Monday, May 10, 2010

1933/34 Chicago World's Fair Buttons

Today's post is a little bit different; hopefully that's a good thing! As part of my interest in World's Fairs, I began to collect pinback buttons from some of them. Mostly from the 1939 Fair, but there are a few from the wonderful 1933 - '34 Chicago Fair ("A Century of Progress"). I need another collection like I need a hole in the head - - but I still love the pins!

This first one is my favorite, with its simple-but-bold design, and the fun Buck Rogers association. "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" was a 10 minute film (the first one to ever feature Buck), and it was shown at the fair - never released theatrically. You can read an interesting article about the film here, and actually watch the film itself on YouTube here!

I used to think that this button was from the 1939 World's Fair, but a respected pinback button guide says it's from Chicago. So there. It features a popular character, "Abie" the Clown Cop. Abie Goldstein had a long career as a clown (I found a 1946 article mentioning him), and when the sun went down he fought crime, which Batman totally copied.

"Enchanted Island", what kid wouldn't want to go there! According to a postcard, it was ... A playground for children [at the] Chicago World's Fair. Here are old time and new amusement devices for children. Here young people can spend hours of real pleasure while their folks visit the many exhibits of the Fair. "The Magic Mountain" is pictured on the button; all I could find out about it was that you could climb it and take a slide down to the bottom. I guess if you were a kid during the Great Depression, that qualified as magical!

I found this pin when I was in Chicago years ago. "Midget City" was an undersized town inhabited by "sixty Lilliputians" (i.e. Little People)... curious fair patrons could pay a separate admission and gape at the spectacle of smaller-than-average people doing ordinary things. Tasteless by today's standards, and that's saying something. I'll bet there were more than a few future Munchkins working there.

This one seems to be pretty rare... you just don't see many California-related souvenirs from the Chicago Fair. So, even though it's a bit worn and relatively plain, I'm very happy to have it.

I hope you've enjoyed these! Maybe I'll take some pictures of some of my pinbacks from the 1939 New York World's Fair if anybody is interested.


TokyoMagic! said...

Always interested in World's Fair stuff, Major....would love to see what you have from the '39 Fair.

P.S. Clowns are scary and Abie is no exception. Now I hope I don't have nightmares tonight.

Matterhorn1959 said...

More pins, more pins, more pins. You have my vote. The Buck Rogers pin is fantastic and I would not mind owning that button.

Connie Moreno said...

Those are amazing. And that clown is going to give me nightmares...I just know it!

Nancy said...

yeah, me too, on both counts....

more World's Fair

dont like clowns!!

i know what you mean about collecting stuff..its hard to say no once youre hooked!

Chiana_Chat said...

"Tasteless by today's standards, and that's saying something."


Hey we would've been wearing that bottom pin if we'd been there. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for your entertaining and informative buttons. I will add the new information to my historical knowledge of world's fairs and their effects on our communities. Especially liked the Buck Rogers pin.

Allen said...

My specialty is 1933 Chicago World's Fair pinback buttons. The pins from each state (I'm From California, etc.) are my greatest treasures. So far I have collected specimens from 20 of the 48 different states that there were in 1933. Do you know anyone that has any of these buttons for sale or trade?