Because of the very limited film clips that can be found from the 1904 World's Fair, there are only a few videos that can be obtained on this subject. Most have modern live action footage of what's left of Forest Park (not much), with the addition of still photographs and narration. One of the best ways of finding these videos is through E-bay, Amazon.com, or the Missouri Historical Society.
The World's Greatest Fair: The World Greatest Fair is a 2-hour documentary which blatantly copies Civil War documentary filmmaker Ken Burn's style; regardless, it is the best video on the 1904 World's Fair. Some 150 writers, researchers, historians and voice talent helped worked more than a year and a half to create this documentary. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch described the documentary as "one of the greatest gifts to the city of St. Louis since the Gateway Arch." The DVD is extremely well-mounted and produced and is full of vintage pictures quotes from Fair attendees. Interviews from contemporary Fair experts and historians flesh out this excellent product.
Personally, I wished the content would have been edited with a less heavy hand to include more about the Pike and its attractions, as well as additional detail about the Palaces, exhibits and architecture. It seems to take small elements of the Fair such as- Dead Man's Curve and Dusty Comets and placed them in the forefront instead of going into more depth about Fair-related topics such as the Pike. Though racism was a painful eye-sore in America at the Fair's time, the video seems to delve on this with a heavier than needed hand, again; limiting the detail and in-depth information about so many elements of the Exposition that were not even touched on. There are no extras or supplemental material.
But don't be taken back by a few of my personal criticisms, this DVD showcases a wealth of information and is a quality must-see. Produced in 2003-4 by Technisonic Studios and directed by Bob Miano and Scott Hugerich, it has won 3 regional Emmys as well as several other major awards. The DVD was shot on high-definition digital video.
The World's Greatest Fair chapters:
1. Opening/Introduction: Overview
2. Something to Prove: David R. Francis, President of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company
3. The Great Steel Phoenix: The Ferris Wheel
4. The Mile of Mirth: The Pike
5. The Light of Inspiration: Inventions at the Fair
6. Dead Man's Curve: A Train Wreck in Western Missouri kills 30 on their way to the Fair
7. Dusty Comets: The Auto "Race" to the Fair
8. An American Entrepreneur: E. G. Lewis
9. A Different Tune: Music at the Fair
10. The Third Olympiad: 1904 Olympics held during the Fair
11. A Woman's View: Jessie Tarbox Beals- female photographer
12. Curiosities: Foreign People
13. Savagery on Display: The Igorottes
14. A World of Art: Art at the Fair
15. A Gentle Touch: Tom Bass- an African-American horse trainer
16. The Issue of Race: Discrimination at the Fair
17. Food Fact and Fiction: Food at the Fair
The St. Louis World's Fair: Yesterday. Today. Forver.
The St. Louis World's Fair: Yesterday. Today. Forver. is the newest DVD about the 1904 World's Fair. Created on a small budget, this labor of love produced by Rev. Bernard Wilkins is an excellent companion piece to The World's Greatest Fair DVD.
The DVD contains live action of Forest Park, photographs of the Fair, and amply showcases the paintings by John Ross Key. What makes the DVD a must buy is the nice idea of overlaying the photographs of the Fair on top of the live action. Utilizing video switcher wipes and fades, Rev. Wilkins gives the viewer an easy vantage-point of the placement of the Fair's attractions in relation to a modern Forest Park. A few of the shots are quite effective. The accompany narration is more than adequate and very informative.
Though obvious made on a budget, I personally would have loved to see the filmmakers go the extra yard into the creative. Fading from live action to still image gives the viewer a location comparison but loses all motion of reality after the fade/wipe; all momentum is lost. IMHO a better way would to utilize mattes and selective overlays to keep some of the live action to really give it a you were there illusion. On a low budget, colleges and Fair aficionados could have volunteered for a credit. Also, the menus are bare-bones and easily could have used a facelift. No suplemetal material.
This DVD showcases more detailed information than any DVD and is another must-see. Produced by Rev. Bernard Wilkins.
I Was There...Memories of the 1904 World's Fair
I Was There...Memories of the 1904 World's Fair was produced by the 1904 World's Fair Society in 1988-1990. It includes interviews with 28 Fair attendees. Bob Miano, who co-directed- The World Greatest Fair, helped record and produce this documentary. The DVD (originally on VHS) is 43 minutes of interview and pictures.
A World on Display was released in 1996, and written and directed by Eric Breitbart in 1994, produced by Eric Breitbart and Mary Lance, by New Deal Films, Inc. This 53 min. VHS video is now out of print.
Nothing Impossible: The Story of the St. Louis World's Fair.
Nothing Impossible: The Story of the St. Louis World's Fair. was created by St. Louis historian Dick Smith in 1992. The VHS video was a multi-image slide program translated to video, which is out of print.