1964: Popular Exhibits

In keeping with the fair’s architecture, this interest in interconnectedness and space technology extended to a number of key exhibits.

One of General Motor's " Concept Cars" inside the General Motors Pavilion, 1964.

One of General Motor’s ” Concept Cars” inside the General Motors Pavilion, 1964.

For example, Walt Disney’s “It’s a Small World” highlighted world unity while delighting visitors with animatronic characters, coordinated sounds and robotic movements. Disney’s animatronic displays occupied prime positions across the fair and proved to be so popular that they were later moved to Disneyworld where they continued to operate.

Visitors also flocked to the new and improved version of General Motor’s “Futurama.” Originally opened at the 1939 fair, the 1964 version featured moving armchairs that whisked visitors above a scale model of a not-too-distant future city. Visitors were also treated to demonstrations of an early computer and to video calling, two things exhibitors accurately anticipated.

While many large European countries chose not to exhibit at the 1964 fair, Spain, Belgium, Japan and a number of smaller countries did participate despite the fair’s unsanctioned status. In particular the Vatican’s pavilion drew crowds to see Michaelanglo’s Pieta, on its first ever voyage outside the Vatican.

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