Immigrant Labor & Working Women
World’s Fair History with emphasis on immigrants and the women who made the sculpture.
- [Narrator] The World's Fair was truly international.
The Midway, a long stretch on the fair's western edge,
was filled with makeshift villages
where fair-goers could visit indigenous people
from around the world for a small fee.
- If you went down the Midway
where you get the black and brown people,
and the darker Eastern European people,
and you get to this perfect city where everything
and everybody is white.
- [Narrator] The fair was open from May to October of 1893.
Selznick's job was to ensure their new Nutcracker
took place on Christmas Eve.
- So I said to Chris, "We could set it
five months before the fair opens
with the workers who are building the fair."
- [Narrator] One photo caught the team's attention.
- The photograph of this little shack in the middle of
the sort of skeletal structures
of these huge pavilions
- Where some of the workers
must have lived while they were working.
That was the inspiration for the opening scene.
- [Narrator] The fair's mastermind was architect
and city planner Daniel Burnham.
His larger than life achievements still inspire.
- You know architect and planner extraordinaire.
The architect of the day, if you will.
Famous quote, "Make no little plans,
they lack the magic to stir men's blood."
- I thought to myself,
that's who the Drosselmeyer figure can be.
He is the person who's responsible for this magic.
- [Narrator] Selznick named the Burnham-like character
The Great Impresario.
- This production does free itself from that kind of
Germanic model of Drosselmeyer the magician
and kind of fairy tale character
to a more realistic character, still a magician.
- And I think I saw a photograph of some women
who were sculpting for the fair.
And I just looked at it.
I was like, "Well, that's Marie's mom, there she is."
And so the great, golden statue of the woman
with her arms raised, standing on the edge of the lake,
seemed like the right sculpture
for the mother to be working on.