Welcome to Tomorrow!

The 1939-40 New York World's Fair was considered a major cultural event even before the first truckload of steel was delivered to Flushing Meadows.  Since the fair contains so many deeply embedded ideas and narratives, a true tour of The World of Tomorrow begins with the story of its design and planning, the virtual place in which those ideas were formed.  No event exists completely in a vacuum; the history of the fair's development contextualizes the exposition, and the fair itself illuminates the times and people who created it.  The virtual tour offered by the movies of the Collection is also an occasion to watch the reactions of the American public to the fair, and a key to understand its legacy.



In April of 1939 the New York World's Fair, "Building The World of Tomorrow," opened on what was once a marshy wasteland in Flushing Meadows, just east of the great metropolis.  From its inception to its closing ceremonies, the Fair promoted one of the last great metanarratives of the Machine Age: the unqualified belief in science and technology as a means to economic prosperity and personal freedom.  Wedged between the greatest economic disaster in America and the growing international tension that would result in World War II, The World of Tomorrow was a much-needed antidote to the depression and confusion of the times.  It provided the one saving grace which all of America needed: it provided hope. 



Of course that hope was not to come without some cost, and counted among the limitations of The World of Tomorrow were its emphasis on product consumption and a hegemonic notion of the ideal American citizen.  The Fair's established theme was one of international cooperation, but its true emphasis was on the "new-ness" of ideas, forms, and especially consumer products.  Like all things new, it was immensely exciting and at times naive.  However, in the words of Nathaniel Hawthorne, the "moonlight of romance" which surrounded the Fair inevitably gave way, and in two summers it ran its course, closing in 1940.  Nevertheless, its cultural legacy has lasted well into the late twentieth century and has helped shape and define the commercial, cultural, and political climate of post-World War II America and the world.  In a sense, we have lived through The World of Tomorrow, and the Fair has kept many of its promises, for better or for worse.



Part ideological construct, part trade show, part League of Nations, part amusement park, and part Utopian community, the Fair promoted its message of hope and prosperity with icons, symbols, exhibitions, and demonstrations.   It was a literal laboratory for a group of industrial designers who considered themselves both artists and social theorists, and from the plan of the Fair's site to many of its prominent buildings, the Fair's primary stylistic vocabulary was that of the streamlined and Modern design which they helped establish.  Nowhere was that design more apparent than in the Trylon and Perisphere, a 700-foot spire and an orb as wide as a city block, created to be the exposition's focal point.  The Trylon and Perisphere remain forever linked with The World of Tomorrow; both loom as profound and problematic icons on the landscape of American culture. 



The World of Tomorrow was a search for a useable Future (with a capital "F"), and while it added fuel to the fire of the American cultures of consumption and exclusion, it also provided a tangible vision of hope and prosperity in the face of uncertainty and confusion. 



Welcome to the 1939 New York World's Fair!  Welcome to Tomorrow!



We created a video with a compilation of sequences from the amateur films belonging to this Collection.
Click HERE to watch this video on YouTube



Welcome to Tomorrow!
A Collection of amateur movies, industrial documentaries and newsreels filmed at the 1939-40 New York World's Fair.

We do provide duplicates of the multimedial files of the Collection on a customized DVD-ROM. (1)

Almost all the digital copies of the films are good quality Hi-Res editable videos.
Hundreds of hours of footage from this Collection are available in different format, size and definition. We can suggest you the right one for the use you have in mind.
PRIVATE USE: home TV vision (DVD-Divx player), PC, iPod.
WE LICENSE FOOTAGE from our Collections for: multimedial creations on CD or DVD, TV commercials, film or TV programs, documentary Productions, web sites, marketing/ad campaigns, video email, electronic kiosks, trade shows, business seminars, cultural events, museums, expositions... and more.
Hi-Res videos from our Collections are available on DVD, CD or directly in your inbox. Clips and movies can also be downloaded from our servers using a PW or uploaded by us to your FTP.

(1) It is possible to obtain digital duplicates of the multimedial files (movies, videos, audio documents, and Virtual Reality files) from Romano-Archives for research, teaching, general interest user information, and private study purposes.

The files are available on a customized DVD-ROM.

Billing is done when the order is fulfilled. Payment instructions will follow. Normal turn around time for requests is 3 weeks. Rush (2-3 business days) is available for an additional fee of 40 Euros.
Romano-Archives will provide up to 2,000 (or about 10% of this Collection) multimedial files to a single requesting party.

If you have any questions about the fees or need clarification of the service of providing digital multimedial files, please contact Vincent Romano.

The multimedial files of the Collections are compatible with the free version of the most common players: Quicktime Player, Real Player, Windows Media Player.
Mac users can easily view MPEG 1, MPEG 2, MPEG 4, and Divx movies in MacOSX with the free version of this program: VLC Media Player.

All the material in the Romano-Archives Collections is in the public domain and has no copyright attached to it. Only exception are original articles or texts published on this Website and the Romano-Archives' original compilations on CDs or DVDs that are subject to copyright.
Material of the Romano-Archives Collections is made available solely for historical research and educational purposes only. Any trademarks appearing on the material are the sole property of the registered owners. No endorsement by the trademark owners is to be construed, nor was any sought. The products, brand names, characters, related slogans and indicia are or may be claimed as trademarks of their respective owners.





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Available on DVD Only

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Amateur movie. The 1939-40 New York World Fair.
Scenes shot at the "World of Tomorrow".

Available on DVD Only

Run time: 00:13:49
Audio/Visual: silent, color Quality # # # #

Amateur movie. The 1939-40 New York World Fair.
Scenes shot at the "World of Tomorrow".


Available on DVD Only

Run time: 00:07:31 Audio/Visual: silent, color Quality # # # # #

Amateur movie. The 1939-40 New York World's Fair.
Scenes shot during the last days of the event, in August, 1940.

Available on DVD Only

Run time: 00:01:28 Audio/Visual: silent, color Quality # # # #

Amateur movie. The 1939-40 New York World's Fair.
Scenes shot during the "erotic" dance show of a well known stripper from the Thirties, Ann Pennington.


Available on DVD Only

Run time: 00:00:33 Audio/Visual: Sound, B&W Quality # # # 


1939-40 New York World's Fair. Sequences related to the building of the model of "The World of Tomorrow".

Available on DVD Only

Run time: 00:22:59
Audio/Visual: sound, B&W and color
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To New Horizons (1940)
Producer: Handy (Jam) Organization

Description and shotlist of this film are available upon request.

Available on DVD Only

Run time: 00:09:03
Audio/Visual: sound, B&W
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An RCA Presentation: Television (1939)
Producer: Radio Corporation of America (RCA)

Description and shotlist of this film are available upon request.

Available on DVD Only

Run time: 00:55:00 Audio/Visual: sound, Color
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The Middleton Family at the New York World's Fair (1939)
Producer: Westinghouse

Description and shotlist of this film are available upon request.

Click HERE to watch an excerpt from this movie on YouTube
HERE to watch another excerpt from this movie on YouTube


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