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JOHNNY AT THE FAIR

BROCHURES OF THE FAIR

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I think that's the floor plan. The bedrooms seem to match what I remember (mirrored of course), as well as the kitchen and the living room. The bathroom I thought was toward the back of the house instead of the front, but I could be wrong.

I got burnt pretty bad in that bathroom, but not as bad as the gas company employee who came to light the pilot light of the water heater when we first moved in.

I don't know what went wrong but there was a flash explosion that blew out many windows in the house, including that big picture window in the living room.

I got serious burns on my cheeks and my hands- my hands were bandaged up for about 3 months and my mom had to put cream on my face every day. That was just a week or two before Christmas '59, and Santa brought me my first two-wheel bicycle (with training wheels). I remember trying to ride it down the driveway with my hands in bandages except my thumbs sticking out, and I kept crashing whenever I'd get to the bottom of the driveway where the rain spillway was located. Talk about frustrating! Boy was I glad to get rid of those thick bandages so I could firmly grip the handlebars of that new bicycle.

The gas man was in a lot worse condition- he was in the hospital for about a week- singed off his eyebrows and all the hair on his head. Apparently he was in so much pain he turned right around and stuck his head under the bathroom sink faucet, because when we got home from the hospital we found a bunch of hair in the sink.

I'd been looking over his shoulder watching what he was doing when the explosion happened, so that's why my face got it.

My three year old brother had been getting in the way trying to watch, and got sent to our bedroom just a minute or two before the explosion.

He knew better than to come out- even when the house exploded he just yelled "what happened? Can I come out now?" If he'd still been in that bathroom he would have got burned REAL bad because he'd been in the guy's way right down there trying to see where the pilot light was supposed to be.

I just remember screaming and my dad holding me in the living room.

I don't think my parents have had natural gas in any house they've owned since then- they got spooked by that accident.

But I'm comfortable enough with it- have had gas wherever I've lived for about 27 years now.

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What a story. Sounds like that gas was leaking for a while and the gas guy didnt shut the gas off, and open windows to air the place out. Your very lucky. Well thats some story from that worlds fair house.

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A house just like the one in the Deltona artist' depiction- not mirrored like our Orlando house- was built on the grounds of the Florida Pavilion, near the Santa Maria ship exhibit, before the Fair opened in 1964. But I believe it was built of concrete block and "spraycrete" construction. Same basic layout though. It was demolished along with the entire Florida Pavilion in late '65/early '66.

One odd feature of our house in Orlando- when it wasn't being blown out by a gas explosion the entire living room picture window- the whole thing- was hinged and swung out when a hand crank was turned, like a huge jalousie window but with one big pane. The house was not air conditioned, so ventilation was a must in central Florida.

You can see the window open in this photo. That's me on the right doing my Groucho Marx impersonation, and my cousin Marsha and brother Ricky on the left (Ricky was the one who got sent to his room just before the gas explosion and avoided injury). Ricky and I are sporting our classic military regulation 1960 crewcuts. Dad was a sergeant in the Air Force.

This picture is from the fall of 1960- almost a year after the gas explosion.

Deltona4.jpg

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Great story, RT!

I'd forgotten the name Deltona until today. They owned Sunday morning TV around here in the early 60's. I was ready to sign on the dotted line!

Off to google now.....

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Talked to my mom on the phone tonight- she and dad just got back from a Christmas trip to Mexico.

I told her about how our Orlando house design was featured at the World's Fair in 1964, and she remembered all about that house in Orlando.

She didn't know if the developer was Deltona, but she remembered the name of the subdivision and the street the house was located on.

She also remembered what the house cost- brand new- in December 1959.

Hold onto your hat folks.

$5,000.

The monthly mortgage payment was $69 a month.

Can you believe that? !

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Fantastic revelation and story, Randy-- discovered and shared like only you could! And how great to see that you were already living in a "World's Fair House" a full five years before the fair itself! What a fun thread this turned out to be.

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That 1964 World's Fair brochure says that home prices started at $7,790 (probably the two-bedroom, one-bath model that my family bought) and could be financed for $240 down and $49.27 a month. It says the price of the lot with OUT any house was $1,195. Presumably that was over in Deltona, on the Atlantic coast.

An interesting comparison to my mom's 1959 recollection of $5,000, but $69 a month, in Orlando. Don't know if they had a 30-year, or what the deal was. And at that time, I would think that the basic lot value in Orlando was a lot cheaper than over on the Atlantic coast, since there were none of today's Orlando-area attractions and Disney hadn't even indicated any interest in the area, so there were no speculators inflating prices yet.

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Hey rand looks like your dads rambler, maybe on his way to see the worlds fair house.

As a matter of fact, we did come to the World's Fair in that 1960 maroon Rambler station wagon in the summer of '64. Parked in the Shea Stadium parking lot.

In between Orlando and the NYWF, it got shipped to Athens, Greece with us, and got driven all over Europe.

Dad traded it in, in June 1967 for a.......brand new '67 blue Rambler station wagon, that he picked up at the factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin. That one got driven from Wisconsin, to Illinois, to Ohio, to Florida, then all the way from Florida to Alaska up the Alcan highway, all over Alaska for almost five years, then shipped to Seattle and driven from there to Florida by way of San Diego (we wanted to see the San Diego Zoo). By '73-74 it was the family third-hand car, and I drove it every day to school as a junior & senior in H.S. in Florida. It must have had about a zillion miles on it when my dad finally traded it in, in the late 70's.

What do my folks drive now?

Mom- Toyota Avalon

Dad- Dodge dually pickup (and a Japanese motorcycle)

He says Rambler got ruined when it became AMC

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That Rambler pic Johnny posted with the NYSP Towers still encased in scaffolding reminds me of the cool Aybar/Campione Air & Space Museum concept. Personally, I think it's a great look sealing in the observation decks.

AirSpaceComparison.jpg[/attachment:14f92]

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What's with Steve Allen on that TV lineup for Channel 11?

I thought he'd been gone off TV- at least the Tonight Show- since around 1959 or so. Heck, the Tonight Show had already gone from Allen to Jack Paar, to Johnny Carson by 1962.

Did Allen have another show in New York on Channel 11, or were they showing old reruns?

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