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Bill Young

Texas Pavilions and Music Hall at amusementpark.com

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Just wanted to give a heads-up to NY World's Fair Fans...

Jim Hill's column at http://www.amusementpark.com tomorrow will feature Angus Wynne, Jr. and his Texas Pavlions and Music Hall at the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair.

Mr. Wynne is best known as the father of the "Six Flags" empire that begin outside Arlington, Texas in the early 60s. His fame and expertise in the amusement park business sparked fellow Texans Lyndon Johnson and John Connelly to tap him to create Texas' entry at the 1964/1965 Fair -- an adventure that lead to Mr. Wynne's financial ruin.

It is a fascinating and somewhat sad story that will be a good read for anyone interested in the Fair. Read the story by Jim Hill tomorrow (August 10, 2001) http://www.amusementpark.com

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The Texas Pavilions story is on-line now at amusementpark.com ... here is the link to the story:

http://www.amusementpark.com/ap/archive/hill/H2001/08/08100101_hill.html

It's a good read.

Bill

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It WAS a wonderful article! Finally we have some meaty research on this widely unknown exhibit.

However, I must strongly disagree on two points given as reasons for its failure: Location and overall Fair attendance.

Location: The Florida exhibit was also in the Lake Amusement area, and was just as far from "everything" as Texas. Yet Florida was a top-10 attraction (to the surprise of many).

Fair attendance: It's unrealistic to assume that the shortfall in Fair visitors would include a disproportionate percentage of people who would be compelled to visit the Texas exhibit. If 1% of Fair visitors "did" Texas, it's safe to assume that only 1% of non-visitors would do Texas.

In my opinion, Texas failed because.....it failed. Happens all the time. Ask anyone in Broadway, the movies, or dot-coms. The best talent is assembled at all levels, no expense is spared, research predicts success, and it still fails.

Wynne threw the dice and lost. Simple as that.

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Many years ago, I went to Six Flags Great America. It's about 100 miles south of here in Gurnee, Illinois, a far northern suburb of Chicago. The Park draws from Southeast Wisconsin (Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha) and the Chicago area and is very popular. One of the attractions was a Broadway style review that was wonderful! It was about an hour in length and had a cast of wonderful young singers and dancers. It was a typical B'way review with familiar toe-tapping songs; just the formula that Hill's article speaks of that Wynne made popular at his other Six Flags parks.

The problem I see with "To Broadway With Love" at the Fair is that it had a lot to compete against and lost. It had to compete with, frankly, Broadway! Why see a review when you can see the real thing just a few miles away? And look at what it was competing with in 1964: "Hello Dolly!" "My Fair Lady" "Funny Girl" "Barefoot in the Park" "The Subject was Roses" well, you get the picture. These are some of the greatest productions of American Theater.

And then there was the matter of admission vs. free. With "Futurama" and "Carousel of Progress" and "Ride of Communications" and "Magic Skyway" and "Information Machine" and so many free shows, how could this pay-to-view attraction compete? Especially in the early days of the Fair when everything was new and people were waiting in line for hours to see the free shows.

And then there was the fact that this presentation consumed time. The popular shows were no more than 20 minutes in length. The Music Hall would require one to spend nearly two hours to experience it. Not something Fairgoers were willing to do, no doubt, when there was so much to see and do in a day and everything was new.

It was a great idea ... but not for a World's Fair in which it had to compete with other "presentation" style shows -- unlike Six Flags where such shows compete with amusement rides.

And I do think it's location did have something to do with it's lack of success. Had it been more accessible, it might have had more of a fighting chance to survive. But its poor location only dug its grave deeper.

I thought Jim's article was great and really informative. His research shed some light on a major pavilion at the Fair, of which very little is known. And now we know why.

Bill

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Bill we are of the same mind. This morning when I read Mike's story, I said no that’s not how I see it. I was to tell of the shows that were on Broadway, the time it took to view 'To Broadway With Love' and the cost. Well shut my mouth, I come home and there is Bill reply. Yes I whole heartily agree with you Bill.

Did you know that my next-door neighbor (the one that worked at Pepsi) her sister was in TBWL. Her name is Gloria LeRoy and in the opening number in the first week of the show, she broke her arm tripping down a colossal set of stairs. You may have seen Miss LeRoy, she played a saloon tramp in the movie 'Bar Fly' with Mickey Rourke.

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Everything said below is likely to be true. You have to wonder why a "brilliant visionary" like Wynne did not foresee problems with a show whose cheapest seats cost as much as admission to the Fair generally when he was competing against free shows with advanced presentation technology. Other much bally-hooed live shows like "Wonderworld" and "America, Be Seated" failed also. Theater was considered old hat at the NYWF where Disney's Audio Animatronics" were what impressed the crowds.

Overall lower-then-expected Fair attendance

did not hurt quality shows. The most popular

exhibits exceeded their projections. The Texas Pavillions just did not give the people what they wanted.

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"Inside this rustic looking restaurant, chuck wagon steak was the big item on the menu while ***can-can girls*** would provide the entertainment."

Hey, what happened to the old Lake Amusement Area thread and my msg. from last year re my

1964 can-can-girlfriend?

P.S. Interesting movie from the 50's by Renoir: "French Can Can"

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Jim Hill's magnificent article on the Texas Pavilions and Music Hall is now available on his own website at http://www.jimhillmedia.com/archives/singles/texan.htm

This will be the more ideal location to bookmark and link to the article since amusementpark.com will likely delete their copy of it at some point.

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I recently got in touch with one of the cast members of To Broadway With Love. Her name is Gloria LeRoy, she is the aunt of my two best friends who I grew up with and is the sister-in-law of Virginia LeRoy who worked at the Pepsi Pavilion.

Here is her letter…

Dear Bruce,

Nice to hear about your family. You asked about Barfly which was a very good

experience as the late writer Charles Bukowski was on the set every day and

liked what I was doing and the director Barbet Schroeder was very nice too.

We filmed scenes I did in a dilapidated old bar (since torn down) in Culver

City. One scene I did was cut but that's par for the course. To Broadway With

Love was a trying experience as we had to have two different companies due to

union rules and time allowed that could be worked per week. Also wigs and

shoes could not be shared so the expense was enormous and much rivalry

between companies made for some unpleasantness but I always like to be

working although some experiences are better than others. I was Boom Boom on

Archie Bunker's Place and Millie on Hot L Baltimore.

Have to run,

best,

Gloria

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Mike, Virginia was in charge of the wardrobe at Pepsi. It was her job to maintain the costumes used at the pavilion. The wardrobe department had all the equipment needed for the job, including a washer and dryer. A drum of laundry detergent was also on hand for the job. Virginia not caring for the harshness of the supplied detergent would buy a preferred brand using petty cash.

Now for the story,

After work she and her coworkers would party at the many bars located at the Fair. One night the group partied a little too much. Sitting at the bar, they started to complain about the working conditions at the pavilion. This went on for hours, when the bar closed, Virginia and her cohorts went back to the pavilion and dumped the entire drum of detergent into the moat. The next morning when they started up the pumps for the ride the bubbles began. eek.gif It was a sudsy world of lather; the ride was shut down for most of the day.

The delinquents were never caught.

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Thanks for sharing those letters, and I do remember Gloria from her "All In The Family" appearances. If you ever have any follow up exchanges, do you think you could ask her if she thought "To Broadway With Love" was bound to flop from the outset, or was the sentiment going in among the cast the same in Wynne's that it would be a hit?

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Whoa, thanks for the heads up on that since that's the last of the major Fair related records I need! I've got high bid now but don't know how long that's going to last.

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OK, I have two. I paid $40 for the first, $25 for the second**. Both are very good condition. So pick a price if you need one. :D

**I imagine now-a-days they're much cheaper. Which brings me to this whine:

You folks who are just starting to collect recently (ebaywise) are very lucky! When ebay was just catching on, collectors had little idea what was scarce and what was common, so competition drove up prices even on the common stuff. Now, there's virtually no competition for the common.

What brings this up, is that I kept records on every purchase I made. So when I look up a price, as I did for the "Broadway" albums, I am mortified(!!) at the prices I paid for this landfill. Those records are proof of my stupidity, but I've since learned: "They Made More Than One!"

(Anyone need a Johnny Carson at NYWF album? Or a Small World album?) :rolleyes:

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Since your price conforms with my max bid to the exact dollar than if I am outbid, I shall be in touch to take one of them off your hands. :)

"To Broadway With Love" actually commands a higher price usually because it falls under the broader category of a cast recording LP that has yet to have a CD release (and I'm not holding my breath on Sony, which owns the Columbia catalog, to act anytime soon) and many Broadway collectors prize those things.

I may also take you up on Small World if its the small sized one from the Fair and not the big LP with the Tower of the Four Winds on the cover (which I'm getting already) and the Carson one I'd be interested in too potentially.

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Well, I ended up the winner after all on the e-bay auction ($21.50 total) so that means I won't be needing another copy of "To Broadway With Love". Still would be interested in the Carson LP.

I plan on transferring all of the World's Fair LPs I've been accumulating these last few months to CDs which will be the ideal way of listening to them in the future. The key is now structuring them in the right order on each CD.

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Whoa, thanks for the heads up on that since that's the last of the major Fair related records I need!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well then that means you're ready to start on the minor Fair related records, right?

Here's one to start you off- couldn't be much more "minor" !

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewI...;item=923255315

india.jpg

Randy

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Hey man, that "RAGA BHAIRAVI" is one of my favorite tunes!

It's one of those little ditties that sticks in your head and you go around whistling it all day like Bridge Over the River Kwai.

I remember seeing Bob Moses hangin' out behind a shrub groovin' to it - his toe a-tappin' away!

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Hey now, those VJ albums would make a nice sub-collection for Fair lovers! Notice Uni logo. There are probably 15-20 in that series. Collect them all!!

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