Skydome Spectacular


Skydome Spectacular


The search for a better life in the future

Source: Progressland Commemorative Brochure © The Walt Disney Company

Sun Animation Artist's rendering

You enter the Corridor of Mirrors, its endless vistas dotted with reflected photographs of General Electric scientists and engineers doing basic research -- research in space, in electronics; research for electric utility companies and for industry, for the home and for the nation. Much of their emphasis is on new energy sources, new technologies -- the fuel cell, thermonic conversion, magnetohydrodynamics, nuclear fission.

Then, ahead of you, you see a large marquee. It heralds the Sky-Dome Spectacular . . . the epic story of man's efforts to control and use the new energy sources of nature for the benefit of all.

You pass out onto the dome terrace, as lightning flashes overhead on the largest projection screen in the world. Under the spell of Disney artistry, you see first the long struggle of man through the centuries . . . learning to make fire serve him . . . using fire to make steam . . . using steam to generate electricity . . . gaining the power of the atom. And then you see the greatest challenge of all -- fusion . . . man's dream of duplicating that huge thermonuclear furnace we call the sun!

The show ends. You move down the ramp that circles the centerwell. You are about to see an actual demonstration of fusion -- a man-made sun!

Pavilion layout - Skydome Spectacular


Skydome Spectacular

 The Script


HOST or HOSTESS: On the Carousel of Progress you traveled with us from the past to the present and you saw how rapidity electricity has brought greater comfort and convenience into all of our lives. In our next presentation, Skydome Spectacular, you will see the never-ending story of man's search for new sources of energy. Then you will witness the new source of energy: nuclear fusion.

The most powerful forces of nature are found within the atom. Scientists have already learned to harness the power of nuclear fission which is the splitting of atoms. Today, around the world, General Electric scientists are putting this energy to use. But there is an even more powerful source of energy than fission. It is the joining-together of atoms, or nuclear fusion. Here is limitless energy. And here, in essence, is what you'll be seeing downstairs in our nuclear fusion experiment.

Our next presentation, the Skydome Spectacular, is a preface to the fusion experiment and will be told to you on the interior dome of our building which is over 200 feet in diameter. When you enter our viewing terrace, you lean back, look up. The show is on the ceiling.

From there, you'll walk down a stationary circular ramp to our nuclear fusion experiment. Then you will enter Medallion City which is free-flow. If you move all the way forward please. Stay behind the light of your hostess as you enter our next attraction through any of the doors on the left-hand side.

On the Viewing Terrace for the Skydome Spectacular

Voice of Narrator: A flash of lightning. Raw energy. Uncontrollable. A source of fear and yet a challenge. One that has sparked man's quest to harness and to use the turbulent power of nature.

A flash of lightning and a flicker of fire. Fire that spread and changed the world as man put nature's energy to work for him. He unlocked the energy of wood and coal and made his own fire. He boiled water and mastered the mighty muscles of steam. And then, with great turbine generators, he transformed steam into the substance of thunderbolts. He made electricity, man's strongest, most faithful servant whose tireless hands have carved a vast new world.

Yet today man taps far greater energies -- new ways to create electric power. The atom. Energy stored in the heart of matter. Now man has learned to split the atom; to harness atomic fission. Today and tomorrow, throughout the world, atomic power plants will generate vast quantities of electric energy for our modern cities, industries, homes and farms.

But now man dreams of making power by joining atoms together. He looks up at the nuclear storm in space, the sun, where atoms joining together -- fusing -- are creating energy so boundless it staggers the imagination. Here is the challenge of the future. Nuclear fusion. If man could create and control his own sun power he could produce a limitless supply of energy. Today this goal is on a distant horizon. But scientists in government and industry have taken the first steps. And you are about to see a demonstration of actual equipment used by General Electric scientists to study controlled nuclear fusion. The dream that may wake up tomorrow.

Disney explains animation

Source - (Photo & Description): Science Digest, Vol. 54, No. 6, December 1963

Left: Walt Disney shows a General Electric official an artist's conception of one of the effects featured in the Sky-Dome Spectacular portion of the

General Electric shows the progress of presentation by projection

Source: Industrial Photography, Volume 13 No. 5, May 1964

General Electric's World's Fair exhibit is concerned with showing the progress of electricity. In the course of doing it, it also shows the progress of presentation by projection.

For one thing, visitors will see man's progress in harnessing nature's sources of energy played out in a symbolic skydome spectacular on what is believed to be the largest projection screen in the world.

The full-circle screen actually is the interior of the 200-foot-diameter dome which roofs the 80-foot-height "Progressland," as the G.E.pavilion is called. Completely free of obstructing pillars, the 140-ton dome constitutes one of the most unusual planetarium-like facilities ever devised. It was designed to make possible a smooth inside surface for project effects without a hung ceiling. The projection surface is sprayed-on acoustical material.

A lightning storm and the flames on the surface of the sun are among the 20 awesome effects projected on the vast screen during the six-minute presentation that was designed by Walt Disney's WED Enterprises. They are thrown there by a battery of four Bodde slide projectors and 87 specially-modified Thermofax overhead projectors. the latter carry the burden of the show.

G.E.'s Skydome Spectacular employ 87 overhead projectors. They tell the story of energy on the interior of the pavilion's 200-foot diameter dome.
Skydome Spectacular projectors

Too many good presentations have been disrupted because a projection bulb has failed. That's not likely to happen in this presentation. Each overhead projector has been equipped with two quartz iodine bulbs. There is a full-time projectionist on hand to cope with any other problems.

The Walt Disney specialists also added effects turntables to some of the overheads. They turn distortion and cloud disks which impart animation to the slide-show.

There is just one 10 by 10 slide on the stage of each projector. All are artwork They have been designed to compensate for the curvature of the dome.

It takes about seven overheads working at one time to cover the dome. This presentation took about a year to work out on a miniature dome, eight-feet in diameter.

Visitors view the presentation while standing on a terrace, reclining against pedestals in which are located speakers.


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