The New York World Fairs of 1938 and 1939 were highly influential events that had over 44 million people attending over the course of its running. Being promoted and thought up in the height of the depression, it was uplifting to consider the future and what the future could hold.
Around that time in history, there was a lot of tension all around the world due to the actions taken during WWII. WWII had started four months into the start of the fair and many things had already occurred. Germany annexed Austria in March of 1938 and the war did not end until long after the fair was closed. The fair was a fairly exclusive event and housed many different pavilions from places around the world. I think the thing I would want to discuss is the revelation of television and focus on the entertainment impact of the world fair. This is a huge jumpstart for many different components of society. With the 1938 / 1939 world fair being the hub of entertainment fueled by hope for the future and the amalgamation of countries participating, this further exposes people to exponentially growing concepts. Well known films mention the world fair and specifically the television being introduced at around that time. This component is not only significant as a reference but is also tied into things like communication and acculturation. TV itself is something that should be regarded as a crucial contributor to many trends and norms around the world.
I think that this is a big thing to talk about because it ties into VCRs and how people love film. This directly affects films, the evolution of movies, TV shows, Icons, reality TV, and I would go as far to say that it has some influence on the SCi-Fi genre.
https://www.bairdtelevision.com/television-at-the-1939-new-york-worlds-fair.html this website talks about how this started broadcasting and how this invention helped showcase things like the president’s speech and forms of entertainment like opera. This is a new way of watching things from the comfort of home. Cartoons and their influence on society, entertainment, and pop culture are also tied to this television.
There was even influence from the classy advertisement shown for this pricey system
This is imaging from https://www.earlytelevision.org/worlds_fair.html of people partaking in the early television museum. There are also additional photos and excerpts about the TV museum and this website, https://www.bairdtelevision.com/television-at-the-1939-new-york-worlds-fair.html, provides more context about this topic. Both of these provide not only some accounts of the time then, but also some influences that have carried through to the present that we may not even know of, yet.
https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/queens/back-attractions-1939-world-fair-article-1.2619155 – this link includes other attractions that be connected to TV or WWII
Another important aspect to consider is definitely WWII because it definitely influenced the topic of the world fair and the need for imagining a better future. It also has some somber notes that remind people of the conflicts that fair planners and organizers struggled with. https://www.nysl.nysed.gov/collections/worldsfair/ this link discusses the buildings made and some of the war’s impact on the fair. They might have been trying their best to be optimistic about the future but the financial issues and inevitable closing of the fair is a wake up call, if anything. Symbols and buildings of this fair for the future were also melted down to make bombs and tension at the fair was bound to affect people due to their home countries.
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