worlds columbian exposition

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Screenshots from The Great Ziegfeld, 1936.

Florenz Ziegfeld, the world famous showman and stage producer, was born and raised in Chicago - getting his start in show business promoting the strongman, Sandow, at the Columbian Exposition of 1893. 

This film is the first where I have have seen the World’s Fair recreated. It’s worth watching the beginning 20 minutes of the film to see (albeit stylized) recreations of the exposition’s sights and sounds.

Timeless

Can we just talk about the scene where Wyatt wakes up from being gassed?

I love that he starts to come around, still all woozy (blurry POV shots and all)…

…and the minute he focuses in on George - a stranger - leaning over him, he switches right into defensive mode, lashing out at George, knocking him away, and surging to his hands and knees (even though he is still woozy, as shown by the image still blurring in and out when showing Wyatt)…

I freaking love that conditioned response, the soldier waking up in unfamiliar surroundings and his immediate reaction is to defend himself…

…and I love that not only George is wary, backing away with his hands held open, showing he is not a threat…

…but also Rufus, who knows Wyatt (indeed, probably *because* he knows Wyatt) is wary, and *careful* around woozy, disoriented Wyatt… because he knows how damn dangerous the man can be…

Rufus speaks gently and carefully to Wyatt, “Hey buddy…”, using the kind of tone of voice one uses when trying to calm someone down or coax a wild animal…

…and when Wyatt immediately spins to face him, Rufus too is wary, his hands held up just as George did, being as non-threatening as he can, giving Wyatt time to orient himself and accept that he is not under threat…

Basically I just love that Wyatt is a badass goddamn soldier with finely-honed reactions and instincts, even when woozy from being drugged, and that even his friends know to respect those instincts and just stay back and give him a minute, and speak calmly, while he’s in his defensive mode. :D

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The Brain Scoop
1893 World’s Fair: Columbian Exposition!

The Field Museum’s collections were born out of the 1893 World’s Fair, a global event on the south side of Chicago that drew in millions of people from dozens of countries over a period of six months. Many new novelties were invented and showcased at the Fair; everything from Pabst Blue Ribbon to Juicy Fruit, cotton candy, Cracker Jacks, motion-picture machines, indigenous peoples, murderers. I didn’t say it was all fun and games!