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Let Me Take My Ride
December 31, 2006 6:15 PM   Subscribe

The Wall of Death. Celebrated in song and art, the act of riding a motorcycle on the vertical wall of the inside of a cylinder, was a popular carnival attraction, mid-century. Although on the wane since the 70's, there are still a few practitioners, some of whom have better websites than others.
posted by Devils Rancher (9 comments total)

 
Cool post. I had heard the Richard Thompson song for year, even in person twice but had no idea what he was talking about. Then I happened to see this Elvis movie and had one of those "Aha" moments.
posted by octothorpe at 6:28 PM on December 31, 2006


There's a Wall of Death in Seattle.
posted by evinrude at 6:40 PM on December 31, 2006


One of my favorite literary analogies was James Herriott's comparison of an angry cat racing around a kitchen with a wall of death rider.
posted by Mayor Peace Love and Unity at 7:23 PM on December 31, 2006


Check out the film "Eat The Peach" that ran the art house circuit in the mid 80's.


Plot Outline: Two young Irish men are watching an old Elvis Presley movie in which a carnival cyclist performs an act called the Wall of Death. Transfixed, they decide to put together their own "Wall of Death."

great film
posted by vronsky at 8:24 PM on December 31, 2006


Um, I don't think RT was referring to the motorcycle ride. I think he was referring to what some people call the turkish bath or the Gravitron or Rotor. The ride develops 4 Gs and pins you to the outer wall.
posted by Gungho at 5:46 AM on January 1, 2007


Or the Roundup.
posted by Gungho at 6:19 AM on January 1, 2007


Gungho, I made an assumption based on 1. I've never heard of one of those referred to as a "wall of death," and 2. Richard Thompson seems to be quite the motorcycle enthusiast, so I was just putting 2 and 2 together. It's not like I've ever had a chance to ask him.

At Astroworld in the 70's, they had a ride called the Barrel of Fun that pinned you to the wall of a giant centrifuge, and the floor fell away for the majority of the ride. I seem to recall it being about 20 feet in diameter. My first-ever date as a 12-year-old was ruined by the Barrel of Fun, as Debbie Farley puked as soon as we got off, and wanted to go home right away. I'll always hate that Barrel of Fun.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:45 AM on January 1, 2007


They used to have a barrel of fun at Coney Island that they called The Hell Hole, as I recall. As a boy, it was my favorite rise, but it was short-lived.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:44 AM on January 1, 2007


I'm pretty sure a Radley Metzger film titled, "The Lickerish Quartet" featured some spherical motorcycling. (the babe riding the motorcycle resembles a 'blue movie' starlet, so a kinky family invites her back to their castle and typical metzger-isms ensue)
posted by imaswinger at 3:55 PM on January 2, 2007


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