New York World’s Fair 1964-65: Man in the 5th Dimension

April 10, 2024

The Billy Graham Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair in 1964-65

New York City was astir in 1964 as the World’s Fair settled in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens. As part of the Fair, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association was invited to have a pavilion as a centerpiece on the property. Thus, in April 1964, the Billy Graham Pavilion opened to an excited crowd.

Within the pavilion, guests enjoyed a film produced by World Wide Pictures, the film company of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The film, Man in the 5th Dimension, showed daily in a 400-seat theater each hour from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Viewers were able to watch the film using earphones that provided the opportunity to hear the film in a choice of six languages.

A crowd fills the theater within the Billy Graham Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair in 1964 to see the World Wide Pictures film Man in the 5th Dimension

Following the film showing, guests could speak with a counselor who spoke his/her own language.

In his autobiography, Just As I Am, Billy Graham recounts the time of the World’s Fair:

“As plans began to take shape for the 1964–65 New York World’s Fair, we were approached by the fair’s chief planner, Robert Moses, about the possibility of having some type of exhibit. It sounded like an unusual opportunity; at least 50 million people were expected to attend the fair’s two-year run.

We determined to go ahead. As our plans developed, however, I began to have second thoughts. For one thing, the whole fair seemed overwhelming. Someone calculated that if people spent only twelve minutes at every exhibit, it would take them two weeks to see the whole fair. In addition, I doubted if we could raise the funds to build a separate pavilion, staff it for two years, and develop a film that would be adequate for an event this massive. I wrestled with the decision for months.

Billy Graham on the set of Man in the 5th Dimension in 1963

In a moment of discouragement–I was ill at the time–I wrote the BGEA board telling them I thought we should cancel. Dr. Edman, the president of Wheaton College whose wisdom I respected so much, immediately wrote back that he thought I was wrong. He saw this opportunity as ‘a great challenge put before us by our Lord.’ He also told me that Dwight L. Moody’s greatest impact may have been through the extensive campaign he ran in connection with the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

So we went ahead, developing a seventy-millimeter wide-screen Todd-AO film entitled ‘Man in the Fifth Dimension.’ (The name came from the film’s theme: life has a fifth dimension to it, the dimension of the spiritual.) Using spectacular photography to tell the story of God’s creation and His love in Christ, scriptwriter Jim Collier and director Dick Ross put together a presentation of the Gospel that touched thousands of lives.

Our pavilion included an exhibit area, which 5 million people visited in the course of the fair, and a 400-seat auditorium where the film was shown hourly, complete with translations into six major languages. Pavilion director Dan Piatt reported that the film was seen by 1 million people.”

Watch Man in the 5th Dimension

You can find out more about World Wide Pictures and the New York World’s Fair by visiting The Journey of Faith in the Billy Graham Library. Plan your visit today.

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