The "atomic era" World's Fair--1964's--on DVD.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jack Briggs, Aug 1, 2002.

  1. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Jun 3, 1999
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    Image Entertainment's delightful DVD, The 1964 World's Fair, is not destined to capture the attention here that the newest Star Wars DVD will be receiving, but consider it strongly recommended.

    Though writer, producer, director Rich Hanley has been affiliated with PBS-financed productions in the past, his 52-minute documentary about the troubled 1964 World's Fair in New York possesses more of the feel one associates with a History Channel production--it features some of the levity of History's Lost and Found mixed with a melancholy poignance. It's a haunting record documenting the end of one era and the beginning of another.

    The 1964 New York extravaganza resonates personally, too: It was the occasion of my first visit to the Big Apple. It was also the summer of The Beatles, and the 1960s were officially underway.

    And this underscores where the 1964 World's Fair missed the boat in so endearing and high-profile a way: The fair had been conceived during the late 1950s, during the "atomic age"--a time when we were assured we'd be living in vast lunar cities by century's end, or visiting huge undersea resorts. The fair was conceived at a time of unprecedented, unbridled optimism and economic propesperity.

    Better living through science and technology.

    Corporate America would solve all of humanity's problems, this World's Fair assured us--that is, if the problems would ever be acknowledged. There was not much of a "green" presence at the 1964 "technology rules" World's Fair.

    This is an utterly charming, sometimes sad documentary about a 1950s World's Fair held in the 1960s; the world outside of the fair was changing explosively and radically, while within it was a timewarped, 1950s take on a glorious future never to be.

    Video-wise, this DVD is superb. The period footage is of variable quality, of course, but the studio shots and interviews with Fair attendees are converyed with pristine digital clarity.

    Are any of you non-New Yorkers familiar with the so-called Unisphere, which was the 1964 World's Fair symbol? That metal representation of our globe is all that remains of a goofy but charming fair, while the dreams that fueled the event, like the long torn-down exhibits and buildings, are just a memory now.

    If you love your history and your nostalgia, you will find yourself immersed while screening this fine Image Entertainment release.
  2. Dick

    Dick Producer

    May 22, 1999
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    Jack, I've been living in Maine since the late sixties, but was in Westchester County at the time of the Fair, and spent at least three full days there between 1964-5. For me this place was magical. Disneyland was 3,000 miles to the West and Disney World years in the future, so this, along with the ill-fated Freedomland in the Bronx, was like a fantasy come true for a young teen. Sure, we could visit Playland in Rye or Palisades Amusement Park in New Jersey, but these consisted of thrill rides and did not aspire to the technological heights the Fair made an effort to present. I remember my visits to Flushing Meadows vividly. I am most interested in any nostalgic video records of the Fair, and your review persuades me to purchase this, as well as the not-so-well-reviewed earlier record of the fair on DVD. I am waiting for a definitive DVD of this two-year event, from conception and construction to opening and ultimate demise. (I'd love to see the same for Freedomland, but I don't believe much of the footage made there will ever surface).
  3. John Tillman

    John Tillman Supporting Actor

    Feb 2, 1999
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    As a kid growing up in Levittown in 64' the Worlds fair made its mark on me. The great sphere (MIB) and the two towers with the rotating restaurant. How about the 64.5 Mustang from Ford or the amphibious cars? Yea, I want to watch that DVD...

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