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World's Fair

Have any of you gone to a World's Fair? Eldergays, I'd especially love to hear your experiences from the 1964 fair.

I went to the one in Knoxville in 1982. It was interesting, but it didn't knock my socks off.

by Anonymousreply 64July 24, 2021 1:07 AM

[quote] I went to the one in Knoxville in 1982.

No, you didn’t.

by Anonymousreply 1July 22, 2021 2:48 AM

I was at Expo 67 in Montreal. Culturally, it was sort of Canada's coming-of-age.

by Anonymousreply 2July 22, 2021 2:52 AM

I went to the Knoxville World’s Fair as well. My mother had a gold bracelet stolen off of her arm by a pickpocket in the Saudi Arabian pavilion.

by Anonymousreply 3July 22, 2021 2:53 AM

I always wanted to see the Wigsphere at Knoxville. I guess it’s still there.

by Anonymousreply 4July 22, 2021 2:57 AM

I was in utero during the 1964 World Fair when my family went. My brother was in the Taiwanese Pavilion (no one speaks of pavilions anymore!) looking at all the tchotchkes when the lady there asked him if he would like to buy anything, and he replied “No thank you, I’m not allowed to buy any of that cheap Chinese junk.” He was five.

by Anonymousreply 5July 22, 2021 3:07 AM

[quote] no one speaks of pavilions anymore!


by Anonymousreply 6July 22, 2021 3:08 AM

I went to Expo '86 in Vancouver.

by Anonymousreply 7July 22, 2021 3:08 AM

I asked Louis to meet me there, he never showed, end of story.

by Anonymousreply 8July 22, 2021 3:09 AM

[quote] (no one speaks of pavilions anymore!)

Does it sadden you?

by Anonymousreply 9July 22, 2021 3:10 AM

I’m most fascinated by this, though few people even got to see it. It is the Diego Rivera Rockefeller murals of the 1960s.

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by Anonymousreply 10July 22, 2021 3:10 AM


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by Anonymousreply 11July 22, 2021 3:12 AM

R9 gets to keep their gay card, R6 please turn yours in.

by Anonymousreply 12July 22, 2021 3:12 AM

went to Montreal fair, and worked at the San Antonio fair. still amazed at the video displays in Montreal, and had some amazing sex in Texas. fond memories. oh, and loved the film shown at the ISA pavilion in TX

by Anonymousreply 13July 22, 2021 3:13 AM

[quote]I asked Louis to meet me there, he never showed, end of story.

Oh, Tootie, don't you have some flour to throw in people's faces?

by Anonymousreply 14July 22, 2021 3:13 AM

i mean USA r13

by Anonymousreply 15July 22, 2021 3:14 AM

Went to the 64-65 one in NYC in 1965. I remember the animatronic dinosaurs at Sinclair Dinoland. They had vending machines where you'd put in a quarter and the machine would fill a mold with plastic and eject a plastic dinosaur. (Very Creepy Crawlers technology.)

The one thing that sticks out was a ride by some big high-tech company at the time, like GE or AT&T, where at the end of the ride, you are facing a mirror. And the face in the mirror changes to some generic guy. And if you smile or wave or shake your head, the face does the same thing. Rather advanced, I think, for that time.

by Anonymousreply 16July 22, 2021 3:18 AM

OP The best sense you can get of the NYC World’s Fairs is the exhibits at The Queens Museum, which is housed in one of the former pavilions. The crowning element is The Panorama, which is a scale model 3-D map of the city that was recently restored and updated to reflect present day NYC, and you may have seen it if you caught the movie Wonderstruck with Juliane Moore.

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by Anonymousreply 17July 22, 2021 3:20 AM

For you design aficionados, Ray and Charles Eames worked extensively for IBM and did their 1960s beautiful spherical pavilion there, which is the one I wish I could visit. Earlier they designed an exhibit called Mathematica, which was featured in the pavilion. It still exists at the New York Hall of Science. In the early 90s it was also setup at the IBM Gallery of Science and Art on Madison Ave. for a few months when I worked there.

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by Anonymousreply 18July 22, 2021 3:30 AM

I have this postcard.

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by Anonymousreply 19July 22, 2021 3:36 AM

Here is the Eames Office movie about IBM at the World’s Fair, which includes shots of the Mathematica exhibition. Movie music aficionados note that the score is by Elmer Bernstein. It gives you a sense of being there and the frenetic pace of things.

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by Anonymousreply 20July 22, 2021 3:40 AM

R7, I think I was there too, but can't remember it. What was there? Was there something about the tomb of Ramses?

by Anonymousreply 21July 22, 2021 5:12 AM

I was in high school and lived about a mile from the Fair site (could see it from my parents' balcony. We'd go every weekend and play at the IBM Pavilion (cash registers/calculators), eat the waffles and sometimes go to the game at Shea Stadium. It was all pretty amazing to me at the time. I have an entry card/ticket on my bulletin board. Good memories.

by Anonymousreply 22July 22, 2021 5:43 AM

My mom took my sister and me to the New York World's Fair in 1965 (it ran 64-65). I am a hopeless geek when it comes to cars. So, one vivid memory was being able to walk right up to the Aston Martin DB5 that had been featured in the James Bond flick "Thunderball." In those days, security was rather lax. All they had around the car was a velvet rope. I also recall being impressed with the General Motors exhibit "Futurama: Ride into Tomorrow." It was the usual propaganda about superhighways and very little about mass transit.

In 1967, I was a member of a Boy Scout troop that was invited to send representatives to Expo '67 in Montreal. I was one of about a dozen scouts selected to be tour guides. My job was to stand around inside various pavilions and answer questions and direct visitors to the restroom. The week I was there, Queen Elizabeth showed up and each time she explored one of the fair's islands, the rest of the visitors had to be ushered off, so she could tour in peace.

In 1970, my stepdad took my mom, sister and me to Expo '70 in Osaka, Japan. I remember the fairgrounds were very crowded, but only with Japanese tourists. I think over the two days we were at the fair, I saw no other Caucasians. I toured the Japan pavilion and was surprised it featured an exhibit on the devastation of Hiroshima from the atomic bomb. As I looked around, I saw several elderly Japanese visitors giving me dirty looks.

In 1986, I spent a week visiting the world's fair in Vancouver, B.C. I rode the monorail and the aerial tramway. And at the pavilion celebrating native Inuit culture, I ate a stew of reindeer meat and cranberries. Since all the hotels had been booked by the time I decided to go, I ended up staying at the soon-to-open Whistler Resort village. It was a 75-mile bus ride from downtown Vancouver and took almost 90 minutes. One afternoon I opted to hike up Whistler Mountain instead of taking the bus to the fair. What I didn't know until later was that a family of grizzly bears was halfway up the mountain and not too far from where I was hiking. People below watched in horror as I hiked down, totally oblivious to the danger that lurked nearby.

by Anonymousreply 23July 22, 2021 5:52 AM

Child of the '68 World's Fair in San Antonio checking in! It was a blast and I have so many happy memories from that time. My mom worked as a bookkeeper or something for the Hemisfair organization and I think might have received comp tickets? I don't know, seems we were there most every weekend.

Had a scary moment on opening day when the crowd pushing forward caused me to lose my grip on my dad's sport jacket, An instant of panic before my dad's hand reached back and retrieved me, pulling me with him through a turnstile.

Loved the "Flying Indians," the Polynesian pavillion, and of course the Tower of the Americas.

The linked home movie was not filmed by my family -- movie cameras were for folks who could afford such things.

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by Anonymousreply 24July 22, 2021 6:26 AM

I played at the Chicago World's Fair. I met H.H. Holmes there!

by Anonymousreply 25July 22, 2021 6:29 AM

I was also a child of Hemisfair in S.A. In 1968, although I was several years older than you (I was 14). My family had some sort of season pass or something, so we went a lot.

by Anonymousreply 26July 22, 2021 6:39 AM

Dream House

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by Anonymousreply 27July 22, 2021 5:03 PM

1964. I remember The Pieta was encased in sort of a window showcase like a department store and you had to board a circular moving contraption that moved so that you got an upclose view of it. I don't remember any heavy security.

by Anonymousreply 28July 22, 2021 6:46 PM

Went to 1982 in Knoxville as a kid, and found it a real snooze.

by Anonymousreply 29July 22, 2021 8:55 PM

You knew World's fairs were over once they started hosting them in places like Spokane (1974).

Look how pathetic this is for a setting when you realize previous ones had been held in NYC, Paris, etc.

This is, of course, Up with People performing.

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by Anonymousreply 30July 22, 2021 9:04 PM

My sister went with the band from my hometown in Wisconsin. The highlight for her wasn't even the Fair. It was opening her hotel room door and getting a pie in the face from a boy who liked her, apparently. True love. No, I don't think they ever dated. Pie was blueberry, so go figure about the mess THAT left.

by Anonymousreply 31July 22, 2021 9:12 PM

Gawd, that Spokane clip is pathetic!!!

by Anonymousreply 32July 22, 2021 9:14 PM


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by Anonymousreply 33July 22, 2021 9:17 PM

I was at the 1904 Worlds Fair in St. Louis, MO. I recall I got the drizzly shits from eating too many corn dogs.

by Anonymousreply 34July 22, 2021 10:28 PM

Woah! Look at all the wonders of the 80s!!

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by Anonymousreply 35July 22, 2021 10:29 PM

My mother took me and my sister to the New York World's Fair in 1964. My father, who never participated in anything, couldn't get off his ass to even go with us to this. I was only eight, and remember going on a ride in a boat in the dark while they played "It's a small world after all." I saw video phones in another exhibit and decided they were ridiculous. Bought a small toy that broke on the way home and heard, "well...it's made in Japan!" Unfortunately, I was way too young to enjoy the Fair.

What I'd really like is to go back in time to the 1939 World's Fair and see how much of the 'World of Tomorrow' exhibits predictions came true. I know GM's correctly predicted interstate highways.

by Anonymousreply 36July 22, 2021 10:49 PM

R28 You’re lucky, you got to see it before someone took a sledgehammer to it.

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by Anonymousreply 37July 23, 2021 12:48 AM

I am a great fan of the Worlds Fairs of the first half of the 20th Century, and have been collecting memorabilia from them for years. So far, I’ve amassed official guide books from all the U.S. fairs, and many European ones, like the 1937 Paris Exposition.

My favorite is the New York Worlds Fair of 1939. I wish I’d seen it, but was born 10 years later. So many of the buildings and sculptures were magnificent. In later years, as a hospice nurse, I encountered many patients who’d seen it, and were still amazed by the sights.

Fortunately, I was able to see Expo ‘67 in Montreal, which I would say was the last of the great international fairs. I went with my parents, but was on my own for 3 whole days, just wandering everywhere. I even saw a new Godard film at the Film Festival, and ate Chicken Kiev in the Russian pavilion, as an elegantly dressed lady sang “Midnight in Moscow,” in Russian, of course!

But the real wonders there were all the different films shown in so many different pavilions, in so many innovative ways. Film was the most talked about aspect of that fair. The Czech pavilion showed films interacting with actors. There was a circular pavilion called Kaleidoscope, that showed films in rooms lined with mirrors. Many films were shown of screens of multiple sizes.

I was 18 at the time. Can’t believe I never got laid there. I was still a dorky, very closeted kid. Time enough for that later….

by Anonymousreply 38July 23, 2021 2:47 AM

Midnight in Moscow!

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by Anonymousreply 39July 23, 2021 2:51 AM

R38- I have news for you-

You're still a DORK.

by Anonymousreply 40July 23, 2021 3:05 AM

Yes, OP. In fact, the 1964 one in New York. I went with my high school band; we played there in a bandshell.

I thought the exhibitions and buildings were amazing! We rode on a conveyor belt to see the Pieta'! I ate an egg roll for the first time! Loved the Ford exhibit!

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by Anonymousreply 41July 23, 2021 3:35 AM

Ford building and exhibits, 1964:

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by Anonymousreply 42July 23, 2021 3:36 AM

Amazing set of 160 slide photos, 1964 WF.

Click to enlarge.

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by Anonymousreply 43July 23, 2021 3:46 AM

Wasn't there but have a weird story related to it:

The "fancy"downtown hotel in the city I grew up in was built in the 1910s but had a midcentury makeover in the 1960s. Aproning the outside main floor & mezzanine in steel, masking other original details etc. Anyway, part of the redecorating came from the fair in r11s link. So there was a lot of.....stuff that I assume gets liquidated or auctioned off when the fair is done (fixtures & furnishings). So the lobby was redone in carpet from some pavilion, some cheesy pattern. The hotel owner did the buying I think. We're in the midwest so all that shit is a long haul. Escalators, seating, restaurant fixtures, outdoor stuff. The outdoor "umbrellas" seen at 1:42 in r11s video were planted in decorative concrete barriers all along the parking lot (remember the "create with concrete!" craze back then?). Some of it was interesting, but by the 2000s it was so ugly & dated. Ten years ago the building got a full multi-million dollar restoration back to its original grandeur. It's beautiful again.

by Anonymousreply 44July 23, 2021 3:47 AM

The Tiparillo Band Pavilion, where my high school band played. The bottom photo shows a band from not that far from mine!

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by Anonymousreply 45July 23, 2021 3:49 AM

I was too young to go, but my parents went to the HemisFair and brought me a coloring book as a souvenir. It was just so bright and vivid with the crazy designs that you could find in the late 60’s and early 70’s. I loved it, and can still remember the cover. I was about 3, I guess. I’ve been up the Tower of the Americas a few times, it still stands.

by Anonymousreply 46July 23, 2021 4:17 AM

I was nine when I went to the Seattle World's Fair. I remember looking everywhere for Elvis, as he was shooting a movie there at the time. There was a "kitchen of the future," the beautiful arches and fountain at the Seattle Science Center, and a ride to the top of the Space Needle. The monorail ride was fun.

I remember taking a "driving test," much like a computer game today, with a screen in front of you and a wheel for you to drive through different challenges. I was told that I had excellent reflexes.

I remember people dancing in their native costumes around the fountain and all of the food places that sold different foods from around the world in the Food Circus.

by Anonymousreply 47July 23, 2021 4:25 AM

R38, for years I've been looking for a copy of a 30 minute PBS documentary narrated by Jason Robards about his experience going to the 1939 World's Fair, but it seems to have disappeared. Fascinating show.

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by Anonymousreply 48July 23, 2021 11:02 AM

Here’s so quite crisp color video from the 1939 World’s Fair with weird inappropriate music. If anyone can explain the S&M rubber latex clad female scarecrow at 25:50 let me know.

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by Anonymousreply 49July 23, 2021 11:22 AM

OK, this gets more bizarre, here’s the female scarecrow Miss Shoo in a different outfit, still showing sideboob though, wearing white, I guess, because they’ve imported a male scarecrow to marry and they now also have a baby. All in the name of Wonder Bread and the first wheat field in NYC in many decades!

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by Anonymousreply 50July 23, 2021 11:31 AM

World Fairs seemed to be on the decline by the 1990s but what really killed them was the Internet which could instantly disseminate the latest information all the cultural and technological advancements from around the world, without having to go anywhere or deal with huge crowds. Not to mention the huge cost of hosting these events. The democratization of international travel also had a lot to do with the declining popularity of these fairs.

by Anonymousreply 51July 23, 2021 11:32 AM

This article discusses why World Expos are barely a thing anymore:

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by Anonymousreply 52July 23, 2021 11:36 AM

R48 Is this what you’re looking for?

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by Anonymousreply 53July 23, 2021 11:41 AM

Here’s part two, apparently something went wrong uploading the first part and the color was stripped from it, but it’s here in part two.

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by Anonymousreply 54July 23, 2021 11:48 AM

My family went to the ‘64 Worlds Fair. We stayed with my aunt who lived on Long Island. I vaguely remember things like the animatronic presidents- we sat in one place and the scenes moved around, like on a merry go round. Then there was a ride in convertible cars, so maybe GM. I think my younger brother was put in the next car so Mom spent the whole ride looking backwards to make sure he was all right. Can’t believe my father willingly sat through the It’s a Small World ride, probably word hadn’t yet spread about the ear worm song. Ate that gourmet delicacy that was the talk of the fair: Belgian Waffles. (Was it really from Belgium? or just another fairground snack like cotton candy) Saw the videophones. So we hit the highlights in one day. Had NO idea the Pieta was shipped over! Eventually saw it at the Vatican a decade later, it was huge.

by Anonymousreply 55July 23, 2021 11:58 AM

Because I was in utero when we went, see above R5, two decades later when we went to Disney World my mother refused to go on the Small World boat ride with me there because it had been my brother’s favorite ride at the World’s Fair and they went multiple times and she NEVER wanted to EVER hear that song again. My mom also never let me watch The Mary Tyler Moore show because Mary’s voice gave her a splitting headache. Other then those two things my mother was pretty much up for anything, but she had those boundaries.

by Anonymousreply 56July 23, 2021 12:14 PM

I love you OP - I am 57 and when I was a child I had a huge love for World's Fairs. I was also a collector of memorabilia, much like r38. One of my happiest days was visiting the rarely opened "tent" of the Phillip Johnson-designed New York State pavilion about 5 years ago.

The New York 1939 World's Fair is the Holy Grail of time travel destinations for so many people. Only 1 building survives since the asbestos-laden amphitheater was demolished, and that is the New York City Pavilion with the glorious Panorama. Now it is the Queens Museum. It is absolutely worth a visit, however, if you cannot, many of the intros and exits of the Fran Lebowitz- Martin Scorsese series were filmed right in the actual model!

The 1964 New York World's Fair, which I also visited both in utero and in an infant stroller, was considered a Robert Moses fiasco and contributed mightily to his downfall.

Fiberglass was being pushed as the "miracle" building product, the guidebook is filled with it.

Oral Roberts had his own pavillion in 1965 where he used to preach. There are many films of the GM ride, but one of the more horrific little features was a model of a "rainforest" destroyer, lol. Still, it was a showcase of 1960's era glamour and kitsch, very much in vogue now. Thanks to US Steel, we have the Unisphere!

On a politically-incorrect note, on the 1964 Fair's anniversary, Joyce Purnick of the New York Times, wrote about how the outside jobs - away from the summer air conditioning in the buildings - were white-only. Still, it was a popular fair and well-attended, even the Pope came. One of Mrs. Kennedy's first (if not the first) appearances after the 1963 assassination, was bringing Caroline and John-John to visit the Fair.

Finally, it was Ronald Reagan who signed legislation prohibiting Federal money to be spent on World's Fairs pavilions. Hence, the US Pavilions at all future fairs had to rely on private donations - hence they sucked. Another reason to hate Ronnie.

by Anonymousreply 57July 23, 2021 12:17 PM

Fun (?) Fact: the Singer* stadium at the 1964 was not torn down, and was later re-named for Louie** Armstrong stadium after his death in 1971. It became the tennis stadium for the US Open when it moved from Forest Hills to the new tennis center in 1978. It retained Armstrong's name - he lived nearby in Corona, the house is now a museum.

* Singer was a sewing machine company, not a music company

** That's how Louis Armstrong's first name was pronounced when he was alive.

by Anonymousreply 58July 23, 2021 12:23 PM

I botched the Joyce Purnick story, here is her original very brief remembrance, published in the New Yorker. Apparently the Fair wasn't crazy about hiring Jews either.

Also, R58, wasn't the original Singer (later Armstrong) building eventually demolished and completely rebuilt in the location of the United States Pavillion, which survived until the 1980's, I believe. I have to check it.

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by Anonymousreply 59July 23, 2021 12:40 PM

Some of it was rebuilt for the tennis, R59. Two years or so ago it was COMPLETELY demolished and a new one was built. There has been much building at the tennis center, which is probably why US Open tickets have gone through the roof. I loved the old stadium and haven't been there since 2001.

by Anonymousreply 60July 23, 2021 12:44 PM

Updated New Yorker World's Fair link

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by Anonymousreply 61July 23, 2021 7:39 PM

Expo 2020 in Dubai! I went to the Covid exhibition and the gay caning extravaganza!

by Anonymousreply 62July 23, 2021 8:18 PM

The Flintstones

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by Anonymousreply 63July 24, 2021 1:04 AM

I tried to go to the Sunsphere from the 1982 Fair, but some chubby little bastards knocked it over.

by Anonymousreply 64July 24, 2021 1:07 AM
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