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April 30, 1939 – New York World’s Fair Opens – The World Of Tomorrow. Click on the snippet for a sample.

From Audio: April 30, 1939 – New York World’s Fair Opens – The World Of Tomorrow.

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station description Past Daily: News, History, Music And An Enormous Sound Archive.
Past Daily: Amazing Historical Concerts & News
Duration: 06:26
On this day in 1939, all eyes were on New York at the unveiling of the Worlds Fair of 1939. The World of Tomorrow; an idyllic world of peace and technological wizardry. The world where all things were possible.

Except for that dark, ominous thing looming in the distance – that dark thing called War
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On this day in 1939, all eyes were on New York at the unveiling of the Worlds Fair of 1939. The World of Tomorrow; an idyllic world of peace and technological wizardry. The world where all things were possible.

Except for that dark, ominous thing looming in the distance – that dark thing called War in Europe. The War that would erupt a scant four months later and eventually engulf the rest of the world in its madness.

But April 30th in 1939 was all about optimism. And for the moment, the future was loaded with it.

On April 30, 1939, a very hot Sunday, the fair had its grand opening, with 206,000 people in attendance. The April 30 date coincided with the 150th anniversary of George Washington’s inauguration, in Lower Manhattan, as the first President of the United States. Although many of the pavilions and other facilities were not quite ready for this opening, it was put on with pomp and great celebration.

David Sarnoff, then president of RCA and a strong advocate of television, chose to introduce television to the mass public at the RCA pavilion. As a reflection of the wide range of technological innovation on parade at the fair, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech was not only broadcast over the various radio networks but also was televised along with other parts of the opening ceremony and other events at the fair. On April 30, 1939, the opening ceremony and President Roosevelt’s speech were seen on black and white television sets with 5 to 12-inch tubes. NBC used the event to inaugurate regularly scheduled television broadcasts in New York City over their station W2XBS (now WNBC). An estimated 1,000 people viewed the Roosevelt telecast on about 200 television sets scattered throughout the New York metropolitan area.

In order to convince skeptical visitors that the television sets were not a trick, one set was made with a transparent case so that the internal components could be seen. As part of the exhibit at the RCA pavilion, visitors could see themselves on television. There were also television demonstrations at the General Electric and Westinghouse pavilions. During this formal introduction at the fair, television sets became available for public purchase at various stores in the New York City area.

After Albert Einstein gave a speech and discussed cosmic rays, the fair’s lights were ceremonially lit. Dignitaries received a special Opening Day Program which contained their names written in Braille.

Here are those opening day ceremonies, featuring an address by President Franklin Roosevelt, all broadcast live on April 30, 1939.

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United States Today officially opened the new york World's Fair. More than 5000 invited guests are seated on the platform back of the president and before us in the Great Plaza known as the Court of Peace or some 35,000 more and then crowded into every other bit of space at tens of thousands more have come today to hear and see the president and to get their first view of this great exposition which has as its theme, the world of Tomorrow. 150 years ago today, April 30 1939, George Washington took the oath of office as first president of the United States. The World's Fair of 1939 commemorates this historic event. The president left his home at Hyde Park this morning at 10 o'clock, coming by train to new york city and then by motor to the fairgrounds. He has been guest of honor at a luncheon in the Federal building with the Honorable Edward J. Flynn, United States Commissioner General for the fair as his host. Also an attention attendance at the luncheon. We're 350 more dignitaries, including envoy's and Commissioners General of the 63 participating nations. As guests. We've now received word that the president has left the luncheon room and is expected to arrive here in just a few moments meanwhile, to tell you from what, what he can see from his vantage point at the back of this huge platform, we turn you over to announcer George Hicks. We're speaking now from special radio booth within the giant speakers platform. These are the formal opening day ceremonies of the new york World's Fair. Hundreds and thousands of people have flowed through the gates this morning, the gigantic panorama that spreads around us now the white and gleaming buildings of the 63 foreign nations, thousands of troops, people of foreign nations in their native costumes who have been in the parade are now seated before the president's box and speaker's platform. The sailors, the marines, the army massed in military formation, standing about the great court of peace behind us, the ferry like feathery fountains standing out of the huge lagoon behind the audience. The wind now drifting there, missed like like mist in the early morning over a river, the flags of the nations twisting in the breeze. The day is beautiful, warm and mild, fluffy clouds moving through the sky overhead. The planes have been turning to blimps have been circling over the entire fair. The giant speakers stand is ceding the sections of the Foreign diplomatic corps, the United States House of Representatives placards over each section. United States Senate. And then there are many thousands of other distinguished guests facing the stand from which the President of the United States will speak are too large upright stands holding photographers, newsreel cameras. And at the corner of the stand we see the new microphone of today and of tomorrow the icon a scope television camera of our CIA and NBC officially opening Today Television, the new entertainment for the world of tomorrow and sending pictures of this colorful scene out over the air at this moment. Behind the stands is the federal building, cheer white, windowless stone sides to shoulders jutting up into the sky to giant gold american eagles set against their faces in simple printing the words piece on one face, Unity on the other. As we look about now the flags of all these nations from their building tops. Beyond them we see further spires and towers of other foreign nations. The Soviet Union building with its workers statue at the top standing high into the sky. The Belgian tower with its Caroline tower lattice like with the bells within. Then there's the great british building on the other side of pink smooth stone. Beyond that the french pavilion of curved glass, it's whole face and then on the right side the italian building, a statue of natalia at the top and water cascading down the terrorist face of the whole building, trumpeters have been placed at the tops of the halls of nations, standing in their medieval costumes of male with trumpets at their sides to formulate and salute the different ceremonies of the day. Buildings with their names on them facing this court of peace, Iceland Albania, Greece, Yugoslavia, Finland, Switzerland, Siam, Turkey are some of the names that we read against their white facades and over each of them is the color of its nation, the trilon and the paris fear directly down the wide mall from the 35,000 seated before us, tree lined the paris fair with its Hella klein, a serpentine like walk that leads down from it black with people watching the ceremony from that distance behind the lagoon of Nations and its fountains, a huge white statue facing towards the future in his colonial army Cape. The figure of George Washington. Along the treeline mall are four white statues, four figures entitled to four freedoms, freedom of speech, press, assembly, religion, all the members, the thousands who have been in the parade have now been seated in the center of the great group facing the speaker's platform. They look directly at the federal building. It's two shoulders at each side. In the center, square towers, pillars supporting the lower roof, backed by a crimson like wall and printed there in heavy gold, are these words, We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty and the Pursuit of happiness, Senators, governor's diplomats, consuls, congressman, and they're still cuts their afternoon dress, are now standing, all standing as the distinguished guests are entering the speaker's platform, we turn you to Carlton smith in the president's box.
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