On this day 50 years ago: The Astroneedle protest

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Fifty years ago today, a Houston disc jockey climbed the Astroneedle at Astroworld and stayed there for ten days to bring POW's home from Vietnam.

It's another great piece of local history we found in our film archives.

On January 23, 1971, KNUZ radio DJ Larry Vance climbed 31 stories to the top of the Astro-needle where he built a bamboo hut like the ones the Vietcong used in the Vietnam war.

Vance promised to live in that hut for at least ten days until he gathered 750,000 signatures on a petition to release the prisoners of war in Viet Nam.

Said Vance, " we'd like to accomplish some releases, if not at least we'd like to accomplish putting some pressure on the Vietnamese government so They know exactly how the American people feel about unnecessary continued captivity. How will do you this where will you take the signatures? Once we get our 750 thousand signatures and I hope Houston will supply us with even more, we will fly them to the peace talks in Paris and present them to the north Vietnamese delegation."

At the time, 17 Houstonians were POWs in Vietnam. Vance stayed up there ten days but there's no record of whether he collected all the signatures he was after.

By the way, The AstroNeedle, was one of Astroworld's original attractions and one of the tallest rides in the world when it opened in 1968. People would ride up in a donut-shaped cabin that revolved as they went up giving them a panoramic view of Houston. It was torn down in 2000.

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