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The first Hall of Presidents?


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#1 CathyS

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 06:59 AM

I just started learning about the Century of Progress fair a few months ago, so I'm not real familiar with the exhibits yet. I was really surprised to find this card advertising "The Talking Presidents" at the Old State House at that fair. According to the ad the Presidents are "life size, stand, talk, and sit down."

I remember everyone being completely amazed by the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln exhibit at the '64 Fair. And I was awed by the Hall of Presidents the first time I visited Disney in the early 1980's. So I never imagined there were "talking Presidents" as early as 1933!!?? I can't find any other information about this exhibit in the guide books for the Fair, or from Google searches about Charles W. Clark or the exhibit.

Does anyone know anything more about this exhibit?

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#2 waynebretl

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 12:52 PM

Wow - never heard of this before.

#3 Leonard Grossman

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 02:04 PM

I just started learning about the Century of Progress fair a few months ago, so I'm not real familiar with the exhibits yet. I was really surprised to find this card advertising "The Talking Presidents" at the Old State House at that fair. According to the ad the Presidents are "life size, stand, talk, and sit down."

I remember everyone being completely amazed by the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln exhibit at the '64 Fair. And I was awed by the Hall of Presidents the first time I visited Disney in the early 1980's. So I never imagined there were "talking Presidents" as early as 1933!!?? I can't find any other information about this exhibit in the guide books for the Fair, or from Google searches about Charles W. Clark or the exhibit.

Does anyone know anything more about this exhibit?


In a letter my mother wrote to her family in Germany in 1934 my mother talked about this exhibit. At the end of a long letter, she wrote, " Yesterday we saw something terrific. 6 mechanical figures of American Presidents. They get up to make speeches into microphones and then sit down again. Fascinating how they work. That is about all I can tell you today." I hunted every where as you have for anything else about the exhibit and only came across the same card last week on another site. The letter in which she talks about it is at http://www.lgrossman...6/july-26-1934/ The complete site is a blog based on her letters from May 1934 to March 1934 There are many references to the Fair in her letters. The complete site is Trudel's Truth. http://www.lgrossman.com/trudel/

#4 EPCOT Explorer

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 05:36 PM

Wow. And they actually got up and moved?


Very, very, very cool.

#5 CathyS

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Posted 02 September 2011 - 10:07 AM

In a letter my mother wrote to her family in Germany in 1934 my mother talked about this exhibit. At the end of a long letter, she wrote, " Yesterday we saw something terrific. 6 mechanical figures of American Presidents. They get up to make speeches into microphones and then sit down again. Fascinating how they work. That is about all I can tell you today." I hunted every where as you have for anything else about the exhibit and only came across the same card last week on another site. The letter in which she talks about it is at http://www.lgrossman...6/july-26-1934/ The complete site is a blog based on her letters from May 1934 to March 1934 There are many references to the Fair in her letters. The complete site is Trudel's Truth. http://www.lgrossman.com/trudel/


Wow, that is amazing! I remember how everyone was astounded when the animatronic Mr. Lincoln stood up to speak at the 1964 World's Fair. From your mother's description, it sounds as if this exhibit was shades ahead of the one from 1964! I've kept searching and still haven't turned up any other information either. Thank you so much for sharing your mother's letters, I really enjoyed reading your blog and also loved your website on the 1933/34 Fair.

#6 dsadowski

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 01:08 AM

I couldn't find anything written about this exhibit in the Chicago Tribune archives. But I did research the history behind the Disney audio-animatronic presidents. Walt Disney got the idea for this around 1958, and his "Imagineers" created a talkiing Lincoln in 1962, which was exhibited in the Illinois pavillion at the 1964-65 New York World's Fair. This was so successful that he had another one open at Disneyland in 1965, even while the fair was still running. This was later expanded into a hall of presidents at Disney World, which opened in 1971.

There were various "talking robots" at earlier world's fairs, but I don't think the technology was comparable to what Disney did.




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