|Doug Drexler, then and now.|
Twice a week and for two summers, impressionable eleven year old Doug Drexler was dropped off by his Dad at the front gate of the world of tomorrow. It did not neccessitate a slingshot around the sun, nor did it call for call for Mr. Atoz and his Atavachron. The lad’s awe inspiring and futuristic destination was not some far flung decade, but then and there in 1964. It rose from the most unlikely of places… a landfill in Flushing Meadow. It was the New York World’s Fair, and it was the proverbial world of tomorrow. It would impress him to the core.
As Spock observed, time could be perceived as a river, with eddies and backwashes. Someone else was washed up onto that shore, and our paths undoubtedly crossed at the jetting waters of the iconic Unisphere, or trekked side by side along the undulating Kodak Moon Deck, or stood in line at Ford’s Magic Skyway. My fellow time traveler was Walter “Matt” Jefferies… aviator, illustrator, art director, and he would become one of the most important artistic influences in my life.
The 1964-65 New York World’s Fair was the largest international exhibition ever buit in the United States, and it was all about THE FUTURE. Never before, and never again would there be such an amazing conglomeration of optimistic, sci-fi, wet dream, futurism in one place. Matt Jefferies absorbed it all with intense fascination. And so the New York World’s Fair was the birthplace of the Star Trek design ethic. I would never be the same because of it…
|Albert Whitlock Jr.'s Starbase 11 matte painting|
|The real world Starbase 11 at the World's Fair|
Long before there was Internet, there were World’s Fair’s. That’s how new ideas were introduced, and affluent American corporations opened their dream labs to the wide-eyed public. The NYWF was nicknamed “The Billion-Dollar Fair” and it’s official theme was Peace through Understanding. Robert Moses, the Fair’s chairman proclaimed that it “had something for everyone.” American industry was booming, and corporations had money to burn. Forty years later, Matt would tell Mike Okuda and I what an impression it had made on him. When he returned home to southern California, there was a message “… from a guy named Roddenberry.” The Fair’s impact on Star Trek would be considerable.Continue after the jump to see where else in the Trekverse the Fair has found itself: