Sunday, November 12, 2006

EPCOT 1939 - Part Six: The Food Zone

People were certainly “living with the land” in 1939, and the Food Zone was a popular destination for Fairgoers at New York World’s Fair of that same year. The Focal Exhibit of the Food Zone was called “Miracle of Modern Food.” While not in any way similar to any of the future EPCOT Center Land pavilion attractions, it spirit and message ultimately reflected the same themes of “Listen to the Land” and “Symbiosis,” The Land’s 1980s era attractions.

Let’s check our Official Guidebook for a quick description:

Though it deals with humble, commonplace things like "bread and butter," the Food Show is high and amazing entertainment. Comprehensive and dramatic, the Exhibit illustrates the progress made in the cultivation, preparation, , processing and distribution of food since 1789. The techniques of Coney Island, the atmosphere of Forty-second Street, comic cartoons, and "slapstick"' are among the amusing devices employed to stage the "Miracle of Modern Food" for millions of Fair visitors.

In describing the show’s climax, the guidebook conveys a message that would be echoed by its Future World counterpart in 1982:

A startling anticlimax to the show is the exhibit "the challenge to the future," which is housed in a huge chamber under the ovoid itself. Here the walls and ceilings impress you with their grave message of food questions yet unsolved. Springing from the shadows, newspaper headlines and photomontages graphically depict a score of acute food problems darkening man's future. As the show ends, you turn away reflecting on another unfinished job for the "World of Tomorrow." Yet every unfinished task is a challenge—an opportunity for an additional achievement in man's progress.

The Food Zone did host Walt Disney’s most direct connection to the Fair. Let’s take a look at the Guidebook’s entry for the National Biscuit Company’s (more familiar to people today as Nabisco) exhibit:

A specially produced Walt Disney motion picture, entitled Mickey's Surprise Party. is the outstanding feature of the Exhibit. Fair visitors are invited to see this amusing film in an air-conditioned theatre. The Disney picture is in technicolor and features many of the well-known "Mickey Mouse ' characters.

The best line of the film: "Oh Mickey--Fig Newtons!"

Mickey's Surprise Party was included as an Easter egg on the Walt Disney Treasures Mickey Mouse in Living Color Volume One DVD set.

Coming next: The Mechanical Marvel of the Fair and its considerably smaller and cuter 1982 counterpart.