Monday, 8 June 2009

du pont presents the wonderful world of chemistry

"With Antron and Nylon and Lycra and Orlon and Dacron, the world's a better place. You know we all have a smile on that started with Nylon and stretches across each happy face."

The cast take us through a song and dance of duPont plastics found in the home.

These were the opening lyrics to a show presented at the New York World's Fair in 1964/65 by DuPont. There are some things in this world that astound me and this show is one of them. The presentation, The Wonderful World of Chemistry, was a ground breaking 28 minute musical by Michael Brown. The musical was performed no less than 48 times daily. The show featured 4 live dancers (2 male, 2 female) a narrator and three, 7 feet high projection screens. However, the show was seen in 2 rooms simultaneously thus bringing the cast to nine at any one time. The projection screens allowed the narrator and dancers to interact with filmed performers. The narrator and Mrs Weston would interact, the narrator on stage and Mrs Weston projected on the screen. (Mrs Weston was performed by Flying Nun actress, Marge Redmond - who at the time was married to Jack Weston). With Mrs Weston having filmed her sequence previous to the fair the narrator had to have split second timing for visual gags to work. The shows energenic chreography was by Buddy Schwartz and Ellen Martin and captures the sixties in dazzling movement.

Mrs Weston was projected on a screen and interacted with the live narrator.

The musical performers are best remembered today for a rose passing sequence: One of the filmed performers handed a rose to the live person, who then in turn passed it to another filmed person, who passed it to a live person, who passed it to a filmed person. The whole sequence was split second timing. This sequence was followed by a fashion parade with live cast dancing and interacting with filmed casts. The fashion parade fetured gowns by designers, by Donald Brooks, Oleg Cassini, Ceil Chapman & David Kidd of Arthur Jablow.

At the 1939 Worlds Fair duPont unveiled Nylon to the world, in 1964 it unveiled Corfam. The shows finale was all about Corfam. Corfam shoes had the ability to reshape themself to new after being worn. Corfam was discontinued by duPont in 1971.

The enthusiastic Corman Shoes finale

The show still holds up well when viewed today. I imagine somewhere in the duPont vault lies a pristine copy of the show. It should be remastered for a whole new generation to learn about the wonderful world of chemistry.


Anonymous said...

These shots are very tantalizing! Does this mean that film footage of the show exists??

spacepotato said...

The footage is available, but poor quality.

Mark said...

Boy, I'd really love to see it! Any way I can get a copy?

dcfvgb at hotmail dot com

kanigel said...

For more on Corfam see my book, Faux Real: Genuine Leather and 200 Years of Inspired Fakes, by Robert Kanigel, from University of Pennsylvania Press. About leather and its remarkable qualities and how synthetics have tried, and failed, to compete. See my website at for more. Thanks.