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Randy Treadway

Hear the story directly from The Mann

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Trey is doing some research on the Underground Home as part of his job and was asking me about what information had popped up on PTU over the years....

One of them had to do with a song called The Bottom of the Fair.

Hoodlock posted this account five years ago in May 2002:

The discotheque at the Underground Home Pavilion opened this week in 65'. Simply called the Discotheque Night Club, it was opened from 10 PM to 2 AM. The dancing didn't go on in the lavish 10 light and temperature-controlled rooms but on the patio, which only appeared to be outdoors but was actually 15 feet below the meadow. There was room for 175 patrons and they could dance to the recorded tunes of "Come On Down to the Bottom of the Fair" and more popular songs.

Then in March 2004 I spotted the Johnny Mann Singers record album on eBay. I think Mike Kraus had also reported seeing it shortly before that. In any case, I didn't bid on it, thinking it was just one more World's Fair record album. In retrospect, I could kick myself. It has to be possibly the rarest of all record albums from the '64-65 NYWF. I've never seen it since.

Johnny_Mann_Singers-_featuring_music_from_the_Underground_Home.jpgJohnny_Mann_Singers-_featuring_music_from_the_Underground_Home-back.jpg

Back then we pointed out how similar the album jacket was to these pictures of the Underground World Home's underground patio area on nywf64.com

undgrho01.jpg

nywf64.com, from Source News Colorfotos by Edmund Peters, Richard Lewis and Patrick Carrol, New York Sunday News, May 30, 1965

uwh06.jpg

nywf64.com, from World's Fair Underground Home brochure

I've always wondered about that record album. Why is it so rare? Was it only sold at the Underground Home? Or was it even sold at all, or just given to VIPs?

The Liberty Record label clearly appears on both the front and back of the jacket. Liberty was the 'home label' for the Johnny Mann Singers. Yet this album does not appear on any on-line discography for the Johnny Mann Singers, or supposedly complete lists of every album ever produced by Liberty. Very strange indeed.

When Trey asked me about the Underground Home a few days ago, it got me to thinking about this album again.

So yesterday I did some more digging.

And what did I come up with? An e-mail address for the man himself- Johnny Mann! He'll turn 79 next month. So of course I sent one of those shot-in-the-dark e-mails explaining our interest, asking whether he remembers this album, and any other World's Fair recollections he might like to share, etc. I also asked him about a rumored musical stage show at the World's Fair similar to his Stand up and Cheer television show, but was short-lived. I asked if he was involved in putting together that show.

This evening I got an e-mail back from Johnny Mann! Here's what he said:

Hi Randy, Thank you for your interest in my album that was produced for the Worlds Fair. I have quite a bit of information to share with you in a multitude of areas. I am in Anderson, SC, which is obviously Eastern Time zone. I don't know where you are, but I think the best thing we could do would be for you to telephone me at . If I am not home when you call, just leave a message with your number and the best time to reach you. The best time to reach me is generally 3-6 p.m. during the week. My best, Johnny Mann

So, there we have it- it appears we are destined for a scoop of insider information related to the Underground Home music, and perhaps other World's Fair info. I will probably call him Monday or Tuesday.

This is YOUR chance-

What kinds of things should I ask him? Post your question list!

I'll take notes and post a complete report back here. (and of course I'll invite Johnny to join us here at PTU).

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Thanks a lot, Randy-- and what a great development! Of course, the first thing I'd like to know is if there's any way we could purchase a copy of his World's Fair record. But I'd also love to hear any memories he'd like to share about the Underground House. Was the false outdoor illusion (i.e., window pictures, patio, etc.) convincing enough to combat claustrophobia? I really look forward to hearing his stories!

-Trey

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Oh, Trey, that patio area and the whole undergound home was incredible! I remember that patio as if it were yesterday! This place was so cool and upscale that I remember actually being mad at my parents for saying that we COULDN'T have one built for ourselves!

As for the claustrophobia question... I remember it being so damned sexy that I could easily picture living there for the rest of my life. Of course I was 12 at the time and had a pretty skewed frame of reference as to what "the rest of my life" actually ment.

Nice find Randy... can't wait to hear what Johnny has to tell us!

My question is simply one that I'm sure you will aask him anyway... how the heck did he get associated with the Underground home in the first place?

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Around 2006 Bruce and his girlfriend found a maintenance access hatch hidden in a stand of shrubs across from the Hall of Science. It wasn’t long before they gave up their NYC apartment and moved into the Underground Home, it took some cleaning, I am told. Some say late at night you can see her foresting for food around the carousel.

Thanks for the shout-out, Randy T

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Trey-thanks for linking me back to this thread, Now I remember it!

So whatever happened with The Mann? Did the phone call happen? If it is not too late, I am sure I can come up with a good question or two for Mr. Mann to add to the PTU database. I didn't even know they had a disco down there- it must have been an awesome party!! Wow I would have loved that.

So if there is a secret hatch, we wouldn't really need to dig then to reach the place. I was getting all geared up for a moonlight exhumation, but the hatch is definitely easier. We shall proove, once and for all, that Disco is indeed NOT DEAD!! lol JS

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I assume that this image from "Remembering the Future" is common knowledge, but what the heck:UndergroundDemo.jpg[/attachment:a7444]

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So, is there a big hole in the background, or is that just the debris from the above surface structure?

I don't think the photo is definative either way.

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That's the surface stuff, including the ready-to-be-smashed "Chalet Susanne" soups and salads stand.

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Here is what you have to do:

1. Dig down to a depth of 15"

2. Tunnel North about 3'

3. Open Hatch

If you follow these directions you will come up through the sewer lift. You can also dig a tunnel from the parking lot across the street using a false bottom van for cover and dispose of the tunnel dirt by using dirt bags aligned in your trouser legs (with a release string hidden in your pockets) as you wander around various construction sites

post-3752-1223614666_thumb.jpg

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Yes, indeed. Watch out for those Luftwaffe, err, Parks Dept. ferrets!

Personally, I think it's still there, mostly intact. A sharp metal rod driven down the appropriate distance would hit the concrete roof.....

An elaborate system of security stooges would protect the "rod man"....

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If this helps

I was there for the rocket park re-opening an old worker said the built the thing in a concrete "bathtub" and that its ceilings top was only 3-4 feet down.

Hes not sure it was filled in but the bathtub is likley still there.

He remembered the Halls radio club did a "radio field day" in the 70's and the guys couldnt drive grounding and mast guy rods down in that area.

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Having seen just last weekend how much concrete is breaking through the surface all over the park, and how barren the area is at the Underground World Home site, I am convinced they just covered it over and left town. The exhibitors and the Fair Corp were all looking to cut their loses by that point in time.

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You said it, congruent with the general policy for fair maintenance: nothing but the bare minimum.

Except of course for that $80 million project to produce "undulating gardens" back in '89 (from previously posted Newsday article):

Newsday5det.jpg[/attachment:de4da]

on a related topic:

http://www.kjrh.com/news/local/story.as ... eb&rss=701

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I assume that this image from "Remembering the Future" is common knowledge, but what the heck:<!-- ia0 -->UndergroundDemo.jpg<!-- ia0 -->[/attachment:e0922]

Same location in September '65. The "pit" matches, with the brick headers- apparently was supposed to be something like a fountain.

65-09-49-04_Hall_of_Science.jpg

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I read somewhere that you could see outlines of the Fair buildings in the grass patterns from an aerial. If you scale the Underground home it appears to fit the earth pattern, that much concrete would be hard to hide. I'd say you could identify most of the structures and roads shown in the aerial reference I put in the upper left corner. It would be interesting to see how a good overhead aerial lines up (J4 you there?). Also interesting that the rectangular planter seen in the demolition photo is filled in '64 and empty in '65, there were 2 sets of stairs (6 steps down), on adjacent corners, to the concrete pad over the home. Not many/any images of the above ground entrance to the underground home.

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Wouldnt it be more West closer to the parking lot or was the Avis ride the other side of the fountain ?

Wasnt there a wide ramp up to the hall (N of the small curved path) that turned left at the hall?

I cant remember to much (the 60's-70's were tuff )

....Need a good old arial photo

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Here is another wag at illustrating this thing. It sure would generate publicity for the park if this was excavated and restored, even if there is nothing down there but a Ford Pavilion tag (like when a vault of Al Capone's was opened by Geraldo Rivera on live television in 1986) . An anthropological dig for the Queens Museum.

UGcomps.jpg[/attachment:d4728]

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