Saturday, January 30, 2016
The 1939 New York World's Fair is well-remembered by many fans of such things; however, there was another Fair in 1939 (and into 1940) - the Golden Gate International Exposition (or "GGIE"), held on San Francisco's Treasure Island. The theme of this Expo was "Pageant of the Pacific", and featured an 80 foot tall statue of "Pacifica", goddess of the Pacific. Here she is on the cover of the souvenir guidebook (scan found on the interwebs):
Here's a neat photo (possibly a still from color movie footage), from Wikipedia, with a nice shot of the statue.
I was excited to find some rare color slides taken at the GGIE, and wanted to share some of them here.
In this first photo, we can see what I believe is one of the Towers of the East; unfortunately I can't find much info about this particular structure, as impressive as it is.
In this one we see the base of the "Tower of the Sun", a 400-foot (30 story) pointed tower that became the theme building for this Fair, appearing on many souvenirs. It contained a carillon with 44 bells that could be played with a keyboard. At the base was a set of sculptures representing the signs of the zodiac.
Showman Billy Rose became something of a "go to" guy when it came to large-scale spectaculars... particularly his "Aquacades" in New York and San Francisco. There was dancing! Singing! Diving! Synchronized swimming! What more could you want?
This scene clearly tries to capture a sort of very stylized (a lá MGM musicals) kind of Parisian grandeur. Plus, pretty girls in bathing suits. Man, it can be cold in San Fran, even in the summer... I don't envy those ladies.
This next photo shows the 105-foot Triumphal Arch (the opening was 90 feet tall); in the distance is the Court of Flowers and beyond that, the Court of Reflections. I love this picture!
This next one shows the "Portals of the Pacific", a magnificent Art Deco edifice, also known as the "Elephant Tower".
To give you a better look at what is going on, here's a photo of the original plaster maquette that shows the stylized trio of elephants (with step pyramids on their backs) at the upper level of this building.
Coincidentally, GDB reader "JG" sent me some photos of two artifacts that his parents saved from their honeymoon trip to the GGIE! Here's a beautiful gold-foil sticker... "Meet me at Treasure Island". Don't mind if I do! "California Welcomes You".
JG's folks even saved their parking voucher. 50 cents was the roughly the equivalent of $9.00 in today's moolah, so that was not cheap.
I hope that you have enjoyed your visit to the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition!