Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Eastman Kodak Pavilion, New York World's Fair

Over the years I have shared quite a few pictures of Eastman Kodak's wonderful World's Fair pavilion (today's pix are from October 1964), but the building was such an interesting design that I never get tired of it.

The giant photographs atop the building were a popular attraction, and were changed out regularly. They look like backlit transparencies, but were actually regular (albeit very large) photos, printed out in long strips that were then carefully mounted as to appear seamless. Powerful lights made them look so brilliant, even in the daytime.

Here's another view of the giant "flash cube", seen though a hole in the wavy "moon roof". Water spraying down from up there fell into a pool below, festooned with sculptures that looked like giant dandelion puffs. You'll see some nice pictures of those someday.

I like this photo of a Fair visitor, looking fashionable and New York-y! Her scarf and coat indicate that it was a chilly October day. But at least she had bright sunshine and blue skies. The spires behind her remind me of a Martian city one might have seen on the cover of a 1960's Sci-fi novel.

And here's a look at the view from the moon roof, with a selection of some of the fanciful structures to be seen throughout the fairgrounds. Again, I can't help thinking that this is a city on another planet!


Nanook said...


I never tire of seeing images from the Kodak Pavilion, either. All of these (and our fashion + gal) are wonderful.

Seeing the giant 'transparencies' only goes to make the fall of Eastman Kodak that much more depressing. In fact, the latest light sources for theatrical digital projection will no longer be Xenon, but Laser - and many of the designs are from patents originally invented by Eastman Kodak. So sad they became too entrenched with the status quo as to let progress pass them by, in spite of being more than capable of leading the technological way forward.

TokyoMagic! said...

And to think that most of these structures were torn down after the fair.....ARGH!

It appears that the lady from photo #3 is waving to the photographer in photo #1.

MRaymond said...

@Nanook. It always seemed to me that Kodak and Minolta shared the same short sightedness. By the time they both realized the digital photography was here to stay and getting better, they were too far behind Nikon and Canon. Sad.

Chuck said...

I've been fascinated by that building since I stumbled upon some of my parents' B&W snapshots of the Fair laying loose in a drawer when I was about 6 or 7. These are a real beaut.

The last 10-20 years of Kodak history have been one long series of missteps. It makes me sad. Thanks a lot, Major - I come to your blog to feel happy, and now I'm depressed.

...and I'm OK again. You know why? Because that third photo - the one taken on Beta Centauri Six - has giant drupelets in it.

I never get tired of saying the word "drupelets." Because of this blog, I think of the '64-'65 NYWF every time I eat a blackberry or raspberry (although boysenberries still make me think of Knott's Berry Farm for some inexplicable reason). Ah, yes...just one of the many fruits of the Fair...

MRaymond said...

Some of these buildings still look futuristic. We don't need to turn Tomorrowland into StarWarsland, look here for the future.

Tom said...

This is awesome - my favorite world's fair in crisp color! Great shot of a very warm-hued luminarie there under the Kodak cube. So sad they're practically all gone now, except for a handful.

Anyone else get a chance to see the After The Fair film that just came out on DVD?

Chuck said...

Sorry - I meant the fourth photo. But really - they're all pretty nice.

Major Pepperidge said...

Sorry that it sometimes takes me so long to respond to comments… things have been busy!

Nanook, I so agree. I think that photography (especially Kodak) was equated with good times. When did we take the most pictures? Birthday parties, weddings, vacations, family gatherings, trips to Disneyland! All that good stuff. And their products were actually good. It was such a part of America, in a way.

TokyoMagic!, she is actually calling in her crystal clear yodel that could be heard from Queens to Yonkers! (I just wanted to say Yonkers).

MRaymond, it seems so hard to believe that Kodak didn't have *somebody* who screamed and insisted that digital photography was going to be big. Granted, they wouldn't be able to make money on prints like they used to, but at least they might have been able to regroup.

Chuck, if just one person comes away from my blog with a black cloud over their head, then my work here is done! "Drupelets" is a good word, I use it even when it makes no sense. "I had a date with drupelets, and let me tell you, they were fun gals!".

MRaymond, I'm guessing that the popularity of themed lands like The WIzarding World of Harry Potter (etc), might make something like Star Wars Land inevitable. I am not looking forward to it, but who knows, it could surprise me and be great.

Tom, wouldn't you love to have a luminaire or two? I have occasionally seen them being offered, but they always want somewhere in the neighborhood of $1000. Or more.

Chuck, I knew what you meant!

Snow White Archive said...

They really do look like backlit transparencies. It's amazing that they're actual photographs; it must have been quite a chore lining up the long strips. What happens if the first couple start going off on a slight angle? :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Worlds Fair pictures major!

Melissa said...

Hey, the artfully posed lady from the third picture is waving at us from the crowd in the first picture! Right above the GDB watermark! Hi, elegant fairgoing lady! I see you! Have a great time!