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Cleansing the Past, Selling the Future: Disneys Corporate Exhibits at the 1964-65 New York Worlds Fair
Unformatted Document Text:  Disney, 11 Edison. 25 The central feature of Edison Square was a series of four interconnected theaters. Each stage would hold a different theatrical feature showing off the latest innovations and home appliances of a certain time period. The first play would depict 1898, the second 1918, the third 1958 (the present), and the last was saved to show technologies of the future. 26 Each play would be narrated by an “electro- mechanical” host. Comments by some of the WED imagineers reveals that the real motivation for this project was Disney’s desire to raise money to start researching and developing Audio Animatronics technology. 27 Despite Disney’s eager pitch and multi-page, color proposal, the Edison Square project was not accepted by General Electric. However, the working relationship between WED and GE remained positive. When GE heard the announcement for the 1964 New York Fair, they asked Disney to create a “show that will interpret in an educational and entertaining way, the role electricity had played in bettering man’s living conditions, and dramatize where man’s work with electrical power will go from here.” 28 Disney and his WED staff decided to start with the ideas developed for Edison Square that had already been conceived around GE’s motto, “Progress is Our Most Important Product.” In a series of meetings Disney and the WED staff produced new ideas and revisions for a Fair show, and Disney artists created several thematic sketches. 29 A script was developed, and GE was brought in see what 25 The following quote is from the WED proposal to GE, quoted in Anderson, 60: “as they enter Progress Place in Edison Square, where they will find out that Progress is Our Most Important Product, visitors will see two separate plaques on which General Electric’s symbol and appropriate words setting forth the theme of Edison Square will appear.” 26 Anderson, 60. 27 Disney told one of the WED workers that his goal for Audio Animatronics: “I’d like to not be able to tell them from real people.” Anderson, 60. 28 Anderson, 61. 29 Disneyland Goes to the Fair, videocassette.

Authors: Lillie, Jonathan.
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background image
Disney, 11
Edison.
25
The central feature of Edison Square was a series of four interconnected theaters. Each stage
would hold a different theatrical feature showing off the latest innovations and home appliances of a
certain time period. The first play would depict 1898, the second 1918, the third 1958 (the present), and
the last was saved to show technologies of the future.
26
Each play would be narrated by an “electro-
mechanical” host. Comments by some of the WED imagineers reveals that the real motivation for this
project was Disney’s desire to raise money to start researching and developing Audio Animatronics
technology.
27
Despite Disney’s eager pitch and multi-page, color proposal, the Edison Square project was not
accepted by General Electric. However, the working relationship between WED and GE remained
positive. When GE heard the announcement for the 1964 New York Fair, they asked Disney to create a
“show that will interpret in an educational and entertaining way, the role electricity had played in
bettering man’s living conditions, and dramatize where man’s work with electrical power will go from
here.”
28
Disney and his WED staff decided to start with the ideas developed for Edison Square that had
already been conceived around GE’s motto, “Progress is Our Most Important Product.” In a series of
meetings Disney and the WED staff produced new ideas and revisions for a Fair show, and Disney
artists created several thematic sketches.
29
A script was developed, and GE was brought in see what
25
The following quote is from the WED proposal to GE, quoted in Anderson, 60: “as they enter Progress
Place in Edison Square, where they will find out that Progress is Our Most Important Product, visitors will see two
separate plaques on which General Electric’s symbol and appropriate words setting forth the theme of Edison
Square will appear.”
26
Anderson, 60.
27
Disney told one of the WED workers that his goal for Audio Animatronics: “I’d like to not be able to tell
them from real people.” Anderson, 60.
28
Anderson, 61.
29
Disneyland Goes to the Fair, videocassette.


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