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Museum of the Moving Image to Showcase Films From World's Fairs

 Excerpts from six films include footage of a voice-controlled robot and construction of the Unisphere.
World's Fair Film Exhibit Opens in Queens
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ASTORIA — A new exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image will spotlight films made for the World's Fairs — including footage of a voice-controlled robot and construction of the Unisphere — in celebration of the anniversaries of the historic Queens events.

The exhibit, "The World Comes to Queens: Films from the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs," features excerpts from six films made for the fairs, which between them drew more than 100 million visitors to the fairgrounds at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

The films, created by such corporations as General Motors or U.S. Steel, "reflect post-World War II-era optimism and focus on American industry as central themes," according to an announcement from the museum.

"These sponsored films made for the two World’s Fairs capture the excitement and ingenuity behind the fairs while also revealing the goals of the companies behind them,” said David Schwartz. chief curator of the exhibit.

"They are also historic time-capsules of the fairgrounds: today’s Flushing Meadows-Corona Park," he added.

Featured at the museum are excerpts from a film produced in 1939 for Westinghouse Electric, which includes footage of a voice-controlled robot named Electro that had a vocabulary of more than 700 words.

Another film by U.S. Steel focuses on the Unisphere, the iconic globe in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park which was built for the 1964-65 World's Fair; it was the largest stainless steel structure at the time.

The exhibit opened last week and will be on display through Aug. 31, with excerpts from the six films being shown continuously in the museum's video screening amphitheater.