Tuesday, November 26, 2013

More From the Seattle World's Fair

Here are more scans of some stereo slides from the 1962 "Century 21" Expo, also known as the Seattle World's Fair.

Here's a Sky Ride station, with the jolly orange Union 76 ball perched on top; did you know that this famous sign made its debut at the Seattle fair? I still think it is a brilliant piece of signage; I went to an art gallery where one of these orange balls was at ground level. It had to have been at least 8 feet in diameter. It was lit up, and people would actually walk up and hug it! 

In spite of China's enormous size and population, the Republic of China pavilion mostly concentrated on life in Taiwan, strangely. According to Bill Cotter's book about the fair, "… the focus… was on the modern industries the island government encouraged. Exhibits about textiles, furniture, ceramics, and other products were complimented by displays on life throughout the country"

Looking down the street called "American Way", we see the Bell Pavilion to our right, as well as the base of the ubiquitous Space Needle. To our left is the Hall of Industry.

Looking past the Republic of China building, we can see the NASA exhibit in the distance, which celebrated recent successes in the space program, and had models of concepts for future lunar modules and other wonders.


Nanook said...

Ahhh, a return to the Century 21.

In the first pic, the "food" machines are located just about where Element 7 (the Fender Blue section) of EMP Museum now stands. (And as for the fashions... Melissa, if you please...)

Actually, the building on the left in the third pic is that of our favorite "Food Circus" - the original Armory - which is still in use today. The Hall of Industry would be on our left, but about 100 feet behind where the picture was shot.

Also - I understand if you "hug a '76' ball" while filling up, you receive five free gallons of gasoline-!

Thanks, again, Major for posting more images from the first U.S. World's Fair from the 1960's.

TokyoMagic! said...

Is that "flower cart" on the far left of the third pic selling souvenir slides strips?

Melissa said...

Oh, how I loves me some World’s Fair pictures! I wish they’d have another big Fair like this; I could use the excitement and optimism.

The orange base under the 76 Ball is the love child of the Stratford Festival Theater and a HoJo’s roof.

SKYRIDE! SANDWICH! FOODS! Welcome to your Generic Future!

And thank you, Professor Nanook; I do believe we have some multigenerational babushking going on here. Clamdiggers in the back definitely has one. But, I can’t tell if the little girl in the pale blue coat has a dark babushka on over blond curls, or if she has straight dark hair and is standing in front of a mostly-obscured second child whose curls are peeking over.

I’m not surprised about the focus on Taiwan; China had only acquired it after WWII, and spent a lot of effort in the next few decades struggling to establish its sovereignty there. This would have been an opportunity to show the world, “Hey, this is ours now.” Kind of like that scene in Cleopatra where they march the Egyptians and all their treasure down the streets of Rome. Also, the U.S. had invested heavily in economic development in Taiwan, and showcasing their industry would be a good way to display the return on investment.

Ooh, the Bell Pavilion – where so much of the MST3K “Century 21 Calling” short I previously linked to took place! “Honey, I’m in the phone pavilion, and I’m wearing a fright wig!”

I wonder if Morley’s Miniature Camera shop was a small shop that sold cameras, or a shop that sold small cameras.

Love that giant moon-banana-dinosaur rib-steer horn thing sticking out over the sidewalk to the right, whatever it is or whatever it’s for. Looks like maybe a canopy for an entrance set back from the sidewalk? The streaky wall under it reminds me a bit of the murals at the entrances of the Living Seas and Land pavilions at EPCOT Center.

Those nuns at the left look pretty excited about something. I bet they just applied to become astronuns. “Oh, this? This is just my rosary made of moon rocks. That I brought back FROM THE MOON. And don’t think I didn’t see what you did in the cloakroom while I was up there, Kathleen O’Malley.”

Nanook said...

@ Melissa-

"that giant moon-banana-dinosaur rib-steer horn thing sticking out over the sidewalk to the right.." is part of the structure housing the General Electric Pavilion, "General Electric Living". Click here to see an image.

@ Tokyo Magic-

Morley Studios was the official photographer of the Seattle World's Fair. Click here to see an image of another cart - and some wonderful hats, too.

Tom said...

I can't look at these pictures without hearing the music from the aforementioned "Century 21 Calling" film. I can almost see the rude youths busting pass their elders to get into the Bell pavilion.

One thing they had there that they have down here in Portland is Uwajimaya, an awesome Asian grocery store. I think this fair is where they got their start.

Nanook said...

@ Melissa-

Here's another link with a better shot of the "streaky wall".

Melissa said...

Tanks for the supplemental content, @Nanook! Context be a fine thing!

Definitely more ribs (or even claws) than moon-bananas from that angle! And much cooler. I THOUGHT that one sign in the first shot looked kind of like like a GE logo, but I'm so used to seeing it in blue that I dismissed it as my imagination.

So, if Morley was just vending carts, then maybe it was meant to be "miniature store." Although, the cameras do look on the smallish side, too, unless those are all canisters of film or other accessories. Who can see much beyond that lady's killer tartan ensemble?

The wiggly mural does look less like the EPCOT ones in this context, but it really picks up on the yellow rib awning and the curve of he entryway. Motion, motion, motion!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, there is an Electromagnetic Pulse museum?? I went to a food circus once, it was not the greatest show on earth. Have you noticed that the 76 signs are now red instead of orange? Totally bogus, man! BP, you should be ashamed.

TokyoMagic!, yes, those are probably Pana-Vue slides, which means that any surviving examples are now a rosy shade of pink.

Melissa, you are way more observant regarding these photos than I am! Maybe because I am often trying to crank out the posts, but that's not really an excuse. I'm going to have to step up my game! I am especially disappointed that I didn't notice the nuns - it seems like nuns show up a lot at world's fairs, especially the one in New York.

Nanook, well, so much for my Pana-Vue theory!

Tom, I have watched that film, but it has been a while. Elvis went to that fair, you know! We have Asian grocery stores here in L.A. called "99 Ranch", I was just there today.

TokyoMagic! said...

Thank you for the additional links Nanook. Yes Melissa, I had to stare at that tartan outfit for a while myself. Major, I hate that all of my DL Pana-Vue slides have turned color. I guess I should be glad that the color can be corrected after scanning.

Nanook said...

@ ALL-

Yeah, 'tis a pity what BP has done to the 76 signs. Heck, I bet they don't even remember the "Union 76 Sparkle Corps"-! And No, Major, the EMP Museum (originally called Experience Music Project) is more aligned with Music, Science Fiction & Pop Culture; although the thought if an Electromagnetic Pulse Museum does tickle one's fancy.

That tartan outfit shows up in yet another image I found while searching for more images.

Bill Cotter said...

Thanks for mentioning my book on the Fair, much appreciated.

I have a nice shot of one of the "Morley's Miniature Camera Shop" carts at http://www.billcotter.com/misc/seattle/morley-cart.jpg - including the tartan outfit of the girl working the cart. They sold a wide variety of slides - Pana Vue, Technicolor and their own. All of which have turned red...

Morley had some nice views, though. I tried to track down what became of the originals but it looks like someone tossed them out years ago thinking no one would be interested in them. Heartbreaking news!



Unknown said...

"In spite of China's enormous size and population, the Republic of China pavilion mostly concentrated on life in Taiwan, strangely."

Nothing strange about it. The Republic of China (ROC) IS Taiwan; not to be confused with the People's Republic of China (PRC), which is "mainland China," AKA "Red" China.