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 day 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 8/15/20 - 10 AM PACIFIC - WALT DISNEY WORLD - THE SECOND FIVE YEARS. Wow! The audience vote for next week's program was strongly for more vintage Walt Disney World, so I'll be covering 1976-1981 next Saturday. As it just so happens 1976 was when I started working there, and I'll have pictures from down in the tunnels, aerial shots from helicopters I rented, and more!

The link to this talk will be posted here on Friday, August 14.

Saturday 8/22/20 - 10 AM PACIFIC - THE 1982 KNOXVILLE WORLD'S FAIR. Not one of the biggest of fairs - in fact one of the smaller ones - but still fondly remembered by those that went to it. I'll be showing how the "Scruffy Little City" confounded its critics and turned a dilapidated rail yard into first a world's fair, and then into an outstanding city park. The talk will include a look at the many pavilions, shows, and more of the fair, and a more modern look at the park and Sunsphere. No, they don't sell wigs there. Don't get the joke? Tune in!

The link to this talk will be posted here on Friday August 21.

Some other topics under consideration:

  • Expo 58, the first post-World War II fair, held in Brussels
  • Expo 85, held in Tskuba, Japan
  • Expo 70 - Osaka, Japan
  • 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
  • Other world's fairs - got a favorite?
  • Vintage views of Knott's Berry Farm
  • Long-ago looks at Universal Studios

  • 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 - 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 - 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

    Saturday 6/6/20 - 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 talked about the main displays at the fair and some of the circumstances that contributed to its problems. I was joined by Mark Sumner, a retired Disney Imagineer, who shared some of his experiences trying to create and open a new boat thrill ride. The video of the talk is now on-line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ycwkfv-f2UM

    Saturday 6/13/20 - 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 discussed 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 video of this talk is now on-line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qIwimrvPho

    Saturday 6/20/20 - 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 showed some of the challenges faced in turning a polluted rail yard into a fair that stressed the need to protect and preserve our environment, and a look at the site today. The video of the talk is now on-line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ColaKzYx4JA&feature=youtu.be

    Saturday 6/27/20 - WALT DISNEY'S ZORRO. A change of pace! This week I left the world of international expositions behind and instead featured Walt Disney's TV series Zorro. I detailed the creation and casting of the series and showed how the masked avenger became one of the biggest television and merchandising hits of all time. The video of the talk is now on-line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIhOSE730L0. Want to learn more about the series? Take a look at my Zorro web site.

    Saturday 7/4/20 - DISNEY'S AMERICA ON PARADE. I stepped away from the barbecue and pool to take a look back at Disney's America on Parade, a two-year salute to America's Bicentennial celebration. Featuring over-sized characters and fanciful floats, the parade ran at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World in 1975 and 1976. I showed the development of the parade and scenes of it at both Parks. Some former parade cast members joined in with their memories as well. The video is now on-line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRd790hQZVY

    Saturday 7/11/20 - THE 1933-1934 CHICAGO WORLD'S FAIR. The politicians didn't want this Fair but the public did! In fact, thousands chipped in to help fund it. The Fair was supposed to only be for one season, but it was so popular it returned for a second year - with major new attractions and shows added. I'll cover how the Fair overcame all obstacles to become one of the most successful world's fairs held in the United States. Hint - it made a profit! The video of the talk is now on-line: https://youtu.be/eamwNs8Rsq8

    Saturday 7/18/20 - VINTAGE DISNEYLAND PHOTOS. I took a look back at vintage views of Disneyland. I was planning on celebrating the 65th Anniversary of Disneyland with a look at photos from the first 25 years. Well, it turns out I had a lot more photos than I thought! So, please join me for a look back at the "First Five Years of the Happiest Place on Earth!" The video is now on-line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rf6CXTtz_0E

    Saturday 7/25/20 - VANISHED SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ATTRACTIONS. There have been many different theme parks and other attractions that once dotted the Los Angeles area but are long gone, surviving now only in photographs and memories. I showed highlights from some of them. Remember Busch Gardens, the Japanese Deer Park, Cars of the Stars, the Movieland Wax Museum, the Bernheimer Japanese Gardens? What? You've never heard of the Bernheimer Japanese Gardens?? Well, it was there, and more vanished attractions, so come watch the video! The video is now on-line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfcwCn-Jm5M

    Saturday 8/1/20 - DISNEYLAND - THE SECOND FIVE YEARS. The look at the first five years of vintage photos of Disneyland seemed to be well received so this week I showed some of my favorites from 1960 to 1964. Some parts of the Park look pretty much the same but others have completely vanished! The video is now online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaJ5j7OfSgk

    Saturday 8/8/20 - WALT DISNEY WORLD - THE FIRST FIVE YEARS. Not wanting to spend all of the time on vintage Disneyland, we moved eastward this week to showcase vintage photos from the first five years of the Vacation Kingdom of the World. It's hard to believe WDW is coming up on the 50 year mark - and my, there have certainly been some changes over the years!

    The recording is now online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZznEMFc_8wM

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

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