Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Seattle World's Fair, September 1962

I have a batch of stereo slides from the 1962 "Century 21" Expo in Seattle, and today I'm sharing the first few scans. There were a lot of rainy days in Seattle, and those gray skies resulted in some dark images. Still, they're worth a look!

The Space Needle! Even the name is cool. I am still waiting for it to blast off, which it is able to do. Isn't it? The spinning observation deck acts as a stabilizing gyroscope. You know it is true. Flags from each of the 50 states could be found in the Plaza of the States.

A statue of a fierce warrior (did his eyes glow red at night?) stood outside a shop that sold goods from Thailand. The scale of this Fair was considerably smaller than we have seen at the '64 Fair, which adds to the intimate feel. Plastic babushka alert!

I think the photographer was trying to capture the spray of water over at the International Fountain, but the results weren't so great. In the distance, the Hofbrau Haus served up German sausages and beer. To our right (I believe) were more small shops full of trinkets.


Nanook said...

Babushka's - plastic or otherwise - need to take a momentary backseat to the latest offerings from the haberdasher: hats-! Some with plumes; some made from straw. Both the 'young men' pictured in the first two shots seem to be going for the Rat Pack look.

As for the third image, the storefront on the right was located on the outside NW corner of The Armory, the large structure seen in the first image. Called The Food Circus during the Fair, it was an original building on part of the property utilized for the Fair - opening as The Seattle Field Artillery Armory (or Armory), built in 1939, and continues to this day. After the close of the Fair, the building was renamed the Center House, but in 2012 in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Fair, was renamed The Armory once again.

Thanks, Major for posting images from Century 21.

Melissa said...

The only thing better than a plastic babushka is a plastic babushka with white cat's-eye sunglasses. It's the past and the future, all rolled into one.

I also like the young Woody Allen type guy worriedly frowning into the foreground of the first picture. He's sure the tower is going to fall on him.

Required viewing for the 1962 "Century 21" Expo: MST3K visits the Fair in "Century 21 Calling," sponsored by Bell Telephone. "Oh, these monorail designers - they have a one-track mind."

Tom said...

One of my favorite World's Fairs! (After the '39 and '64 New York ones of course). The Space Needle was just the coolest thing ever.

@Melissa - agreed on the required watching; had to go find the source video and the soundtrack. It's the song at the end that really ties it all together.

Melissa said...

Yes, Nanook; those sporty men's chapeaux put Bing Crosby to shame.

K. Martinez said...

For anyone interested, here's the lyrics to the song at the end of the short film "Century 21 Calling..." Melissa posted and Tom referenced.

Century 21
Century 21
How will life be
In the 21st century

On a needle up high
You can look through the eye
And you're seeing it all.
Yes, you're seeing it all.

As the present unfolds
What the future beholds
Your elated

See the art shows, walk the thoroughfare
On the boulevards leading everywhere
Ride a rickshaw, dine on caviar
You can telephone a star

It's a wonderful age
On a beautiful stage
Demonstrated for you
Been created for you

It's just a part of
The thrilling start of
Century 21!

Nanook said...

And for a jolly good time, take a listen to this little ditty...
Click here

Nancy said...

great stuff today from all. so love the World's Fairs :-)

love the babushka, but sunglasses on a day that dark? Wonder what her scheme was, really.....

my favorite comment, however, came from our own Major as I envisioned the Space Needle "spinning" (rather than revolving)...HANG ON, EVERYONE!!

Thanks for the great pics

Nanook said...

@ Nancy-

One only needs to visit Seattle once - especially in the Spring or Fall - to know why sunglasses are worn on what appears to be very 'dark days'. The sun can, and does, come out at a moments notice. Hence, why the term "sunbreaks" is part of our vernacular. And why we sell piles and piles of sunglasses - just not so many 'Cat Eye models' these times.

PsySocDisney said...

Just unearthed a trunk in my parents' basement FULL of Seattle Worlds Fair pamphlets and souvenirs a few months ago. Speaking of songs one I found is sheet music for "Wait til you see what I saw in Seattle; Your Souvenir Song of the Seattle World's Fair!" I've since been really interested in this overshadowed World's Fair. Thanks for these!

Melissa said...

That "See You in Seattle" song reminds me of a jazzier "Meet Me in St. Louis!"

Nanook said...

@ Melissa-

I don't know if the folks from the Louisiana Purchase Expedition could see far-enough into the future to use such yummy phrases as: "...Take a way-ahead look at tomorrow, just as if you were there-!" No doubt those folks had their own charming take on the future.

Major Pepperidge said...

Hey GDB commenters, sorry about my delayed response… I've been slammed with tons of work recently.

Nanook, thanks for the info about The Armory/Food Circus… I have souvenir guides and a book about that Fair, but it is sometimes (or often) still tough to figure out what's what in these old photos. Part of the problem is that many of the buildings are relatively nondescript.

Melissa, cat's-eye glasses of any kind are awesome. For one thing they make me think of "The Far Side"! I remember being on the top of the Sears Tower, and something about the movement of the clouds made it feel as if the tower was tipping over. It was very unsettling. Oh man, when I have more free time, I'm going to have to watch that MST3K video FOR SURE!

Tom, I think Chicago '33 might top Seattle, but it is definitely up there!

K. Martinez, I appreciate that they used the word "thoroughfare" in a song. Take that, Britney!

Nanook, The Lancers' sound was obviously the signal for the beginning of the turbulent 1960's!

Nancy, both of my grandmas wore babushkas when it rained. Clear plastic, if I recall correctly.

PsySocDisney, why don't I ever find a stash of cool stuff like that? I mean NEVER! Very cool that you're parents had tons of Seattle Fair stuff in their basement.

Melissa, I must have seen Judy Garland singing "Meet Me In St. Louis" on "That's Entertainment", but the song definitely stuck in my head after all these years.

JG said...

I remember visiting the Worlds Fair in Seattle, but only just.

The Space Needle, the Bubble-Vator and the Science spires, and a long long car ride.

Thats about it. Oh, yeah, the monorail, and remembering that the Disney one was cooler.


Pilsner Panther said...

Conicidentally, I just got back from my first-ever vaction in Seattle.I spent a week there, and much of it was spent taking pictures of all the incredible old architecture with a nice new Nikon camera.

I rode the monorail and went up to the top of the Space Needle (of course), but there's really VERY little of the Fair left besides those things, the Science Museum (still open) and a perfomance stage in front of the Needle that looks like it hasn't been used in years.

And that ends your report from Your Man in Seattle, who visits G.B.B. all the time but hardly ever posts a comment.