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The 1964 World's Fair (1996)

Narrated By Judd Hirsch  |  NR |  DVD
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Narrated By Judd Hirsch
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 2, 2001
  • Run Time: 52 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000055XOB
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,308 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Fast on the heels of the Seattle World's Fair, New York's bid to hold another fair in 1964 was turned down by the international commission. That didn't stop Mayor Robert Wagner, who stubbornly launched the symbolic 250-ton "unisphere" stainless steel globe onto its pedestal in Flushing Meadows, Queens, for the two-year fair. While including fond remembrances from visitors who reminisce about sneaking in, indulging in first kisses in the Coca-Cola Pavilion, and the like, much of this 52-minute video is dedicated to examining the fair's failures. Dubbed "an old fair in new time," it was criticized for being the opposite of the city's 1939 fair: rather than predicting the future, it floundered in the postwar boom of the decade prior. Shots of its construction, promotional films, and news footage provide the documentary with its visuals, while historians and fairgoers examine the fair that ran the gamut from Michelangelo's Pietà to General Motor's Futurama exhibit. --Kimberly Heinrichs

Product Description

Relive the dazzle, wonder and fun of The 1964 World's Fair. An extraordinary documentary, narrated by Judd Hirsch, that takes a fresh look at the sights and sounds of this once-in-a-lifetime event. Part futuristic exhibition, part glittery strip mall, the 1964 New York World's Fair was planned amid the optimism of the late 1950s, but the Fair's two-year run often mirrored the chaos of the 1960s. The Fair was a brawling, costly and altogether chaotic event, but few of the 52 million people who attended noticed. So jump in that old station wagon and take a ride back to the 1964 New York World's Fair!

Customer Reviews

2.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How to make a great Fair look mundane May 17, 2001
For those who remember the 1964 World's Fair with great fondness will be enjoy this DVD while being greatly disappointed at the same time. While it's great to see the Fair again in these vintage films, there is too much time spent on the personal recollections of a small group of Fair-goers (filmed in the 1990s) and not enough good-quality footage of the exhibits themselves. I remember the Fair as a great, exciting, colorful experience - here it comes across a bit as a grainy, pastel, pleasantly-remembered weekend.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing April 6, 2002
By A Customer
Half of the 52 minutes of this DVD is spent on aging baby boomers reminiscing in their living rooms about their experiences at the fair. Then there's the obligatory fair "expert and social commentator". (This guy really needs to find a job). By the time we get to the actual sights and sounds of the fair -- all that's left is the construction of the Unisphere, a shot of a middle-aged couple eating the famed Belgian Waffles, and finally...a few minutes spent inside the GM pavillion. We might have seen more of the fair if those aforementioned baby boomers had showed us their scrapbooks. This video just has no soul. Should be in the dollar bin next to the checkout counter.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A SEVERE DISAPPOINTMENT FOR REAL '64 FAIR BUFFS May 2, 2001
I'd have to give this video a C minus- for anyone who cherishes the '64 World's Fair the way that I do, it's a severe disappointment. There were SO many sights and sounds to relive, they could have filled the entire video with glorified home movies and still photographs for 2 hours, and it would have satisfied fair buffs better than this. (Too much time was spent on the history of the fair's planning, interviews with fair attendees, etc..) Apparently, the "filmakers" were obsessed with only using actual "moving film footage" and had to hedge the rest with the interviews, etc. (Perhaps they should have taken a cue from Ken Burns, since there is a MOUNTAIN of still photographs from this memorable event that could have been used.) If you want to relive the fair, try to only rent this video if you can, and supplement it by finding old "Viewmaster" reels and collectible fair photo books- this video brings back a few memories, but not enough.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly what I wanted. April 14, 2003
Verified Purchase
Instead of alot of video of the Fair itself, this DVD depended upon the recollections of many visitors, who were interviewed.
While it was nice to hear their stories, it would have been nicer to actually see video of what they were talking about. Perhaps more audio of the Fair would have been good as well.
Albeit was 1964/65, I'm sure this PBS Special could have gone back to the News Archives of the time and showed what type of coverage the World's Fair had been getting.
I'll give it 1 star, because it brought back some nice memories, but is was not quite worth the price.
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