This black and white transfer of a 1933 Kodacolor lenticular home movie film documents the 1933 Century of Progress International Exposition, aka the Chicago World’s Fair, held in Chicago, Illinois from 1933 to 1934 in celebration of the city’s centennial. Despite taking place in the midst of the Great Depression, the theme technological innovation is evidenced by the signature “Sky Ride” transporter bridge, and the Moderne architecture of the constructed “Rainbow City” (TRT: 14:51).
American flags at the exposition’s entrance. The main concourse. An elevated platform of pavilions for each of the United States, including Wisconsin and Illinois, as well as Puerto Rico at the Federal Building and States Group, an architectural dramatization of national unity. The panorama reveals Lake Michigan on the horizon (0:08). Views along the lakefront reveal a cafe and shaded seating (0:58). The Italian Pavilion designed by Mario de Renzi and Adalberto Libera. The Pantheon (1:35). The Chinese Golden Temple of Jehol. A domed, globular “The World a Million Years Ago” attraction that featured mechanical dinosaurs and prehistoric mammals by Messmore & Damon. Crowds of pedestrians and the world’s tallest thermometer, sponsored by the Indian Refining Company of Lawrenceville (1:54). The expo’s “Oriental Village” and a “Hindu” temple. The General Motors Building and Cadillac pavilion, which contained a “Making of a Motor Car” exhibit. Chrysler’s building and fountains (2:35). The Travel Building. A gyrating “airplane” carnival ride attraction outside signage for an air show (3:03). “Jungle” style landscaping. The “Old Mill Garden” horticultural exhibit and a formal garden. Mission style architecture (3:44). Spraying fountains. The carnival midway. A dragon-shaped roller coaster. A sign for “Bozo” (4:29). Signs for gas, “Old Mexico,” and “The Great Beyond.” Passenger trams. A sign: “Chrysler Motors Greets You” and a “Travel and Transportation” exhibit. The Travel Building and a passing blimp (4:58). Massive installations of Time and Fortune magazine covers with images of FDR and a shooting star, respectively. A closer look at the “The World a Million Years Ago” mapped dome and a competing Sinclair dinosaur exhibit (6:33). The “Sky Ride” transporter bridge (6:58). A tall art deco soldier, sailor, and Native American Indian Chief. Signs for “Monkey Races” and “Enchanted Island.” A “Master Marble” installation. A “Castle” on “Enchanted Island” (7:20). Aerial views, probably from the Sky Ride (8:05). The Electrical Group Building. Pagodas. An “Illinois Agriculture” pavilion. Umbrella-shaded waterfront dining. The Sky Ride (9:03). Enchanted Island and Adventure Land (10:25). The Chrysler Motors Building and GM’s building (11:05). The “Swiss Village” (11:41). “Irish Village” (12:58). “Midget City” and a carnival barker drawing a crowd outside. “Black Forest” and Bavarian architecture (13:03). The “Colonial Village.” A “Holland” windmill (13:45). An orchestra performs on a large outdoor bandstand. A fountain show (14:03).
This film was shot in the unique Kodacolor process, which used a specially embossed black and white film stock with fine lenticular bands, which are visible in this transfer. These microscopic grooves were shaped to focus light onto the film in parallel strips after it passed through a color filter during the shooting process. When this film was projected, it was sent back through a color filter, reconstituting a colorized effect. The process required higher amounts of light for both photography and projection, and was mostly used between 1928 and 1935, at which point it was replaced by the superior 16mm Kodachrome format.
During the fair, an outbreak of amoebic dysentery resulted in 98 deaths after defective plumbing permitted sewage to contaminate drinking water in two nearby hotels. Despite this, the fair was considered so successful that it was held over to October of 1934.