The New York World’s Fair of 1964-1965 was a monumental event that brought together people from all over the world to celebrate innovation, culture, and progress. It was a showcase of the latest technological advancements, artistic creations, and commercial products of the time. One of the most interesting exhibits of the fair was presented by the Travelers Insurance Company in their pavilion, and it included an audio recording called “The Triumph of Man”.
“The Triumph of Man” was a grand production that aimed to tell the story of human evolution and progress through an engaging and informative narration, accompanied by an original score and performed by the Hartford Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Fritz Mahler. The script was written by Robert P. Davis, and the narration was delivered by the iconic voice-over artist Peter Thomas, who became famous for his work on documentaries, commercials, and other recordings. Thomas also provided the voice prompts for Philips’ HeartStart AED units used by emergency services nationwide, instructing personnel when to perform tasks such as CPR and delivering a shock. The music was composed by Frank Ledlie Moore, a prolific composer and conductor who worked for various orchestras and ensembles throughout his career.
The recording was manufactured by RCA Custom Records and sold at the Travelers Insurance pavilion in red vinyl, keeping in theme with the company’s branding. The pavilion was housed in a building designed by architects Kahn & Jacobs. The building was designed to resemble a scalloped-edge saucer with a continuous wall of water jetted up from a circumferential pool. The design was based on the Travelers’ symbol of an umbrella, and the exhibit designers, Donald Deskey Associates, Inc., adapted the shape of the umbrella to create the unique, abstract design of the pavilion.
Inside the pavilion, visitors could experience a variety of exhibits and displays related to man’s journey throughout history. One of the most popular attractions was a series of large-scale, animated dioramas that showcased significant moments in human civilization, including the dawn of man, the discovery of fire, the beginning of agriculture, the first city, the grandeur of Rome, civilization in peril, the Black Death, the voyage of man’s mind, the taming of a continent, and the American crisis. These dioramas offered a captivating look at the evolution of human progress and the challenges that shaped our civilization. The exhibit also included interactive displays, films, and other multimedia presentations that added to the immersive experience of exploring the history of humanity.
“The Triumph of Man” recording became a popular souvenir of the fair, as well as a collector’s item for vinyl enthusiasts and history buffs. Its unique blend of educational content, musical artistry, and engaging narration makes it a captivating listening experience that transports the listener to a world of wonder and excitement.
Even today, “The Triumph of Man” remains a fascinating artifact of the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair, a time when the world was changing rapidly, and people were eager to explore new horizons of knowledge, technology, and culture. Whether you are a fan of vintage recordings, interested in the history of the fair, or simply curious about the evolution of human civilization, this recording is a must-listen that will take you on a journey through time and space.
So, whether you want to relive the spirit of the fair or discover a hidden gem of audio recording history, give “The Triumph of Man” a listen and experience the wonder of the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair.