Massive National Geographic feature on 1964 NYC World's Fair

Marilyn sez, "Modern Mechanix photographed the 25 pages of this April 1965 Nat Geo story on the 1964 New York World's Fair. Great photos of the General Motors Futurama exhibit, people riding a Ferris wheel made to look like a gigantic whitewall tire, attentive concertgoers at the New York State's Tent of Tomorrow, which looked all elegant back then, with that gorgeous, huge (130x166 ft) terazzo floor Texaco road map of New York State. (Interestingly, in the U.S. Pavilion a display predicted the world population would hit 7 billion by 2000, but we're still shy of that figure by some 300 million today). But the best part was the Westinghouse Time Capsule: which included 'The Bible, a piece of heat shield from a space craft, a National Geographic Atlas of the World in microfilm, freeze-dried food, a bikini bathing suit, and a popular recording by the Beatles...' Also a transistor radio, a computer memory unit, a heart valve, an electric toothbrush, and a package of birth control pills.

Some 7,000 visitors file through the RCA Pavilion each day to see themselves on color television (below, left) and hear a backstage briefing on the technological magic that splashes rainbows on their living-room screens. On the same site 26 years ago, RCA introduced black-and-white television to the United States. Official color TV center for the Fair, RCA telecasts news announcements, interviews with visiting dignitaries, highlights of other exhibits, and special events–more than 2,000 program hours from April to October. The pavilion also helped reunite families last year by showing lost children on some 200 television sets in buildings throughout the grounds. At the Dupont Pavilion, science joins showmanship (center). Here colorless liquids mixed in flasks shine with intense blue light in a demonstration of chemiluminescence–the same phenomenon that makes fireflies glow. In Dupont’s production, “Wonderful World of Chemistry,” live actors sing, dance, and talk with life-size motion-picture images on movable screens. One scene shows a live performer blowing out candles on a filmed birthday cake and spraying another actor with frosting. Eight different troupes, working simultaneously in two theaters, present the Dupont show 48 times daily.
Link (Thanks, Marilyn)

See also:
18 hours of 64 World's Fair audio!
Bell System film for 1964 World's Fair
Giant road map from 1964 World's Fair


  1. All alone at the ’64 World’s Fair
    Eighty dolls yelling “Small girl after all”
    Who was at the DuPont Pavilion?
    Why was the bench still warm? Who had been there?

  2. You can still see the old relocated tire ferris wheel, now just a big ass tire, as you drive into Detroit from the airport.

    It has become kind of a funky landmark now.

  3. I was there too and it was unbelievably awesome for a kid of 10.

    Not much left nowadays but the globe. Some of the exhibits were packed up and sent to Disney World. I know for sure the Pepsi Small World and the GE Home of Tomorrow in which the audience revolved around I think four stages depicting home technology through the ages. We took the kids to D-world a few years ago and they had just closed the home of tomorrow -those damn small world things were still singing though!

    For me the fair took the Space Age off the TV and out of Nat Geo and made it real.

  4. My mother took my sister and me. I was maybe four.

    I remember the globe and the big pavilions (one of which had a giant stained-glass roof, now gone) and the elevators to the rotating restaurants. I recall being disappointed that we didn’t get to ride in them; the colorful cars seemed so futuristic!

    We saw “It’s a small, small world,” which was incredibly hyped on kiddie TV at the time but kind of underwhelmed me . . . it was over so quick!

    I got a felt pennant as a souvenir. Saw a phony robot that just kind of wobbled around and made buzzing noises.

  5. I know the Netizens have experienced many mind blow moments, but the pre-net World’s fairs were a whole body immersion of our senses. One of the great things about them was the mock-up nature of most of the pavilions. After they ran their cycle the “stuff” of the show was a liability. In many cases it was ,”if you can take it, it’s yours.’ I built a catamaran using foam blocks that had served as facade. You can’t do that with virtual stuff.

  6. Interestingly, the United States had its membership of the BIE (the people who sanction World’s Fairs) withdrawn in June 2001. So no more will come to the US.

    I’ve never seen one (the last one in the US was in 1984 in New Orleans.

    Honestly they sound kind of lame now and are called “Expos”.

  7. And there’s the Belgian Waffle, for those of us who attended, the true iconic symbol of the Fair.

  8. i attended this fair as a small child and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. i believe it had a great influence on my thoughts as i was growing up that the world could be a magical, positive, wonderful place.

    now, of course, i’m aware of both the beauty and absolute horror mankind is capable of. but my sense of hope and optimism is just as strong, and this fair is one reason why.

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