After Astroworld opened in 1968, it made a splash with its own holiday special, which aired on ABC on December 28, 1968.
Titled “The Pied Piper of Astroworld,” the one-hour TV special starred Soupy Sales as the Pied Piper and featured both “It’s My Party” singer Lesley Gore, who played Bo Peep, and legendary country singer Kenny Rogers, who performed with the First Edition music group. Jim Henson’s Muppets also joined the cast.
It also marked the first appearance by Patrick Swayze, 16 years old at the time of filming, performing as “Buddy Swayze,” but he wore a bear costume obscuring his face.
The plot of the special features Soupy Sales touring the 57-acre park with a group of children in tow.
As they sang and danced their way around the many rides and attractions, they meet happy performers and the Muppets.
In the last remaining clip of the show, you can watch a banjo performance by Roger Vernon and the Crystal Palace Singers. Vernon, 17 during filming, spoke in an interview with the Houston Chronicle about his experience working for Astroworld and filming the special:
“After some of my high school friends auditioned for jobs at Astroworld, they suggested I come out and audition, as well,” Vernon said. “I sang a song and played guitar for my audition. The audition didn’t seem to create any interest on Astroworld’s part until they learned that I also played tenor banjo. The banjo audition got me the job and, a couple of months later, my two minutes of fame.”
Astroworld may be gone, but it will never be forgotten.