Saturday, July 11, 2015

Retro Saturday: World's Fair Report

Click the arrow to watch the film. Video source: wdtvlive42 YouTube channel.

This week's Retro Saturday is a 13½-minute promotional film by the New York World's Fair 1964-1965 Corporation about its upcoming event.

World's Fair Report is narrated by Lowell Thomas, who at the time of filming would have been 71 years old. The fictional character Jackson Bentley in Lawerence of Arabia is based on Thomas, who travelled the world filing stories about interesting people and subjects. Thomas narrated Movietone newsreels and reported for CBS and NBC.

The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair was plagued by controversy and teetered on bankruptcy. Thomas states in the documentary that total attendance was projected to be 70-80 million, but the fair ended with 51 million attendees.

Despite the financial woes, much of the architecture has become iconic. Some of it remains, such as the Unisphere. The observation towers, where the climactic scene for Men in Black was filmed, still stand but are abandoned.

The World's Fair Unisphere was it appeared in 2010. Image source: Wikipedia.

The observation towers in 2013. Image source:

Walt Disney relocated many of his exhibits to Disneyland in Anaheim, such as It's a Small World and the Carousel of Progress. Both attractions are in the opening scene of this year's Tomorrowland movie which occurs at the 1964 fair.

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