1962 Seattle World's Fair Turns 50
April 20, 2012 12:46 PM   Subscribe

This weekend Seattle kicks off six months of celebrations marking the 50th Anniversary of the Century 21 Exposition, more commonly known as the 1962 Seattle's World's Fair. Conceived in the shadow of Sputnik, the Fair promoted better living through modern science with futuristic rides and exhibits including the Bubbleator, the Gayway (previously on mefi) and of course the Space Needle, which this week returns to it's original color.

More:
Seattle Time's World's Fair Souvenir Edition (or as 152 page PDF)
Seattle Times 'Modern Living' quiz
Seattle World's Fair on Pinterest
Bringing the Fair to the classroom with the World's Fair Curriculum
Selected photos from the Seattle Municipal Archives
When Seattle Invented the Future (a local PBS documentary)
The Future Remembered: The 1962 Seattle World's Fair And Its Legacy (out of print)
posted by donovan (20 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Century 21 Calling
posted by Snyder at 1:00 PM on April 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


PUSH BUTTON PHONING
posted by The Whelk at 1:03 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


2011 Seattle Gay Way
posted by thewalrus at 1:13 PM on April 20, 2012


Uber saudade :<
posted by lalochezia at 1:26 PM on April 20, 2012


Total tangent, but has anyone ever done a FPP about the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, a world's fair held in Seattle in 1909 on what would become the grounds of the expanded University of Washington? The architecture and imagery were stupendous.
posted by hincandenza at 1:41 PM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I love Century 21 calling. I've shown it in classes a lot; push button phoning and the "bell boy" proto-pager always blow my students' minds. I like to point out how nowhere in there is any mention of mobile telephony. Apparently, in the 21st century we were meant to be turning on our sprinklers remotely from a pay (land line) phone!
posted by DiscourseMarker at 1:58 PM on April 20, 2012


Then there's this story:

http://mltnews.com/50-years-later-family-still-looking-for-closure-following-seattle-worlds-fair-tragedy/

Published on a little local news blog and the first I've heard of it.
posted by diane47 at 2:40 PM on April 20, 2012


How lame. The future sucks monkey balls.

Fifty years on, and we still use the innovations showcased in Century 21 Calling. Scientists have been slacking for the last half century. Screw you Telcos, quit advertising call waiting and forwarding like it's some big deal. These features are still used to drive new business to telephone companies. If I switch my home phone to the cable company I can get FREE CALL WAITING!

Our grandparents would laugh at us, if they weren't dead.
posted by Keith Talent at 3:21 PM on April 20, 2012


Attilio Mineo's Man in Space with Sounds (the exhibition's official soundtrack) will bring you to the celebration even if you can't attend physically.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 4:23 PM on April 20, 2012


Some of my first memories are of the World's Fair. I also remember later trips with family or school field trips, riding the Bubbleator, climbing the gravity-illusion room in the Science Center, riding the Wild Mouse roller coaster, getting drunk for the first time on MD 20/20 and sneaking into some closed-off rooms above the Food Court. It's a pretty bland place now. There's a Dale Chihuly gift shop. The promise of the future never came, did it?
posted by Fnarf at 5:41 PM on April 20, 2012


They are painting the space needle orange!? There goes our view.
posted by zinful at 6:04 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was in Seattle (with wallabear) last week staying at a hotel which was diagonally across Seattle Center from one of the best dive bars / caf├ęs in Belltown, and we walked across several times. The Chihuly Garden And Glass was being installed during this time, and each time we walked past, a bit more had appeared than the time before.

I'm a bit of a Chihuly fan, and it was great to see the outdoor installations, and to glimpse the flowers being installed on the tree branches inside the glass building bit by bit.

I think Seattle is truly fortunate to have such a facility right in the middle of their metroplex, and that it gets used to regularly by all sorts of groups. From Gay Pride to Bumbershoot, it's really an excellent location for all sorts of large events, not to mention the regular use it gets with all the IMAX and museum and other traffic.
posted by hippybear at 6:08 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh. Not "orange". Galaxy gold, of course.
posted by zinful at 6:27 PM on April 20, 2012


Dude, it's orange right now. Guess you need to enjoy that view more often...
posted by victory_laser at 6:30 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the future we call Galaxy Gold orange.
posted by Keith Talent at 6:39 PM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Victory_laser: I'm actually not moving there until the end of the month...you got me. Haha. But I will have a view....OF THE RETRO FUTURE!
posted by zinful at 7:33 PM on April 20, 2012


My mom and her graduating class (only three other girls) actually went to the Seattle World's Fair for her senior skip day(+weekend.) Going through boxes I recently found a set of 'America's Space Age World's Fair' glasses and a couple of commemorative coins.
posted by the_artificer at 8:02 PM on April 20, 2012


I was 8 years old at the time of the fair and lived in a neighborhood just South of Seattle, Skyway. I remember going down a couple times with my Dad to watch them build the Space Needle. I got to go to the fair a few times with visiting family. I loved it and have a lot of great memories. But it was only recently that I learned that there was a section of the fair dedicated to Burlesque.

I have no memory of it. I wonder if I strolled through that section and it just didn't register on me what it was (highly likely) or were my adult chaperones steering me away from the "bad section". I'll probably never know.

Is it just me or does it seem like an odd thing to others that the organizer included Burlesque at a World's Fair that was dedicated primarily to themes of Science and Culture? Ok, there's an argument for the culture connection but it still seems like a strech to me.
posted by Crackerbelly at 8:37 PM on April 20, 2012


LOL'd at the cover of Life 2/9/62 in the historylink.org link.

"Romney of Rambler -- New Star In Politics"

It boggles the mind.

(& yeah, the 5-Point rocks. Happy hour $2.50 cheeseburger & fries. Go immediately.)
posted by wallabear at 10:07 PM on April 20, 2012


Well, not immediately. Happy Hour only runs until 6pm.
posted by hippybear at 10:52 PM on April 20, 2012


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