The End of the Fair



The Eastman Kodak Company, a pioneer exhibitor at World's Fairs, considers its participation in the 1964-65 New York World's Fair a huge success with all Company objectives accomplished, according to Mr. Carroll E. Casey, general manager of the Kodak Pavilion.

"This picture-taker's paradise was the most photographed event in history, and the many millions of Fairgoers who visited the Kodak Pavilion came away with a new awareness of the achievements of the Company in chemicals, fibers and plastics as well as the broad spectrum of photography.

"Management's intent was to dramatize to the world, through some 20 exhibits, the fun and ease of picture-taking and the role of photography as a medium of international communications. We wanted to demonstrate photography's potential in promoting "Peace Through Understanding" -- the theme of the Fair. At the same time we hoped to acquire new friends for Kodak," Mr. Casey said.

Regarding the immediate tangible results, the Company reported highest sales of camera equipment in its history during the two-year Fair season. Kodak distributors, dealers and photofinishers from all over the country and abroad confirm the tremendous amount of picture-taking that took place which was reflected by the increased business they enjoyed from their customers who came to the Fair.

During the past two years the Company introduced its new line of Kodak Instamatic still and movie cameras and the Pavilion served as a showcase. Heavy emphasis was placed on telling how to take better Fair pictures through the Company's advertising, sales promotion and publicity and especially through the Pavilion's Information Center which was staffed by multi-lingual photo specialists. In short, the Fair provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for dramatic, colorful and exotic pictures. Kodak helped many Fairgoers take those pictures.

"The very nature of a World's Fair permits a company such as Kodak to focus attention on the Company's diversified operations in an interesting and dramatic manner that could hardly be accomplished in any other way," he said.

"For instance many people learned for the first time of Kodak's major participation through its subsidiary, Eastman Chemical Products Inc., in chemicals, textiles and plastics through its movie, 'Quest,' which, like Kodak's feature film attraction, 'The Searching Eye,' played to capacity audiences most of the time. Winner of six Film Festival awards, the 'Searching Eye' has become the most honored film of the Fair.

"Through our Recordak exhibit, 'Who's Who On Your Birthday,' the magic of microfilm systems in action entertained our visitors and at the same time helped dramatize the increasingly important role played by microfilm systems in business, industry and government.

"Kodak's research, development and manufacture of x-ray film was dramatized through its display of radiographs taken of the Vatican Pavilion's famous statue, 'The Pieta' before it was shipped from Rome.

"The role of photography in the graphic arts, in fine art, in news dissemination, in education, in entertainment -- all were made a little clearer to millions of Fairgoers."

Other factors of the Fair that, while less tangible, were equally important, Mr. Casey said. The Fair had provided an opportunity for the general public to become acquainted with the caliber of Kodak employees in Rochester and its offices around the country and overseas.

Also, through the Pavilion Kodak was privileged to be host to countless shareowners who gained a greater insight as to the scope and aims of their Company.

One of his most gratifying experiences, Mr. Casey said, was that of establishing closer friendships with International Fair participants. A major event recently staged at the Kodak Pavilion involved the participation of most of the international exhibitors and the state of Hawaii.

"The financial community, the press, civic leaders, government officials, scientists, educators -- and Mr. and Mrs. Average Citizen and their children have been to the Kodak Pavilion. We know a little more about them and they know a little more about us," Mr. Casey said.

Source: Press Release, J. Walter Thompason Company, October 15, 1965

(above) The Kodak Pavilion, abandoned and debris strewn, waiting for the wreckers. A Fairground street in front of the Kodak Pavilion devoid of Fairgoers shortly after the close of the Fair in 1965 (below)
Kodak debris field

SOURCE: Photographs by Max Mordecai

Vacant Fairgrounds

Kodak Model Proof of Fair's Continued Popularity

Kodak Model

This 23 1/2 inches long, 13 1/2 inches wide, 6 inch high architectural model of the Kodak Pavilion sold at auction (eBay/Butterfields Live Auctions) on May 19, 2002 for $2750.00! It was estimated to go for between $900 and $1200! Collectibles from the Fair, especially unusual items such as this Kodak model, regularly fetch high prices proving the continued popularity of the Fair. It has been speculated that this small model was one of a number of models Kodak advertised as being available for display at high-visibility Kodak dealers during the run of the Fair.