Backstory to The Fantastic Fair


One evening, when I was having dinner with my colleagues Marvin Nathan and Rodger Birt, we were remarking on the strange fact that, though San Francisco had hosted three world’s fairs, the first of them — the California Midwinter International Exposition — was practically unknown. One writer had even called it “the forgotten fair,” because it had received almost no attention in the intervening years between 1894 and the present time (1989). After some further discussion, we resolved, not only to make a thorough study of the exposition, but to make a film about the event.

It was presumptuous in the extreme for three Humanities professors, who had never made a film before, to have planned and executed our plans. But, together with colleagues Steve Dobbs, Richard Sammons, and Art Hough (narrator), we managed to pull it off:

Fantastic Fair Film


Later, as the centenary year of the exposition approached, I was contacted by the editor of Pogo Press and asked to write a history, with illustrations, of the event. Marvin Nathan graciously consented to be my co-author. And so, by 1994, we had completed and published the book listed above.

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