Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Plumber's Corner: Catastrophe Canyon

Although the Backlot Tour is a thing of history in its early years it was the star attraction of the then Disney MGM Studios. The main character of that attraction was Catastrophe Canyon. A set piece dressed to look like a canyon in the desert with a working oil industry. She would take guest on dramatic and yet very corny adventure every three and a half minutes. With earth shacking, fire raging, and Water spraying it was a hell of a show to see. After the experience was over guest would be led behind the facade to see her inner workings. Pipes in a maze, color coated for fire water and air. The fire would reach temperatures of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. the air cannons would shoot water over the top of the canyon. and it was always said they were so powerful they could shot a basketball over the Empire State Building. And most impressively was the water 70,000 gallons of it. Moving on and off the set and back to the pipes reset for the next show in three and a half minutes. All and all a pretty cool site to see. 

Fun Fact: Universal was in a race with Disney to open a Studio Park in Orlando and they had plans to have a backlot tour like the one they operate in Hollywood. The plan was to have a similar experience to the canyon on that tour. But when they got wind of Disney's they backed out of the idea. Most of the effects and ideas behind it would wind up in the Earthquake attraction. Their canyon would be looking over the Hollywood Hills not a desert scene.

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