Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ford Pavilion, 1964 New York World's Fair

The Ford Pavilion was home to Walt Disney's "Magic Skyway" at the 1964 New York World's Fair. The building itself was pretty cool... nearly three football fields long, seven stories high, and made entirely of papier maché. The impressive rotunda partially seen in this photo below seems to echo the famous Ford Rotunda that was in Dearborn Michigan, built for the 1933 Chicago fair. It burned down in 1962, so I wonder if the similarity was an intentional tribute? Anyway, notice the brand new, shiny red Mustand convertible on display outside, while late-model Fords move through the transparent tubes overhead, looking like a giant habitrail.

Lines were long for this attraction, and the Disney folks provided some fun stuff to keep people entertained once they were inside the building. Known as the "International Gardens", you could view "Scenes from 11 nations - past and present... reproduced in tiny scale models. Among them: Colonial America, Merrie England, Aztec Mexico, and medieval Europe." There's "Merrie England" and "Medieval Europe" below.

I wouldn't be surprised if this entire feature was Walt Disney's idea, given his love of miniatures. There are also echoes of EPCOT and even "It's a Small World". Any idea what part of the world is on display in this next photo? The buildings look kind of Dutch to me, but maybe they are from colonial USA too!


mr wiggins said...

Great shots major! One of the things that strikes me as the coolest about the 2nd and 3rd photos is the short distance between the visitors and the display pieces. No glass shield to protect the display from the guests. Especially in the 3rd shot, it appears that someone could reach over the rail and grab one of the trees, or the windmill blades. But this was 1964, a time when people rarely did that kind of thing.

Daveland said...

The color on these is brilliant, or else you got a new scanner! These are great, Major!

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Love these! Cool 64/65 T-Bird in that last shot, a car with an attitude!

Jason Schultz said...

My favorite part of the International Gardens was the music loop; why don't you have any photos of that?

Unknown said...

Great shots!

I love the World's Fair posts that you have done.

Disneyana World said...

Gotta love Michigan/Disney connections!

Anonymous said...

Great photos!!

Would it be possible to get a closeup of the placard in the lower left-hand corner of the England display?