Boomer Flashback: The 1964 New York World’s Fair

The 1964 New York World’s Fair, which opened on April 22, 1964, and ran for two six-month seasons, was a sprawling showcase of mid-century American culture and technology. Although nearly 52 million people attended the fair, it was a huge financial flop, returning only 19 cents on the dollar to investors.

 

The fair’s most popular exhibit was GM’s Futurama, which mesmerized nearly 26 million visitors with its 3-D scenes of the “World of Tomorrow.”

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Martin Luther King Jr. took a spin with his children on the Magic Skyway at the Ford Pavilion.

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The fair’s Unisphere icon, a 12-story, stainless-steel model of the Earth, was “destroyed” in the 1997 film Men in Black.

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In their fifth season on TV in 1965, the Flintstones visited the fair using a time machine.

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A little-known exhibit was this scale model of the World Trade Center planned for lower Manhattan.

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Walt Disney dazzled fairgoers with “Audio-Animatronics,” including an electromechanical Abraham Lincoln with more than 250,000 combinations of facial expressions, gestures and other actions.

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The fair’s top-grossing commercial pavilion was reportedly “Bourbon Street,” which featured go-go dancer Candy Johnson (billed as “Miss Perpetual Motion”) headlining at the Gay New Orleans Nightclub.

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The star attraction of the Vatican Pavilion was Michelangelo’s Pietí .

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One of Disney’s trademark songs, “It’s a Small World,” debuted at the Pepsi Pavilion.

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Photos: GM Futurama (AP Photo); MLK (Hulton Archive/Getty Images); Unisphere (Bettmann/Corbis); Twin Towers (Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images); Lincoln Audio-Animatronic (Flickr Creative Commons); Candy Johnson (Photofest); Pietí  (Araldo de Luca/Corbis).

 

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