Saturday, May 25, 2019

Fun At the Fair! - June 1964

I have a box of about 200 slides from 1964; half of those are random photos from New York City. The other half is photos of the 1964 World's Fair! It's always fun to go through vintage images from the Fair, but this time there were a few surprises.

Let's start with this slightly out-of-focus photo of a pretty woman posing near the Eastman Kodak pavilion (to our left), with the "Gardens of Tranquility" behind her. Her diamond-shaped nametag rings a bell, somehow, but otherwise this isn't too exciting.

However! This next one blew my mind. There's our lovely lady again, surrounded by some friendly folks; looking through a loupe, I realized that the man at the far left is none other than Disney legend Ken Anderson! And then I recognized some other faces.

Here's a version with the names that I came up with. Ken Anderson and Les Clark were easy, as was Blaine Gibson. I'm reasonably sure about Ken O'Brien; Jack Fergus was tricky, and I am not 100% positive about Van Arsdale France, since I can only find photos of him as an older man. Sadly I can't ID any of the ladies - they might be Imagineers or artists as well.

There's Ken Anderson during the production of "Sleeping Beauty". Winston Hibler and Don DaGradi are next to him. Ken was Walt's "Jack of all trades" and had been with the studio since the "Silly Symphony" days; he was an animator, and art director, production designer, and Imagineer.

Here's Van Arsdale France proudly showing off his window on Main Street. Among Van's accomplishments was helping to establish Disney University, where cast members get acquainted with the history of the company, and learn how to be helpful and friendly to the guests in the now-famous "Disney way".

Les Clark was one of the "Nine Old Men", and had worked with Walt Disney since 1927. He helped to develop Mickey Mouse, and continued in animation, working on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", all the way through to "One Hundred and One Dalmatians".

Jack Fergus was an assistant animator, but he became known for his sculpting and model-making abilities. Rolly Crump called him "the best model builder in the (WED) model shop". He helped to build Rolly's famous mockups for "The Museum of the Weird", and his name is on a window on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom.

Blaine Gibson did many projects as an animator before his sculpting abilities were used for projects like "Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln", "Pirates of the Caribbean", "The Haunted Mansion", "The Hall of Presidents", and the "Partners" statue.

Like many other Imagineers, Ken O'Brien came from animation, and worked on features as far back as "Snow White" and "Pinocchio"; he distinguished himself on films such as "Sleeping Beauty", "Lady and the Tramp", and also worked at some other studios, including UPA for the Mr. Magoo series. While at WED he worked on audio-animatronics.

I hope you have enjoyed today's World's Fair photo - it was nice to find a surprise. Of course I hoped that Walt would show up in one of them, but no such luck. Still, there are a couple of additional slides that have some other neat surprises. Stay tuned!


Nanook said...


WOW - that "family shot" is quite the find-! The image says it all.

Thanks, Major.

walterworld said...

In shot #2... Are you sure that's Jack Fergus? Kind of looks like Glenn Yarbrough to a younger time :)

Wonderful stuff as always. THANK YOU MAJOR

TokyoMagic! said...

Wow, what a great post! And what a great photo! Major, how lucky for you, and for us, that you were the one that ended up with this slide.

As for the shape of that lady's nametag, it looks similar to the Goodyear logo, and it's also similar in shape to the roof over that Bell payphone behind her (in the first pic). Come to think of it, that payphone roof is similar in shape to the building that housed the Bell Telephone exhibit at the Fair.

Chuck said...

"Her diamond-shaped nametag rings a bell, somehow, but otherwise this isn't too exciting." I see what you did there. Well played, Major...well played.

The young lady bears a resemblance to Jack Anderson, and their proximity - she's almost leaning into him - suggests a close familiarity. Jack had three daughters (none of whom I was able to find photos of or birthdates for); I wonder if she is one of them?

This slide is an amazing find, Major. I wonder who took it and who it belonged to?

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Wow these are some very cool shots! I actually met Les Clark's daughter when I did an appraisal of her home (here in AZ). The house had the tell tale signs of a Disneyphile and when I asked about some of the items I found out who she was (related to). She told me some cool stories and told me the house she grew up in was bought with the bonus Walt gave the animators from Snow White. She is also interviewed on the documentary "Growing up with Nine Old Men" about all the kids of the animators. I think it's a bonus on the Peter Pan deluxe Blu-ray/dvd box set. Also on youtube.

Andrew said...

What a find! That picture belongs in a museum. It would be great for representing Disney's involvement in the World's Fair.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I think you’ll enjoy a couple of other photos from this same batch!

walterworld, yes I am quite sure! I had to look up Glenn Yarbrough, since I didn’t know who he was; there is a resemblance. But as far as I can determine, there was no Disney connection with Yarbrough, while Jack Fergus was an animator and Imagineer who worked on the World’s Fair.

TokyoMagic! we’ve seen diamond-shaped name tags on Disneyland tour guides ( But you’re right, it does look like that roof over the payphone!

Chuck, I thought that she resembled Ken Anderson as well, though it might just be the human brain’s tendency to look for patterns. It is remarkably hard to find photo of the wives of Disney legends (I looked, trying to ID some of these women), much less their children. I’d sure love it if somebody could confirm that she is Ken’s daughter.

Alonzo, sounds like you had a pretty neat experience! I’d think that she would have a million stories. Thank you for mentioning “Growing Up With Nine Old Men”, I’ll have to watch it on YouTube later!

Penna. Andrew, I was talking to a friend about finding these slides, and how few people would have recognized the folks in that picture. It’s like it was meant to be.

Connie Moreno said...

WOW!!!!! That was awesome!

stu29573 said...

Wow! That is a "Holy Grail" find for sure! That really was the Golden Age at WED. I'm not sure the conditions that let it flower will ever come again, unfortunately...

JC Shannon said...

Cool, kinda like finding a golden ticket in a chocolate bar. Serendipitous for sure. One of the things I remember about the fair is the pay phones. They were touch tone, my brother and sisters and I were standing around my dad watching him use one to call the hotel. We were all blown away by the futuristic technology. I have always wanted to go back to Flushing Meadow to see what is left of the fair. Thanks Major.

Irene said...

Lots of Wows going on today and I will add mine to the chorus - Wow! What a find. So glad you were able to identify everyone in the photo. I too will be interested if anyone knows who the girl is. Alonso, what a great story and wonderful that you should meet her. I love the people who read this blog and comment on it - so many great stories and information to be had.

DrGoat said...

Very cool Major. What a great bunch of pics. Thanks! At that time, Jack Fergus bears a slight resemblance to Dom Deluise.

Dean Finder said...

Really glad these slides wound up in your hands. Not many people would have been able to recognize the significance of that shot.

Melissa said...

Why can't they all be wearing name tags, dangnabit! Awesome find, and yes! What are the odds this slide would end up with somebody who knew what it was?

Major Pepperidge said...

Connie, thanks!

stu29573, well, I feel like a photo of Walt at the fair would be the holy grail, but I am still very happy to have this photo (and the others you haven’t seen yet).

Jonathan, I can only pray that I pass Mr. Wonka’s many tests and temptations. Isn’t it funny how amazing touch-tone phones seemed back then? Little did we know that eventually we would all communicate telepathically.

Irene, since the young lady is wearing that tag, I just assumed that she was a tour guide of some kind, but she could be a guide andKen Anderson’s daughter. The Disney company wasn’t against nepotism.

DrGoat, listen, if I ever found a photo of Dom Deluise “in the wild”, I would sell it for 3 million dollars and retire to my private island in the Bahamas.

Dean Finder, it feels like it was serendipity! (Doesn’t it seem like the Sherman Brothers should have written a song called “Serendipity”?)

Melissa, name tags would make it too easy. Where’s the challenge, where’s the sport? But… I agree, it would have been kind of nice. There are a few people in some of the other pictures that I was not able to ID, which was frustrating.

Anonymous said...

Amazing that you found such a photo.

Thanks for the research and for posting it all.