Zoom sessions

I thought I would use some of the amazing technology predicted at world's fairs and do some talks about these great expositions while we're stuck at home keeping safe from the corona-virus. Want to join me? Just fire up your trusty Bell System Picture Phone and let's get started!

Hmm. No Picture Phone handy? Well, please join me then on Zoom, a popular teleconference site. You can download the software for your browser or watch on-line at zoom.us, or download apps for your phone and tablet through the various app stores. The software and chats are free but are limited to 100 participants.

In order to reduce the chance of spammers joining us, I will post the invitation information for each session here the night before the talk begins, so please stop back then and look for the link.

Upcoming talks

Here's a list of upcoming talks planned at this time.

Saturday 6/6/20 - 10 AM Pacific - THE LOUISIANA WORLD EXPOSITION OF 1984. Also known as the 1984 New Orleans World's Fair, this was the last world's fair held in the United States. A rather small fair, and mostly forgotten today, it has the dubious distinction of being the only fair to declare bankruptcy while it was open (many other did when the gates closed). That was an unfortunate situation, as it was actually a fun event and well received by the local residents who flocked there, especially in the evenings. I'll be talking about the main displays at the fair and some of the circumstances that contributed to its problems. I'll be joined by Mark Sumner, a retired Disney Imagineer, who will share some of his experiences trying to create and open a new boat thrill ride.

Topic: The 1984 New Orleans World's Fair
Time: Jun 6, 2020 10:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Saturday 6/13/20 - 10 AM Pacific - VANCOUVER'S EXPO 86. This was the last world's fair held in North American - and it was a wonderful way to close that chapter (for now, at least) on these international showcases. I'll be looking at how Vancouver transformed a run-down section of the waterfront into a vibrant part of the city, with some of the site still in use today. If you like colorful pavilions and displays you'll love seeing Expo 86.

The link to this talk will be posted here on June 12.

Saturday 6/20/20 - 10 AM Pacific - SPOKANE'S EXPO 74. When Spokane first proposed a world's fair the critics scoffed. Surely that small a city had no hope of holding a world's fair, let alone a successful one. Well, the critics were wrong. The 1974 Spokane World's Fair, aka Expo 74, was small, but it was very well done. It's now a beautiful park and well worth a visit. I'll show some of the challenges faced in turning a polluted railyard into a fair that stressed the need to protect and preserve our environment, and a look at the site today.

The link to this talk will be posted here on June 19.

Some other topics under consideration:

  • A more detailed visit to the 1939-1940 World's Fair - The World of Tomorrow
  • An in-depth look at the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair, including visits to the most popular exhibits - and a look at some pavilions that were planned but never came to be, and where you can visit parts of the Fair today
  • The 1933-1934 Chicago World's Fair - The Century of Progress
  • Walt Disney's Zorro - how the masked avenger became one of the biggest television and merchandising hits of all time. And proof that I have interests besides world's fairs!
  • Other world's fairs - got a favorite?

  • Past talks

    Links to videos of past talks will be provided here approximately 24 hours after the talks.

    Saturday 4/25/20 - DISNEY AND THE WORLD'S FAIRS. Several years ago I was asked to put together a presentation for Disney cast members exploring the effects Disney had on world's fairs and vice-versa. This is an updated version of that talk with some newly unearthed information. The video of the talk is now on-line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeSXk96RvBI

    Saturday 5/2/20 - REMEMBERING TOMORROW - Albert Fisher and I took a look back at the 1939-1940 and the 1964-1965 New York World's Fairs. We explored how each of these incredible events came to be, with rare photos showing how they were built and some of the most memorable exhibits. The video of the talk is now on-line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hw0eEppCImI.

    Saturday 5/9/20 - THE 1962 SEATTLE WORLD's Fair - Albert Fisher and I traveled back to the days of this breath-taking "pocket-sized" Fair. It may not have been the biggest Fair ever built but it was one of the best. Albert shared some amazing inside stories from his time working at the Fair - including what it was like to go on a double date with Elvis Presley! Unfortunately due to a technical error no video is available for this talk.

    Saturday 5/16/20 - A RETURN TO TOMORROW - AN UPDATED LOOK AT NASA AND THE WORLD'S FAIRS. NASA at the world's fairs - spacecraft and astronauts have been popular crowd pleasers since the 1962 Seattle fair. Dr. Kenneth Carpenter of NASA and I discussed these very popular exhibits, which included actual hardware that had been flown in space as well as some concepts that never got off the ground. This is an updated version of a talk I gave at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. We were also joined by Doug Drexler, a name well known in the Star Trek community! The video of this talk is now on-line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_FKJIRP3uI

    Sunday 5/17/20 - DISNEY AND THE WORLD'S FAIRS. This is an encore presentation that I did for some fellow Disney retirees. Nothing like doing a chat with the folks that designed and built some of this stuff! The video of the talk is now on-line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeSXk96RvBI

    Saturday 5/23/20 - 10 AM Pacific - MONTREAL'S EXPO 67. This is one of my favorite fairs, and I was planning on being back in Montreal for another visit to the site this year. Unfortunately it looks now like that won't be happening just yet, so I took the time machine back to the days of Expo 67, with a look at some of the major pavilions, and some views of how it became to be, in effect, the longest running world's fair of all time. The video of the talk is now on-line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_xPTtxzFbU

    Saturday 5/30/20 - 10 AM Pacific - WORLD'S FAIR & EXPO "SHOW AND TELL". Several dozen world's fair fans brought out parts of their collections to show off their favorite items and memories. It was fun to see how varied these collections are, with folks joining in from across the US, from Canada, and even Australia. The video of the talk is now on-line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OloIDcIFvk

    Got any feedback for a past talk, suggestions on how to improve them, or ideas for a future talk? Please contact me.

    If you enjoyed any of the talks and would like to help defray the expenses please consider making a donation through PayPal.

    As a "thanks" to those who watch one of my Zoom talks, I'll include a free world's fair gift with any purchase from this site as long as supplies last. Just click this button to add the free surprise gift to your cart, then continue shopping. One per order, please.

    Continue to the site's main page - have fun exploring!