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.”
Martin Luther King Jr. took a spin with his children on the Magic Skyway at the Ford Pavilion.
The fair’s Unisphere icon, a 12-story, stainless-steel model of the Earth, was “destroyed” in the 1997 film Men in Black.
In their fifth season on TV in 1965, the Flintstones visited the fair using a time machine.
A little-known exhibit was this scale model of the World Trade Center planned for lower Manhattan.
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.
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.
The star attraction of the Vatican Pavilion was Michelangelo’s Pietà.
One of Disney’s trademark songs, “It’s a Small World,” debuted at the Pepsi Pavilion.
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); Pietà (Araldo de Luca/Corbis).
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