Thursday, April 11, 2013

More Seattle Expo Pix, 1962

I'm finishing up my Seattle World's Fair pix today; none of these are too exciting, but what can ya do. 

This first one is probably my favorite of the bunch, even though it wasn't taken at the Fair; however, the  Alweg Monorail track runs past Tracer Vic's, past Minsky's Follies - which I believe is still there, and on into the distance, to the fabulous Jetson's-like Space Needle.

While much of the "Century 21" expo was modest compared to other recent World's Fairs, the Space Needle was about as bold as could be. I'll bet many locals hated it at first, just like Parisians initially disliked the Eiffel Tower (which was built for the 1889 World's Fair). I love its orange paint job too, which looks great against the sky whether it is blue with fluffy clouds as seen here, or gray and rainy. The disk has been repainted to blue, and then off-white; for it's 50th anniversary in 2012, it was repainted "Galaxy Gold", which is apparently the name of that orange color. Looks an awful lot like "International Orange" to me, but I'm not complaining.

No, those guys are not making an emergency exit of the Space Needle. That would be cool though! "Sorry ma'am, the elevators aren't working. Here's your outfit and your pole. Be careful, it's windy today". I couldn't find any info about these performers, but they are definitely way up there. One guy is heading one direction, two guys are heading the other. How do they pass?!

This one was a mystery to me, so I asked the readers of the The World's Fair Community message boards if anyone had an idea. One commenter suggested that this could have been from the "Transport 21" pavilion, which (as he said) focused on railroads. Makes sense! Another commenter pointed out the  exposed automobiles, which would probably be in containers today. He also made note of the yellow passenger train and its four Vista-Domes, which "never came to pass".

I may still have a few stereo slides from the Seattle Fair, but that will be the last of 'em.


Nanook said...


I believe the tightrope walkers were members of Circus Berlin, who are actually performing across the grounds of Memorial Stadium. The angle of the shot makes them appear to be heading to/from the Space Needle.

I'm afraid the Benjamin Franklin Hotel, Trader Vic's, the Orpheum Theatre (where Minsky's Follies was performing) are all long gone. The Benjamin Franklin and Orpheum Theatre being replaced with the Westin Seattle Hotel.

For the 50th anniversary celebration of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, the top of the Space Needle was once again sporting its original color: Galaxy Gold. Frankly, that shade of "orange" always appeared more salmon than "gold"; and I think many felt that shade of gold/orange never quite captured the original, 1962 paint color - in spite of claims to the contrary. Ultimately a contest was held after the six month celebration ended, and the winning color/design is "...artwork that depicts treetops of light and lighter green against a dark green background radiating toward the central spire". And personally, I think the effect works quite well and is a welcome change from all the shades of 'orange'.

And, yes, the last pic is most likely one of the exhibits featured inside one of the Transport 21 buildings.

Thanks, Major for these great shots from Century 21.

K. Martinez said...

Anyone remember "It Happened at the World's Fair" with Elvis Presley and Kurt Russell? I used to love that movie.

I remember being a little suprised when riding the Seattle monorail that it consisted of two
parallel tracks with a monorail on each track shuttling back and forth. It wasn't anything like the complete loop circuits found at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Nanook - Thanks for sharing the great info. I love the wealth of information shared here.

Tom said...

We moved to Seattle in 1990, mostly because I wanted to be close to that wonderful Space Needle. I was glad to see that many of the original Century 21 expo buildings were still there and in active use. They've mucked it up quite a bit since then, adding a whole lot of extra stuff to the Space Needle and jacking up the prices astronomically just to ride to the observation deck.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, thanks for the info aboutt the tightrope walkers. I knew Trader Vic's was gone, though I didn't think about the Benjamin Franklin Hotel. I could have sworn I read something about Minsky's fairly recently, but guess I am mistaken. And when you go to the website for the Space Needle, the Galaxy Gold was not there, instead it was sort of a baby s*** brown. I am a fan of the salmony orange that we see in vintage pix!

K. Martinez, I have only seen bits and pieces of Elvis movies… never an entire film! Maybe the World's Fair movie would be interesting to me, but I remember those flicks as being very hokey. Trust me, Elvis was cool, but a lot of the movies… not so much from what I've heard. I'll bet they are filled with loads of nostalgic charm though! As for the Monorail, I just assumed it was a loop; they must have not had the money for a longer route.

Tom, I looked online and see that it costs an adult nearly $20 to go to the top of the Space Needle. Yeesh. But I admit I would gladly pay it. It is still cheaper than the Empire State Building….

K. Martinez said...

Major - The monorail route is substantial, just configured differently.

As for Elvis Presley, I never was a fan of his movies, however "It Happened at the Worlds Fair" has plenty of Seattle World's Fair footage to make it worth a view. I'd recommend it solely for that. And yes, it's hokey!

Nanook said...

I agree that the Galaxy Gold of yore was more "golden" than the shade used recently. (Perhaps its more pleasing tone from 1962 is due to its memory being captured on real film). As for Minsky's, perhaps they're still a going concern - just in another venue.

And yes, It Happened at the World's Fair is definitely hokey, but there is plenty-enough actual Seattle/Century 21 footage (interspersed with both stock footage and sound stage lensing) to make viewing it worthwhile. Although an elaborate set/rotating Seattle sky line backdrop was used for the Space Needle dining scene, the footage of Elvis singing on the Monorail is the real deal.