Monday, December 23, 2019

THEME PARK BOOK CORNER: "The New York World's Fair, 1939/1940: In 155 Photographs"

Before the 1964/65 World's Fair could be built on it's site and duplicate it's inability to make money, the 1939/1940 World's Fair occurred. One of the most fondly remembered Expos in American/World History, the fair took place at a time of grave danger for many participating nations, with some being occupied during it's run or being kicked out due to their activities during the two seasons it ran in Flushing Meadows, Queens, NYC. 

This photo book expressly tells you as you read the introduction that it will not have any pictures of the amusement zone, as the world needs no additional pictures of roller coasters and carnivals. Au contraire, mon ami. Meanwhile, my copy of "Highbrow Lowbrow", freshly handed to me, sits in the pile of books to be read. Almost like I'm suggesting it could wind up here. You do, however, get photos of many international pavillions, show spaces, and of course the large corporate pavilions as well. 


How Does It Read?: It's a photo book. You can be illiterate and still get something out of this.

Will I Learn Anything?: Always the big question with these - for me, I hadn't really thought of or even knew much about the 1939 Futurama ride at the GM Pavilion, and now I know it was basically an omnimover before there was an omnimover. Fair enough. Some of the other pavilions also featured "rides" of sorts, like the Ford pavilion where cars were driven around a short course. Also I frankly knew little of how many pavilions closed up shop or were replaced during the run of the fair and how some of that tied into the burgeoning World War 2. 

Did You Take Anything Away From This?: Optimism is great, but without any degree of practicality or realism, ultimately meaningless. Fascist Italy was allowed to keep their grand pavilion as their allies stormed Eastern Europe and they themselves began to enter quagmires in Africa and the Yugoslavic republics. Doesn't seem to have stopped them from rethinking their greatness. 

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