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Entries in world's fair (31)

Thursday
Jun282007

GM Car of the Future (1962)


The advertisement below ran in the Official Souvenir Program for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. The ad proclaims that General Motors is, "setting a course for the future" by showcasing the "fully functional Firebird III space-age car." The full text of the ad is transcribed below.

Mobility - the easiest, fastest, surest kind possible - turns your world of tomorrow into an accessible and amicable place. The fret is removed from traffic and it is fun, not frustrating, to take short jaunts on vehicles which float along on a pad of air or to Sunday-drive down automatic highways.

The General Motors Corporation exhibit in the Coliseum presents a preview of the fascinating changes coming in the automobile industry. You see now the full-size, experimental Firebird III. This pace-setter for the car of the future, proven in road tests, is thrust with a turbine engine. Its simple control stick accelerates, brakes and turns. Push the control forward and the Firebird III moves ahead; swing it left or right and the wheels turn; pull back and it brakes. The electronic guide system can rush it over an automatic highway while the driver relaxes.

Although the Firebird II stands as the center attraction in the exhibit, you see other displays of the future. There is a model of the automatic highway, prototype of a stretch of experimental roadway which was built in New Jersey to demonstrate how electronics can steer cars and even stop them. This quarter-mile stretch of road has been received enthusiastically by officials, who predict that electronic mechanisms in the future can eliminate routine driving chores and make long distance highway travel safer and easier.

The General Motors exhibit includes solar energy demonstrations and you may test your skill with sun-powered guns which activate parts of the display. Yet another exhibit reveals the principles of ground effect machinery, where objects are moved along a flat surface on a cushion of air. In the next century, more people will be going more places in fascinating new vehicles . . . and they'll go safely.

See also:
Magic Highway, U.S.A. (1958)
Seattle World's Fair Official Souvenir Program (1962)
Century 21: Space Needle Designs (1962)
The Future World of Transportation

Tuesday
Jun262007

Seattle World's Fair Official Souvenir Program (1962)


The Seattle World's Fair of 1962 brought us Seattle's most iconic structure, the Space Needle. Also known as the Century 21 Exposition there is much to examine for those interested in the paleo-future. The image above is the cover to the Official Souvenir Program. We'll be taking a peak inside over the next few weeks. An excerpt from the introduction to the program appears below.

The World of Century 21 awaits in the Washington State Coliseum, at the west entrance to the grounds. The building encloses the state's theme show, a dramatic concept of 21st century man's environment presented in a unique cube structure rising above the Coliseum floor. On the floor level are industrial and governmental exhibits, all contributing to the image of the future.

See also:
Century 21: Space Needle Designs (1962)
To The Fair! (1965)
Expo '92
Walt Disney Explaining the Carousel of Progress to General Electric (1964)
All's Fair at the Fair (1938)

Wednesday
Jun132007

Metal Man Comes to Life (1939)


The May 1, 1939 Hammond Times (Hammond, Indiana) ran these images of Elektro, a robot featured at the 1939 New York World's Fair.

Elektro could supposedly "speak," distinguish between colors, smoke a cigar and direct an orchestra.

See also:
All's Fair at the Fair (1938)
Robots Will Be Kings (1949)
"I Can Whip Any Mechanical Robot" by Jack Dempsey (1930s)
Gigantic Robots to Fight Our Battles (Fresno Bee, 1934)
The Mechanical Man of the Future (1928)
The Robot is a Terrible Creature (1922)
Mammy vs Robot (Charleston Gazette, 1937)
Donald Duck's "Modern Inventions" (1937)

Thursday
May172007

Transportation Exhibits at the New York World's Fair (1964)

The 1964 film World's Fair Report with Lowell Thomas took viewers through a preview of what the 1964 New York World's Fair would have to offer. Below is a short clip of the film that shows the transportation exhibits, including the paleo-futuristic Futurama.

World's Fair Report with Lowell Thomas can be found on the DVD 1964 New York World's Fair, released by Extinct Attractions Club.

See also:
To The Fair! (1965)
Walt Disney Explaining the Carousel of Progress to General Electric (1964)
All's Fair at the Fair (1938)

Sunday
Apr292007

Memory of 'Tomorrow' (New York Times, 1941)

Fanciful visions of the future were few and far between in the early 1940s. This article by Sidney M. Shalett, from the April 27, 1941 New York Times sums up why.

It was on a Sunday morning - the last Sunday in April - two years ago when the great World's Fair opened: April 30, 1939. In cold print the date does not seem so remote, but in two short years the rush of history, with its swift, terrible violence, has turned that brave, new World of Tomorrow into an almost forgotten legend of yesterday.

Shalett goes on to explain the sense of wonder surrounding the Futurama exhibit and the speech by President Roosevelt, officially declaring the Fair open.

Two years have passed. Vanished into limbo are the hectic days of 1939 and 1940. What history has done to the memory of the Fair the wrecking crews have done to the physical structure of the once-enchanted acres. Like the dinosaur, the Fair had to go, but maybe it shouldn't have gone so quickly. Today it is almost all gone: an empty, sad shell by day; an unbearably lonely graveyard by night.

The author ends the piece on a note of hope.

Too many memories! It is best to leave this place for a while. It will be better to return in July. Then the first units of the great Flushing Meadow Park that is to rise on the site of the Fair will be ready. Perhaps there is symbolism in that, too. Out of the wreckage of yesterday's dream of the World of Tomorrow a place of recreation, rest and beauty is being fashioned for today.


The caption to the image reads:
Where on April 30, 1939, throngs gathered "for peace and freedom," the wrecker is today finishing his work, clearing the way for a park of tomorrow.

See also:
All's Fair at the Fair (1938)

Friday
Mar302007

Century 21: Space Needle Designs (1962)


In a way, Seattle has a permanent piece of the paleo-future.

The always amazing blog BibliOdyssey has a great post titled Century 21 Exposition. It features proposed designs for the Space Needle and the fairgrounds for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair (also known as the Century 21 Exposition).

For an amusing film following teenagers through the expo be sure to check out Century 21 Calling.



See also:
Expo '92
To The Fair! (1965)
Walt Disney Explaining the Carousel of Progress to General Electric (1964)
All's Fair at the Fair (1938)

Monday
Mar262007

Walt Disney Explaining the Carousel of Progress to General Electric (1964)

Disney produced attractions for many companies during the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair. One of these attractions was the Carousel of Progress for the General Electric Pavilion showing, "how life has changed through electrical energy." Below is a clip from a short promotional film Disney produced.

The film was not intended for the public but rather General Electric, who had not yet heard the featured song of the attraction, "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow."

 

 


Also, unconfirmed rumors are circulating that Carousel of Progress will be entering the Smithsonian in 2009 along with the Enchanted Tiki Room but you didn't hear it from me.

 

See also:
Monsanto House of the Future (1957-1967) 19 March 2007