This March 29 news segment for Houston's KPRC-TV gives a behind-the-scenes look at the Southwestern Bell pavilion opening at HemisFair ‘68 in San Antonio the following week. The footage appears silent here, as it would have been voiced over by the anchorperson during a live broadcast. The company first jazzes up its ribbon-cutting ceremony by incorporating the classic saw-a-woman-in-half magic trick. Employees then tour the exhibition, testing out telephones and marveling at a picturephone live demonstration.
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 6 to October 6, 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 30 countries and 15 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.