Monday, February 28, 2011

Clowning Around - Part 4

Let's jump ahead a few years to Montreal's Expo 67. There were a number of different clown troupes that worked their way around the site. Their colorful costumes made for some great photographic opportunities.

The pavilion in the back is one of my favorite world's fair designs. The tree-shaped Pulp and Paper pavilion just looked great - and still does in vintage photos! Sadly the real building is long gone.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Clowning Around - Part 3

Emmett Kelly, Jr. became a big star at the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair. Literally. He was honored with one of the giant prints that adorned the top of the Kodak Pavilion. This shot was from the early days of the fair in April 1964. I imagine it had to have been quite a thrill for him.

I wonder if he got to take it home when they swapped it out for another image. I guess it might have been a tad impractical to keep, but it sure would have been a conversation piece.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Clowning Around - Part 2

A more famous clown appeared at the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair. This was Emmett Kelly, Jr., who was part of the Kodak exhibit. Emmett would stop and sign autographs for the crowd, usually on a special postcard produced for the purpose. As could be expected, a lot of people took pictures of him doing just that. Pretty smart of those Kodak people, wasn't it?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Clowning Around - Part 1

Let's take a look at the lighter side of a few world's fairs. These folks were clowning around outside the Construction Industries Building at the 1939-40 San Francisco World's Fair. I would imagine they were part of one of the shows or attractions but don't have any firm details as of yet. It looks like it was a beautiful day, doesn't it?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Post Offices - Part 13

This happy looking mailbox was an unusual part of the post office exhibit at Expo 85. While most people want their mail delivered as quickly as possible, this mailbox was for mail that wouldn't be delivered until 2001. It was a philatelic time capsule, as all of the mail put inside would be held for delivery 16 years later. Why 2001? It seems that Japan used that year as the start of the new millennium, not 2001. Over 300,000 letters were mailed in these happy guys. I would have tried it myself to see if the letter ever did find me, but unfortunately they were for Japanese addresses only.

For more on Expo 85 please stop by my site at

I hope you've enjoyed these looks at post offices from world's fairs. Now to find a subject for tomorrow...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Post Offices - Part 12

Yes, we're still looking at post offices and are still at Expo 85. In addition to the rather austere post office seen previously, there was also this one inside Expo's "Theme Pavilion". While it offered most of the services of the main post office, it was a scaled down operation that focused more on consumer sales and less on the banking side. It also looked a LOT nicer!

Stop by tomorrow for the final look at the Expo 85 post offices. Really.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Post Offices - Part 11

Yet another post office shot. We're still at Expo 85, and this shot is just off to the left of yesterday's. This part of the operation was all business, with nothing there to show it was part of a world's fair. That's not really all that surprising, though, as it served as a working post office to the exhibitors at the fair. What is interesting is that one of the counter options was for "Electronic Mail". I'm not sure when e-mail started becoming popular but this has to be one of the first places I remember seeing it available at a counter.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Still at Expo 85 today and for a few days to come. Inside the post office building seen already was a counter to buy special Expo 85 stamps, and to get special cancellations and other souvenirs of the event. I've managed to misplace the stamps I bought there but they're likely to turn up some day. That's one of the advantages of having so much stuff stashed away - when it turns up it will seem like an early Christmas present!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Post Offices - Part 10

OK, let's move on to the next fair. Today we're at Expo 85, which was held in Tskuba, Japan. I was lucky enough to be working in Tokyo while the fair was open and really enjoyed it. The fair featured some of the wildest architecture I've seen - as long as you don't include the post office on that list. It was a very utilitarian structure, but as we'll see once we go inside, it was still a fun spot to visit.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Post Offices - Part 9

There was actually more than one post office at Expo 70. Besides the round building seen two days ago, there was also this less attractive but still busy one. They sure didn't go out of their way to make the place look special, did they? Despite the low key approach it looks like the place sold a lot of stamps though.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Post Offices - Part 8

Here's a view inside the Post Office at Expo 70 in Osaka. There was usually a crowd of people in there waiting to buy the special commemorative stamps and souvenir sheets with Expo designs. A lot of the Expo stamps show up on eBay on a regular basis, so my guess is that they sold quite well back in 1970 indeed.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Post Offices - Part 7

Jumping ahead to Osaka's Expo 70 brings us to yet another post office exhibit. The Japanese government had sold a number of special stamps and souvenir sheets to create interest in the fair and to raise money for it. Their plan seems to have worked quite well, for there were often long lines at this post office. Stop back tomorrow and we'll take a look inside!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Post Offices - Part 6

Let's turn now to Expo 67, or more accurately, the 1972 reincarnation of it as "Man and His World". I couldn't find a post office shot from 1967, so here's one from August 1972. This is the Canada Post pavilion, which, for those keeping score, was the Korea pavilion in 1967. By 1977 it had become the Colombia pavilion. And, amazingly, the structure still stands in the public park now located on the former Expo grounds.

I doubt that you can buy stamps there though.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Post Offices - Part 5

I had meant to post the post office pictures in a chronological order but somehow managed to overlook an exhibit at Expo 58. This is the interior of the Belgium Post & Telecommunications Pavilion. It was a common practice then for many European governments to operate both the post office and phone company. Yes, that was company in the singular, for those were the days of monopolies in many fields.

I can spot some electronic gear in this shot but nothing for mail...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Post Offices - Part 4

Yesterday I mentioned that the former Post Office pavilion from the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair is still standing in what is now Flushing Meadows Corona Park. All but forgotten today, it's actually one of the largest legacies from the fair still on the site. It would be great to see it used for something the public could enjoy - say, something as radical as a World's Fair Museum, perhaps? - but instead it seems to be full of bags of concrete and roofing materials. It's still worth taking a look at if you're in the park, though, even if just for a connection back to the days of the fair.

This shot was taken in 1966. The building was one of the few remaining structures even then, for the demolition work was in full swing. It provides a sad backdrop to these decapitated luminaires...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Post Offices - Part 3

Another day, another world's fair, another post office. This time we're looking at the1964-1965 New York World's Fair. Visitors to the post office could learn about the newly introduced zip code system as explained by the newly introduced Mr. Zip. They could also buy stamps, watch demonstrations of mail sorting equipment, and even mail their mail. Samples of foreign mailboxes lined the walkway leading to the pavilion.

This building is still there today, by the way. It's used as a maintenance facility for the Parks Department. Located way, way off from the rest of the pavilions at the fair, it was probably not a big hit with most visitors to the fair, for unless they went there on purpose, or saw it because they were at the Atomedic Hospital next door, they were very unlikely to have stumbled across it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Post Offices - Part 2

Let's stay with the postal theme for a while, shall we? We shall. We'll also stay at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. This mailbox was outside the Denmark Pavilion. Guests could drop their mail into it, but only for delivery through the US Postal Service. The Denmark post office did get some publicity, though, for they sent a Danish mailman to deliver mail between the pavilions using a bicycle. I don't know if he was there for the whole fair or just for a photo opportunity, but he was there for at least a short while.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Let's play Post Office

No, not that kind of post office!

Instead, let's take a look at post offices at various world's fairs. Here's a special station set up at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. Visitors could buy the new stamp issued for the fair, then get their mail canceled with a special "Space Needle Station" postmark. It's interesting to see the sign over the door reads "Space Needle, Washington" and not "Seattle, Washington." I'm sure most post offices are listed by the city they're in and not the building. In this case, the post office wasn't even in the Space Needle!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Location, location, location - Part 3

Here's a company that got a great location for their exhibit. This is the RCA Pavilion at the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair. Anyone entering the Fair through the main gate, which was the subway system entrance, came down a long ramp onto this open area called Gotham Plaza. The very first pavilion they would see was RCA, which had a big sign inviting them in to see themselves on color television. I would bet their attendance figures were quite high indeed.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Location, location, location - Part 2

Some exhibitors get great spots for their pavilions. Some don't. The latter would seem to be the case for the owners of "The Quick Draw Theater" at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. Tucked way behind a massive monorail pylon, the theater was certainly not easy to spot. Those guests that did find it were treated to shows of, you got it, quick draw artists. As in with guns, not art supplies.

I wonder if the shows were worth the effort it took to find the pavilion in the first place.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Location, location, location

When the parcels of land needed for the 1984 New Orleans World's Fair were acquired there were plenty of businesses left just outside the fair boundary. Most of them continued doing their normal work (those that were actually in operation in the run down area used for the fair) but a few took advantage of the millions of guests passing through the area. Imagine how happy the owner of this liquor store must have been when he found out the crowds using the City Gate entrance would be passing right by his door step.

I guess he didn't do as much business as he may have originally hoped to for there's a big sale underway in this shot. The fair would be closing in 8 days, though, so it was certainly time to try to clear out the inventory.

I wonder if anyone else has ever had a store so close to a fair entrance?