Randy Treadway

Trivia Quiz of the Day

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This meager 'gift shop booth' was part of a foreign pavilion at a World's Fair.

This booth debuted a new kind of shoe.

Foot weary fairgoers were impressed and bought 33,000 pairs of the new shoes from this booth.

Bloomingdale's noticed and put in a big order with the manufacturer, in 9 styles. This kind of shoe became a real fad for several years. At their peak, the manufacturer was shipping 50,000 pairs a day.

What kind of shoe was it.... and which World's Fair was it? bonus: identify which country's pavilion this booth was at.

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Knoxville, U.S. and Hush Puppies?

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Knoxville is correct..... :)

.....but Hush Puppy shoes had been around since 1958.

These shoes were something brand new.

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I just strolled in from breaking in my new hiking shoes up and down garage ramps so it was kismet I should find this topic. I looked up the answer so I'll let someone else answer from memory.

I was not aware of them myself. All I remember from that era are leg warmers and spandex.

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You might have had to have had females in your family to have ever heard of them, even though they were a big fad.

But apparently the appearance of these shoes really did appeal to Fairgoers with tired feet.

I'm not sure what a time-line on fad female shoes would look like, but it would probably involve 'Mary Janes' in the 50's and 'Crocks' in the 90's. :) Although I guess some guys went for Crocs too. I'm not sure where stilettos come in. LOL

Another hint: the color of the Shoes sign is a clue toward the identity of the foreign pavilion.

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I have a shot of that shoe store, but it looks like it was part of a general group of shops and not a specific pavilion.

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Other than identifying Knoxville, nobody has been able to take a stab at it, so i'll reveal......

According to the shoe's manufacturer, the booth was associated with the Brazil Pavilion as part of an export promotion deal after an American entrepeneur went down to Brazil looking for any novel products that Americans might go for....

....and the shoes are.... Jelly shoes.

"Jellies" became a big thing.

Since Brazil doesn't appear on lists of having any kind of official Pavilion at this World's Fair, it could be that this shoe sales booth was the sole representation of Brazilian products.

This was about that same time that 'Jelly Bellies' were taking off because of publicity related to President Reagan. Now people could wear Jellies on their feet.

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Here's a shot of ths shoe store after the Fair closed, in case anyone wanted to know where it was located.

shoe-store-post-fair.jpg

It was just behind the pickup truck, at the top of the stairs.

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Jelly shoes were made of a very stretchable porous form of PVC called jelly rubber in bright colors, and frequently infused with glitter.

I imagine on one of those sweltering humid summer Knoxville days, the open air elastic form looked quite attractive.

I guess we can add it to the list of successful World's Fair debuts... like ice cream cones.

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Now that the answer has been revealed, I'll move this topic over to the 1982 World's Fair section.

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