These two original black-and-white photographs were taken by a 1964 New York World’s Fair visitor on the Disney-created attraction, “It’s a Small World.”
The first photograph, marked 505 in grease pencil, shows the attraction’s famous French “Can-Can Dancers” scene, while the second (506) captures a group of dancing children in the “Scandinavia” section of the ride (which actually prefaces the French scene).
The attraction, which was created for and housed in a World’s Fair pavilion co-sponsored by Pepsi-Cola and UNICEF, turned out to be one of the fair’s greatest successes, thanks to the talents of such individuals as Mary Blair, whose touch of whimsy and unique color-stylings gave the attraction its highly-memorable aesthetic. Rolly Crump’s additional design work supplemented Blair’s, while staying true to the style she’d established. He also designed the memorable Tower of the Four Winds marquee that fronted the attraction. Well-known Disney sculptor Blaine Gibson designed the famed Audio-Animatronic dolls that populate the attraction, while Alice Davis handled costume design. Her husband Marc—master-animator-turned-Imagineer—provided much of the character and scene design. And, of course, Richard and Robert Sherman penned the immortal title track, now the most performed and widely-translated song in the history of the world. The concept for the attraction was originally envisioned by Walt Disney, and though simplistic in nature, has carried the “Happiest Cruise That Ever Sailed” to its place as one of the most famous and popular themed attractions of all time. Upon the fair’s closure, the ride was re-located to Disneyland, and subsequent versions were eventually built in Disney parks around the world.
These two original photographs provide a glimpse into the attraction’s first incarnation and represent a unique souvenir from the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, of which Walt Disney was proclaimed a “giant,” his many contributions helping to make it the one-of-a-kind global spectacle that it was.