1964 & 1965 Official Guidebook Entries

The description of this exhibit from the 1964 Official Guide Book

Cover- 1964 Guidebook

The description of this exhibit from the 1965 Official Guide Book

Cover - 1965 Guidebook

The location of this exhibit on the 1964 Official Souvenir Map

Cover - 1964 Official Souvenir Map


The world of the computer and the methods both man and machine use to solve problems are on display in a startling white egg-shaped theater, 90 feet high and covered with the letters IBM, repeated nearly 1,000 times. The structure towers above 45 rust-colored metal trees; located in this artificial grove are exhibit courts, a maze of walkways suspended above a reflecting pool, and a pentagon of little theaters where mechanical puppets perform. The exhibit was one of the last projects on which the late architect Eero Saarinen worked. The wonders inside the ovoid building were wrought by the noted designer Charles Eames.

* Admission: free. 
SONGS FROM THE TREES. Perched on ramps in the metal trees, musicians entertain the crowds on the elevated walkways.
THE PEOPLE WALL. A steep grandstand entered from ramp level below the theater is one of the features of the exhibit. After the audience of some 500 is seated, the "People Wall" is drawn swiftly and smoothly up into the theater, while a narrator appears, suspended before the audience on a small circular platform.
THE INFORMATION MACHINE. Inside the theater, a 12-minute show full of visible and audible surprises (special lighting effects, stereophonic sound, 14 slide and movie projectors throwing images on screens and surfaces of various shapes and sizes) describes the similarity of methods that are used by the human mind and computers to solve problems. Headsets provide simultaneous translations of the English narration into five languages: French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.
THEATER PENTAGON. On the little stages under the trees, mechanical figures act out playlets four minutes long about such topics as speed, computer logic and information handling systems; in one play, Sherlock Holmes uses computer logic to solve The Case of the Elusive Train.
THE PROBABILITY MACHINE. In a demonstration of the law of averages, held every 17 minutes, thousand of small plastic balls are dropped one by one through a maze of more than 450 pins. Below the pins are 21 pockets. At the end of every experiment, each pocket contains approximately the same number of balls it held the last time.
COMPUTERS AT WORK. Two of the most recent applications of computers are demonstrated:
For translation an exhibit shows how technical data that are written in Russian can be quickly and accurately worded in English.
For character recognition, a computer system is displayed that is programmed to recognize handwritten numerals and associate facts with them. The machine accepts a card with any date since September 18, 1851, written on it and promptly returns another card containing a historically significant news story in capsule form, taken from the New York Times of that date.
SCHOLAR'S WALK. This is a quiet area where the lore of computers and scientific information about them are displayed on reading stands.


A moving 500-seat "People Wall" lifts visitors into an egg-shaped theater for a captivating multi-screen show.

Beneath the theater, fairgoers stroll through a grove of rust-brown steel trees. There they may watch puppet shows and see experimental computers, including one which translates Russian technical data into simple English, and another that can recall headline events of any day during the last 100 years. Architect of the pavilion was the late Eero Saarinen; the display area was designed and the film was produced by Charles and Ray Eames.

THE PEOPLE WALL. Visitors sit in a steep grandstand which is drawn up into the theater. An amusing 12-minute show, projected on 15 screens, shows how computers and the human mind solve problems in much the same way.
PUPPETS IN THE PARK. In miniature Punch-and-Judy theaters mechanical figures act out lively playlets involving speed, logic and information-handling. Sherlock Holmes is featured in one, solving "The Case of the Elusive Train."
SCHOLAR'S WALK. Other animated exhibits demonstrate information retrieval and the probability theory, and there is a quiet area where the lore of computers, the history of mathematical machines and other scientific exhibits are on display.

Admission: free.

Revised 2.24.07 Revised 9.02.17

Come take your place on the People Wall and begin an unforgettable journey in one of the most imaginative and unique exhibits ever staged! It all happens at the IBM Pavilion.

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