Superman vs. Cyclops at the World's Fair

The 1964 World's Fair was probably best symbolized by the colossal Unisphere globe and the Jetsons-like towers of the NY State Pavilion. Over at NASA's "US Space Park," you could see full-scale models of a Titan II booster and Atlas rocket, the actual Mercury capsule flown on the second American manned orbital flight and a full scale model of the three-man Apollo Command module. At the Bell Telephone pavilion, you could make a call on a "Picturephone," foreshadowing modern videoconferencing. At the various international pavilions, you could sample culture and cuisine from many nations.

But of course these were petty distractions compared to the glory of the Superman wax figure, locked in combat with the mighty Cyclops:

I found this ad some time ago in an old comic and always wondered about the exhibit. Thanks to the miracles of the internet, I managed to find a tidbit on Walter's Wax Museum at the website, including this image of patrons entering the exhibit, no doubt eager to see Superman in action:

Even before I knew much of anything about the Fair (which seems more and more awesome the deeper I dig), it struck me as humorous that a wax figure would be considered a major draw at such a huge event. I could just imagine some kid out in Montana or Oregon trying to talk his parents into a cross-country car trip to see a pair of dummies dressed up like Superman and the Cyclops. Or some youngster actually at the Fair, stamping his feet impatiently at the giant mock-up of a Saturn V rocket or the world's biggest automoble in his eagerness to see a cheesy wax museum display.

Information on the museum is hard to turn up, again as you might expect for one of the less spectacular attractions at an event as colossal as the World's Fair, but I did turn up a brief blurb here, apparently lifted from the souvenir brochures handed out at the Fair. (It's interesting to note Superman takes second billing behind Cleopatra, at that time the subject of a major motion picture starring Liz Taylor). The excellent website also offers a map of attractions revealing the location of the museum relative to the other exhibits (look for location A12 on the map). But beyond that, not much.

I can't help thinking comic book fans would have felt right at home at the Fair, where a ferris wheel shaped like a giant Uniroyal tire could hold 96 fairgoers at once, the Chrysler Pavilion took the shape of a 55-foot-high car engine and Design Island housed an 80-foot-long automobile. It's easy to imagine Batman and Robin in a running battle here with the Joker or the Riddler.

If there's anyone out there with first-hand memories of the Superman vs. Cyclops diorama, or what else we might have seen in Walter's Wax Museum, or even who "Walter" was, I'd love to hear from you. Of course actual photos of the figures would be fantastic.

In the meantime, here's some great links dealing with the fascinating history of the 1964 World's Fair: A fantastic storehouse of facts, photos and concept art's World's Fair page
Doug Drexler's blog entry on the Fair's influence on Star Trek
"Modern Ruins": Phillip Buehler's Photos of what remains of the fairgrounds today