When you first walked through the Henley Street gates at the World’s Fair, I was always impressed that there were never really that many long lines. Now, in hindsight that might mean there just weren’t that many people interested in coming. But truly each gate had a number of turnstiles and a healthy number of ticket takers, so – no waiting!
As I mentioned in my previous post the first sense that is assaulted is your sense of smell from the Buddy’s stand. That’s true, but close on the heels of that is the sight of the Sunsphere towering over your head, directly in front. In those days the base was painted blue so it looks a bit different than today.
When you glance up at the golden sphere, you see a number of different reflections. You may see a bright flash of sunshine, a ripple of water, people moving – maybe a cloud or something that could be anything. The gold-flecked windows were mounted at such angles as to catch reflections from all around. Even today it can be a bit mesmerizing.
I went up in the Sunsphere I believe twice during the course of the Fair – once was actually a day or two previously, when they hosted a “Pre-Fair Preview” or whatever it was called. Knoxville and area residents were invited to the Fair site to walk around, get to know the layout, etc before it actually opened. Of course, to a 14-yr-old I thought they were just being nice but I’m sure it was more to help generate some opening week publicity. Imagine all those ladies coming home that evening after walking around the park and calling their sister Mabel in Vonore, “No, don’t go to Opryland this weekend – come here and see the opening of the World’s Fair! Afterwards George’ll throw on some hot dogs and the kids can run through the sprinkler…” It was a good idea.
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