Appearing in this event are: Gene Shaffer, The 1964 World’s Fair, and it’s Hall of Education, Mr. Walt Disney, my sons,Trey and Mike, and the whole Disney Gang!
As my Artificial Flower business began to grow, I tried to develop many areas. After working closely with my new friend, and eventual partner, Gene Schaffer on the J.C./ Penney account, we decided to invest in the up and coming New York Worlds Fair starting in May 1964. I had not begun setting up office in the Orient as yet and thought it would be a good idea to introduce the newly invented artificial flowers at the Worlds Fair. I was actually in an earlier World’s Fair, but then I was only 10 years old and sang in a very high alto voice, church mass songs. Gene Schaffer was trying to develop his ceramic business, so we decided to share a booth at the fair. I demonstrated making arrangements in his containers. However, all we could afford was a small one in the Hall of Education, located in one it’s side areas, and directly underneath The World Spire, with it’s Revolving Restaurant on top,. It brought people passing our way, but was really no financial help to us as the days passed. Gene and I invested $2000.00. each which was a lot of money at that time. Most of my investment was in the inventory of Artificial flowers. If you read another of my stories about my first job in New York, you’ll know my boss from Zunino Altman Flower Co., was Josh Rothstein. He allowed me to buy as many flowers I needed, but I didn’t have to pay for them till our company was financially capable. Gene had the actual cash, so it was used for paying the rent and materials we needed to make a grand display. We had three weeks before the Fair opened, and we were finished about 4 days before it was open to the general public. So, we were able to see all the different booths around us and even the Walt Disney pavilion. While I was there they made an announcement to all the vendor at the Fair, that they would like as many vendors as possible to bring their children the day before the opening to the stage of the Disney sight, and be part of the “Grand Opening Event”. It was planned to be a televised opening, inviting the public to the Fair starting the next day, so I made sure my two young sons were present. The day of the TV show, they placed all the children and their parents that attended in an area in front of a stage platform, where Walt Disney was standing. He was joking and waving to all the children, and along side him were Mickey and Daisy Mouse, Pluto and all the rest of his characters. My Sons and all the children present, went wild with excitement, especially when one of the roaming characters would play with them. As the show began, they panned all the children who were screaming and then onto Walt Disney who yelled to all “Come see us and play with us here in the NEW WORLD’S FAIR”!!!
I don’t know if my sons remember, but I certainly do, as I got to shake Walt Disney’s hand. He was just a regular guy with a great idea and making his dream come true. I must say that although we were very disappointed about the Fair in General, this day and this event made it all worth while. As somewhere in the Disney files are pictures of me and my sons appearing with Walt Disney. WOW!