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May 19, 2006

Dreams of Fair Victoria


I wish I had been there, I wish we'd all been there because, even now, I can still hardly believe it's true. And neither will you.

It all started when the government of Southern Rhodesia (today Zimbabwe) wanted to show their stuff. So they laid a plan. A beautiful plan. They decided to put Victoria falls into a gigantic room, project a fake day and night on the ceiling, fill the room with all manner of tropical loveliness, and bring the room to the 1939 New York World's Fair (where thousands of people would be impressed).


The above is a cut-away drawing of the beautiful plan... and you're missing something if you don't take a closer look.

The falls-in-a-room was actually a scale replica but, at 22 feet high and 186 feet long, it was still a sight to behold. The Southern Rhodesian's were proud of this impressive attraction, as well they should have been! Most impressive was the 60,000 gallons of water a minute that plunged over the edge of the abyss.


Unfortunately, things didn't end so well for the falls... all because of the "depraved and obscene" activities going on at the attractions nearby like "The Congress of Beauty," "The Amazons" and "The Crystal Lassies."


The Southern Rhodesians got really really mad! The reputation of their great wonder was being sullied – lowered to the height of mere eroticism... "Where's Victoria?" the visitors began to ask, "We want her, we want to see the voluptuous but seductive Victoria... from Rhodesia!" That kind of thing made the Southern Rhodesians want to spit fire, and they had finally had it up to here. They removed their seal, lowered their flag, and wiped themselves clean of the New York World's Fair... and Victoria Falls.

More 1939 World's Fair postcards

May 19, 2006 | Permalink


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» Victoria Falls replica at 1939 World's Fair from Boing Boing
Robyn Miller has images and information about Rhodesia's fantastic entry to the 1939 World's Fair. They put Victoria Falls in a huge room (or a scale creation of it) pumping 60,000 gallons of water over the edge per minute! But it came to a sad end, du... [Read More]

Tracked on May 19, 2006 2:08:54 PM


Wow - fascinating. I love this sort of thing and now want to build a smaller one that I could fit in my home...

I must ask though, where can I learn more about "The Congress of Beauty," "The Amazons" and "The Crystal Lassies"? Strictly for educational purposes, of course.

Posted by: edgore | May 19, 2006 3:17:24 PM

the other exhibits("The Congress of Beauty," "The Amazons" and "The Crystal Lassies") were most likely just topless women with some theme that made it different then the other topless women exhibits. I think it was post WW2 that the whole women topless thing started to changed. With the new hard ass morals of the 50s and the feminist revolution the soft core burlesque stuff became out of date and sleazy. Something the new middle class wanted to distance itself from as to seem farther then the lower class.

Posted by: ellio7t | May 19, 2006 4:19:18 PM

The 1939 New York World's Fair was an amazing feat of concept and construction.Years ago I watched a PBS documentary about the fair (hosted by Jason Robards), and I was hooked. I've been a collector of memorabilia ever since. I never heard of this Victoria Falls attraction, but what a spectacular idea!
Thanks for the post!

Posted by: Ray Keim | May 19, 2006 6:20:10 PM

There were SO many topless (or almost) shows at that fair - the "Crystal Lassies" featured dancers in a stage of angled mirrors, the "Living Magazine Covers" featured models posing topless as though they were ... well ... everyday magazine cover models (skiiers, etc), and on and on.

A good deal of color footage of the fair, including some of the topless attractions, is on my DVD "The Carnival's Come and Gone" available from my website http://www.goodmagic.com/websales/carny

Posted by: Wayne Keyser | May 19, 2006 7:09:14 PM

The Rhodesians have got a nerve! Complaining about decency when the plan view of their building looks like a giant cock and ball sack.

Posted by: vermin | May 21, 2006 10:57:49 PM

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