Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Dan_Rush

The 5th Dimension

Recommended Posts

Does anyone remember this ride?. If not the 5th dimention, the Forbidden /Terror toomb?.This thread is for talk of those great rides

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never rode the 5th Dimension, I wouldn't remember it anyway as I was 3 when it was rethemed to Forbidden Tomb.It looks awful though if I'm honest. Espesically the horrific 80's interior design and fat screen TV's.Posted ImageLooks like someones office design went wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never remember this at all, because I never went on it, but this is pre-Tomb Blaster, yeah? Hard to believe it's the same ride. And what part is that, the station or the entrance?With colours like those, it reminds you of the Krypton Factor!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is the Souk of Tomb Blasters entrance, right where you go into the building, it isn't nearly as open plan as that now. The walls on the right are still there in that colour but its a restricted area. The bit with the tv's is the smelly bit with the video and the theming. At the end of the staircase is the bottomless pit.I hope that makes sense!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Probably what your house and every shop looked like in the 80's if you were around then :-PI can't really judge it as I haven't ridden but the idea of a TV robot factory whatever the hell it was sounds crap.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was awesome tbh. It looks crap but we're looking at it with 21st Century eyes where everything has to be highly realistic and be logical and etc. 5th Dimension was just a fun little dark ride with a zany story and completely fitted into the Chessington of the late 80'sUnfortunately I don't remember a hell of lot of it because when I rode it I was four. Along with the original Bubbleworks, Cwoa really was a force when it came to dark rides. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember Terror Tomb. I think. I know I definitely went on Tomb Blaster and I'm 90% sure I went on Terror Tomb as well, before it got redone, but I don't really remember much of it (apart from the awesome smell, and lots of theming in the queue like the sliding stone door, the sleeping guard, bottomless pit, etc). As for the 5th Dimension... no chance. Although I think I remember my brother talking about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first fence closest to the camera is now the large box table in the Souk (bottom area after exp q/batch) and it goes straight up over the staircase which is in that photo now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wow, where did you find all that information? Just when I was looking for details on the Fifth Dimension, great timing. Thanks a lot!I take it that is the original script, then. Sounds... interesting. It shows how unique the ride was. Nothing built since has tried to tell such an imaginative story in the same way, or told a story at all.Oh, but...

The train of happy, laughing, holiday ho-downers climb out of the train and make their way to the entrance to queue again and laughingly pay once more for another hilarious trip with Zapomatic!

They certainly got that bit wrong. In fact it was the Fifth Dimension's unpopularity, caused by the general public's unappreciation, that lead to its closure. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A bit of info on the reasons behind the sad demise:Dan Longley was a Tussauds Studios AV technician when The 5th Dimension was built, and played a major role in the 1988 revamp. Here, he tells us about the ride:I worked on the original Tussauds in-house team that designed and built the 5th Dimension. As an AV technician, I was responsible for many of the special effects on the ride.The ride had great aspirations and design ideas but the storyline was a bit too wordy and the sets were not convincing - you didn't feel as if you were going into another world, it just felt like a load of sets in a metal shed built by humans!Some of the effects were good, though I say it myself! I designed a laser/strobe tunnel (travel through galaxies) which you ascended up through after entering through the computer screen. Steve from the Planetarium designed and built the laser unit which consisted of 20 x 100mW lasers (if my memory serves right) and a massive array of mirrors and servos. These lasers were chosen because they were the only low-powered lasers that you could legally and safely point directly at the public at the time. They also didn't require a massive cooling system which I seem to remember lasers used in those days!Unfortunately, we were installing everything into a cold, dirty industrial environment - not suitable for such delicate equipment! These were pioneering days for us! Needless to say, the laser unit needed nursing and it wasn't clear (certainly to me) how or who had the expertise to undertake the maintenance. This was the same for all the animations, light focussing, etc.A month or so later, a memo went around the studio heads mentioning me in all but name for the ride's failure to meet expectations. It was true that many of the effects needed maintenance (which wasn't happening) but it showed how essential the effects had been.So, I trotted off to see Ray Barrett, who was director responsible for new projects at the time, and said that I would like to go down and sort things out. John Wardley agreed to supervise me, Tussauds put in a further sum of money, and I was very much left to my own devices!I worked very closely with Chessington's resident scenic theming team (who hadn't been involved in the original work). They 'filled' up the scenes to make the sets more encompassing and atmospheric, which I think was successful. We also re-thought through the whole ride, including the script.I cannot stress to you how appalling conditions were working in the cold winter months in a blacked-out unheated barn. It doesn't matter how many floodlights you use in a black box - it's still dark and dangerous!The refurbishments had to be ready for the new season (88?) and we just about completed on time. I kept a small team on to fine-tune the show with the public on the ride, checking timings of all the trains, etc.So. after all the work, was it worth it? The answer, I'm afraid, is probably not really. It was a good ride but in the wrong place at the wrong time and operated by the wrong team! I'll explain:I think we as the designers took short-cuts in creating solutions; unfortunately, we didn't have the resources that Disney would have available for such a dark ride. When you design something new it is always a prototype; ideally the prototype is tested and then re-designed and re-engineered into a final product solution. Unfortunately, we never have that luxury! The problem with the operation of the Fifth Dimension was to do with the fact that it was not really a 'suitable' theme park ride. It was a 'show' and should have been presented as such. As a 'performance artist' I understood this. When I supervised the operation of the re-vamped ride, I would ensure that all visitors were held back and I made sure they listened to the video introduction in the queue area.To assist the operator, the loading bay entrance door, video sequence, trains, special effects were all synchronised to ensure that the visitor's 'experience' was maximised, and a similar experience for each visitor. Under my control, I would insist that every train went into the ride full (try performing to an empty auditorium - it's not fun!). When the trains came out of the ride the visitors would often burst into spontaneous applause!I would train up the operators and explain to them that they were managing a show, a performance, and how important timing and hype was to the 'adventure'. I'd leave them to it and all running to perfection!The next day I would come in and the staff would have changed! Chessington employs 10s of low-paid casual (student) labour over the season, so I realised I had no hope of training them all. Anyway, they didn't work for me and they had other priorities!So, I would come in the next morning and take a test ride. My first observation was that only a few people would be put on the train. The passengers hadn't seen the introduction properly so they had no idea what the ride was about - many thought they were going on a roller coaster (and you couldn't convince them otherwise!). Worse still, the park's ride engineers had been in that morning to inspect the trains, etc, and they would leave a door open somewhere, which would flood a scene with daylight and completely ruin the dramatic effect. [Actually, as a point of interest, it only takes a single LED to ruin the effect of a black-out. Try standing in darkness in a room that has an infrared sensor for the home burglar alarm].And that basically was the problem. It was a theatrical show and should have been conceived and operated as such. And like all shows the balance between brilliance and appallingness is a fine line. The ride part is an irrelevance - it perhaps would have helped to have advertised the 'ride' along the lines of the 'travelling laser theatre show'! Well, the psychology is the hardest part to get right, or perhaps I should say 'communication' is...Dan Longley MBA BA (Hons) MAPMVisiting lecturer in Tourism StudiesBirmingham, UKFrom the depths of archived reride.net. - bring back reride.net !!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At last some on ride footage has surfaced of the Fifth Dimension. Totally unrecognisable.

This ride would never have a place at Chessington now, it's almost like it was built at the wrong park. Such a shame it only lasted seven years. The comparatively dull and boring Tomb Blaster has almost outlived it by twice its lifetime already.

Also note that the Gorg shown here is not the original Gorg. They must have revised the finale sequence at some point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Amazing find, thank you.

This ride would never have a place at Chessington now, it's almost like it was built at the wrong park.

But I can't agree with that, it was a proper little adventure.

It could have kept it's heart, soul and narrative and just evolved over time into something the same but more modern. In fact it is one of the only dark rides with a storyline in which hand held lasers would have made sense and actually worked well, it even had a pretend one in the shape of a button to beat the Gorg. So in a more imaginative and classier way than sticking green LEDs to every surface they could have introduced the 'fun' shooting eliminant around what they already had.

I am confident it is not just nostalgia, a modernised 5th Dimension would fit perfectly at Chessington.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It would certainly fit somewhere in the UK, but I feel the ride became an anomaly at Chessington and was doomed to close sooner or later. There's the whole "world of adventures" concept that didn't fit the ride, plus an offbeat sic-fi adventure story didn't seem to fit with the public conscious/attention span.

It's such a shame it had to go. A ride like that, with so much creativity and originality, should never last just 7 years. I think it was worth getting Terror Tomb, but it's sad that the Fifth Dimension had to be sacrificed in the process.

Of course, I never went on the ride, so I'm only basing my thoughts on research and various imaginings... I think people could still enjoy it today, but it would have to be extensively modified. Part of the appeal to me is that quintessential 80s culture vibe, I'm glad its personality got immortalised and not ruined with lasers or whatever horrible stuff they could have done to it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've read 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' and 'The Restaurant at The End of The Universe', and looking at the POV, it's so easy to agree that the 5th Dimension WAS indeed created by Douglas Adams himself! I mean, you get some quotes on the ride that remind you of THHGTTG, such as Zappomatic saying "Would you believe it? There's a Gorg in here! Horrible creatures, Gorgs! HORRIBLE!"

 

Also, the Gorg reminds me A LOT of the Vogons from THHGTTG. I actually would've praised the ride a lot if the ride had ended like the film: Marvin the Paranoid Android defeats the Vogons by zapping them with his ray gun. What happens next should've been the Gorg when he was defeated: The Vogons collapse to the ground moaning, "Ohhhhhh, I am depressed!"

 

Love the music as well! But it's a bit happy and jumpy for a ride based around a repair android in a battle with a robot-eating Gorg! Well, there IS a bit of adventure feel in that track!:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the Fifth Dimension music, it's so extraordinarily naive and silly! Like the theme tune to a children's cartoon in the 80s or something.

By the way, sorry to burst the metaphorical bubble but Douglas Adams didn't actually have that much influence on the final script. There's an email somewhere with him talking about it His initial ideas were deemed too ambitious to achieve in a prototype dark ride, so he left the project fairly early on. The final script was not his.

But whether Zappomatic and the Gorg were his creations who knows? Those characters certainly have a Douglas Adams feel to them!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But whether Zappomatic and the Gorg were his creations who knows? Those characters certainly have a Douglas Adams feel to them!

The Vogons and the Gorg pretty much look the same: A group of filthy alien creatures, looking as if they've just been fished out of a swamp! (That IS the origin of the Gorgs, but I'm also talking about the Vogons, taking that as a matter of fact!) Zappomatic is basically a Chessington version of either Marvin the Paranoid Android or Zaphod!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Somebody kindly published their old home videos of Chessington recently, including this lovely glimpse inside The 5th Dimension. It's really impressive how the whole ride was done in-house by a studio with no background in theme parks! The "part 2" video also shows really brief glimpses of the ride's exterior, very odd to see a big warehouse sitting where Forbidden Kingdom is today.

Oh no, swamp spiders!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any timings for the 2nd video? I kept skipping through but must've missed it cos of the brief glimpses..

Such an ace video though, must've been quite well off to have a decent camera in 93!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some shots are so quick you have to pause on them, I'll just post the screenshots:

ScreenShot2014-04-05at122138_zps1f5c4e45

Presumably the big shiny entrance.

ScreenShot2014-04-05at122116_zps788e98e9

A nice metal box where the Tomb facade is today!

ScreenShot2014-04-05at122121_zps50cd095b

Queueline extension?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×