The 1964 New York World’s Fair comes to a close after a two-year run. More than 51 Million people attended the exposition designed to showcase mid-20th-century American culture and technology that is still inspiring some people today, as evidenced by its inclusion in Walt Disney Pictures recent epic film, Tomorrowland. While it was not sanctioned by the Bureau International des Expositions, it was the first time many of the attendees saw, and interacted with, mainframe computers, computer terminals with keyboards and CRT displays, and telephone modems when the few corporations that had computer equipment kept it in back offices.
Major exhibitors included General Motors, IBM, Bell Systems, Sinclair Oil, and Ford Motor Company — still big names in American Industry 50 years later. While it may have been a financial disaster, it’s legacy and remnants still live on today, with a handful of the pavilions being relocated to new homes around the country, including a ski lodge in western New York, a radio station in Wisconsin, a Hilton Hotel in Missouri, a Four Seasons Lodge in Missouri, a church in California, a science center in Seattle, and attractions at Disneyland.
These days there are conventions galore, but when was the last time there was a true international exposition that really tried to look ahead to what we could achieve with peace and prosperity instead of war mongering (and that people remember) ?