If the NY Worlds Fair of 1939/40 was like stepping into the land of Oz, the 1964/ 65 Worlds Fair was like striding into the future of the Jetsons and stepping back to prehistoric Bedrock.
Mid Century Mashup
So in a classic display of mid-century 1960’s pop surrealism, what would be more logical than creating a comic book where on the very same day characters from wildly different centuries happen to visit that showcase of mid 20th century American consumerism and technology – the NY Worlds Fair.
This modern wonderland that opened April 22 1964 would eventually welcome over 51 million viewers from all over the world and obviously all different centuries
A Day at The Fair
Yabba Dabba Doo…Fred Flintstone and George Jetson share a Belgian Waffle at the Flushing Meadow Park 1965!
Of course it helped that these 2 characters were the creation of the same 20th century genius Hanna- Barbera who teamed up with The NY Worlds Fair 1964-1965 Corporation to create this official souvenir where the pavilions and exhibits of the fair were as much a star as the cartoon characters.
A Peep into the Future
Entering the fair, George Jetson would feel right at home with the modernistic pavilions built in that futuristic architectural style influenced by the jet age, the space age, and the Atomic Age. The free form styles were made possible by modern building materials such as reinforced concrete, fiberglass tempered glass and stainless steel.
A Peep into the Past
The dinosaurs at the Sinclair Pavilion might make Fred and Barney homesick for Bedrock but they were only a part of the prehistoric pageant at the fair.
In the Ford Pavilion Fred could take a fun-filled ride on the “Magic Skyway” in a new Mustang convertible as he zoomed through the Time Tunnel where a life-like Disney-created caveman waved as he battles a bear and a 2 story Tyrannosaurus Rex roam the land.
At Travelers Insurance, a prehistoric man discovers fire, while the Lebanon Pavilion exhibits fossils 80 million years old.
Getting to the Fair
While some opted to take the Worlds Fair Special subways for 15 cents , others traveled to the fairgrounds by car, train, bus, taxi or even by boat to the marina.
There were also regular flights by helicopter that cost about $8 per person. While most arrived to the Port Authority Heliport at the fair from Wall Street Heliport , Newark and Kennedy Airports , our Stone Age friends from Bedrock are having a tougher time landing.
The Giant US Rubber Tire Wheel clearly wowed Barney.
Combining fun fair entertainment with Pop art aesthetics, visitors rode along the rim of a giant white-wall tire soaring 80 feet into the air for a spectacular view of the fairground.
Meet The Jetsons
George Jetson offers some neighborly parking advise . Plenty of parking at the fair enough for 20,000 cars, prehistoric flying devices might be more limited.
General Motors Look into the Future
No wonder Barney is so anxious to visit GM. Just as in 1939 The World of Tomorrow awaited s you at the GM Futurama
The most popular exhibit at the fair, Fred and Barney would have to wait several hour to get a glimpse of the future.
GMs Futurama looked forward to a future of giant skyscrapers, elevated multi lane highways, underwater metropolises, and best of all holiday resorts would soon be opening on the moon.
Lost at the Fair
The Fairs theme was “Peace Through Understanding,” dedicated to “Mans Achievement on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe., symbolized by the 12 story high stainless steel model of the earth- The Unisphere.
Distracted by all the excitement, Bamm Bamm, Pebbles and their pet Dino wander off in the expansive fairgrounds.
Feeling anything but peaceful, the prehistoric couples panic and begin combing the fair in search of their children. Convinced they must be riding the merry-go-round at the Festival of Gas, Fred and Barney head in that direction, oblivious to the fact that s the children and Dino are dining across the way at the 7 Up Garden Pavilion.
Pebbles, Bamm Bamm and Dino join the other fairgoers who could enjoy sampling sandwiches from around the world at the 7 Up Garden Pavilion which featured innovative fiberglass Seven Up Towers and unlimited 7 UP!
The Festival of Gas Pavilion designed by Walter Dorwin Teague Associates. A fun exhibit for the whole family where famous chefs gave their secrets of cooking with gas.
Wilma should enjoy “The Kitchen of the Future” where for example you’ll watch dramatically new gas appliance automatically emerge from bare walls floors ceilings as they are needed by the housewife and disappear when no longer in use. Clearly Jane Jetson would be bored.
Naturally the fair was populated with an assortment of other Hanna-Barbera characters like Huckleberry Hound who ran the tram that scooted fair goers around the fair.
Triumph of Man
With its distinctive Red umbrella dome the Travelers Building offered a dramatic exhibit of man survival thru the ages.
Like the 1939 fair the fusion of hucksterism and patriotism was pronounced among Corporate exhibitors.
Whatever the technology, the message of these corporate exhibits was the same: Big Business was building a brighter and better American future.
Pavilion after pavilion, big business predicted that the achievements of the present would soon be surpassed by the triumphs of tomorrow. Each structure flamboyantly beckoned and competed for the attention of the fairgoers.
Johnson Wax Pavilion’s great gold disk which seem to float 24 feet above the ground and offered electronic computers answer household questions.
The Hall of Magic at the General Cigar Exhibit was the big draw as a machine blows 12 foot smoke rings 150 feet into the air every 20 seconds.
Kodak offered the world largest outdoor color prints a top the Kodak Picture Tower! The Kodak Pavilion offered demonstrations of the new Instamatic Cameras.
New York State Pavilion
Running into 2 other Hanna-Barbera character’s Lippy and Hardy, they pass the NY State Pavilion.
Designed by Phillip Johnson, it’s open air pavilion was called Tent of Tomorrow
The pavilions main floor used for local art and industry comprised a terrazzo replica of the office Texaco highway map of NY State displaying the maps cities towns routes and Texaco gas stations in 567 mosaic panels
Sinclair’s Stone Age Dinoland
Dramatic life-size replicas of different types of dinosaurs were shown in the exhibit located in the Transportation section of the Fair.
A reenactment of life on earth as it was some 60 to 180 million years ago the Sinclair exhibit was as life-like and authentic as modern science and research could make them- no wonder Dino fell in live!
Back to the Future
Looks like George Jetson may have a tough time getting back to the future!
© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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