Black Hole and Alton history

Discussion in 'Talbot Street' started by GaryH, 10th Apr 2018.

  1. GaryH

    GaryH TowersStreet Member

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    Found this neat little video today, posted Feb 2018. It contains some original park adverts, followed by a documentary style program with some great photos and videos of the park, and the Black Hole. I never knew the ride had an accident not long after opening.

     
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    Posted 10th Apr 2018
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  2. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Ah yes, Defunctland. Utterly fantastic series!
     
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    Posted 10th Apr 2018
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  3. OilyWater

    OilyWater TowersStreet Member

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    All this stuff is available on the internet already and always gets reposted in different wrapping by various YT channels.

    Here are most of the source materials:





    http://www.towersalmanac.com/areas/rides.php?id=23

    Strange how something written on the internet years ago becomes taken as gospel, especially if its on wikipedia. I remember reading when I was young how its only theming was "some rocks, which you couldnt even see on the ride" (you could see before the the UV lighting went or the rocks got caked in dust), along with trivia like the the smoke machine being changed from oil-based to water-based, as if that's even noteworthy

    Black Hole was great fun, this video is well produced – but for the amount of international attention it's getting, doesn't really capture anything about the ride in my opinion :)
     
    Posted 17th Apr 2018
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  4. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    Well oil based smoke got phased out pretty quickly once we realised how nasty it is to inhale, so that bit I can believe. Unfortunately you still get people who think smoke / haze is somehow bad for you, even though it's effectively just water and glycrin. Breathing in modern smoke is safer than drinking a diet coke! :p
    (Please note: a "Poundland smoke-out" is still not healthy ;) )
     
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    Posted 17th Apr 2018
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  5. OilyWater

    OilyWater TowersStreet Member

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    Yeah I'm sure it's true but... why is this fact so often brought up when the BH is mentioned ? Just because it was written on the internet once and got repeated over & over, it's just one way this kind of 'internet content' misses the big picture.

    When I remember BH, it's not about what kind of smoke it used or whether it was a Jet Star 2 or a Jet Star 1. It was the strange queue tunnel opening up into the amazing station (completely glossed over in this video), the weird sounds in the dark and all that. Would be a very dated coaster today but it was an Alton Towers classic for families, and the kind of attraction Towers is missing today. :)
     
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    Posted 17th Apr 2018
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  6. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    Heh, it's probably because the people making these videos are too young to have ever been on the ride, so just parrot what they've read elsewhere.
     
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    Posted 17th Apr 2018
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  7. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Without wanting to drag this off-topic, those videos upset me somewhat. Just look at the grandeur of the park, how pristine everything looks and how splendid the gardens are. Such a difference to what is there today.

    :)
     
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    Posted 17th Apr 2018
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  8. OilyWater

    OilyWater TowersStreet Member

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    Was a stunning park!

    It's actually amazing how the architects over the years have developed it in such a way to keep the theme park visually away from the heritage. You get one of the best heritage sites and the best theme park in the UK in the same grounds, and it could have been a travesty if it wasn't done right – but it works amazingly well. Can't have been an easy jigsaw at times!

    A shame that parts of the gardens are very run down now, but are getting better every year with these restorations
     
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    Posted 17th Apr 2018
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  9. PhantaDad2017

    PhantaDad2017 TowersStreet Member

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    Interesting, Alton Towers also had a Cine 2000 in the late 1980s. Dark enclosed coasters with space theming seemed popular back then, probably inspired by Disney's Space Mountain. So it became too expensive to maintain, after only 21 years. Phantasialand still has it's 1988 former Space Center running. It's too bad they completely ruined the theming, when trying to adapt it to the new fantasy theme as "Temple of the Night Hawk", and they never attempted to fix it.
     
    Posted 17th Apr 2018
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  10. Alsty

    Alsty TowersStreet Member

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    One thing I'll remember about the Black Hole was the TVs in the queue lines playing MTV... specifically the German MTV channel, presumably cheaper or free. The downside to playing German MTV was the tracks were uncensored, so artists like Eminem could be heard blasting out his obscenities for a while :laughing: (until the park management became wise to it)
     
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  11. Robert.W

    Robert.W TowersStreet Member

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    I have to say, I absolutely love to hear people's memories of the park and the attractions of the past. It really is so interesting!

    The park of the past really did look fantastic! The park and Gardens looked brilliantly kept (and the park as a whole still is today), and there seemed to be a variety of attractions for all ages. I'll always refuse to say that the Alton Towers Magic has lessened over the years, which I have heard some people suggest, but I certainly appreciate that there are many things the park is lacking – but that was the same in the park of yesteryear. And with the constant improvements such as the heritage restorations, the Alton TLC scheme, as well as the apparent anticipated shift to well themed experience attractions (which in fairness, Alton didn't really have any at all until the early 90s, yet there were still areas of the park, much like today, that were lagging behind in theming etc.) are all great things in today's park, and the park of the future!

    :)
     
  12. OilyWater

    OilyWater TowersStreet Member

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    The key difference is how money is spent really.

    Despite what they make out to be, Merlin are a financial company first and foremost, not an entertainments company. Tussauds started out as a thoroughbread entertainments company, but was slowly remodelled by its parent company Pearson into a financial asset to sell, so saw a lot of amazing investment in the 90s before it dropped off a cliff.

    The park today has whole areas closed off, headline rides that feel barely finished (Smiler & Thirteen), a complete lack of big family attractions (like Toyland, Ug Land, Black Hole and Haunted House were), commercial areas like CBeebies land and more investment in hotels than the park – because that's where the easiest money is.

    Wicker Man is an amazing new attraction that shows the difference when money is spent and marketing policies are relaxed. It's incredibly fun. The public love it, despite previous wooden coasters being blocked due to the 'statistics' that the public wouldn't like them. Again, you'd only get short-sighted marketing like this with a blindly financial-led company, rather than a business built on entertainment.

    John Broome had theme designers and developers creating the park at first (on relatively small budgets). But he tried too hard to copy Disney, and still within a few years he was just renting a load of off-the-shelf coasters and putting them anywhere instead. He became more interested in persuing his Battersea project and looking like a big player in London, than growing Alton Towers.

    I hope Wicker Man is a change for the way Merlin treat Alton Towers. It does show that they are willing to treat Towers a little differently to the way they treat everything else in their global empire. :)
     
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  13. rob666

    rob666 TowersStreet Member

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    Going back to the garden areas, the structures have been restored, but the actual garden areas have been very much ignored and neglected.
    The stepping stones have been cleared, but it was a hatchet job.
    Weeds and thick brambles are taking over.
     

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