World’s Fair Record Collection (1964)

These three souvenir records from the Disney-created attractions at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair were available to visitors for purchase at each of the respective sponsor’s pavilions.

Opening on April 22, 1964, the fair ran for two consecutive six-month seasons in both ’64 and ’65 and was home to nearly one-hundred fifty pavilions showcasing cultural and technological attractions and exhibits from around the world. Four of the most popular pavilions were designed by Walt Disney and his WED Enterprises staff: General Electric Progressland, Pepsi-Cola Presents ‘It’s a Small World’—a Salute to UNICEF and the World’s Children, the State of Illinois’ Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, and Ford’s Magic Skyway. The fairgrounds, which covered Flushing Meadows Park in Queens, New York, hosted more than fifty-one billion visitors over its run and the fair would be looked back upon as a highlight of American optimism and ingenuity on the eve of the counter-culture revolution of the mid-to-late 60s.

The record titles, purchased in 1964 directly from the attraction’s host pavilions, include Walt Disney Presents “It’s a Small World,” There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow, and Walt Disney Presents “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.

Both the songs, “It’s a Small World,” and “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow,” were penned specifically for the Disney-created attractions at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair by famed songwriting duo Richard and Robert Sherman. The first of the songs eventually went on to become the most performed and widely-translated song in history. The message of “It’s a Small World” was directly inspired by the mission and legacy of the attraction’s co-sponsor UNICEF, as well as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the events of which were unfolding at the time. At fair’s end, the attraction was re-located to Disneyland in 1966, and its popularity eventually spawned iterations at Disney parks around the world, due in large part to its iconic soundtrack.

“It’s a Small World”

 

It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears
It’s a world of hopes and a world of fears
There’s so much that we share
That it’s time we’re aware
It’s a small world after all

 

It’s a small world after all
It’s a small world after all
It’s a small world after all
It’s a small, small world

 

There is just one moon and one golden sun
And a smile means friendship to everyone
Though the mountains divide
And the oceans are wide
It’s a small world after all

 

It’s a small world after all
It’s a small world after all
It’s a small world after all
It’s a small, small world

The record sleeve, which doubled as a mailer with which a visitor could send the souvenir to a friend or loved one back home, features the attraction’s logo and identifying text, as well as space for a postal address on the front cover. The reverse side includes a return-address form and the following text describing the fair’s hit attraction.

“TOWER OF THE FOUR WINDS” 12- foot tall mobile is a landmark at WALT DISNEY’S “IT’S A SMALL WORLD” At the N.Y. World’s Fair

 

Hear it now – the exciting title song from Walt Disney’s “It’s A Small World” at the New York World’s Fair 1964-65.

 

“It’s A Small World” is the happiest cruise that ever sailed ’round the world…a boat ride into a wonderful Disney-Land of laughter, singing, dancing and merry entertainment…a magic-kingdom of all the world’s children!

 

The music here is your permanent souvenir of the theme music and songs from “It’s A Small World” to remind you of the family fun at Walt Disney’s newest adventure.

 

At the New York World’s Fair 1964-65, PEPSI-COLA presents Walt Disney’s “It’s A Small World” as a salute to UNICEF and all the world’s children. The “TOWER OF THE FOUR WINDS” is a copyrighted design by WED Enterprises, Inc.

“There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” was the original theme of the General Electric sponsored attraction, Carousel of Progress, which anchored their Progressland pavilion at the World’s Fair. The Sherman Brothers would later say that they thought of the composition as Walt Disney’s personal theme song, the lyrics and melody embodying the same sort of optimism and forward-thinking that were a hallmark of the entertainment giant. After its very successful run at the fair, the attraction was relocated to Disneyland in 1967, then transferred seven years later to its permanent home in the Tomorrowland area of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. At the time of the move to Florida, General Electric tapped the Sherman Brothers to write an updated theme to celebrate the occasion. “The Best Time of Your Life” was the result, a very successful song in its own right; however, a few years after G.E.’s sponsorship ended, the original theme was reinstated. “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” also later became the theme song of the Disneyland attraction, Innoventions, for the course of its nearly seventeen-year lifespan.

“There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow”

 

There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow

Shining at the end of every day

There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow

And tomorrow’s just a dream away

 

Man has a dream and that’s the start

He follows his dream with mind and heart

And when it becomes a reality

It’s a dream come true for you and me

 

So there’s a great big beautiful tomorrow

Shining at the end of every day

There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow

Just a dream away

The record-sleeve-turned-mailer features concept art of the Progressland pavilion and has the following to say about the General-Electric-sponsored show.

PROGRESSLAND—THE SHOW TO SEE AT NEW YORK’S FABULOUS WORLD’S FAIR

 

The Fair is exciting fun for the whole family – and one of its great hits is General Electric Progressland, on the Avenue of Commerce, near the Pool of Industry.

 

At Progressland, see the wizardry of Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress, where audio-animatronic “actors” tell the story of electrical progress from the 1880’s to the present. Thrill to the Sky-Dome Spectacular, depicting man’s historic search for new forms of energy. Experience the sight of actual controlled nuclear fusion – the greatest science display at the Fair. Finally, explore Medallion City, an all-electric community that shows what electric living could be for all of us – in our homes, in offices or factories, in our cities – today.

 

When you come to the Fair, don’t miss General Electric Progessland [sic]. It’s Walt Disney’s masterpiece…a show that you and your children will never forget!

Rather than a song, the last of the records includes a presentation on Abraham Lincoln, narrated by Paul Frees, and starring Royal Dano, as the voice of the President. The script combines several of Lincoln’s well-known speeches, as compiled by Disney Legend James Algar. The seemingly living, breathing Lincoln who guests saw onstage, courtesy of Imagineers like Bob Gurr, with sculpting duties by Blaine Gibson, represented a bold step forward in the Disney-pioneered field of Audio-Animatronics. Visitors were amazed to see the former President rise from his chair and deliver an address over five minutes in length. Walt didn’t even wait for the fair to end before installing a duplicate version of the popular attraction in Disneyland, which opened on July 18, 1965. Except for a two-year hiatus, from 1973-75, the show ran continuously with minor changes over the years until 2004. From 2005-09, a film tribute to Disneyland’s fiftieth anniversary ran in its place, before the Lincoln attraction returned. The opening-day attraction, Hall of Presidents, still in operation at the Walt Disney World Resort, is a glorified version of the original concept that Walt and his WED Enterprises staff developed for the World’s Fair.

“Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln”

 

The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing.

 

What constitutes the bulwark of our liberty and independence? It is not our frowning embattlements, our bristling sea coasts. These are not our reliance against tyranny. Our reliance is in the love of liberty, which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands everywhere. Destroy this spirit, and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors.

 

At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some trans-Atlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined could not, by force, take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, [that] if it ever reach us, it must spring [from] amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we [ourselves must] be [the] author[s] and finisher[s]. As a nation of free men, we must live through all time[s], or die by suicide.

 

Let reverence for the [law] be breathed by every American mother to the lisping babe that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in primers, [in] spelling-books, and almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay of all sexes and tongues and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly [at] its altars.

 

[And] let us strive to deserve, as far as mortals may, the continued care of Divine Providence, trusting that, in future national emergencies, He will not fail to provide us the instruments of safety and security.

 

Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by [the] menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.

 

—Abraham Lincoln

 The record sleeve, fashioned as a souvenir-mailer like the others, contains the following description of the attraction.

Walt Disney presents GREAT MOMENTS WITH MR. LINCOLN

 

With the GREAT MOMENTS WITH MR. LINCOLN presentation, Walt Disney and all of us pay tribute not to a man who lived a century ago – but to an individual who lives today in the hearts of all freedom loving people. His prophetic words are as valid for our time as they were for his.

 

The authentic, sincere, almost homespun quality of Dano’s voice has caused several Lincoln scholars to say, “this is Abraham Lincoln to the life.” This was part of the thorough-going research that went into the Disney production, for Walt Disney demanded “not an actor’s voice, but the real voice.”

 

ROYAL DANO, lean, lanky, unassuming New Yorker, is the voice of Abraham Lincoln in “GREAT MOMENTS WITH MR. LINCOLN.”

This Disney record collection, straight from the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, represents not only Walt’s impressive and memorable showing at the fair, but three iconic attractions that continue to entertain audiences to this day back home in his beloved Disneyland.

VALUE: $60

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