Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rockaways' Playland

Well, I made it back from New York! I had some fun exploring the former New York State Pavilion and will post pictures of that adventure later. As our flight left JFK it took us right over the former site of Rockaways' Playland, a long ago vanished amusement park. While not as well known as Coney Island or other classic parks, Playland was a lot of fun in its day. If you've ever seen the film "This is Cinerama" that's the Playland's rollercoaster. While today there's nothing left to mark the site, I thought a few vintage pictures would make an adequate fill-in. Here's the entrance and ticket windows. More to come.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Why is this blog like the Indonesia Pavilion?

Here's a shot of the Indonesia Pavilion during the second season of the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair. If you click on it to enlarge it you'll see a "Closed" sign blocking the entrance. Due to politics and finance the pavilion didn't open that season, and sat there instead as a sad symbol of world politics.

I'm hanging out a "Closed" sign for a few days. No politics here, just a trip that will keep me away from my main computer and my photo files. I'll be in New York and if I get by the fair grounds I'll make a stop at the site of the old Indonesia pavilion. That's if I venture outside much - they're predicting snow and after 35 years of living in Los Angeles I'm spoiled!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

More on Expo Ernie

Yesterday I posted a view of Expo Ernie, the mascot for Expo 86, taken during the design process. Here's another early view, which I believe is from a sequence shot to first show off the character. Here Ernie is posing with some construction worked on the Expo site in October 1983. A lot of work was going on to get the place built, and Ernie jumped in to help with an equally important task - selling Expo 86 to the public. I'd say he did a good job on that!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Creating Expo Ernie

Expo Ernie was the delightful mascot of Vancouver's Expo 86. In addition to starring on a myriad of items sold at the fair, including shirts, dolls, pennants, and more, Ernie was also there as a remote control character that moved around seemingly on his own. Ernie did a lot of pre-fair appearances to drum up interest in the fair as well. Here's the earliest photograph I've found so far of Ernie, showing a clay model of the figure.

I think Ernie was one of the best fair mascots of all time. At least he was easily recognizable, unlike a lot of the blob like figures of some recent fair.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Expo 86. I haven't heard of any celebrations for that yet, but if they do hold one, I'll bet Ernie will be there again.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Harder Than It Looks

It looks like being one of the Mounties on duty at Expo '67 was easy work, right? Well, while Montreal can be pretty chilly in the winter, it can also get warm and humid in the summer. This shot was taken in July 1967, so that wool uniform might have been a bit warm. And let's think about how much fun it would have been to have to sit still and pose for pictures. Still, I bet the Mountie had a ball at Expo. The mood that summer was electric, and to have been part of it would have been something not easily forgotten.

That's one well trained horse.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Instead of painting the site green to help celebrate St. Patrick's Day I thought I would use a shot of the Ireland pavilion at the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair. This was taken on April 21, 1965, for those of you keeping score. I enjoyed this view of the WNEW News station wagon making its way through the fair. Imagine what a great job it would have been being a reporter assigned to the Fair? Even on a slow day there was probably a lot going on - and the press pass probably got you into some great spots!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

38 years ago in Flushing Meadows

I lost track of the date and forgot to post this one yesterday. This is the Unisphere from the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair as it looked on March 15, 1963. Can you imagine how nervous the designers and builders must have been as they worked to assemble it? If anything had gone wrong it would have been a major embarrassment and left the Fair without its theme symbol. Happily it all came together and the Unisphere is still with us today.

I better not miss another important date tomorrow - my wedding anniversary!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Maps, maps, maps - Part 8

Sometimes there's not much demand for a map. That's the case in this scene from Brisbane's Expo 88. It's about 8:10 in the morning and things were just getting in gear despite the rainy weather. Other shots from that day showed quite a few people turned out for the day, so I imagine the maps were appreciated then.

Days like this are my favorite way to see a fair. The lack of crowds makes it easier to get into the pavilions, but it really helps in getting shots of the buildings without them being blocked by crowds. I'll take a light rain over a lengthy line in the sun any time!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Maps, maps, maps - Part 8

Expo 86 also featured giant maps to help you find your way around the site. The task was made even easier by the fairs color coding system, which broke the fair into several themed sections. The colors of things like flags along the walkways matched the colors of the zones on the map, making it easier to know where you were and where you were heading. The guide maps themselves were easy to spot as they were under towers with the giant "86" logo as seen here.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Maps, maps, maps - Part 7

This colorful map was located at Expo '85, which was held in Tsukuba, Japan. It was located between Tokyo and the site of the recent horrific earthquake, but I haven't heard yet about damage in that area. The site was converted to industrial use following the fair, with the exception of the green parkland section. Back in 1985 color-coded maps like this one were a big help in finding my way around the site.

Expo '85 was one of my favorite fairs. I hope all of the people I met there are well now.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Maps, maps, maps - Part 6

Besides the maps that were parts of the fair itself, the 1984 New Orleans World's Fair - like most others - also had maps for sale. I'm not sure how well they sold, for while I have seen many copies of the guidebook for sale over the years, I don't think I have come across a separate stand-alone map from the fair. Some of the maps from other fairs show just the name of a pavilion and where it's located, while others have small drawings of the pavilions, which really helps place where a particular image was located on the fair site.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

No picture today - I'm in shock about the disaster in Japan

I have been to Japan many times and worked in Tokyo. Watching what they are going through there now is heartbreaking. I was there in a few minor quakes, but the damage from this one is unbelievable, especially the tsunami damage. My thoughts are with everyone there tonight.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

We've seen a number of maps that were part of various displays at different pavilions, but here we see a potentially more useful map. World's Fairs are usually big, chaotic, and confusing. Happily guests to the 1984 New Orleans World's Fair, aka the Louisiana World Exposition, could find their way around the place using these giant color-coded maps which were located near the entrances and at other strategic points. This particular map was on the International Riverfront. That's the Sky Transpo system just behind it.

Like the Moscow map from Expo 67, I wonder if any of these have survived.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Maps, maps, maps - Part 5

Here's one of the most unusual, and most beautiful, maps I have found at a world's fair. This map of Moscow hung in the window area of the USSR Pavilion at Expo 67. What made it so unusual was that it was all done in stained glass, an art medium I generally don't think of as Russian, at least in connection to the Cold War years. The map was really something to see, as it was very large, and with the wide windows behind it it really showed up well.

After Expo 67 ended the building was moved to Moscow. I wonder if the map made it there as well.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Maps, maps, maps - Part 4

One more map from the 1962 Seattle World's Fair before we move on. This one was at the Canada Pavilion, and it featured colored lights representing growth projections for the population and industries in the country's major cities. That fit in well with the overall purpose of the pavilion - and the fair itself, in fact - in hoping to attract new business and economic growth., So, while not a particularly exciting map, nor easy to understand without the taed narration that explained the lights, it's still a vital part of world's fair history.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Maps, maps, maps - Part 3

Let's take a closer look at that map at the Pavilion of Electric Power at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. This section of the model is of the Seattle area, with all sorts of power plants spread across it. Taped narration explained the vast power grid and how important it was to the people of the state. Lights flickered in the tubes connecting the power plants and the cities, bringing a sense of movement to the display. The narration prompted visitors to vote on any new laws or bond measures to keep the system alive and growing.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Maps, maps, maps - Part 2

The 1962 Seattle World's Fair also featured a giant relief map. This one was part of the Pavilion of Electric Power, seen here. Visitors could look down from a curving walkway for views of the power system of the State of Washington, including projections for future growth to meet the needs of the growing state. While most of the facilities were hydro-electric plants, there was the forecast of nuclear plants as part of a marketing plan to help sell the technology to those who might be voting on it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Maps, maps, maps - Part 1

A world's fair is certainly guaranteed to put the host city on the map. For some fairs that wasn't enough, though - they made maps a part of the show. One of the largest examples is seen here in this view from Expo 58. This giant relief map of the host country, Belgium, showed the location of major cities, industries, and landmarks. It was built at a scale of 1:3500 and was part of the Civil Engineering Pavilion.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011