I was going to blog about this topic, but given that these boards have become rather deprived of interesting topics lately, I thought I would post here.
They seem to figure large amongst Bradbury's influences. He visited the Chicago World's Fair (Century of Progress) in 1933, and reports that he was inspired by the dinosaur in the Sinclair Oil exhibit:
He has also written of taking the moving walkway around the "World a Million Years Ago" exhibit, and being so entranced with the dinosuars that he walked backwards on the conveyor to remain in one place.
There is a beautiful website about this exhibit (and the rest of the fair) here.
Bradbury wouold have been about thirteen years old when his Aunt Neva took him to the Chicago fair. Six years later, when he travelled to New York for the world's first science fiction convention, he was able to visit ANOTHER World's Fair, the New York one, which is covered in detail here. The first thing that struck me about the NY fair is the Trylon and Perisphere:
These seem such familiar science-fictional shapes, and remind me simultaneously of EPCOT's Spaceship Earth (which Bradbury wrote the original scenario for) and of the Martian cityscape in the TV version of the Martian Chronicles.
I've never been to a World's Fair - at least, not while it's in progress. However, a couple of weeks ago I was in Belgium and visited the Atomium:
...which was built as a temporary feature for the 1958 Brussels World Fair:
But, like Seattle's Space Needle and Paris's Eiffel Tower, they were liked so much that they were allowed to live on well after the fair was over.
Inside the Atomium in 2009, incidentally, it looks a bit like 2001, Kubrick style:
Did YOU ever visit a World's Fair? Were you as inspired as Bradbury?
I never got to see a World's fair, but we have a building here in San Francisco that is left over from a World's Fair type exhibition, the Palace of Fine Arts. They're going to restore it, which is good cause it's kind of nice.
fanboy, I didn't know that. I see here that the building houses a theatre and the Exploratorium...
...and whadya know, I've been there! I went to the Exploratorium in '96 or thereabouts, but never realised it was an old World's Fair relic.
Phil, yes I have been there as well, quite a few years ago, and didn't realize its significance. I hope that you also went down Lombard Street!
Not only WENT down it, I DROVE down it. It was the first item on my to-do list!
(The following day, having lost my roadside parking space near my hotel-without-its-own-car-park, I returned the rental car and switched to public transport.)
As a youngster of 10 or 11, I ventured with my family to NYC's World's Fair. I believe the Global Structure still remains as a symbol of the '64-65 afFair!
(Note old Shea Stadium, home of the Amazin' NY Baseball Metropolitans - "Mets" - in the background!)
I like that the British say car park.
I see where Universal Studios got the idea from! (Or vicey versey.)
Sometimes, especially when very young and still struggling with the complexities of speech, we even say par cark.
(Car park is a handy generic term, saving us the need to distinguish between "parking lot" and "parking garage".)
The blog Paleofuture has a recent post about a planetarium-inspired element of the 1939 New York World's Fair. (Bradbury visited this World's Fair, which was on at the same time as the first science fiction convention, which he attended (with Forry Ackerman).)
Phil, I recommend David Gelernter's book, "1939 The Lost World of the Fair". I had to read it when I found the following blurb on the back:"The New York World's Fair 1939! I was there, this book is it!" --Ray Bradbury
1939 World's Fair poster (and stamp):
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