Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Squeaky Wheel: Ronald Searle Proposed New Yorker Cover Art

In 1961, Ronald Searle took note of the hype preceding the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair and submitted a magazine cover proposal for the New Yorker on the subject of the creative ferment already surrounding  the event. His artwork shows a kinetic sculptor working, it seems, in the media of flags of the world and bicycle wheels. The sculptor is seen applying an oil can to a presumably squeaky wheel. The artwork is clever, colorful, and fanciful, maybe too fanciful for the New Yorker of 1961. Perhaps it was too early for the New Yorker's cover art to begin referencing the World's Fair at all, too early even for the editors to dedicate  the cover to a beatnik sculptor drawn by that upstart Searle, whose first New Yorker cover would not be published until 1969.

Ronald Searle, proposed New Yorker cover art, 1961

Searle couldn't have known in 1961 that it was to be Walt Disney who actually would bring a signature kinetic sculpture to the New York World's Fair. The Tower of the Four Winds was designed by Imagineer Rolly Crump. The 120-foot-tall Fairground landmark was demolished after the fair closed, but a small scale model is on display today at Disney's Contemporary Resort in Orlando.
Rolly Crump, The Tower  of the Four Winds model
The Small World pavilion
New York World's Fair 1964-1965

Disney's Contemporary Resort
Walt Disney World
March 26, 2008

Rolly Crump and Walt Disney with the model, c. 1964
Disney's Contemporary Resort
Walt Disney World
March 26, 2008



Rolly Crump
The Tower of the Four Winds
The Small World Pavilion
New York World's Fair 1964-1965


Disneyland Goes to the World's Fair (1964)
The Tower of the Four Winds is shown starting at 31:27

Rolly Crump Discusses the Dismantling
of the Tower of the Four Winds

The Tower of the Four Winds
CGI recreation


Note:  Thanks to David from Manhattan for providing the Searle scan. This artwork first appeared online in 2008 on the Ronald Searle Tribute blog in the post entitled "Private Collections."


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