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Eric Paddon

1970 CBS Documentary On Osaka Fair

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My neverending obsessive video collecting sometimes yields some interesting Fair related things, and here's something I'll be receiving in trade tomorrow concerning the 1970 Osaka Fair.

CBS News Special Report: Japan’s Expo ’70 With Charles Kuralt (1970)- This is a one hour special that was broadcast on the eve of opening day at this world’s fair in which countries from across the globe set up exhibitions promoting their culture. The U.S. exhibit focused on the success of Apollo 11. Excellent black and white picture with original Xerox commercials.

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Wow-- sounds great, Eric! Shame it's black and white, though. That fair in particular always strikes me as having been so colorful.

Wonder how many PTU'ers made the trek to Osaka thirty-seven years ago?

Here's a few shots of Expo Memorial Park today, not entirely unlike FMCP in its ghostly beautiful vibe:

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taiyonoto0207070064.jpg

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Isn't it absolutely mind blowing that you can obtain the most obscure TV shows through trading & the web nowadays?!

Oddly enough the majority of these shows are not in institutional hands either. Like the Museum of Television & Radio has meager holdings compared to some collectors I know.

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Those are great photographs of the Expo '70 Memorial Park. It does look vast and rather forlorn but better cared for than Flushing Meadows Park. I did not realize how much of Expo 70 remains. In any case, what is the structure in the sixth photograph? It looks like a replica of the Peace Dome in Hiroshima (which was, I believe, the city hall and only the superstructure of the building survived the atomic blast in 1945). Is this correct?

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Okay, finally got a chance to sit down and watch this. First, quality is a nice solid B/W kinescope of what had originally been a live broadcast (via satellite, as the staff announcer proclaims!) with Charles Kuralt reporting from the Osaka Fair. Even in the B/W quality the views of the Fair are quite good.

After the live standup, the first segment has Kuralt accompanying some Japanese children through a Japanese pavilion exhibit devoted to "human laughter." More close-ups of giggling Japanese kids though then of what's actually visible inside the building itself.

Next scene is of the Lost Child information booth and Lost Child Center to see how the procedure works for dealing with lost children.

After Xerox commercials run, the next feature deals with the Soviet Pavilion with interior views and descriptions. Kuralt says it would take a week to show everything inside the "colossus" that is the Soviet pavilion. This seques to a look at the US pavilion which contrasts greatly with the Soviet pavilion. Great deal of attention lavished on Indian artifacts that were displayed and then the "bathtub buggy" and Babe Ruth's locker, loaned out by the Baseball Hall Of Fame museum, and then the amusing irony of how in the sports section, a dummy wears Joe Namath's uniform looking nothing like him.

Computer technology as applied to banking and other things is then showcased (in contrast to today's ATM machine, this worked by relying on picture and voice identification). All housed in a Japanese pagoda style building.

Next segment is Kuralt interviewing his guide (a young Japanese student) to find out more about Japan. In an incredible coincidence she says she wants to study in the US (which she has never visited) in a small town in Illinois called Wheaton (my college!).

Then a look inside the New Zealand Pavilion's restaurant with its waterfall cascading down from above and Kuralt describes what else can be found in other restaurants (showing plates of different cuisine, not the locales. Knives and forks not allowed in the Hong Kong Pavilion!). But visuals are shown of the Iran Pavilion's exterior and the "Air Buffet" restaurant elsewhere (as well as the Kentucky Fried Chicken sign). Coke cans were of a funny looking 250 ml variety from the American perspective.

The next focus is on what small nations try to do at the Fair, given their lack of resources that make it impossible for them to compete with the big nation pavilions. Exterior views of Zambia and Gabon. And then a summary of how global politics impacts the participation of some nations at the Fair and those that don't. Then the next segment is devoted to a Japanese pavilion filled with bizarre psychedelic displays that Kuralt says, "You have to figure out what it means. We can't." Then the Tree of Light outside the Swiss Pavilion and the Australian Pavilion. Followed by Canada, and the Fuji group pavilion consisting of just cloth and air, and then Toshiba. (Exterior views and descriptions only). Kuralt then wraps things up in the final segment and comments on past Fairs starting with London in the 19th century. He mentions the 39 Fair but says nothing about 64 (though nothing about other recent ones either).

Since my copy alas is VHS, I can't offer screencaps as I've done in the past with other items from DVD, but this is available to those who want to make their requests.

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Dear Eric,

I am researching the Soviet Union's participation at Expo 70 and would like to see this program if possible, or at least a transcript. Can you give me any advice on where to find it? Thanks, Tony Swift

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