Pavilion of the Government of Denmark, 1964-1965 World’s Fair, comprised of a restaurant, and innovative free child care.
Many people went through this place, often depositing their children for an hour or so, without realizing...
being taught about the greatness of Corporate America, or the incredible culture of (fill in whatever country), kids were begging for just one more hour of…
…an experiment in behavior mod.
Instead of passive “rides", there were physical and psychological “challenges”: a maze with doors in the shapes of eggs and playing cards. Throne-like chairs, hand-crafted by a noted sculptor from thick slabs of dark wood, surrounded trestle tables, suggesting all sorts of fantasy play of Kings and Heroes. Suspended birds where you could 'fly' as if on an eagle's back. The trees were full of fairy lights and giant butterflies made of netting. A series of stairs and more netting surrounded a spiralling slide five storeys high.
It all was amazing, enchanting….a world where no adults,other than the “Play aunts” could go.
In a word, it was paradise.
Children would have every need catered to.
Hungry? They’d slip you a healthy snack from the restaurant.
Tired? There were cozy beds, with nice soothing smells and sounds.
Lonesome? The Aunts would listen to you, be interested in everything you liked (“It’s called a …Raggedy Ann? I’m sure she loves you back!), make sure you felt loved, even introduce you to other children.
Anyone with the least sign of bullying, ill-will or aggression, found themselves put into the Naughty House, where you had to scream, kick and hit their way to get out. (and find themselves thoroughly tired enough to behave otherwise....)
Behind the scenes, a team of researchers studied closed-circuit TVs and fine-tuned the operation. (Consent forms? Who ever heard of that? It’s the 1960’s….and it’s for Science!)
The accrued data would later shape the Norwegian Prison System, among other institutions.
But if you were good there was…the ultimate toy…the wonderful thing, that was…Blocks? No, not blocks. Bricks. You could only play with them on a special table. No one had ever seen anything like this. No...Something else. Um….it was called …Legos? Nowadays, they would have sent every kid home with a plastic bag full. Back then, they sent home only memories…and a craving…and an experience they might never have, back home….
I still have some bricks from the Christmas after, when a starter set was $200 in their money….
Can’t I have just a little more time..? Mom, please, I’ll be good…I’ll be so, so, very, goood…..Please?