Lisa Fonssagrives on the Eiffel Tower, a photo by Erwin Blumfeld for Vogue, 1939
There’s a philosophy in The Wizard of Oz that speaks to all of us. Everyone has a heart, a brain and courage. If used properly, they lead to a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The gold when found, is those people who love you.
— Ray Bolger
1939 World’s Fair - The Westinghouse Pavilion
The theme of the fair was The World Of Tomorrow, and one of the exhibits that best embodied it was the one from the Westinghouse Corporation. Nowadays it would look like blatant corporate shilling, but to depression era audiences, the promise of future full of convenient electric appliances was more than appealing.
The exhibits included a fully electric kitchen, hands-on industrial machinery you could play with, a bicycle held up by light beams, and most famously, the Westinghouse time capsule (to be opened in 6939), and Electro the Moto-man. The latter would become one of the more emblematic exhibits from the fair and could move on its own, count on his fingers, smoke cigarettes, and trade barbs with his “trainer”.
It’s also one of two exhibits at the fair to get their own Technicolor film. In this case it’s The Middleton Family At The New York World’s Fair.
75 Years ago today, the New York World’s Fair opened. (1939)
Covering over 1200 acres in Flushing Meadows, the New York World’s Fair of 1939 showcased the latest in technological and scientific advances, as well as exhibits from 60 countries, including Soviet Russia.
Some of the most notable displays included the Futurama, a massive model of the world of 1960, RCA’s television sets, Borden’s fully automatic milking parlor (which introduced Elsie the cow), the Westinghouse time capsule, Electro the Moto-Man, and even hosted the very first sc-fi convention. In addition to the technological, educational and social purpose exhibits, the fair included a massive midway that was described as “The greatest amusement park ever…. at least until Disneyland”. This amusement area featured a roller coaster, the Lifesavers Parachute Drop (which still stands in Coney Island), and rather shockingly, an array of shows featuring topless girls - including one designed by Salvador Dali.
More posts on the fair to come!
The Wizard of Oz (1939) - costume tests on Judy Garland as Dorothy.
According to Alison Nastasi, “there were several different pinafores costume designers explored using in The Wizard of Oz before settling on the famous gingham dress worn by Judy Garland. They also tried out various wigs (including a blonde one), makeup styles (one very baby-doll-esque), and shoes (one pair Arabian in style). Judy’s stand-in also had her own dress — a sepia-rinsed version for the scene when Dorothy opens up the farmhouse door and the movie switches to Technicolor.”
Simone Simon aux courses de Longchamp par les Frères Seeberger, mai 1939.
My Friend the Monkey (1939)
Today the Academy announced it will celebrate the 75th anniversary of “The Wizard of Oz” at the next Oscars. (http://bit.ly/WizardOfOZ)
It’s important to note that the top photo is of Buddy Ebsen, who was set to play the Tin Man, but had to drop out, as the aluminum dust used in the silver makeup he wore caused him to become severely ill. Jack Haley took over the role. The bottom right photo is of Gale Sondergaard, who was deemed too attractive to play the wicked witch of the east, and that role went to Margaret Hamilton, instead.