The attraction at the Illinois Pavilion
was really quite spectacular. Walt Disney presents "Great
Moments with Mr. Lincoln" in which a life-like audio-animatronic
figure of Abraham Lincoln talks, rises from his chair, walks
and gestures through several minutes of Lincoln's speeches.
The 1964/1965 New York World's Fair becomes
the proving grounds for Disney's then new audio-animatronic technology.
"Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" is one of the hits
of the Fair and audiences can hardly believe that this sophisticated
talking machine is not an actor playing the role of Lincoln!
Paul Anderson, in his excellent Persistence
of Vision issue dedicated to Disney and the 1964 New York
World's Fair, brought to light an interesting story of Abe's
run-in with the world of motion engineering...
So many people believed that Lincoln
was real, that it resulted in an unusual incident. The technicians
kept finding little holes in Lincoln's skin and clothes. Finally,
when an eye and the teeth became chipped, they figured it out.
"One of the international pavilions had this big machine
that was punching out ball bearings," explained Jack Ferges.
"They had a big trough full of them, and you could reach
in and grab a handful. The New York kids were using sling shots
and shooting Lincoln with these ball bearings, trying to get
him to flinch. We were having a hell of a time; finally we got
the pavilion to agree to give the kids just one ball bearing
and the 1964 New York World's Fair," Persistence of Vision
Issue #6/#7, Paul F. Anderson, Author and Publisher. © Copyright 2001, Paul F. Anderson.
All rights reserved. Reprinted
here with permission.
PHOTO SOURCE: Souvenir
Record Jacket, Buena Vista Records