Friday, May 22, 2009

Ford's Magic Skyway, September 1964

Hooray for the Magic Skyway! A World's Fair attraction that I wish I could have experienced in person.

Here we're looking up at the rotunda (an echo of the one that had been in the Chicago World's Fair, and was later moved to Dearborn Michigan - and it burned down in 1962); the curved pylons look like the rib bones of some giant critter. There are two tunnels protruding from the building, each one containing a late-model Ford, on its way to a trip through time. Dinosaurs, cave men, the creation of fire and the wheel, what more could a person want.


Looky, looky! A helimocoptor! It's probably headed towards the Port Authority building (which still stands today), where helicopters landed on the roof.


The venerable Ford Mustang was introduced at the World's Fair... who knew that Mustangs would still be manufactured more than 40 years later? This one is a convertible - see how smart I am? Ford originally estimated that sales of the Mustang would be around 100,000 in the first year, but in its first 18 months, one million were built.


Folks had to wait in extremely long lines, but once they were inside, even the queue had plenty to look at. Here is another look at one of the "International Village" models (always with a few Ford cars sprinkled about). This particular village looks like New England; who knows. In the background are several gleaming Fords... my knowledge of automobiles is pathetic, so I will venture a guess. Is that a Galaxie 500? Or maybe a Fairlane?

12 comments:

Chiana said...

Ah Mustang. The cheapest muscle car. Really. Good looks, a sporty angle and low, lower, lowest price. That's what moved them. And aided its nick of "the pony car." Handle horribly stock but can be modified relatively easily to be a lot better. Classic style that looks super to this day.

Looks like the Boy Scouts and their leaders Man Scouts are there in the bottom pic. Real neat model. Looks like New England to me too.

Henry said...

Or maybe a Falcon.

Sheriff Taylor always drove a Ford. A Galaxie I believe, looks a little like this one, but there's something odd about that grille between the 2 sets of headlights.

Jim said...

I was sent to stay with my Grandparents who lived very close to the fair site in nearby Astoria in the summer of '65. I was a 5-year old, but I vaguely recall the audio-animatronic dinos at the Ford exhibit, especially the one eating the swamp grass. The huge green Sinclair brontosaurus was my fave and I do recall everyone making a big deal about the Pepsi Small World attraction. I also remember that the giant Uniroyal tire was visible from the parkway without having to pay admission. (Some deal!)
I can still hear my older sister spinning the Fab four's "Help" on her portable record player that entire summer:
"when I was younger, so much younger than today..."
Thanks for clearing the cobwebs.

Anonymous said...

Let’s not forget that we can still see at least part of this attraction at Disneyland to this day. Now that’s a neat deal!

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Awesome post, I love the Mustang! I believe that's a '64 Mercury Montclair or Parklane in the last pic, almost a Lincoln!

J. Thaddeus Toad said...

Awesome post, I hope there's going to be a part 2!

Viewliner Ltd. said...

They don't get any better than this Major. What an awesome Worlds Fair.

Nancy said...

my fave pavillion at the Fair...

still want me a Mustang one of these days :)


great pics!

Major Pepperidge said...

Ah yes, I forgot about Mercury... I'll bet you are right, VDT!

I have a bunch of World's Fair slides ready to scan, you'll be seeing more of these as my Disney park slides start to run out!

Jim said...

I just looked at the images again. Is it my imagination or is that pony car sitting on what looks like agiant hubcap?

Major Pepperidge said...

I guess it DOES look like a giant hubcap! But then again, it's round, it's metallic, maybe it's just a coincidence?

Jim said...

I guess it's just the architect in me assuming that the display platform was intentionally designed for THAT vehicle given the importance of the event. Speaking of architects...Phillip Johnson (he of ATT bldg-NYC and Pennzoil Tower in Houston among many) was the architect of record for the NY state pavilion. And for my own personal six degrees of NYWF architectural separation: Victor Lundy who was the designer of the Connecticut state pavilion, was a professor of mine many years later.

History has not been kind to the fair's architectural legacy. And most criticism can be traced back to Robert Moses, the fair Chairman who’s influence in the city and state over the decades had left him as a despised figure by 1964. New Yorkers still suffer from his near-absolute power that had a disastrous effect on urban planning. To make the fair profitable, Moses prohibited the Fair Corporation from building many pavilions itself. Instead, nations, states, corporations, and other organizations rented land from the Fair Corporation and designed and erected their own buildings and exhibits. What resulted was a cacophony of architectural styles and forms, mixing modernism and popular culture, rather than the unified style that many critics expected of a world's fair.
Sorry about the ramble.