Welcome (Back) To The Fair!

Welcome to the home of "After The Fair: The Legacy of the 1964-65 NY World's Fair!" As we did in the movie, we use our website to explore both the fair itself, as well as the impact of the fair on the future. The 1964-65 New York World's Fair had wide-ranging influence on future technology, cultural understanding, transportation, and city planning.

In our documentary, we connect the dots between technology seen at the fair, like Bell Telephone's PicturePhone, and Skype and other video chat services widely used today. We also examine the fair's role in familiarizing millions of people with computers. Prior to the fair, most people saw computers as room-filling, complex machines, At the fair, visitors could use a computer to retrieve a headline for a particular date from the New York Times, or find just the right recipe at the NCR pavilion.

It wasn't all about technology though. The fair was a showcase of culture and ideals from every corner of the earth. Americans, especially those from outside of New York City, were exposed to new cuisine and traditions. Remember, prior to the fair, it could be hard to find even a Chinese restaurant in all but the most urban areas of the country! 

So please join us, as we head back to 1964, to see a snapshot in time; of the U.S. at its very best, and the world coming together, if only for two summers. For those who went to the fair, it will be like visiting an old friend. For those too young to have attended, it is a fascinating look at a milestone event in our history, that touches our lives today.

Purchase After The Fair on DVD or digital download.


Would the real Queen of Spain please sit down

At the 1964-65 New York World's Fair, The Spain Pavilion was hailed as the "Jewel of the Fair," by Time magazine, and with good reason. The sleek concrete structure housed precious art from Spain, including works never shown in the U.S. before.

Queen Isabella at the fair. Courtesy of Randy TreadwayOne of those impressive works of art was the six foot statue of Spain's Queen Isabella. The bronze sculpture by Jose Luis Sanchez was a striking work. The sculpture watched over visitors from atop a pedestal giving the work a sense of size and scale well beyond its actual height.

After the fair ended, the beloved Spain Pavilion was moved to St. Louis. St Louis' mayor Alfonso Cervantes intended for the pavilion to serve as the third leg of an attraction trio including the Gateway Arch and the then-new Busch Stadium. Much of the art made the trip to St. Louis too, including the Queen. Or did it?

The "Queen" as seen in St. Louis in 2011 In 2011 when we visited St. Louis to shoot for the film, the Spain Pavilion had long ago been turned into a hotel. It turned out people did come to St. Louis for the Arch, and Busch Stadium was a draw, but all the people visiting those sites were looking for a place to stay, not Spanish art.

Today, the remains of the Spain Pavilion serve as the lobby for the Hilton at the Ballpark. We knew the interior of the building had been greatly changed in a recent renovation, removing any trace of the building's past. However, I had received a tip that while we were at the hotel we should ask if we could "see the queen." I posed this peculiar question to a maintenance worker at the hotel. He smiled and led us to a closet/storage area. In the back corner, there she was: The Queen of Spain.

A key piece of priceless art was languishing by a mop and bucket in a dark dank corner of hotel. However things aren't always what they seem... We worked the story of the Queen into our movie, opining on the condition and location of the artifact. Only later did we learn that the Queen in the closet is in all likelihood, a fake.

The original Queen Isabella Statute today in D.C. Or is it???In 1966, outside the Office of American States in Washington D.C., a statue of Queen Isabella was dedicated. The statue - six feet tall, and bronze - was said to have come from the fair. And indeed, a careful examination of the statue shows greater detail than the "imposter" queen in St. Louis.

So then it's settled: The real Queen is in D.C.

Well, probably, but...

Queen Isabella Statue, Mobile AL. Courtesy bobindrums flickr 

In a park in Mobile, Alabama, yet another statue of the queen is found. And this one claims to be from the World's Fair...


Happy New Year! 

Happy New Year! Here's to an exciting new year, and the 50th anniversary of the second year of the 64-65 World's Fair!

Ryan recently chatted with the guys at Communicore Weekly (Jeff and George) about the After the Fair project. We always love talking with Disney fans, and sharing our love of the fair and all things Disney. 

You can listen to the first half of the podcast here, or via YouTube, below. The second installment will be released next week!



We're Thrilled to Announce: After the Fair is Available Now!

Yes, after four years, we can finally say After the Fair is now available on DVD and digital on demand. As documentaries go, we had a very lean crew. However, there were still over a hundred people and organizations who made this project possible. (You can see some of their names here.) This started as a simple (and I thought relatively quick) project to document the precious remaining relics from the fair. Of course it became much bigger. And in the course of four years, we've amassed quite a lot of video and photos, as you can imagine. (Look for more on the staggering numbers related to the project in a future post.) Of course all of this means we have a lot more to share with you than we could fit into the movie, so please keep checking back for more articles and photos. For now, hop in those time machines, and let's travel back to 1964 with After The Fair. Thanks again everyone, and enjoy!


The fair had the power to change lives

One of the things we want to highlight about the legacy of the fair is the profound impact it had on the lives of people after the fair ended. For some, the fair led to new, lasting friendships. For others, it guided career choices far off in the future. For Thomas Weakley, it led to a life-long interest in travel. 

Weakley worked at the fair, starting in May of 1964. He worked at the Sinclair Dinoland exhibit. By the second season of the fair, his responsibilities included serving as a host/guide for V.I.P. visitors. He had a chance to see parts of the fair not seen in public: the secret lounges at each exhibit, and "backdoor" entrances, allowing V.I.P. guests to skip the lines that were such a big part of the fair.

The thing that stayed with Weakley though, was his exposure to a wide swath of cultures and art from around the world. While he's travelled to 30 countries, Weakley still ranks his experience at the fair, as one of the top five experiences in his life. For a kid from Indiana, the New York World's Fair served as a gateway to lands never imagined.

Here's a clip from our interview with him: