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The Astrodome


telwink

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Many a Houstonian has memories of the Astrodome. For some of us, it was a love with our sports franchises. For others, it represented an era in which Houston exploded onto the national map, destiend to grow into the megatropolis that Houston is today.

The purpose of this thread is for people to share their memories of the Astrodome. I was looking at old photos of it recently, and saw a photo of the hot dog stand with the yellow and orange painted lines around it. I remember the Texas emblems on the aisle seats that listed the rows. I remember people walking around, smoking cigarettes, and the whole dome had this rustic, small town in a huge stadium feel to it.

Now here's a real gem for me - I have vague memories of an 80s videogame arcade inside the Astrodome, and as I recall it was near the outfield, like right field or something. Does anybody remember anything about this arcade? Lately I've had a lot of nostalgia about the Astrodome. I suppose that's because its fate is in limbo right now :/ Anyhow, any memories of this arcade or about the Astrodome in general would be appreciated.

In case you stumbled into this thread and don't know anything about the Arcade that was located in the outfield, check out this article I found about Cigarette Haze Control in the Astrodome: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m5PR...ag=artBody;col1

This is a somewhat scatterbrained Astrodome thread, but any nostalgia would be appreciated.

Edited by Bengiann
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I remember watching the Houston Cougars play the many random teams in the South West Conference. Plus many years before that I remember watching a Houston Gamblers football game. Now there is something you don't ever hear about anymore.

Plus somewhere at the moment at a UH football game, I remember my mom taking me up to one of the sky boxes and during that moment I remember wanting to throw up over the rail as I was looking down toward the field.

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A neighbor friend had a hookup for The Bad News Bears II filming so my mom my brother and me and the neighbors 3 daughters and their mom and the other neighbor with the hookup and her kids all skipped school and went there for the filming. It was the first time I really saw how movies work and how they can make a small crowd look big

We were suppose to sit in the outfield, but the neighbor got us behind the dugout. Best part was we all got paid like 36 bucks which was big bucks for a kid back then especially to skip school!

Another time as an Astro Buddy I was way up in those high seats that Astro Buddies got and behind home plate. While coming back from the concessions I stopped at the rail for a second and a pirate hit a foul ball and it came way back behind him up and damn if it did not hit my hand, but it was too hard for me to hold and the kid in the seat behind me ended up with it

I remember warm Dome Foam when I got a bit older. They never seamed to card at The Dome :lol:

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so it's a gem but you have vague memories?

I was all of about 7 years old. Do me a favor and school me on what percentage of a memory needs to be crystal clear in order to consider it of personal value.

Edited by Bengiann
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Rodeo reminds me

a friend had some pretty good tickets for Hank Williams Jr. one rodeo season and me and some other friends went when we were all about 14

my one friend was going crazy yelling and screaming and jumping up and down during Hank and the people behind us got the usher to try and tell us we would get kicked out if we did not calm down.....we told them they were just mad a bunch of kids had better seats than they did and let him keep going crazy.......it was a concert and RODEO people

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Many a Houstonian has memories of the Astrodome. I remember people walking around, smoking cigarettes, and the whole dome had this rustic, small town in a huge stadium feel to it. check out this article I found about Cigarette Haze Control in the Astrodome:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m5PR...ag=artBody;col1

I remember the games before smoking was banned in the dome.

People smoked everywhere. In their seats, on the concourses, wherever they happened to be. By the middle innings of a game there was a grey haze in the higher levels of the dome. The cig smoke rose to the dome ceiling and stayed there. By the 6th or 7th inning it looked like a layer of fog hanging down from the rafters. People in the skyboxes and the purple loge level seats had it bad.

I remember the Astros and dome management finally started paying attention when players started complaining about the smoke. Even if it couldn't be seen down on the ground at field level players said the smell was still strong enough to affect their play.

I forget what year it was, but that's when they banned smoking in the dome. Forget what the smoking did to the non-smoking fans. The management did nothing till it was made clear to them that it was affecting the money-makers -- the players.

Edited by FilioScotia
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wow! what fun the astrodome was...i went to soooo many rodeos there over the years...even showed horses there a few times...and won! the baseball games and football games were a lot of fun too...always had to have nachos and a beer... one of the best memories was UH Band Day and getting to be on the 'dome field with most area high school marching bands during a football game... i still remember seeing pictures of the judge's living quarters behind the scoreboards...they were really something - what happened to all the stuff that used to be there? i heard the scoreboards were sold...where'd they go? i can't believe astroworld is gone...that was a fun place. :blink:

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I went to the first four opening games in 1965. What a sight when I first walked in. It actually seemed, at the time, like the "Eighth Wonder of the World". Saw Muhammed Ali clobber Cleveland Williams in a media-hyped, championship bout that turned out to be a laugher. Saw UH play Ole Miss. when Archie Manning was the Miss. QB. Don't remember who won. Also went to the bullfights. At the time, I thought the Astrodome would last forever. Appears that I might outlive it.

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Foamer nights were the best. Sometimes they had concerts after the game. Saw Doug Kershaw get married at one game and play a concert after. Just happened to be foamer night and someone hit a homer. We stocked up on free beer for the concert afterwards. Don't remember to much else. :doh:

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I remember going to a baseball game the first year it opened, it was a thrill, nothing like it in its day......but here's a bit of trivia few people will remember, I believe it was 1966 and I watched SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) sports car road racing on the roads/parking lots surrounding the Astrodome. It was done only once.

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I remember going to a baseball game the first year it opened, it was a thrill, nothing like it in its day......but here's a bit of trivia few people will remember, I believe it was 1966 and I watched SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) sports car road racing on the roads/parking lots surrounding the Astrodome. It was done only once.

I had forgotten about that. I was there. After being a frequent visitor to the races at Playland and Meyer, I remember how tame it was and how careful the drivers were in avoiding any collisions in their sports cars.

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I went to the Dome for a seminar on relaxation techniques. It was wonderful! With very little effort, I was able to fall asleep in a very short time.

No, wait. Now that I think about it, it was a soccer game I went to. Still fell asleep quickly, though.

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This topic should be merged into the other numerous dome related topics. :)

As far as memories for us it was always the:

1. Hundreds of ball games we went to see with friends & their dads and little league teams as a group.

2. The Tractor pull and crash up derby events

3. Grand finally (as we grew older) was seeing The Rolling Stones Concert in 1981. Was it the Start me up Tour? I know they were with ZZ Top & The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Seems like all the party animals in town went! Still have on 8mm film (and my concert jersey).

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This topic should be merged into the other numerous dome related topics. :)

As far as memories for us it was always the:

1. Hundreds of ball games we went to see with friends & their dads and little league teams as a group.

2. The Tractor pull and crash up derby events

3. Grand finally (as we grew older) was seeing The Rolling Stones Concert in 1981. Was it the Start me up Tour? I know they were with ZZ Top & The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Seems like all the party animals in town went! Still have on 8mm film (and my concert jersey).

I'm pretty sure I went to that show.. I used to hate the dome for concerts though.

If there is a venue in town with worse acoustics, I haven't been there yet..

The sound has always been fairly horrible at any dome concert I ever went to.

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3. Grand finally (as we grew older) was seeing The Rolling Stones Concert in 1981. Was it the Start me up Tour? I know they were with ZZ Top & The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Seems like all the party animals in town went! Still have on 8mm film (and my concert jersey).

I wrote about this a few months back. That was the tour to support "Tattoo You."

They played for two nights at the Dome in Oct of that year. One person was fatally stabbed on the first night.

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I wrote about this a few months back. That was the tour to support "Tattoo You."

They played for two nights at the Dome in Oct of that year. One person was fatally stabbed on the first night.

Your right! I still have the album.

Like I mentioned on another topic (or person) I and 2 others went the days before as they were constructing and fixing up the dome for this event. I grabbed my 8mm Bell & Howell and had my friend drive the 72 Cutlass convertible slowly as we drove up, I sat on top filming the Astrodome neon sign advertising this scheduled event. We just figured one day someone would want to see it? I always had historic documentation in mind. I do wish I had been able to film inside but that would have been a disaster. The mob was completely insane! That was the last time I will ever be near a stage in such a crowd. The stage background (someone help me if I forget) was like a very large massive modern pastel with swirls & cariatures to mimic the album. Designs you would see very often in MTV promo's. I think there were little sports cars racing across? I just recall my whole nabe (teens) all going together to see this concert. Good thing because most moved away shortly after.

Sure wish someone would describe seeing Evil Knevil there! That must have been a blast! :)

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My dome memories.............

The orange light above the clocks. If it was on and an Astro hit a home run, it was free beer time for a period of time. It happened a couple of times I was at a game with my Dad. I remember the stampede to the concession stand, and my Dad leaving me in a trail of dust while I sat in my seat. That promotion didn't last long.

Demolition Derby - Joey Chitwood, Evel Knievel

MotoCross Races

Rolling Stones

Astros/Oilers

Rodeos

OTC

The yellow section cheap seats - most of the time

The outfield cheap seats ($1)

The blue section - once back in '97

The suites - a few times

Astro Buddy games

Dome Dogs

Dome Foam

Astronaut guys raking the dirt between innings

Seeing Buff Stadium when it was still there

Many others.......................

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And of course there was Elmo Wright. Anyone know his claim to fame?

It was well before my time (before I was born), but as all loyal Cougar fans know, UH's Elmo Wright invented the end zone dance!!!

As far as Astrodome memories, mine go back to watching the Astros with Jerry Mumphrey, Dickie Thon, Jose Cruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuz, Nolan Ryan, and many hundreds since then.

I remember a hell of a game in the regular season between the Astros and Mets. Unless my memory is fooling me, it was Mike Scott vs. Dwight Gooden.

My dad used to take me to tons of tractor pulls, mud bogs, demolition derbies, etc. Until I was in college, I probably saw more tractor pulls in the Dome than baseball games.

I was there when the guy dropped from the ceiling of the Dome in a barrel and died.

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I have a TON of Astrodome memories:

Taking my grandfather to Astro games when he came to visit in the 1960s back when the home team had the shooting star jerseys ... Booing the hell outta Pete Rose and, yes, Lasorta as well (hats off to you, missmsry). Rusty Staub, the "Toy Cannon," Cesar Cedeno, "The Big Red Rooster," Nolan Ryan, so many memories ...

Lived and died with the Heartbreak Oilers ... Hoyle Granger, Garland Boyette, Jerry LeVias, Kenny "Double Aught Buckshot" Burroughs, Fred Willis, Dante Pastroini, Billy "White Shoes" Johnson, Earl Campbell etc., etc. Saw them beat Joe Namath back in 1972 for their only win of the year. The Luv Ya Blue years were absoloutely electric. My brother and I loved the old Oilers and hated the Pittsburgh Steelers. We used to wait late after games outside to get the players to autograph our programs.

Bluebonnet Bowl: Saw SMU beat Oklahoma (with Steve Owens) on the last play of the game in 1968 (The first ASTRO Bluebonnet game). UH versus Lou Holtz's NC State team in 1974 was one of the best games ever, ended in a 31-31 tie. Texas came from behind to beat Colorado in 1975 with the Tyler Rose. Texas Tech and Nebraska in 1976 was a good game as well. Saw the last Bluebonnet Bowl, Texas and Pitt (with Ironhead Heyward) in the Dome in 1985, I think.

Saw many, many high school games under the Big Top, including Baytown Sterling vs. San Antonio Lee (with Tommy Kramer) in 1972. Saw lots of UH games there as well including the 60-40 Cougar win over UT. Jackson for UH set an NCAA record with three pass intercepts run back for TDs in that one. Saw the USFL Houston Gamblers AND we were there watching the WFL Houston Texans the night John Matuszak was served a restraining order on the bench. Heisman Trophy winners I saw play in the dome: Steve Owens, Earl Campbell, Andre Ware, Pat Sullivan

First rodeo I went to was to see Eddie Arnold. Also saw KC and the Sunshine Band, The Mavericks ... too many to name.

I covered games there as a sportswriter, sat in the club level for a couple of rodeos back when they had the fancy restaurant/saloon, watched pre-season Oilers games from a new "luxury box." Does anyone remember the concrete tree that was down at field level under the stands? There was also an arcade down there. I used to like to go to the ramp in front of the visitors' dressing rooms after warmups/before the start of games to give enemy players the stinkeye.

My dad is related to the actor Michael Parks and in the mid-1970s he invited us to the Astrodome to visit and be extras in a movie that was being filmed there called Murder at the World Series. That is still one of my favorite memories.

But my best memories are of playing and practicing in the Dome as a high schooler during the playoffs. After all the games I had seen there, actually playing on that field was a huge thrill. I remember running my finger across the bright green Astroturf and bringing up a cloud of dust. The seams in that damn carpet (which were zipped together) were deadly and sliding across the plastic grass would take your skin right off. I remember how surprisingly cramped the home dressing rooms were with entry ways so low you had to duck to get through them and located way up the ramp.

Edited by Retama
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And no one mentioned the Bobby Riggs/Billie Jean King tennis match.

Battle of the Sexes

Astrodome on Sept. 20, 1973

Mentioned briefly in a seperate "Dome" topic. I just remember hearing about it for what seemed like months. :wacko: I think Riggs (male cheuvenist pig as they called him)passed away a few years ago. That match was of great significance for the women's lib movement. I will attach for younger viewers.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...8081101936.html

0222sexes.jpg

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AND we were there watching the WFL Houston Texans the night John Matuszak was served a restraining order on the bench.

I was at that WFL game too. As I recall Matuszak suited up but did not play after he was served the restraining order. I think he was still under contract to the Oilers at the time.

Matuszak used to work out at my high school (Robert E. Lee) when he was first with the Oilers.

I also saw the Deep Purple/J. Geils Band concert at the Dome in the summer of '74.

I recall seeing a polo match played there in the mid-sixties!

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Oh my God! It's on wiki! Rolling Stones 81 Tour and there are the graphics I described (cars racing around) Memory not so bad (yet) :lol:

I do remember being a bit disappointed because it was just Mick Jagger running all of their hits into a medly of sorts. I was expecting him to sing the whole song thru but it was just snipets all bunched together. It was so overcrowded I do not see how the fire marshall allowed it to happen. Almost got crushed up front luckily someone pulled me up. I said never again, but it was a one time event for me anyway.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_Stone...rican_Tour_1981

Tattoo-You.jpg

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I think Riggs (male cheuvenist pig as they called him)passed away a few years ago. That match was of great significance for the women's lib movement. I will attach for younger viewers.
I had never heard of Bobby Riggs before that match, and I too saw him as a loud-mouthed Chauvinistic pig. However, after all was said and done, I realized so much of his antics were just a part of his act. I think all along he hoped the event would be a shot in the arm for tennis, as well as for women
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Did anyone go to the Boy Scout Jamboree there?

Anybody know why that event was significent?

The very first event ever held in the Astrodome was a Boy Scouts Jamboree in (I think) February, even before the structure was completely finished, The Jamboree was a complete sellout, and most attendees went just to see the Dome, and many totally ignored the scouting part of the event.
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I had never heard of Bobby Riggs before that match, and I too saw him as a loud-mouthed Chauvinistic pig. However, after all was said and done, I realized so much of his antics were just a part of his act. I think all along he hoped the event would be a shot in the arm for tennis, as well as for women
Edited by FilioScotia
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She phoned him one last time the night before his death, and, according to Billie Jean herself in an HBO documentary, the last thing she told Riggs was "I love you". (Interview with Billie Jean King, USA US Open telecast, 28 August 2006)

That is awesome. People are really different from what others describe. Media had engraved in everyones minds that they despised each other. Such is life.

What used to really dazzle (or frighten) me as a kid, was checking out the HUGE speakers dangling on those long and very thin lines. (See far top right)

I always imagined them breaking and killing people. Yikes! :o

204019088_a8faf2ea16.jpg?v=0

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I saw Elvis in '70 or '71 at the Rodeo.

Elvis was a big deal that's all we kids would hear in school. Some of the kids parents went but it seemed so adult to us. We were more interested in the usual kid stuff.

It would be fantastic if some of you could post some pictures of "The King". I'm sure Priscilla wouldn't mind. ^_^

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I wonder why they're not using the dome for the Rock the Bayou Palooza or whatever, Labor Day weekend. Instead, they're using the, now vacant, former Astroworld land. I'm guessing the parking will be there though.

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I wonder why they're not using the dome for the Rock the Bayou Palooza or whatever, Labor Day weekend. Instead, they're using the, now vacant, former Astroworld land. I'm guessing the parking will be there though.

current code violations are keeping anyone from using it.

http://www.click2houston.com/investigates/...767/detail.html

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Astrodomain was a very commonly used word. May never hear again it seems.

Actually, the "Astro-Domain" never worked out as a concept. In the 1950s, before Houston got its National League franchise, and before old Colts Stadium was built, that area was "out in the country", several miles south of the medical center. There was NOTHING there. Fannin and Kirby dead-ended at OST, but were extended when promoters and Colts owners Roy Hofheinz and R.E. "Bob" Smith built Colt Stadium.

A few years later, the county and Hofheinz built the dome where they did in the belief it would attract a lot of commercial, entertainment and residential development and make everybody rich. The building of Astroworld and the Astroworld hotel just poured fuel on those hopes.

But the grand scheme never came to pass and the hopes started fading early, because the area around the dome never became the bustling entertainment and commercial complex Hofheinz and others dreamed about.

Most hotel corporations never saw any potential there and steered clear of the immediate area. The only other quality hotel of any size I can remember was the Marriott at Greenbriar and North Braeswood. Motels don't count.

The Dean Goss Dinner Theater was the only "entertainment" oriented business I can recall. The only restaurants were on South Main and OST where they didn't have to depend on catching people coming and going from the dome or Astroworld. Even the Dome Shadows night club was over on the other side of South Main for the same reason.

So in the end, the "AstroDomain" idea never really caught on. As it is with most commercial ventures, the only winning formula is: Location. Location. Location. Astros owner Drayton McLane could see that, and it's why he decided to build his new baseball stadium in downtown Houston.

Edited by FilioScotia
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