GENERAL MOTORS

A detailed, knowledgeable look at the technological developments awaiting mankind is provided by this exhibitor, who performed the same service at the New York World's Fair of 1939. The predictions are all solidly based on fact; they picture, among other things, a visit to the moon, a year-round commercial harbor in the Antarctic, a vacation resort located underwater and some surprising aspects of the city of the future. The GM pavilion, one of the most eye-catching at the Fair, is keynoted by an enormous slanting canopy 110 feet high, balanced, by some architectural legerdemain, over the entrance to the exhibit area. In addition to the Futurama, displays show the range of research conducted by GM as well as the variety of products made by the company (automobiles through home appliances). There are three experimental cars and five dream kitchens.

General Motors was probably the biggest hit of the 1939-40 New York World's Fair, with crowds lining up for hours for visions of the future in the "Futurama" show. This meant there were big expectations when the automotive giant announced they would host "Futurama II" at the new Fair. As soon as the crowds saw the beautiful pavilion they knew they would not be disappointed. Indeed, General Motors would once again prove to be the hit of the Fair. (CD #17 Set 86 #19)
 
The New Futurama. In this updated version of GM's classic ride into the future, visitors sit in individual plastic contour seats equipped with speakers that supply a narration. The seats move along a track that alternately dips and climbs though the two floors of the exhibition hall.
 
A trip to the moon starts the ride taking the visitor past a scale model whose craters and canyons are dotted with manned "lunar-crawlers" and commuter space ships. (CD #9 Set 45 #13)

 
Life under the ice is depicted in a display that shows an all-weather port cut deep into the Antarctic ice shelf. Under the ice cap is a weather station, where technicians prepare forecasts embracing whole continents.
 
Here a group of workers installs an under-ice laboratory at the polar ice cap. (General Motors publicity photograph)

 


 
In an underwater scene, drills tap the ocean floor for oil, minerals are hauled away by submarine train, and vacationers relax in a suboceanic resort and, equipped with oxygen, ride about outside on "aqua-scooters."
 
It looks like a nice day in this undersea hotel. Perhaps someday one will really exist, but for now, this photo will have to do. (CD #18 Set 92 #17)
 

 


 
Visiting the jungle, spectators see a machine that fells towering trees with searing laser light. A road builder, scaled to appear five stories high and longer than three football fields, follows the timber-cutter. It levels and grades, leaving a divided, multilane superhighway in its path. The road serves a city that processes the products (lumber, chemicals and farm commodities) drawn from the tamed jungle.
 
Perhaps this seemed like a great invention to the car makers at General Motors, but the ecological damages are unthinkable today. Happily this monster machine, which would have devoured rain forests and left a fully paved and striped highway in its wake, never came to be. (CD #56 Set 237 #5)
 

 


 
In the desert, crops thrive in soil irrigated with subterranean or desalted sea water. Machines operated by remote control plant and harvest the crops. (CD #9 Set 45 #34)

 


 
The city of the future is shown complete with midtown airports, high-speed bus-trains, superskyscrapers, moving sidewalks and underground conveyor belts for freight. Around the city is part of an intercontinental highway. (CD 28 Set 150 #39)
 

 


 
The Avenue of Progress. GM's scientific pursuits, as depicted in this exhibit, range from space age research to product engineering. A cosmic space chamber, applications of solar energy and turbine engines are displayed, as are new uses of metals, plastics and fabrics. There are also examples of the latest techniques in automotive design.
 
There was a lot to see in the display area, including futuristic concept cars, examples of vehicles from GM's overseas operations, appliances, and exhibits on the company's vast manufacturing operations. (CD #9 Set 45 #54).
 
 

 


 
There were also numerous larger displays outside the building. One of them was the Bison, a possible truck of the future. (CD #46 Set 209 #20).
 
 

 


 


Want more information on the General Motors pavilion?

Business Screen magazine #1
Business Screen magazine #2
 

Click here to go back to the Transportation Area index.
   
Click here to go back to the Alphabetical Listing page.
   
Click here to go back to the main 1964-65 New York World's Fair page.