The World's Fair is not something we hear about much anymore. It’s not really surprising since the United States has not hosted one in over 20 years and, let’s face it, we could care less about other countries. Still, they still hold World's Fairs.
In fact, there is one going on RIGHT NOW and it looks pretty awesome. But, it’s in Nagakute & Seto, Japan.
World's Fairs are interesting. For starters they are usually GIGANTIC. Dozens of buildings on hundreds of acres of land. They showcase technology and science, have pavilions to demonstrate the cultures of many different cultures and they have a few rides.
If it sounds like Epcot, it should. Walt Disney World's Epcot was designed to be like World's Fair only more expensive.
The 1964 fair was one of the most famous, for several reasons. First, it was not actually sanctioned by the body that governs the Fairs. They only allow one fair per country every decade. In 1962 Seattle had hosted a World's Fair; this one was in Flushing, New York.
Because it was not sanctioned, many countries didn't show up. This led to many more commercial pavilions which, ultimately, were more popular.
The second reason for the success of the 1964 World's Fair was Walt Disney. Several Disneyland attractions made their debuts at the fair. "It's a Small World" was part of the Pepsi Pavilion. Ford presented "The Magic Skyway", a ride that ended up being part of Disneyland's "Peoplemover" and "Disneyland Railroad" attractions. Also, there was "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" and "The Carousel of Progress."
The most important reason for the fair's success was that it was in Flushing. The word "Flushing" makes people laugh. That should never be underestimated.
The fair occupied over 650 acres of land and had 24 countries represented. Also, many US states set up pavilions to promote tourism. In addition to states, Hollywood decided to set up a pavilion.
In a short documentary about The World's Fair actor Lorne Green stood in front of the Hollywood pavilion and showed us the set from Gunsmoke.
The pavilion’s entrance was a facade of Grauman's Chinese Theater. The replica was not to scale or complete, but it did have hand and footprints of celebrities in its pavement.
Inside movie props and other displayed thrilled fair-goers. Sets from West Side Story stood along recreations of the glittering throne rooms from Cleopatra and the King and I.
Admission was $1.25.
I don't know what became of the pavilion after the fair ended. It was likely, demolished along with 90% of the fair. It's a shame really, because I happen to have a dollar right here. Anyone care to loan me a quarter?