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Boomer Flashback: The 1964 New York World’s Fair

Posted By Bill Hogan On April 18, 2014 @ 4:14 pm In Bulletin Today | Comments Disabled

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 [1]. Although nearly 52 million people attended the fair, it was a huge financial flop, returning only 19 cents on the dollar to investors [2].


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.”

740-worlds-fair-new-york-1964-futurama [3]


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

740-worlds-fair-new-york-1964-mlk-ford [4]


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

505-worlds-fair-new-york-1964-unisphere [5]


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

740-worlds-fair-new-york-1964-flintstones [7]


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

505-worlds-fair-new-york-1964-wtc [8]


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.

740-worlds-fair-new-york-1964-lincoln [9]


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.

505-worlds-fair-new-york-1964-candy-johnson [10]


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

740-worlds-fair-new-york-1964-pieta [12]


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

YouTube Preview Image [13]

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).


Also of Interest


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[1] technology: http://blog.aarp.org/category/technology/?intcmp=AE-BLIL-BL

[2] investors: http://blog.aarp.org/2014/04/17/fees-can-sap-over-100000-from-your-401k-plan/?intcmp=AE-BLIL-BL

[3] Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/740-worlds-fair-new-york-1964-futurama.jpg

[4] Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/740-worlds-fair-new-york-1964-mlk-ford.jpg

[5] Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/505-worlds-fair-new-york-1964-unisphere.jpg

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[8] Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/505-worlds-fair-new-york-1964-wtc.jpg

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[10] Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/505-worlds-fair-new-york-1964-candy-johnson.jpg

[11] >> Get entertainment and dining discounts with your AARP Member Advantages.: http://discounts.aarp.org/savings/discounts/dining-andamp;-entertainment/uSource/HCTN/categoryId/724/subCategoryId/725?intcmp=AE-BL-ENT-DISC

[12] Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/740-worlds-fair-new-york-1964-pieta.jpg

[13] Image: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LeQogBE9oM

[14] After Barbara Walters Signs off May 16, What Next?: http://blog.aarp.org/2014/04/07/after-barbara-walters-signs-off-may-16-what-next/?intcmp=AE-ENDART1-BL-REL

[15] 9 Nasty Things to Throw Away Today: http://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-04-2013/9-nasty-things-to-throw-away-photos.html#slide1?intcmp=AE-ENDART2-BL-BOS

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