birthdays every year at the water slide.  Every kid you knew looked forward to May 7...first chance to be cool in the water.  I remember being the resident "keeper of the gear" for everyone!  So much fun!


Thanks for the time travel, Jeff. The 1968 spot (the year Astroworld opened) is not before MY time, and I loved seeing it--especially with the not-so-subtle depiction of an integrated crowd. Three years before, opening the Astrodome as an integrated facility was still controversial in a still very segregated Houston. My first trip to Astroworld, when I was not quite six, was the first time I'd seen so many dark-skinned children in one place.

Jimi Austin
Jimi Austin

The Bill White years were some bad ones for Houston.

FattyFatBastard topcommenter

And anyone who lived here back in those days needs to go to 6:45 in that video.  I t hAs 2 of the ol' enchanted creatures doing the original McFey dance!

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