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The Ludeke Family Collection, no. 9 - 1968 HemisFair

Kim Ludeke

Silent | 1968

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TAMI Tags
  •  Tower of the Americas 
  •  Elevator going up the Tower 
  •  Footage of HemisFair '68 most likely taken from the tower 
  •  Family most likely on top of tower 
  •  Trained monkey at fair 
  •  River Walk area 
 
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James and Joreen Ludeke settled in Wichita County in 1954 and raised their 6 children on their ranch located on the former site of the Four Sixes Horse Ranch and the North West Oil field. Their film collection features scenes of farm life set against a backdrop of North Central Texas prairie, the Red River, and Oklahoma in the distance. Also included within the collection are special events, such as family trips, holidays, family weddings, the 1968 HemisFair in San Antonio, and the Texas Sesquicentennial celebrations held in 1986 in Wichita Falls. This footage documents the Ludeke family's trip to the 1968 HemisFair in San Antonio. After shots of fair pavilions and the Tower of the Americas (as well as aerial views of San Antonio), the film concludes, very briefly, with a family picnic at a campsite.
The 1968 Hemisfair was a World’s Fair held in San Antonio to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the city’s founding. It was the first World’s Fair to be held in the southwest, and its theme was “Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas.” From April 6th to October 6th, 1968, the Hemisfair welcomed over 6 million visitors. Famous attendees included Bob Hope, Louis Armstrong, Princess Grace of Monaco, President Johnson and his family, and Texas Governor John Connally. There were many attractions including exhibits, a monorail, a lagoon, and a variety of performances. Perhaps the most controversial was a show called the “Flying Indians of Papantla,” during which four men tied to ropes revolved down a 114-foot pole. The complaints stemmed from a mock sacrifice at the beginning of the show, which involved a chicken and a topless woman. This was swiftly edited out of the show. 
 
The popular River Walk was extended in order to meet the site of the fair, and many new buildings were constructed in the downtown area to accommodate exhibitions from over thirty countries and fifteen organizations. Some of these buildings remain, most notably the Tower of the Americas, which was the main symbol of the fair. The area is now known as HemisFair Park.