1920s Gaming and the 1939 World's Fair
May 6, 2012 12:52 PM Subscribe
posted by zamboni (15 comments total)
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"A maverick theater and industrial designer, Norman Bel Geddes
is best remembered for creating the undisputed hit of the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Mounted in the midst of the Great Depression, the Fair focused on America’s promise of a utopian tomorrow. Geddes’s Futurama
, a piece of “immersion theater,” took six hundred visitors at a time on a swooping, simulated airplane ride across America circa 1960."
"The City of Tomorrow, a model of Manhattan that Geddes created, in 1937, to promote Shell Oil Company’s new “motor-digestible” gasoline, is often cited as [Futurama
's inspiration.] But Futurama’s beginnings actually harken back much further, to the meticulous, insanely detailed private games he created in the 1920s and early ’30s for the amusement of his friends.
"Bel Geddes’s meticulous games [included] War Game and the Nutshell Jockey Club, which featured electrical horse races in Bel Geddes’s basement. The game attracted regulars such as New Yorker founder Harold Ross and Vanity Fair editor Frank Crowninshield and Hollywood actors Ethel Barrymore, Charlie Chaplin, and Douglas Fairbanks. For War Game, Bel Geddes’s rules were as thick as a phone book, and the board was 24 feet long and four feet wide.
During WWII, Bel Geddes also made dioramas for Life.