Past Projects by Bill Cotter

Miscellaneous Projects

Here's everything that didn't fit neatly into the other categories.

13 Most Wanted Men: Andy Warhol and the 1964 World’s Fair

13 Most Wanted Men: Andy Warhol and the 1964 World’s Fair

April 27 - September 7, 2014

This exhibit was held at the Queens Museum and is described here. A folder about the exhibit can be found here. I contributed a photo of the Warhol painting done for the New York State Pavilion. The exhibit catalog is pictured here.



Big E, The

Big E, The

September 12-14, 2014

The Big E is a wonderful fair held each year in West Springfield, MA. I appeared there to promote their exhibit celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the 1964-65 New York World's Fair. I also provided films and photos from the Fair to help decorate the exhibit hall. I used to live in Massachusetts but had never gone to the Big E before; I'm glad I was able to make it!

Here's an interview I did there for WWLP television, and a story about the exhibit from CTNow.



Chronoleap

Chronoleap

ChronoLeap is a very interesting computer simulation of the 1964-65 New York World's Fair created by the Institute for Simulation and Training at the University of Central Florida. Here's a description from the official website:

Our project explores the use of 3D virtual environments as an educational tool to expand the understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Since their inception, Worlds Fair’s have been born from a societal desire to showcase the newest wonders of science and technology.

Occurring at the beginning of the Space Age, the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair is an ideal environment through which to convey a wide array of STEM content. Visitors to this Fair were welcomed to a celebration of better living through chemistry, computers, the wonders of travel into outer space and exploration into the deepest regions of our own oceans. Our environments will take the user on numerous quests and games that explore the foundational STEM concepts related to the innovations showcased at the Fair.

I supplied many of the pictures used to recreate the Fair.



Clarkson Close-Up

Clarkson Close-Up

Fall 1998

My college did a nice biographical piece on me for an alumni magazine. I guess they found the concept of an engineer becoming a writer sufficiently interesting!



D23 Destination: Attraction Rewind

D23 Destination: Attraction Rewind

Walt Disney World, November 21-23, 2014

D23 is the official Walt Disney Company fan club. The November 2014 event focused on Disney's participation at the 1964-65 New York World's Fair. I was honored to be the kick-off speaker, and also led a session on the Ford Pavilion. I also supplied photos for a number of the other presentations.

Recording was not allowed at the sessions, but there is a brief interview available on YouTube.



Disney Online

Disney Online

August 10, 1999

Through the years, Disney has created some of the most beloved and memorable television programs in history, including "The Wonderful World of Disney" and "The Mickey Mouse Club." Join Bill Cotter, author of "The Wonderful World of Disney Television," and special guest Doreen Tracey, one of the original members of the Mickey Mouse Club, for a nostalgic look at Disney TV. Don't touch that dial!

This was an on-line text-based interview in the very early days of Disney.com. I had been hired as a consultant to help set up parts of the on-line service and they thought it would be fun to have me take part in an on-line chat along with Doreen Tracey. It was! The public typed in the questions to a moderator and we then sent our answers back. I guess it sounds primitive today, but it was an early on-line chat and a hint of what was to come.



Disney Parks Podcast

Disney Parks Podcast

April 14, 2015

I had fun discussing the Disney connection to the 1964-65 New York World's Fair. You can listen to the podcast for free here.



Disney's Mid-Century Modern: Tomorrowland to the 1964 World's Fair & Beyond

Disney's Mid-Century Modern: Tomorrowland to the 1964 World's Fair & Beyond

September 26, 2015

Walt Disney famously celebrated new technologies and innovative methods of transportation. He also advocated for modern architecture and industrial design during the 1950s and 60s. Theme park designer Bill Butler hosts a discussion about the influences, artistry, and experiences inspired by Mid-Century Modern design in dozens of Disney creations worldwide. Guest panelists include architectural and cultural historian Alan Hess and author and photographer Bill Cotter.

I was part of a three-person panel at the Walt Disney Family Museum discussing different architectural styles used by Disney at the Studio in Burbank, in vintage films and cartoons, and at the theme parks. We also looked at the influences of several world's fairs on the Disney organization, and how architectural trends in the "real world" translated into the Disney world.

Here's a podcast that discusses the talk.



Echoes of Laughter Podcast

Echoes of Laughter Podcast

February 26, 2011

This was a fun chat about the 1984 New Orleans World's Fair. You can listen to it on-line here or through iTunes.



Expo 86: An Unofficial History

Expo 86: An Unofficial History

August 15 - September 17, 2016

I contributed two photos of Expo 86 to this exhibition held at the Pendulum Gallery in Vancouver to celebrate Expo's 30th anniversary.



Homestead Museum

Homestead Museum

April 25, 2015

I participated in the Homestead Museum's annual "Romance of the Ranchos" program, giving two talks about Walt Disney's Zorro. The museum is great and well worth checking out.



Inside the Magic: Disney and the World's Fairs

Inside the Magic: Disney and the World's Fairs

September 3, 2015

I gave a presentation to employees at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank showing the impact Walt Disney had on the 1964-65 New York World's Fair, and on the impact the Fair had on Disney. I also covered Disney's participation in other world's fairs, and showed connections between these projects and the company's theme parks. The presentation was also broadcast to Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and other Disney locations.



Modernism Week

Modernism Week: ‘Disney’s Midcentury Modern’

February 16, 2016

Theme park designer Bill Butler will host this discussion about the design of Disney creations worldwide. Panelists include historians Alan Hess and Bill Cotter.

This presentation was based on the one we had given in 2015 at the Walt Disney Family Museum. Modermism Week is a major architectural event and it was an honor to be part of it.



Museum of Broadcast Communications: The Genius of Disney - The Television Years

Museum of Broadcast Communications: The Genius of Disney - The Television Years

1992

I was the co-curator for this exhibit, wrote the catalog, and helped prepare several shows about Disney television for screening in the museum. I also had the honor of appearing on a panel discussion about Disney television:

6/13/92: Journalist Joel Brown moderates a discussion and question and answer section between the actor who portrayed Davy Crockett, the Disney Co. archivist, and the Disney exhibit co-curator. They talk about Walt Disney, Disney programs on television both past and present, and the popularity of Davy Crockett. Cast: Joel Brown, Tom Ciesielka, Fess Parker, Bill Cotter, Dave Smith.



Museum of the City of New York: Designing Tomorrow: America's World's Fairs of the 1930s

Museum of the City of New York: Designing Tomorrow: America's World's Fairs of the 1930s

2012-2013

This show was an expanded version of the National Building Museum exhibition listed below. I contributed additional photos of the 1939-40 New York World's Fair. You can read more about the exhibit here.



NASA - Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - Goddard Space Flight Center

October 19, 2015

I had the pleasure of addressing an audience at NASA, which was especially fun as I had started my career as a missile designer. The subject was NASA's display at the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair, and several other fairs, and how these events had helped shape the careers of many young visitors, including my own. I stressed the importance of participating at public presentations at all levels, and gave several other examples of those who were guided by what they they had seen at the Fair.



National Building Museum: Designing Tomorrow: America's World's Fairs of the 1930s

National Building Museum: Designing Tomorrow: America's World's Fairs of the 1930s

October 2, 2010 - September 5, 2011

I contributed a number of photos for this exhibit, including the 1939 fairs in New York and San Francisco, as well as samples of buildings from later fairs. You can read more about the exhibit here.



National Public Radio

National Public Radio

1998

I did several interviews to promote my book The Wonderful World of Disney Television. There was a funny result from one of these shows; someone from my college alumni office heard the show back in New York and promptly called me to ask if I would consider donating part of the profits from the book to the school. I had to give him an A for effort. And a few dollars.



New York City Transit Museum

New York City Transit Museum

July 26-November 2, 2014

I supplied photos from the two New York World's Fairs for their exhibit I supplied photos from the two New York World's Fairs for their exhibit Traveling in the World of Tomorrow: The Future of Transportation at New York's World's Fairs. The exhibit was held at the museum's Grand Central Station Annex.



Pop Culture Roadtrip, The

Pop Culture Roadtrip, The

2010

This was an interview I did about the books I had written so far for Arcadia Publishing about world's fairs. The section featuring me is available on YouTube. The complete show is available here.



Queens Borough Hall

Queens Borough Hall

2014-2015

I supplied photographs of the 1939-40 and 1964-65 New York World's Fairs for an exhibition at Borough Hall.



Queens Borough Hall

Queens Museum

2013-ongoing

I contributed a number of photographs that are on long-term display as part of their world's fair exhibit. The New York Times covered the exhibit here.

A larger number of pictures were included in their 2014 exhibit That Kodak Moment: Picturing the New York Fairs. The New York Daily News covered it here.



Queens, NY

Queens, NY

2014-ongoing

I donated portions of my photo collection to a number of institutions throughout Queens to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1964-65 New York World's Fair. The venues included Flushing Town Hall, The Queens Museum of Art, and displays at La Guardia and Kennedy Airports. It's always a kick to see one of these kiosks when I pass through the airport. Click on the display on the left for a full-size look at one of the airport displays.



Remembering Tomorrow

Remembering Tomorrow

May 23, 2015

I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with my good friend Albert Fisher as we took a look back at the 1939-40 and 1964-65 New York World's Fairs. We were joined at the Queens Museum by a sell-out crowd of world's fair fans. Most of the event can be seen on YouTube.



Schaumburg Township Public Library

Schaumburg Township Public Library

May 11, 2016

I gave a presentation on the 1933-34 Chicago World's Fair, based on my recent book about the world's fair.



Smoke Tree Ranch

Smoke Tree Ranch: ‘Disney’s Midcentury Modern’

February 15, 2016

Bill Butler, Alan Hess and I joined up again for a sold-out look at Disney's impact on Modernism architecture, and its impact on Disney. This presentation was based on the one we had given in 2015 at the Walt Disney Family Museum, and was part of Modernism Week in Palm Springs. Walt Disney had a house at Smoke Tree Ranch so this was a special event for me.



Technical Information Series

Technical Information Series

March 30, 1975

My first full-time job after college was working as an engineer at General Electric Ordnance Systems supporting the U.S. Navy's Fleet Ballistic Missile submarine program. During that time I wrote a number of papers for the company's Technical Information Series, which was a great library of shared information across all of GE's many facilities. I know I have others stashed away somewhere, but one of the guides I wrote was "A Users Guide to Honeywell Time-Sharing," 115 pages of detailed information on a now completely outdated and mostly forgotten computer system It was interesting to scan through it now and think about how much technology has changed since 1975.



Walt Disney: An Intimate History of the Man and His Magic

Walt Disney: An Intimate History of the Man and His Magic

1998

I wrote the television entries for this CD-ROM biography of Walt Disney. A special treat was appearing on a panel discussion at Disneyland when it was released, along with Diane Disney Miller and several other other Disney writers, historians, and performers.

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Walt Disney's Barn

Walt Disney's Barn

July 23, 2011

Walt Disney's Barn is located in Griffith Park in Los Angeles. It's Walt's own workshop where he worked on his miniature steam train and other projects. It was moved to Griffith Park and is lovingly maintained.

I've participated in several events at the Barn. In 2011 I gave a presentation under the stars about Zorro, showing some rare clips and talking about the series. It was a fun night. I've also done several book signings.



When the World Came to Queens

When the World Came to Queens

April 22, 2014

On April 22, the 50th Anniversary of the Opening of the 1964 World’s Fair, author and historian Bill Cotter will offer a thorough history of the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs, followed by a book signing. Owner of the world’s largest private collection of world’s fair photographs, Bill has written about several fairs, including both the 1939 and 1964 ones held in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Using rare photographs, peppered with behind the scenes anecdotes, this is a World’s fair event that should not be missed. Queens Theatre, formerly the Theaterama of the NYS Pavilion, is one of the few remaining World’s Fair structures.

I gave two presentations on the 1939-40 and 1964-65 New York World's Fairs as part of the city's75th and 50th anniversary celebrations. They were held at the Queens Theater in the Park, which was originally the Theaterama section of the New York State Pavilion at the 1964-65 Fair. It was great fun sharing some of my photo collection with two packed audiences. One of the shows was taped and can be seen on YouTube.



World's Fair Podcast, The

World's Fair Podcast, The

2010

I did two of these chats. The first was on 2/21/10 about Vancouver's Expo 86, and the second on 11/25/10 on the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. You can listen to them for free here or through iTunes.



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