Thursday, May 25, 2017

New York World's Fair, August 1964

Welcome back to the World's Fair! I need to scan more of my Fair slides - there is still a good amount to share with you.

Monorails are just cool; the original Disneyland Monorail is the coolest, but I love the AMF Monorail that was at the Fair, too. Of course one major difference is that it was suspended from the track, unlike the Disney versions or the one in Seattle. In this photo, a Monorail (with no passengers?) has just left the interesting, angular station; our photographer was standing on the pedestrian bridge that crossed above the Long Island Expressway. The buff-colored tent was part of the Continental Circus exhibit - the circus did not survive past the 1964 season; in 1965 the area became Continental Park. To our extreme left, I think I see a Tilt-a-Whirl! It is the Amusement Zone, after all.

This next photo was taken from the Monorail itself, looking down on the Amusement Zone. You can see the spinning "Jaycopter" ride to the right, and the Flume Ride just to the left of center. Just past the Jaycopter you can see the Belgium Pavilion, and on the left edge the huge canopy of the Futurama exhibit is visible. 

Zooming in, I'm not entirely sure what that group of small covered structures is - possibly just an assortment of snack and souvenir stands. Right in the center of the photo you can see a Mold-a-Rama machine, where guests could watch as a plastic dinosaur toy was cast while they watched! I loved those machines. They had some in fine working order at the Los Angeles Zoo until fairly recently (I always got a gorilla, naturally), but they were gone the last time I went. Why??

Here's a photo of three Mold-a-Rama machines from the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Another reason to go (as if I needed more)!

This next one is more "Fair-related" than from the actual World's Fair - there were two locations from which Fair visitors could take an "Aquafoil" - a hydrofoil boat, able to hold 72 passengers - back and forth from Manhattan and the Bronx to Queens (where the Fair was located).

This poor woman probably does not realize that her massive brain is exposed to the elements! She needs no boats to cross the water... her psychokinetic abilities enable her to fly.

Here's a page from the June 7th, 1964 edition of the Chicago Tribune, with the story of the amazing Aquafoil!


Nanook said...


Now I finally realize why I missed the NY World's Fair - I was too busy watching "the world's greatest stars" at the CONCORD only-!

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

From early Disneyland/Tomorrowland sketches I remember seeing the suspended monorail in drawings. It's too bad this country didn't go for more monorails as public transportation.

Lots going on in today's post, but I'm really drawn to those Mold-a-Rama machines. I have never seen or heard of a Mold-a-Rama until this post. Very cool! Glad to hear you have a good amount more of Fair slides to share with us.

Also, good spotting of the Tilt-A-Whirl. Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

A-ha, before I got to the close-up, I was going to ask you if that was a Mold-A-Rama machine! I miss those machines and the souvenirs they produced. I used to have the Frankenstein head and full Frankenstein figure from Universal Studios and a dolphin from Marineland. I'm still not sure what happened to those, since I save everything. I guess I really don't.

In that second pic, just above the Jaycopter that a large photo of people riding on the flume ride? Or is that a large screen showing live footage of people riding on the flume ride? Or does it not have anything to do with the flume ride and I'm just seeing things? I like the groovy phone booths in the bottom right corner of that same pic!

Scott Lane said...

For some reason I remember having a few Mold-A-Rama Abraham Lincoln busts as a kid. (why Abe? I don't remember. He must've been a popular super hero in the 60's and early 70's)

Patrick Devlin said...

Well it's a fine Thursday morning now with shots like these.

Oooh, that monorail. When I was a kid only Disneyland's design was worthy of consideration. Now I can appreciate the line of continuous windows and the design reminds of something from Metropolis. Very cool.

And thanks for the info on the Mold-O-Rama machines. We would see them at the San Diego Zoo and at Sea World.

DrGoat said...

Right on Scott. I had an Lincoln that I got at the Seattle Worlds Fair in '62. A brown waxy thing that lasted a couple of years if I remember correctly. It probably succumbed to a Tucson summer.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, it is well known that the United Nations chose Robert Goulet and Connie Francis as the “world’s greatest stars”, and who am I to argue? Eat it, Audrey Hepburn and Marlon Brando!

K. Martinez, yes, I have seen the funny early concept art with the little suspended monorail. I could have sworn we’ve talked about Mold-A-Rama before, but maybe not? I’m surprised they didn’t have any at the Santa Cruz boardwalk.

TokyoMagic!, oh, a Frankenstein head (and a full Frankie), I would have liked those a lot! I know that the Mold-A-Ramas that I had tended to get brittle and usually broke. Boop, right in the trash they go! And yeah, that is a billboard photo of people on the flume ride. Look at that puny drop, maybe 2 stories?? So funny to see compared to what we have today.

Scott Lane, 1965 was the 100th anniversary of Abe’s death, maybe that had something to do with it? I think I’ve also heard that there was a lot of interest in the Civil War in the U.S. at the time, so that might also have been part of it.

Patrick Devlin, the World’s Fair monorail reminds me a bit of the one that used to be at the L.A. County Fair. Your Metropolis comparison is very fun!

DrGoat, I’ll bet that brown wax (plastic?) was supposed to look like bronze. I have a Mercury space capsule Mold-A-Rama, but got it at a thrift shop, so I didn’t have the fun of watching it being made.

Anonymous said...

What a fun picture of the monorail, it's straight from Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds. In fact, I think I can see (in my mind's eye) Thunderbird 1 in the distance getting ready for a vertical landing, just like SpaceX, followed closely by Thunderbird 2 with a hold full of rescue machinery. I was in love with Lady Penelope, but she never returned my letters.

Major, I had completely forgotten Mold-O-Rama until this minute. I'm pretty sure I had one of the molded toys, but what it was and where it came from, I cannot recall. I know for sure that I watched the machine work once. Such a '60's concept.

That woman starred in "Mars Attacks".

Thunderbirds are Go!


dennis said...

Yes Major, we did talk about Mold-O-Rama before. A couple of years ago you posted pictures of the Sinclair exhibit at the Worlds Fair, and you could see the machines in the background.
Dennis- Levittown Long Island

Chuck said...

Pretty sure we still have operating Mold-O-Rama machines at the St Louis Zoo. I'll check next time I'm there.

Also pretty sure I still have a few Mold-O-Rama products laying around somewhere from my childhood. I have strong memories of a penguin (in white) and an elephant (in dark gray), although not to the same scale. At least, I hope they weren't to the same scale. That would be one YUGE penguin.

JG, I had the same thought when I saw that monorail. And about Lady Penelope. Both are F.A.B.

K. Martinez said...

I must be out of touch because I don't remember the Mold-a-Rama machines. For all I know I passed right by them and didn't notice. Now I want to find one.

Anonymous said...

@Chuck. LOL. They are making new episodes of Thunderbirds in Marionation, but I haven't seen any yet.



Anonymous said...

Mold-O-Rama is still up and running, here is their Facebook page with locations of the machines and their molds.


Sunday Night said...

Mold-O-Rama! I remember getting an elephant molded statuette at the Los Angeles zoo. Loved those machines. So fun to watch them work.

Dean Finder said...

Looking at the NYWF website, there doesn't appear to be any other attraction next to the Jaycopter ride, so I think you're right in suspecting they're just souvenir & snack stands

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, unfortunately my memories of Gerry Anderson shows is fuzzy at best. I mostly seem to remember worried pilots with large beads of sweat on their brows! Don’t remember Lady Penelope at all.

dennis, oh yeah, I also have a stegosaurus from the Sinclair exhibit. It’s kind of faded, but still cool.

Chuck, there are definitely a lot of functioning Mold-A-Rama machines out there… I’m so dissappointed that they removed the ones at the L.A. Zoo.

K. Martinez, that’s what happens when all you care about is “Archie” comics.

JG, I guess “F.A.B.” means something to the initiated? And I’ve seen footage of some of the amazing practical models that will be used in the new Thunderbirds show, filmed at WETA workshop.

JG again, I saw that page, and wanted to check if there were any working machines in the Los Angeles area, but could find no way to search.

Sunday Night, why would you get an elephant when you could get a gorilla? It makes no sense!

Dean Finder, it makes sense; after losing your lunch on the Jaycopters, you will want to fill up again.

dennis said...

I remember seeing the James Bond Aston Martin from "Goldfinger" at the AMF Monorail exhibit.

Chuck said...

JG, I've seen a few of the new ones on Netflix. The sets are all models (and amazingly-faithful recreations of the originals, right down to the orange juicer on the wall of the Thunderbird 1 hangar), but the characters and ships are CGI. It works together surprisingly well, partly because they do things to make the physical set react to the CGI characters and craft (blowing palm trees, wake from low-flying craft, etc.). They also occasionally have the CGI characters do things to suggest the limitations of the old Supermarionation.

The biggest change is the story pacing. While the originals glided along at a leisurely pace, indulging in long, loving shots of those marvelous craft made out of things like toilet paper tubes and Fairy (a British brand of dish soap) bottles, the new ones try to cram as much plot and action as an original 45-minute episode into something like 23 minutes. It works, but I don't feel quite as relaxed after an episode as I used to.