Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Autoparts Harmonic, New York World's Fair

Here's one of those "what the heck is it" photos. If you don't know, it would be hard to guess. Of course there is that helpful sign, informing us that this is none other than the Autoparts Harmonic Orchestra.

According to the VIP guidebook, "...guests are serenaded by the Parts Harmonic Orchestra -- the likes of which they are unlikely to see or hear again. It's immediately apparent there are no musicians, yet the twelve instruments bob and weave as they play. Not so apparent is that all instruments are made from actual Ford automobile parts. Brake cables stretched between a drive shaft and part of a Galaxie frame become a harp; trumpets are fashioned from sections of an axle. A xylophone is created from rear spring leaves, and a banjo is shaped from a differential housing."

Also, "...guests may also note the absence of an orchestra leader. The beat of the music is kept by electric windshield wipers which move in unison on each music rack."


I believe that Rolly Crump had a lot to do with the design of this display, and if you look at the bass violin, it has a "face" that certainly looks like his work.

The music that was played by the Autoparts Harmonic was a version of their theme song, "Get the feel of the wheel of a Ford", it sounded like it was played with various antique auto horns (the kind with the rubber bulb)...not something you'd want to hear very often!

9 comments:

Matterhorn1959 said...

Amazing image...from something I have read about but never seen a picture! I think this is covered in Paul Anderson's POV magazine on the World's Fair.

Matterhorn1959 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Progressland said...

Very cool!

Anonymous said...

And thru the magic of the Internet, you can hear the Ford theme sung right here...

http://www.hostropolis.com/april/mp3/Get_The_Feel_Of_The_Wheel.mp3

It's a short song, sung several times over in various, sometimes incongruous, styles including cowboy, French, and beatnick.

-Katella Gate

Anonymous said...

Well the editor clipped the end of my URL, the last segment reads...

/Get_The_Feel_Of_The_Wheel.mp3

FoxxFur said...

This was indeed a piece worked on by Crump and was essentially the preshow of the Ford Magic Skyway. Only ever seen it in grainy 8mm.

Chris Merritt said...

Sgt. Pepperidge! Rolly did indeed design this - we have some of the concept art on display this week in our library!

Katella Gate - the music you linked to is actually the propsed song for the relocation of the Magic Skyway to Disneyland - which obviously never happened. When Ford pulled out, the dinosaurs were tacked on to the Grand Canyon Diorama....

Cool to see this in color - the pics I have are in black & white... Thanks!

Major Pepperidge said...

I am so dumb, I completely forgot to even mention that this was seen in the queue for the Magic Skyway. At least I mentioned Ford, hopefully people figured it out if they didn't already know.

That's what I get for writing these things when I'm tired!

Major Pepperidge said...

I have at least one other photo of the Autoparts Harmonic, though I recall that it is very similar to the one posted today..

Chris, I didn't know that moving the entire Magic Skyway was every considered. What a shame that it didn't make it!