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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, 20 as the Skyway models were being shipped to New York, “Four Cavemen And A Wooly Mammoth Lost in Snowstorm,” became another serendipitous opportunity for publicity. 69 Although construction began on the Ford Pavilion in early 1962, WED’s models and equipment from California did not start arriving until January of 1964, giving them only a few months to build the Skyway before the scheduled opening day, April 22. 70 As with the Carousel, WED engineers were working out major and minor kinks in the PeopleMover right up to the deadline. For example, after an incident where a red Mercury got crushed by the service elevator used to raise cars onto the track, a group of “Ford people” showed up to see a test run of the track. 71 “We only ran it about 15 minutes, and then we shut it off. Then we went over the hotel and everybody got drunk. They told use that they were scared to death that this Disney thing wouldn’t work – they were so relieved.” 72 As opening day approached Ford paid 800 people to ride the Skyway to see how they reacted to it. 73 As it turned out, the Ford Pavilion had two opening days, the opening day for the Fair, April 22, and ten days earlier, the National Press Premiere for the Ford Pavilion, April 12. On press day, Disney, Henry Ford II, and the Fair’s president, Robert Moses, all made speeches before they rode the Skyway along with members of the press and their families. Disney called the Skyway “a parable of man’s journey through time from his primordial beginnings to an unknown tomorrow lighted by the fires of science.” He remarked that the exhibit “marks a the beginning of an entirely unique form of art and 69 Headline from January 14, 1964, New York Times. A Ford spokesman was quoted as saying, “ It could be the hands of mammoth-jackers. Or it could have been shanghaied by our competitors, who shall remain nameless.” On January 17, the Times reported, “Ford breathed a sigh of relief yesterday when its wandering wooly mammoth finally arrived at the World’s Fair.” Anderson, 50. 70 Official Guide: New York World’s Fair, 1964/1965. New York: Time Inc., 1964. 71 Anderson, 51. 72 Interview with Bob Gurr. Anderson, 51. 73 Johnston, Richard H., “400 Paid to Visit Pavilion At Fair,” New York Times, April 1964, sec. L.

Authors: Lillie, Jonathan.
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background image
Disney, 20
as the Skyway models were being shipped to New York, “Four Cavemen And A Wooly Mammoth Lost
in Snowstorm,” became another serendipitous opportunity for publicity.
69
Although construction began on the Ford Pavilion in early 1962, WED’s models and equipment
from California did not start arriving until January of 1964, giving them only a few months to build the
Skyway before the scheduled opening day, April 22.
70
As with the Carousel, WED engineers were
working out major and minor kinks in the PeopleMover right up to the deadline. For example, after an
incident where a red Mercury got crushed by the service elevator used to raise cars onto the track, a
group of “Ford people” showed up to see a test run of the track.
71
“We only ran it about 15 minutes, and
then we shut it off. Then we went over the hotel and everybody got drunk. They told use that they were
scared to death that this Disney thing wouldn’t work – they were so relieved.”
72
As opening day
approached Ford paid 800 people to ride the Skyway to see how they reacted to it.
73
As it turned out, the Ford Pavilion had two opening days, the opening day for the Fair, April 22,
and ten days earlier, the National Press Premiere for the Ford Pavilion, April 12. On press day, Disney,
Henry Ford II, and the Fair’s president, Robert Moses, all made speeches before they rode the Skyway
along with members of the press and their families. Disney called the Skyway “a parable of man’s
journey through time from his primordial beginnings to an unknown tomorrow lighted by the fires of
science.” He remarked that the exhibit “marks a the beginning of an entirely unique form of art and
69
Headline from January 14, 1964, New York Times. A Ford spokesman was quoted as saying, “ It could be the
hands of mammoth-jackers. Or it could have been shanghaied by our competitors, who shall remain nameless.” On January
17, the Times reported, “Ford breathed a sigh of relief yesterday when its wandering wooly mammoth finally arrived at the
World’s Fair.” Anderson, 50.
70
Official Guide: New York World’s Fair, 1964/1965. New York: Time Inc., 1964.
71
Anderson, 51.
72
Interview with Bob Gurr. Anderson, 51.
73
Johnston, Richard H., “400 Paid to Visit Pavilion At Fair,” New York Times, April 1964, sec. L.


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