Monday, June 28, 2010

New York World's Fair, September 1964

More from the Fair....

...starting with this great shot of the AMF Monorail! There is no question that the AMF Monorail lacks the futuristic appeal of the Disneyland Alweg Monorail. And yet it is lovable anyway, kind of like a VW bus. When I see "AMF" I think of bowling, but did you know that the company once owned Harley Davidson?

They called this the "Tower of Light" because it was made of balsa wood and only weighed 14 pounds. The building, rising in a forest of aluminum-faced prisms, is sponsored by 150 investor-owned electric utility companies. Inside there was a show featuring the lovable Reddy Kilowatt; he performed a song with Ben Franklin! A 12 BILLION candle-power beam of light shone up from the building at night, attracting hordes of flesh-eating moths.


Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

That monorail cracks me up, where's the ball return?

Didn't the L.A. Fair (in Pomona) have an AMF monorail or something just as ugly?

Great post - thanks!

P.s. I worked at Panorama Bowl decades ago (an AMF house) and we used to order "Rocket Orange" paint from AMF to paint the ball returns and lockers - gotta love that color!

ericpaddon said...

The biggest flaw with the Fair's monorail was that it really didn't serve a viable purpose beyond that of an amusement ride. Its track was just a loop through the Amusement Area, which was the most distant part of the entire Fairgrounds, far away from the Main Entrance.

Check this page at the Internet's most definitive World's Fair site to see the ignoble fate of one of the Monorail cars! (no, we don't know if it was ever restored).

Katella Gate said...

Disney did indeed put a proposal together for a World's Fair monorail, and it was, beautiful, functional, and not selected.

I snagged a copy of the report (57 pages, PDF format) off the internet, if anybody wants a copy, write me at Katellagate at g mail dot com. I have to dash to make an appointment.

When I get back, I'll also thank the source for the report

Major Pepperidge said...

Tim, I want a car that is "rocket orange"!

Eric, I have mentioned several times on this blog (and have thanked the owner of that site for his amazing site via email), it is the best resource for info about the Fair!

Katella, I wonder how the Imagineers would have thought about having to deal with a FIFTH attraction, when they were already working night and day to finish the four they already had?

Bill Cotter said...

I scanned and posted the Disneyland-Alweg proposal. You can find it on my site at

The Viewliner Limited said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Viewliner Limited said...

All monorails are cool. Ugly or not! Actually it is a very nice looking monorail.

Should have had one running right down the middle of the 210 Freeway and a few other places.

BTW Major, very cool Mighty Microscope. Nicely done.

Nancy said...

monorails are one of my favorites, no matter what the look. such a futuristic idea ;)

the Tower of Light to me is a great example of how completely different (and noticeable) the night treatment can show something off....very cool

Katella Gate said...

I would like to thank Bill Cotter for making that valuable Disney-ALWEG engineering report available to the public on his website.

I hope I didn't steal Bill's thunder with the report... I was dashing out of the house for a business meeting and wanted folks to see it, but my brain locked up and I couldn't remember what site it was on without looking it up and running later than I already was.

Major: I suspect that even if constructed, very little of the actual work would have fallen onto WED's shoulders since it was a complete recycle of concepts and technologies already developed for the Park.