This 1964-65 New York World’s Fair map, distributed by the Shell Oil Company, has been annotated and signed by Disney Legend Marty Sklar.
Sklar first came to work for Walt Disney in the weeks leading up to Disneyland’s grand opening. As student editor of UCLA’s Daily Bruin newspaper, he was hired to create a turn-of-the-century-themed publication to be sold on Main Street (what would become The Disneyland News). Upon graduation, Sklar went full-time with the company, working in marketing and publicity, where he developed the Disneyland Holiday magazine in 1957, which was renamed a year later as Vacationland and went on to be published for many years, eventually spawning a Walt Disney World version, as well. He transferred to Walt’s Imagineering division in preparation of the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, where he assisted with the development of the now-famous attractions, It’s a Small World, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, Carousel of Progress, and Ford Magic Skyway. Sklar’s involvement and influence as an Imagineer grew in the years following. He was eventually named Vice President of Concepts and Planning, a role in which he greatly contributed to the design and development of EPCOT Center, coincidentally a park that drew heavily from the World’s Fair concept and model. With the success of EPCOT, Sklar continued his climb up the corporate ladder, before finally assuming the position of President and Vice Chairman of Walt Disney Imagineering, a job which he held from 1987-1996. As head of Imagineering, he oversaw the creation of countless new entities, including overseas parks, resort hotels, and even a cruise line. He was named a Disney Legend in 2001, and afterwards served four years as an international ambassador for WDI, before bringing his fifty-plus-year career to a close with his retirement on the anniversary of Disneyland’s grand opening, July 17, 2009.
The map itself, titled “Guide to Greater New York with Special Map of the World’s Fair,” was produced by oil-magnate Shell to commemorate the opening of the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. The front and back sides of the folded map feature the Shell logo, as well as a photo of the Unisphere, the iconic symbol of the fair. The sixteen-panel brochure unfolds to show a map of Metropolitan New York City on one side and the fairgrounds on the other. In addition to a sidebar, which features photographs of tourist destinations across the city, as well as several examples of concept artwork for selected fair pavilions, the map also contains Marty Sklar’s handwritten annotations highlighting the several significant and memorable contributions of Walt Disney to the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, including:
The Bell System: “Picture Phone Conversation” to Disneyland
General Electric: Walt Disney’s “Carousel of Progress”
Pepsi-Cola: Walt Disney’s “It’s a Small World” for UNICEF
Ford Motors: Ford “Magic Skyway” created by Walt Disney
Illinois: Walt Disney’s “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln”
The map also contains an inscription and signature from Sklar, which reads:
What a grand show! The last great World’s Fair in the USA! Walt Disney was called “The GIANT at the Fair!” Great big beautiful memories! All good things!
This one-of-a-kind collectible represents the ultimate tribute to the continuing legacy of Walt Disney’s unparalleled success in themed entertainment. As creator of the world’s most popular and beloved theme park in Disneyland, the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair became yet another stage on which to showcase the artistry, imagination, and innovation that was continually making his park bigger, better, more impressive and enjoyable, and which of course led, with the help such talented and like-minded individuals as Marty Sklar, to the building of a world-wide empire, with Disney parks across the globe.