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1964 New York Worlds Fair: The Ford Pavilion and the Magic Skyway

This week we are taking a short break from the Kodachrome Image Series although we are featuring a period Ford Motor Company image colorized by photo restorer Patty Allison of Imbued With Hues. This photograph brings back memories as my family visited the 1964-’65 World’s Fair located in Queens, New York, a borough of New York City. 

One of the exhibits you Editor remembers very well was at the Ford Pavilion and included the fantastic ride on the “Magic Skyway” that was created for Ford by Walt Disney. The ride used close to one-hundred new Ford Motor Company convertibles produced by all of its Divisions, including the new the 1965 Ford Mustang to transport visitors through the ride. The two themes of the adventure were “Out of this world and back,” a look at the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth followed by “Time Tunnels” a futurist journey to the “City of Tomorrow.”

The short 2:50-minute long video below by Rob Plays using period film clips will tell you the entire story of Ford’s notable Pavilion at the Fair.

The Kodachrome Image Series will return next week.


31 responses to “1964 New York Worlds Fair: The Ford Pavilion and the Magic Skyway

  1. I know someone who owns a `64 Mercury Park Lane cvt. used in this exhibit! Apparently documented by the factory, he did a full body-off resto and it came out beautiful!

    • I sure miss those Merc’s. We had a ’64 Montclair Breezeway and a ’64 Parklane two-door hardtop, both at the same time. Both were 390 cars and both were aqua over aqua ! When both pulled into the driveway one after the other on purchase day….we were the talk of the neighborhood for weeks ! “Those were the days My Friend, we’d thought they’d never end”….:)

    • I’ve met the Jedryczka family a few times. Their Park Lane is a fixture at Detroit area events. Very nice people and a car with a very cool story. I have a post about the Mercury with pics at Cars In Depth. Mr. Jedryczka worked for Ford and bought the car from the company lot – he said his coworkers thought he was crazy for buying a car that so many thousands of people had sat in.

  2. I remember how pissed off Dad was in our making him wait on line with us for this ride. He was so upset he never bought another Ford again.

    ‘course he was a GM feller, anyhow.

  3. Although I really love Mustangs as well as anything FoMoCo and this was a good read …..
    Where’s My “Four Fun Friday Fifties Kodachrome Car Images” ?! 🙂
    I look forward to it, kinda like watching the Andy Griffith Show once a week or Jack Parr, Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show 🙂

    • Some of Us old folks don’t take kindly to change even though it might keep Us on Our toes 🙂 🙂 (I just learned how to do those emoji things).

    • “Moma has not taken your Kodachrome away”

      Well, when running both The Old Motor and the keeping projects in the shop going, and in addition keeping three computers up to snuff for running the daily website, sometimes things go wrong. Kind of like suffering a blown tire and not having a jack or lug nut wrench to use for putting on the spare tire.

      In this case a local internet outage happened, which is common out in the country, and when the service came back on this morning, today’s deadline for the Kodachrome Car Images series could not be made.

      Today’s feature that was close to being finished needed to be pressed into place quickly to make the deadline this morning.

      • Like the old song says: You don’t what you got till it’s gone. We’re grateful that you take the time to provide us this treat most weeks, do the daily postings and even find time to do the work you get paid for.

  4. I had to chuckle reading today’s comments. I too look forward to Fridays at The Old Motor ( everyday really) but the best laid plans go awry for everybody now and again, happens to all of us. Still, you had a nice backup ready to go. Imbued with Hues does a heck of a job with her colorizations, this one looks like it was color to start with, and not a tattoo or odd piercing to be seen to boot. Great photo.

  5. I remember taking the World’s Fair Ford ride, ran across the light blue memento you got at the end of the ride a month ago. I never noticed the Kodachrome weekly deal until it was mentioned here. Could we get a Glass Plate Negative weekly feature for us Brass era guys? There are a few 8×10 Locomobile plates around here some were. Bob

  6. Seeing that pristine new Mustang makes me want to tell this story.

    I was a month away from applying for my learner’s permit when Ford ran their famous announcement of the Mustang’s release. The following day was a Saturday, and I had no engagements so, I hopped on my lightweight Italian bike and pedaled the five miles to Rudy Valentino’s Ford dealership in Upper Darby Pa.

    (Car and Driver, or perhaps Road and Track of 1962 had taught me that the Mustang was a prototype two seat with a rear mount V4 Taunus engine. This version, April ’64, of the name promised to carry the excitement of a European sports car and I had to get a look.)

    Well I arrived at the showroom a little before 10 AM. The sales staff was all smiles. My arrival by bicycle was a sure tip that I was only spectating. I received a warm welcome anyhow and was able to enjoy the debut of an American legend. These days when out in traffic, and I hear the healthy rumble of factory pipes, I’ll look to see, some youthful driver in today’s version and think of the newer slogan “It is what it was “— only better.

    As always thank you for the stimulation, and thanks for listening.

  7. I too miss the Friday pics ( one of these days someone is going to say ” hey, that’s my mom”.) but we (I) take for granted, the “innernet” will always be there, and when it isn’t, panic ensues.
    In the lead photo, it’s pretty clear who Ford was trying to appeal to. The single secretary. I remember an ad campaign that featured a young secretary ( type) with a new Mustang, with the caption, “Six and the Single Girl”, a takeoff from a book with a similar title. We never saw that ad in the mid-west,( or the book) considered too risky, but it sold a lot of Mustangs, I bet.

    • “Who can turn the world on with her smile?
      Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
      Well it’s you girl, and you should know it
      With each glance and every little movement you show it”
      Mary Tyler Moore

  8. We went to the ’64 World’s Fair as our honeymoon but I do not recall this “ride”. But later on that year I bought my first new car, a 1964 Fairlane Sport Coupe, just couldn’t get it as a convertible. Wish I had that car today.

  9. What a great post!!!!

    As the 11 year-old son of a Ford dealer, who thought the sun rose and set on the Ford Motor Company the Ford pavilion was the first place we visited when we arrived at the Fair. My observations, please:

    1) I hope all those pretty young ladies became successful actresses. Not one of them could be comfortable, yet they all have big smiles.

    2) There’s no outside mirror on the cars. No need.

    3) I’m surprised there’s no radio antennas on the cars. My recollection was that the narration played through the radio, in 5 different languages, each radio button choosing a language. I would have thought it was broadcast.

    4) The film shows some cars with battering-ram bumpers. Why?

    5) I’m embarrassed to admit I have a picture of me and my younger brother with those ridiculous hats with the feather like you see in the film.

    Again, David, what a great post!! Thank you!

    • I don’t know about the mirrors, but the early mustang came without radio antennas, just holes in the fenders. The dealers supplied the mirrors later

      • Hi Hildreth!

        No holes. The dealer drilled those. I remember a case where the tech didn’t clean off the metal shavings after installing a radio antenna. A prospect saw the shavings rusting and refused to buy the car because he thought the fenders were already rusting.

  10. Would it have killed them top leave the Ford pavilion standing.
    Seems like most of the rest of the fair was torn down too.
    And what they didn’t tear down the city tore down through neglect.
    Check out the cavemen checking out the new Fords.Like that scene in 2001 Space Odyssey with the chimps and the big black monolith stone.

    • Almost all of the buildings of all the Fairs were designed to be temporary structures. For example, the Fair wasn’t opened through the winter, so the absolute minimum of heat was used.

  11. Seeing the video of the Ford pavilion at the NY World’s Fair in ’64-’65 brought back some good memories. 196 4 was the year my wife and I got married and one of the things we went to see was the Fair. As usual, the big auto companies had the most impressive exhibits. The Ford exhibit was no exception. Loved it.

  12. Such great memories of the NY Worlds Fair- I was 18 and went with a fellow car nut-we never got past the outside exhibits where the big three had their concept cars on display. We did make it to the Hell Drivers show.
    We got lost leaving the site and the most friendly and polite NYPD officers got us out and on our way and even found a hotel for us to stay in befored heading back to Ottawa, Canada.Thanks for the memories.

  13. I remember waiting impatiently in line for a Mustang to ride through the Ford World’s Fair exhibit. My luck; we ended up in Falcon! Disappointment! Ironically, the next year I got my first car–a blue 1965 Mustang convertible just like the one pictured here. Loved that car! Lots of good memories. That car was the IN car at that time.

  14. We attended the fair a number of times, once even with a couple of toddlers. Fortunately I took movies since they don’t remember a thing about it!. Anyway missed this ride, probably thought the line was too long and it was “just Fords”!

  15. I got to drive a real big car when I was only eight ! You entered the cars while they were rolling slowly. The steering wheel spun around losely.

  16. It would be cool if Ford could track down these seven women and take another pic of them now, but maybe in a ’60s Lincoln convertible so they would have a little more room. They would be in their 70s now probably….

  17. I watched the video – very impressive! Being only 3 at the time, I was not able to attend.

    How long was the World’s Fair? It seems like a lot of dollars spent by Ford, so wondering if this lasted for more than just a few weeks.

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