Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Bradd Schiffman

What Exhibits Do You Actually Remember?

Recommended Posts

I am interested in what actual memories people have of the Fair. I know it is difficult after all this time, and after all of the videos, pictures and features we've been reading, to sort out the real memories from the imagined ones. Here's my list of the memories I'm sure of from my visit as an 11 year old in 1964.

1. GM (Futurama ride and auto showroom)

2. GE (Carousel of Progress and Fusion Experiment)

3. NY State (being terrified at being on the high observation deck)

4. IBM (being terrified sitting high up in the moving grandstand)

5. DuPont (being terrified at seeing a depiction of DuPont's ancestor being guillotined)

6. To The Moon and Beyond

7. Sinclair. Being extremely disappointed that none of the dinosaurs moved, even the ones that said they did.

8. Bourbon Street at night. Wandering into a bar and having a drunken woman ask me to sit on her lap. I ran back to my family as fast as I could.

9. Chrysler Turbine Car zooming around

10. Inside the Santa Maria

11. Inside RCA, being screamed at to "Shut Up!" by the director during a live broadcast

12. Watching the roller bearing roller coaster outside SKF

13. Watching To Be Alive, where the whole audience leaned into the turns during the motorcycle sequence

14. Eating at a Brass Rail

15. Eating at the Schaefer Center

16. Standing at the bar at Rheingold? while my dad tried to order a beer and some drunks kept yelling "Hey Babe!" at my mom

17. Sitting in our '60 Impala at a Sinclair pump at the Fairgrounds while my dad tried to decide if he should pay the outrageous price of 35 cents for their gas before we started our drive back to Philly. The pump attendant yelled at us "Well, do you want it or not???"

18. Ford's Magic Skyway, where I broke the ride by pressing the brake on our car.

19. Coke's fantastic walk through.

20. Tower of Light, having to stand through the show.

21. Bell System, but mostly the underground exhibit area.

22. Travelers, my favorite. A pretty young woman in a blue uniform silently lead us to each tableau.

23. Kodak. But we never saw any of their exhibits because we never figured out how to get to them. The Searching Eye was so full that all we saw were the backs of the heads of the people standing in the doorway.

24. Pepsi. I hung my fingers over the edge and they got crunched, just like the sign said they would.

25. Scott Paper, but all we saw were the restrooms.

26. Westinghouse. Big disappointment. It was just a bunch of newspaper clippings, photos and comics behind plexiglass. I got to see what my dad read on the comics page when he was 11 years old. Big deal!

27. Hall of Science. All I remember is being herded into an enclosed area with a bunch of other children while our parents were shown how we could be observed on TV "for security purposes". When I tried to leave, the guy giving the talk screamed at me to get back inside, which I quickly did, not wanting to be beaten. Twenty years later I finally realized that must have been part of his act. Also, getting my neutron irradiated dime.

If we had managed to find the Brain exhibit in the Hall of Science, we probably wouldn't have learned what causes some memories to be laid down permanently and most to be discarded. We now know that something that makes an incident stand out, like a shock, will tend to cause a memory to be stored.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember:

1)The WF Express subway. Fantastic!

2)Main entrance. Standing on the causeway, flags flapping in the breeze, the whole fantastic Fair laid out before me. Indelible memory!

3)Ford-long lines; wishing we could get a convertible; the glow-badge stand.

4)GE-Carousel & Fusion show only.

5)Standing in front of Clairol, waiting, while the girls went through.

6)Wishing we could do IBM.

7)GM-Very impressed.


9)Kodak-the Moonscape.

10)BLC-Mom bought an ironing board cover.

11)B.R.-Great food. ;o)

12)Glide-a-Ride ride, especially at night!



15)Vatican-A big deal for Catholics!


17)NYS Towers

Probably 2 days total at the Fair, that's about all we managed to do. Lines were always too long, etc.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am absolutely sure of my memories as recorded under STORIES in nywf64.com "Impressions and Memories" from my 4 days at Flushing. It is a fact that we begin to remember more than what we actually experienced. From all 5 Expos that I've visited I have tremendous memories of certain memorable exhibits (the very best may well have been Great Britain and Spain, both in Seville in 1992), but I have more collective memories of the chaotic atmosphere of Flushing.

A few New York memories that can be added to my story:

1. On my first visit, the sun and heat and humidity really got to me waiting in GM's LONG cattle-stall lines - I actually fainted and then we were taken right in!

2. On my last visit, on the way back to the bus for the last time, we noticed there was absolutely NO wait for GM, so we rode into the Future one more time.

3. The corny Elsie the Cow show - but enjoyable nevertheless.

4. The Yellow Rolls Royce outside Hollywood pavilion - where I have one of few photos taken with me and my sister (who has since passed away suddenly).

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Different perspective: from someone who didn't go:

1) Watching a part of the opening day special on TV that night. Came in from playing outside on a nice April night and mom was watching it on the portable TV in the kitchen while she did the ironing. The two scenes I remembered where shots of the NY State towers and thinking that EVERY World's Fair must have a tower and Seattle's was better! And the shots of the Sinclair Dinos which I thought were just great and WHY couldn't WE go to the Fair to see them????

2) Seeing the Rice-a-Roni display at our grocery store that promised a World's Fair pop-up model if you sent in so-many box tops from Rice-a-Roni. My mom NEVER made rice so forget that one!

3) Going to the airport at O'Hare and picking up a timetable from Delta that showed a happy family of four -- just like us -- visiting the NY World's Fair and WHY couldn't WE go to the World's Fair too? Also getting the TWA display from my cousin in the fall of '64.

You've probably heard all of this before, but thought I'd say it again. Even those of us who couldn't go remember the Fair. It WAS a BIG DEAL across the whole country.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't seen any videos of the fair yet, so my recollections are from memory, bolstered by family slides and the photographs from the internet. So, since you asked, here are my memories of the fair:

1.Riding the subway - first time in my life and on the first day the car was jammed.

2. Touring the Traveler's. This was our first pavilion and I was very impressed by the TofM show.

3. Riding on the upper level of the Bell System ride. I also remember picking up handsets to hear info in the exhibition on the ground floor.

4.Riding the GE Carousel and watching the fusion show (ka-bang!). I don't remember the movie shown on the underside of the dome.

5. Being very excited to seeing myself for a brief second in color on TV at RCA.

6. IBM - I remember waiting in line, shaded from the bright sunlight and cooled by a breeze blowing over the reflecting pool we were suspended over. It's been one of my happiest memories from the fair. I also recall the frenetic energy and the crack of thunder in the Eames film.

7.Standing near the GE pavilion and watching a water and firework show at night.

8.Eating lunch at 7Up. I recall I had a sandwich that had pumpernickel bread.

9. Riding on the Swiss Gondola ride during a beautiful sunny day. How small all those people looked way below.

10. Getting to drive a car for the first time! Dad let me drive the antique car at Avis.

11. Getting the wrong state pin (Maryland) at Ford (for crying out loud, I'm from New Hampshire!). I was also thrilled to ride in the driver's seat on the Magic Skyway.

12. Watching the huge parts (especially the piston heads) of the Chrysler engine. I also recall the very distinct whine of the turbine cars that were being driven around the island.

13. Watching with amazement the helicopters landing on the Port Authority building.

14. Waiting for something close to two hours to get into Futurama.

15. Getting to see the Pieta at the Vatican pavilion was quite a big deal. I swear that the moving walkways rode left-to-right rather then the opposite direction noted on the pavilion pamphlet.

16. Riding the AMF monorail.

17. Eating awful Chinese food at Chung King (still have my napkin and placemat!).

18. Touring the Indonesian pavilion and hearing Gamalon (spelling?) music for the first time.

19. Seeing the NYC model at the NYC pavilion.

20. Seeing the glowing Federal pavilion at night.

21. Watching a magic show and the smoke ring machine at General Cigar. Does anyone remember the distinct "Ca-chunk-flap-flap" sound the machine made when it expelled a ring?

22. Watching the chemical show at Dupont and seeing the chemicals glow under black light.

23. Walking through Coca-Cola. I stuck my hand in the fountain at the Taj Mahal scene. The water had a wonderful perfume smell. I also remember getting multiple sample cups of their newest drink, "Sprite". For a long time afterwards the taste of that softdrink brought back memories of the fair.

24. Walking through the Sinclair dinosaur exhibit. I was so thrilled I didn't care that they didn't move.

25. No one can forget Pepsi.

26. Bradd was right about Westinghouse - boring!

27. Standing in the lower level of the Kodak pavilion. Don't recall seeing any movies.

I wish I could recall clearly if we toured the Tower of Light, the World of Gas, Johnson Wax or the Federal pavilion (I think we saw the brief film at the start.)

I had a great time! We spent a total of two-and-a-half days at the fair.

[This message has been edited by markallenmaine (edited 04-29-2002).]

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Reaching back to my childhood:

1. Riding the Subway out to the Fairgounds and first spotting it by seeing the rockets in front of the Hall of Science.

2. Crossing the boardwalk to the main gate and being fascinated by all the parked subway trains below.

3. Standing on the edge of the Unisphere pool and staring up at the giant structure.

4. Riding through Peppsi's "It's A Small World"- our favorite-I was five.

5. Seeing GM's Futurama.

6. Watching a uniformed Fair employee stretch out on the top of the empty vehicle in back of us and smoke a cigarette as we rode thhrough the Ford Magic Skyway.

7. Seeing the Carousel of Progress at GE and then walking through the Corridor of Mirrors to the nuclear exhibit which loud noise scared me.

8. Being fascinated by the helicopters landing at the PA Heliport (might of been the first helos I'd ever seen) and the capsule elevators going up the NYS Towers.

9. Full-size train locomotives-outside GE or GM.

10. Seeing the push-around Hertz rental strollers.

11. Staring at the giant engine at Chrysler and the U.S. Rubber tire.

12. The big picture on top of Kodak.

13. Don't remember the Pieta but did remember walking through the Vatican Pavilion.

14. And other things.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Outside elevators at NYS

2. The way the surrounding air and scents changed with different dioramas at Coke.

3. Fred Lorenzen's #28 NASCAR fOrd on display at Ford.

4. Nightly fireworks

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ken, you reminded me about the scents and air temps at Coke. There was one perfume-like scent that I fell in love with and tried to find for the rest of my childhood, but of course never did. To this day I sometimes think I smell it, but of course I can't describe it. And I also just remembered that the air temp in the Bavarian Alps room felt like it was about 32 degrees. I was shocked to see that the wooden railing had a LOT of carvings in it, which I assumed was from the local NY kids. In later years, I decided it was in fact carved by the displayers, but now I have gone back to my original conclusion. Hood? What's the real story.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bradd, I too was surprised by the carvings on the rail. Having covered most of the fair in the first weeks of it opening, I can tell you the carvings were there from the beginning and the work of the exhibitors. Over time they got severely marred by visitors. My favorite part of Coke was the ocean liner, the rumble of the engines and the smell of salt in the air. And who doesn't remember the soft squishy feel of the pathway through the grove of trees. The path was made of a spongy rubber molded to look like dead leaves. Pavilions that you could walk through were visited a lot by my friends and me. When the lines disappeared at the end of the day, we would just zip through.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

It has become harder to separate knowledge from memories, but here goes:

1. Sinclair - a BIG favorite with us!

2. Pepsi-It's a Small World

3. Florida Porpoise Show

4. Log Flume Ride

5. Scott Paper Enchanted Forest (the diaper changing room made an impression on me- why I can't really understand)

6. All the fountains throughout the Fair.

7. The Unisphere

8. GE

9. Ford - Loved the dinosaurs!!

10. Belgian Village - the Gille Dancers scared me a little!

11. Belgian Waffles

[This message has been edited by Elizabeth Klug (edited 05-02-2002).]

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hood, thank you for the carving solution! The liner was my favorite, too! You made me remember what was perhaps my fondest memory of the Fair, walking around on the deck of that ship trying doors and looking in the various portholes trying to see how far they carried the illusion (pretty far, I remember). I also remember a jeep in the rain forest with a coke bottle on the hood and the windshield wipers going really fast. What a great time for a kid to be alive...

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Woah... it took the Jeep with the Coke bottle on it to bring me back to the Coca-Cola pavilion. Now I remember the squishy path in the rain forest, too.

Bill, old buddy, I'm afraid it's time for a feature on the Coke pavilion!!

Things I definitely remember?

1. The Unisphere really impressed me. I actually remember snapping the photo of it that was shown in these pages a few weeks ago.

2. Walking "from Manhattan to Buffalo " on I-87 on the giant Texaco map at NY State.

3. The elevator and being up on the tower at NYS.

4. Bell telephone. Being amazed at how fast I could dial my phone number on a Touch Tone phone vs. dialing it on the rotary phone (and the timer clock that timed me)

5. Getting my "Pen Pal" selected for me by computer at Parker Pen. (Their name is on the tip of my tongue right now!)

6. Sticking my face in the egg-shaped oval things at Clairol and seeing myself in ladies hair-dos. (all the literature says those things were inside but I remember there were a bunch outside)

7. The waffles, of course.

8. Ford and GM. GM blew my mind.

9. Walking down the incline from the zig-zag roof at the entrance and the Guide Book booth and other vendors and being stunned by the visual of the fair laid out in front of me. (Mike Krause has a couple great shots of that scene - identical to what I remember)

10. The giant "real time" population counter. (I remember wondering how they knew exactly when a baby was being born!)

11. Drinking a 7up at 7up.

12. The neat streetlights that showed up at my local amusement park in 1966 (and are still there)

13. How cheesy and toy-ish Chrysler's giant car engine seemed to me. (I was really into building model cars at the age of 12, and it struck me that they should have been able to do a better job than THAT!)

13. The giant tire Ferris wheel was about the cleverest thing I had ever seen in my vast 12 years on this planet.

14. The Ford Mustangs

15. Bursting with anticipation of which car we'd get on the Magic Skyway.

16. The Glide-a-Rides. Soooo COOL.

17. Thinking how rich those people must be that were riding in the "private" Glide-a-Rides!

18. GE. Could have gone around the Carousel of Progress a thousand times if they'd have let me.

19. For some reason my sister and I LOVED Johnson Wax. I can't remember what the atraction was that grabbed me so much. Was there a bunch of stuff to do besides the slide show? I can't remember.

20. Riding the monorail.

21. The fountains.

22. Loved the underground home.

23. The newspaper with the fake headline that I had made in Times Square in a novelty shop in 1966 or 1967. Every article in the fake newspaper was about the World's Fair that had been held 2 or 3 years before! (wish I had that paper now!!)

24. Mounting the full size blue and orange souvenir license plate on the front of my dad's '61 Mercury station wagon. (Had to hang it below the front plate since New Hampshire is a 2-plate state. (Bummer)

25.The huge, gigantic, humongus parking lot. I remember wondering how we were ever going to find the car later!

26. Thinking how neat the name "Van Wyck" sounded and how funny it looked spelled out.

27. Watching the helicopters fly over and land on the "T" building.

Gee, that was fun.

Thanks for listening!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Doug, I remember my feet sinking into the squishy floor, and, being 11, instantly reaching down and running my hand over the surface and noticing that there were raised patterns of actual leaves molded into the rubber.

As for the Johnson Wax show, it was a multi-screen film ("To Be Alive"), which was moved to the SC Johnson headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin after the Fair. I actually saw it there a few years ago, when it was still being shown in the recreated Golden Rondelle on the company campus. (I can send you pics if you want.) I discovered that I barely remembered anything, although a few scenes did jolt my memory from my first viewing in 1964.

[This message has been edited by Bradd Schiffman (edited 05-04-2002).]

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Gee Bradd, of course I'd LOVE to see photos of ANYTHING inside Johnson's Wax -I'm sure we all would!

Do you have any way of posting them so we could all take a look?

Was there much to Johnson's static displays? What else was there in the pavilion besides the movie?

I just remember my sister and I loving that pavilion. I also remember going back to see it again on my own on another day - or maybe it was the next year.

Thanks Bradd, I look forward to seeing the pix!!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

My best memory of a pavilion: Having dinner with my parents and sister on a warm September night in the restaurant of the Schaeffer Center. I remember sitting with them at a table in what seemed like a fantasy land of trees with gold leaves and fountains everywhere. That was the last time we were all together like that. My father died, very young, shortly after our fair trip.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Jim, I remember having our only dinner at the Fair at Schaeffer also, but I remember it as a cavernous room with a smorgasbord that you had to keep going back to in order to get fed. Are we both remembering the same place?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hood, I have a big favor to ask. It appears that you are the most experienced Fairgoer here. Could you please walk us through the Coke pavilion as you remember it? All I have are tiny fragments of memory images and four old color slides. Was there really a place you could order soda under the Bavarian ski lodge? And do you remember the "ocean" being sheets of black plastic that billowed? Thanks in advance...

[This message has been edited by Bradd Schiffman (edited 05-07-2002).]

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bradd, I know it was Schaefer, but I recall reading in a guidebook that they had more than one dining area. I also recall that a portion of the dining room we were in was sort of an outdoor terrace. In any event, we had a waitress (I even remember talking to her--she had taken a year off from college to work at the fair and she and my parents had a discussion about how the pavilion (and everything else) was going to be demolished in a couple of months). And I will never forget those trees with tiny gold leaves. It was Schaefer. My dad had been wanting to go there all day. The next day he found Lowenbrau Gardens.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think I can Bradd, someone recently posted photos of the Coca-Cola Pavilion. What I didn't remember was the first two unmemorable segments. The first was of a 'A bustling Hong Kong' street, not as bad as the second stop on this global holiday. The guidebook reefers to scene as having a fragrant harbor, whatever that means? It was more Hollywood than Asian, just lacking Sidney Greenstreet. Next we come to 'A serene Indian garden', which had to be the worst diorama since 1933. The Taj Mahal was set in a tray of water and was about the size of a dollhouse. This is where that pervading smell of perfume was coming from that someone mentioned in an earlier post. What the first two stops lacked, was that you walked past and not through as you did in the last three stops on this 'Global Holiday'. The next three are titled; A Bavarian ski lodge, A Cambodian forest and Rio de Janeiro, Rio is where the cruise ship was. I do recall the place you could order soda, but somehow remember it wasn't child friendly as in the "Walt Disney Rule", this reads, "Every child must be accompanied by money". As for the "ocean being sheets of black plastic that billowed", it must have. I say this because I used the same technique for a Venice holiday window in 1976; I had to get that idea from somewhere.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The press kit for Coca-Cola describes the tour as Hood did. (Was the ski lodge balcony railing "freezing cold to the touch"?)

I have 3 b/w press photos (interiors) I'll post for you guys, when I get a new scanner. Mine's kaput.

[This message has been edited by Mike Kraus (edited 05-07-2002).]

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is Bradd's photo, which he was kind enough to e-mail to be shared here.

At the bottom, I added the attribution information from the slide frame, which Bradd included in his e-mail.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello P.T.U.,

1.The convertibles and the amazing clear tubes of the Magic Skyway.

2.N.Y.S.Towers.Probably my first elevator ride in my life.

3.Elsie at Borden.Don't know why,thirsy?

4.Les Poupees De Paris.The marionettes in this show had elaborate costumes and would dance with each other,ice skate,and even did a Rockette's style chorus line with very realistic movements.The part I remember most vividly was the last "act" of the show.It was a Frankistien scene with the mad doctor,the monster,and I think,a beautiful female puppet.Don't know what the story line was but it was very dark and creepy with simulated lightning ect.Suddenly the monster jumped off the edge of the stage and ran down the aisle of the theater-straight for me,or so I thought-then he suddenly disappeared.Can't say where he went, seeing as I was lucky enough to be seated closest to the aisle and was way too busy clawing and climbing across the laps of at least two family members.After the show the audience was invited backstage to admire the 3 foot tall puppets.As much as my parents assured me that it was mearly a midget that was swapped with the monster puppet who ran into the aisle, I would not have gone backstage if they had told me Santa was back there waiting to meet me with the Easter Bunny.Besides,I'm four years old,what the heck is a midget?!?Does anyone else remember this show?No one I've met outside my family saw it.Spent the rest of my childhood terrified of dolls and puppets,Rod Serling certainly didn't help!More living evidence of what Bradd Schiffman posted at the beginning of this thread concerning shocks and memories.Actually this memory is overshadowed by the awe and excitement I felt at that the Fair(and sometimes still do).I found this forum through Bill Young's nywf64.com and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved with creating and participating in these entertaining and fasinating websites.Thanks to all who read this post.Fanfair

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this