Monday, October 16, 2017

1964 New York World's Fair

Oh yeeeaaaahhhh! It's time for more photos from the New York World's Fair - 1964 & '65, that is (not 1939/40).  

Here's a nice giraffe's-eye view looking down upon the Chrysler pavilion, as it appeared in its eye-popping 1965 color scheme; the buildings went from mostly white to a groovy pink and orange combination. In the right foreground is the roof of the SKF Industries "parasol". SKF manufactured ball bearings and roller bearings, so you know that the exhibit was amazing! In the distance to the right is the Ford Rotunda, home of "Walt Disney's Magic Skyway". And the dark building with the undulating curves is the "Hall of Science", which still stands today as the New York Museum of Science and Technology.

Meanwhile, not too far from the first location, was the General Motors pavilion. Along with "Futurama", one of the Fair's most popular attractions, visitors could see displays of some wonderful concept cars, such as this one - the GMX Stiletto. I've written about this vehicle before, but what the hell, it bears repeating:

The GM-X Stiletto concept car was an advanced, high-performance car with styling strongly influenced by aerospace design. It featured aircraft-type steering, a maintenance monitoring system with toggle switch controls, and a three-way speaker system for inside and outside communications.

Here's another angle. I noticed that in the first photo, the Stiletto is at a dramatic angle, while in this second photo it is pretty much level, so it moved on those two supports. Anyway, if you look just past the nose of my car (!), you can see the a few people exiting from the "Futurama" ride. The lucky ducks!

The "U.S. Space Park" area of the Fair would have been one of my favorites, since I was kind of a space-crazy kid. I believe that this is a reproduction of a Mercury space capsule (with the emergency escape rockets mounted on top). Look at how tiny that darn capsule is! A mere 6 feet wide at the base, and 10 feet tall (not counting the escape apparatus). I love this photo.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to the New York World's Fair.


Chuck said...

The Chrysler Hovercars! I wonder why those never went into production?

I feel like an idiot, but I never noticed that a big chunk of the Chrysler pavilion was a giant car. Probably just haven't seen any photos from the right angles, or maybe I've always been distracted by the industrial-grade helpings of pure awesomeness surrounding it.

The front of the GM-X reminds me vaguely of Speed Racer's Mach 5. The photos behind the car showcase an odd design quirk - no doors. The driver had to enter through the hatchback (it's not as cool as it looks; I had to do that on more than one occasion when the doors on my 1984 Mazda GLC froze shut).

I love the Mercury capsule, with the folks peering in through the window where the astronaut occup-, er, astronaut pilot would have some, uh, would have control of the re-entry procedures. They just need to be careful of the hatch with the explosive bolts.

Thanks, Major! Today's photos definitely have the right stuff!

Scott Lane said...

Always enjoy our visits to the fair. All that pink though...

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Wow that car is futuristic. And ahead of it's time. The nose of the car was even set up for the future as you would always have a back up stylus for the smart phones and tablets of the future. Can never find those darn things when they get lost!
Cool car. Looks like something George Barris or Dean Jeffries would cook up.

K. Martinez said...

I love the groovy pink and orange combination. I just spotted the Sinclair Dinosaurs!

Love the GM-X Stiletto. As I've commented before, I love the whole 1960's fantasy cars from that era. Thanks, Major.

Tom said...

These pictures are so glorious it almost hurts to look at them.

First of all: Luminaires! Kind of matching the color scheme of the area. What a glorious time it must have been, all that hope and promise, new concepts, chrome and style and turbines...

I am troubled by Lord Sidious standing in the middle of that first shot, though. He sort of takes the mood down.

Dean Finder said...

I wonder if I were there for the Fair, I'd have complained about Chrysler replacing the stark white futurism of their pavilion with those candy colors, like Tomorrowland. The juxtaposition of the Chrysler rocket and an actual NASA one next to it is neat. You can also catch a glance of the Sinclair Dinoland and the Lowenbrau gardens between SKF and Ford.

There's lots of stuff in today's images that you can still see today. The rocket-like gray sculpture behind the SKF parasol is called Forms in Transit, and now stands next to the NY Hall of Science

The Rocket Park at NY Hall of Science was restored about 15 years ago
The capsules at the top of the Mercury and Gemini rockets outside are fiberglass replicas, but there's an actual Mercury capsule inside the museum. Once seeing it up close, there's no way you could get me to ride in one.

One last bit of trivia - SKF made ball bearings, and handed them out to visitors. Kids were shooting the animatronic Lincoln with the ball bearings to see if it was a person

Melissa said...

@Tom, that figure looks more like a nun to me. I generally notice at least one nun in most New York World's Fair pictures. I wonder if there was a discount for clergy? There's another nun-resembling person in long black garments and a head covering near the back of the crowd at the left of the picture, too. Look for the lady in a blue dress with a white collar and bow and either red sleeves or a red cardigan; next to her is a lady in blue with either white boots or white knee socks; next to her is Potential Nun Number Two. (I shall call her Sister Mary Segundus.)

People-watching aside, there is some great art and architecture going on. Those automobile fountains are so adorbs! And the tower with the Chrysler logo is like something I would want to build with Tinker Toys but would never have all the right pieces or enough creativity to pull off. One of my old faves, the Crown Rib Roast Building, is there with one on my new faces, the SKF Board Game Spinner.

Holy ozone layer, everybody and their mother's lining up to peep into that space capsule. Did they have a set of Buzz Aldrin’s skivvies on display in there?

Melissa said...

Now that I mention it, I've known two nuns personally, and I know that at least one of them went to the New York World's Fair. But now that I do the math of how old her daughter was when I knew her, the trip to the Fair must have happened after she left the convent.

Anyway, I can't confirm with either of them because they're both dead now.

Nanook said...


As i presume the water in all those fountains at the fair was treated with chlorine, etc., one wonders just how well those automobiles held-up being exposed to all those chemicals-?

@ Melissa-

My film buff friends and I always had a running joke about how movies (especially those from the 1950's), always seemed to have a nun or two - along with a sailor or two, featured somewhere in the background action.

Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

Nanook, the "Serviceman Extra" is so ubiquitous that it seems odd not to see one in a film.

Way back when I was a young shavetail stationed in SoCal, we had several Air Force Reservists assigned to our unit as Individual Mobilization Augmentees (IMAs). IMAs hold normal civilian jobs and do their military jobs part-time just like traditional Reservists and Guardsmen, but instead of the nominal "one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer" with a Reserve or Guard unit (which always seems to work out to a bit more than that, especially since the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2001) they instead serve a minimum of 36 days of duty per year with an active duty unit.

One of our IMA sergeants was a camera operator on the TV series Hearts Afire and freelanced as an assistant camera operator on feature films during series hiatus. In the summer of '94, she was working on Grumpier Old Men, with Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, and Burgess Meredith (in his last screen role). I haven't seen the film, but there's apparently a scene that takes place in an airport. The director wanted a Servicemember Extra in full uniform (even though nobody but Academy cadets and people finishing basic training travels like that anymore) to walk by in the background, so she was asked to come in that day in uniform for the scene (she was paid scale).

Matthau made a point of sitting down to talk with her during the breaks, mentioning that he'd been an enlisted man in the USAAF during WWII, serving as a B-24 crewmember in the 453rd Bomb Group in England. He told her that he'd managed to get himself in trouble and was called in front of the Group Operations Officer - one Lt Col James M. Stewart - for disciplinary action.

Stewart's response to the affair - something along the lines of "now, you're a good kid, and I don't think this sort of thing is going to happen again, so we're going to suspend your punishment as long as you keep your nose clean" - was much appreciated by the then-unknown Matthau. Years later, the now-successful-actor ran into Jimmy Stewart somewhere and mentioned the incident, which Stewart actually recalled.

And that's how I ended up with a Bacon number of 3.

Chuck said...

Make that "first quarter of Fiscal Year 2002."

Anonymous said...

Major...for some reason your pictures (most of them that is) are no longer coming through. Did you change a protocol?? KS

dennis said...

The Vatican Pavilion had Michelangelo's "Pieta" on display,and I'm sure it attracted a lot of clergy. It was a must-see for my family when we visited on the day I received my First Communion. We have pictures of me in my all white Communion suit visiting the fair that day.
Dennis- Levittown, L.I., N.Y.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, if only a hovercar could be a practical mode of transportation! Too noisy and inefficient, perhaps. You must have seen the giant car on this blog, I’ve shown several photos of it. Or were you looking at some OTHER blog?! You are right, the GM-X does look like the Mach 5. No need to crawl in through the hatchback - you just use the transporter. I think the pilots of the space capsules did have some control, though clearly the thing was not meant for zooming around space.

Scott Lane, maybe that’s where the Disneyland folks got the idea for all the pink.

Alonzo, slow pedestrians better watch out when that car is driving down the road. Maybe you’d get to your destination with a few of them skewered on the front of the vehicle.

K. Martinez, ah yes, I should have pointed out “Dinoland”!

Tom, you’re like me, I am a nut for those Luminaires. One of the slides that I scanned (coming soon) has wonderful Luminaires, the really huge ones. It’s fascinating to observe the change in shape and color depending on where they were placed. Poor Lord Sidious having to wear all that black in the New York summer humidity!

Dean Finder, I would not be surprised is *somebody* complained about the colors, but since nothing at the Fair was that old (even by the second season), perhaps many others didn’t even notice. I should have mentioned “Forms in Transit”! I have heard that story (maybe told by Bob Gurr?) about the ball bearings being shot at Lincoln. Hooligans!

Melissa, I am actually disappointed at how few of my photos have nuns. Seems like 80% of Bill Cotter’s photos have them! Thanks to your directions, I see the other Sith Lord as well. Your reference to Tinker Toys makes me realize how toylike much of that pavilion was; I would love to see a photo of the scale model. Maybe Buzz himself was in that capsule (hopefully with his skivvies).

Melissa II, I honestly don’t know if I have ever even spoken to a real nun!

Nanook, if the water had no more chlorine than your standard swimming pool, I would guess that the cars would be OK for the six months they were on display. Presumably each year had the latest models.

Chuck, wait a minute, a LADY sergeant?! What’s next, lady doctors?? Imagine serving in the Air Force with James Stewart! It’s surprising how many of those guys from that era joined the military during WWII. I don’t think that would happen today, though of course the world is a much more complicated place than it was then, or it seems so, at least. On a barely-related note, if you have never read the book “Five Came Back”, you might enjoy it.

KS, the photos are loading OK for me, and (based on the comments) seem to be working for others. However, I have had problems in the past. For the last year or so I’ve been using Google Photos as my photo host, and it has been working well - the old posts that use Photobucket are a freaking nightmare. Anyway, I hope the photos load for you, sorry about the hassle.

dennis, yes, the “Pieta” was a huge deal. I wish I could have seen it there! I saw it in Rome, but it is behind acrylic glass and you can’t get near it to truly appreciate how beautiful it is, thanks to the nut job who attacked it with a hammer. Very cool that you went to the Fair on your Communion day!

Chuck said...

Just read the synopsis for Five Came Back. It's now on my "must read" list. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Major...I found the problem. It was my computer. Been off line a while and I had major Window updates. Just wish I would be notified immediately at startup instead of every now-and-then. All is well and the pictures are back on my screen. :) KS

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, that book is a fascinating look at some interesting (and very flawed!) people during one of the most momentous times in our recent history.

KS, I'm glad the problem has been solved! It seems strange to me that photos wouldn't load just because Windows needed to be updated, but... computers are kooky, that's for sure.

Vaughn said...

I think they used those tail fins on the '69 Eldorado tail lights. Cool car.