50 Years Ago Today: 1964-65 World’s Fair Opens


World’s Fair I think.

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My mom took my older sister and me to see this when I was REALLY little. Walking and out of diapers but not much past that. Must have been late in its run, because otherwise I would have been too young to remember.

The Fair was hyped, hyped, hyped on local kiddie shows and the news.

I remember just a few things:

  • Walking under the NY pavillion, which had a stained-glass roof.

  • Looking at the elevators going up to the disk-shaped restaurants high up on their cylindrical perches. Like The Jetsons! I really wanted to ride, but no dice.

  • Riding It’s a Small World.

  • On the way out, passing between rows of gift shops. I think I got a little felt commemorative pennant, or at least wanting it. If I got it, it was lost in short order.

  • On the plaza between the gift shops was a phony robot. A tall conical thing, armless red, with a speaker in front that emitted nonsense noises. It “walked,” or more accurately teetered, on two constantly moving legs. I pushed it, and it gabbled more nonesense while staying upright. I remember feeling a little disappointed by it; robots were supposed to talk, like the one on Fireball XL-5!

  • Feeling disappointed I didn’t get more of the swag being pushed.

That’s it.


I went to it with family when I was a kid, probably in 1965. I remember enjoying the very pink It’s A Small World ( aka The Earworm That Won’t Die, though that was probably reinforced by seeing Disney shows on TV.) Certainly didn’t need to go on that ride when I went to Disneyland many years later with a group of coworkers. I think I remember the globe from then, but I’ve also seen it a number of times since then.

I also remember the DuPont exhibit (my dad’s company), where they showed off stretching nylon fiber, like big cotton candy. I don’t think I remember seeing the Picturephone there; it was probably years later on TV.

At least there was an entertaining film made of your trip.

They got the age right!

I think a field of empty refrigerator boxes would have been just as entertaining for kids that age.

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In the GE pavilion, the feature was a demonstration of nuclear fusion! So they said. We went into an area, and in the middle, there was a flash, and… fusion!

In the Borden pavilion, we got to meet Elsie the cow, in Person!

We also got the very first JFK 50 cent coins, mint condition!

Belgium introduced the US to the Belgian Waffle, I think it was a first.

Lots of other stuff, I was 12 and lived only a couple of miles away, so we went often.

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I met my wife Ana Ng there.


No it isn’t. The world is completely, arbitrarily unfair.

That’s why the peasants are revolting!


That’s why the peasants are revolting!

I’ve always thought so.

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I got one of those injection molded wax dinosaurs that the vending machine would make for you. I left it in Hall Of The (Animatronic) Presidents.

I remember the “fusion” reactor, the Picturephone, and the Ford pavilion with dinosaurs and cave men that would later show up in Epcot.

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Why was the bench still warm? who had been there?

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Sean Munger posted a two-part essay about the World’s Fair, with interesting details about its planning and finances:



(Weird. When I posted the above without a space in front, it transcluded the articles!)

Maybe it’s just that I’m not from the New York area, but this is the first time I’ve even heard of this fair. Yes, I wasn’t even born, but I’ve certainly heard of other fairs before it like the 1939 one in New York or the 1893 one in Chicago. Although I’ve been to an even more obscure one – I attended the 1982 fair in Knoxville, which seems to have been completely forgotten except in one episode of The Simpsons.

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Honked the horn on the Monorail, and while up there could see over the fence (wall?) a regular carnival and would have rather gone there. One exhibit had some furriners who would climb these spindly flagpole type poles and get them swaying back and forth until they could swap poles. When it came time to leave the poles, they would slide down them head first and stop just before hitting the ground. Also saw the Pietà.

To think I worked at the world’s fair at the Belgian Village. I can’t believe i’ts been that long. I came over by ship. Loved every minute of it. Boy i’m getting old.

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Hey! Hey! OLD GUYS! Do those two (pointing to the Pavilion towers) still work?

No. My friends and I walked through the park maybe five years ago, and skirted by the big globe and the New York pavilion. The area was fenced off. I think I remember plywood covering the entrances to the towers. The stained glass is long gone.

I don’t know if it was part of the World’s Fair, but adjacent to the area is a science museum that is the venue for the New York Maker Faire. It has a nice selection of full-scale rocket models (Atlas, Gemini, etc.)

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