Not French Enough?


By Francis X. Clines

The French Pavilion at the World's Fair was closed by the Fair Corporation yesterday because it was not French enough.

The order was issued by Charles Poletti, former Governor of New York, who is now vice president in charge of international relations and exhibits of the Fair Corporation.

In one of his daily tours of the fair, Mr. Poletti commented that "a few of the exhibitors had nothing whatever to do with France -- one of them, a hawker, was yelling his head off about liquefying machines, and the scene certainly detracted from the pavilion's French flavor."

The pavilion, which is not operated by the French Government, is known as the Pavilion de Paris et Industries de France. It is operated privately by Exhibitions de France, Inc., F. Roberts Blair, a lawyer, is its president.

Mr. Poletti checked his records and learned that the objectionable concessions had not

been submitted for approval by the Fair Corporation. This was called a violation of the fair's contract with the pavilion. "They probably were not submitted for our approval," Mr. Poletti said, "because it was so obvious they were not up to par." He said that Mr. Blair was ordered Friday to close the objectionable concessions, but that they were open for business yesterday. Mr. Poletti closed the entire pavilion.

Mr. Poletti could specifically recall only the liquefier concession as objectionable. This was operated by Chester A. Nairne. Other sources said a concession that analyzes handwriting automatically was also ruled out by the Fair Corporation.

The Fair Corporation's action was the latest in a series of setbacks at the pavilion. The two-story building has nearly 54,000 square feet of space, but most of it, including the entire second floor, is unoccupied. The second floor had been held for a major French Restaurant.

SOURCE: The New York Times, May 10, 1964


Webmaster's note... Thank you, Mike Kraus, for providing the material for this Feature on the Pavilion of Paris and French Industry. My thanks also to Craig Bavaro and Bill Cotter who provided additional photos and materia for the Feature. It is a shame that this pavilion is so obscure that very little exists in the way of promotional material. How could a French Pavilion be so obscure?? The French exhibit at the Fair went through so many incarnations it's difficult to know what might have actually been in the building -- besides liquefying machines. It is interesting to compare the pages of the World's Fair Information Manuals for 1964 and 1965 ... The 1964 Manual shows that a contract between the World's Fair Corporation and the pavilion's operators was signed on June 19, 1963. The 1965 Manual shows that a contract between the World's Fair Corporation and new operators for the pavilion was signed on July 7, 1964 -- almost in mid-season 1964. There's a story there somewhere, of that I'm sure, and I'll bet it has something to do with liquefiers and handwriting analysts!

For an exhibit to go from the promised display of a million dollar model of Paris, the "Folies Bergere" and Maxim's Restaurant (see the feature on the unbuilt Pavilion of France), to one that displayed automatic handwriting analysis is perhaps the saddest story of the Fair.

My thanks again to Mike!

Bill Young
February, 2010