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California Retrospective: When the Tower of the Four Winds scraped NYC’s skies

The Tower of the Four Winds is not as famous as some of Walt Disney’s other iconic attractions.

But in 1964, it got worldwide attention — not at Disneyland but in New York. And because of this geographic difference, it became destined for the dustbin of amusement park history.

In the Jan. 27, 1964, Los Angeles Times, staff writer Lance Brisson reported on the tower:

New Yorkers may know how to build the world’s tallest skyscrapers, but they had to come to Los Angeles for the world’s tallest mobile.

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Mobiles, as everyone knows, are those wire artifacts which usually dangle and twirl from the ceilings of avant-garde living rooms.

This particular mobile, 10 stories or 110 ft. high, was designed for the Pepsi Cola Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair by Walt Disney. It was constructed by Zeon Corporation, 1100 N. Main St.

Titled the “Tower of the Four Winds,” the structure will not dangle but will be planted atop a two-story building housing exhibits of UNICEF, the United Nations’ Children Fund.

Construction of the $200,000 tower required more than 200,000 lb. of steel and more than 100 blends of paint, according to Zeon officials.

“The colors of every flag in the world will be represented somewhere on the mobile,” Disney said last week after inspecting the completed product.

“We have attempted to combine an It’s a Small World theme with a salute to the world’s children for the Pepsi people,” he said.

Three primary columns support the mobile, which has over 100 spinning, swiveling and oscillating elements. All these moving parts — animals, birds, insects, a carousel and a representation of the sun — depend on the wind for locomotion.

The mobile, currently at the Zeon plant, will be disassembled this week and trucked in seven chartered vans to the fairgrounds on Long Island’s Flushing Meadows.

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Disney is also designing and constructing a boat ride for the Pepsi Pavilion which will be located behind the eye-catching mobile.

The boat ride, It’s a Small World, was brought back and opened at Disneyland in 1966. The tower was left in New York. Eventually it was torn down and sold for scrap.

But earlier this year, a virtual simulation of the tower reappeared at the D23 Expo, shown by an artist during a panel discussion.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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