This silent home movie (although, it could have been professionally made it appears likely to be an amateur production) shows the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. It includes views of the iconic Trylon, Perisphere and Helicline, as well as major exhibits. At the 4:15 mark, an auto exhibit is seen, likely the Ford Pavilion, where race car drivers drove on a figure eight track on the building’s roof endlessly, day in and day out. At 7:30, the Billy Rose Aquacade is seen. This was a spectacular musical and water extravaganza foreshadowing the form of many popular Hollywood musicals in the ensuing years. The show was presented in a special amphitheater seating 10,000 people and included an orchestra to accompany the spectacular synchronized swimming performance. It featured Johnny Weismuller and Eleanor Holm, two of the most celebrated swimmers of the era, and dazzled fairgoers with its lighting and cascades and curtains of water, pumped in waterfalls at 8000 gallons a minute. The cost of admission was 80 cents. At 10:00, the Lagoon of Nations is seen with a spectacular fireworks show and lighted fountains.
The 1939–40 New York World’s Fair, which covered the 1,216 acres of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park (also the location of the 1964–1965 New York World’s Fair), was the second most expansive American world’s fair of all time, exceeded only by St. Louis’s Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904. Many countries around the world participated in it, and over 44 million people attended its exhibits in two seasons. The NYWF of 1939–1940 was the first exposition to be based on the future, with an opening slogan of “Dawn of a New Day”, and it allowed all visitors to take a look at “the world of tomorrow”. According to the official New York World’s Fair pamphlet:
The eyes of the Fair are on the future — not in the sense of peering toward the unknown nor attempting to foretell the events of tomorrow and the shape of things to come, but in the sense of presenting a new and clearer view of today in preparation for tomorrow; a view of the forces and ideas that prevail as well as the machines.
To its visitors the Fair will say: “Here are the materials, ideas, and forces at work in our world. These are the tools with which the World of Tomorrow must be made. They are all interesting and much effort has been expended to lay them before you in an interesting way. Familiarity with today is the best preparation for the future.
Within six months of the Fair’s opening, the Second World War would begin, an event that lasted six years and resulted in the deaths of over 50 million people.
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com