Tag Archive | Seattle

Century 21 Exposition

April 21, 2020

… All Roads lead to Seattle

Century_21_Exposition_logo1The year was 1962. The space race was a real thing. And Americans everywhere were awed by the spectacle of extra-terrestrial travel to the moon and beyond.

And no event summed up America’s love affair with technology, space, and the future more than the Century 21 Exposition in Seattle which opened on April 21st.

The idea had been hatched seven years earlier. From the Infallible Wikipedia:

“The fair was originally conceived at a Washington Athletic Club luncheon in 1955 to 8130b5bdb8adfdbd937324996d49da37mark the 50th anniversary of the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition , but it soon became clear that that date was too ambitious. With the Space Race underway and Boeing having ‘put Seattle on the map’ as ‘an aerospace city’, a major theme of the fair was to show that ‘the United States was not really ‘behind’ the Soviet Union in the realms of science and space’. As a result, the themes of space, science, and the future completely trumped the earlier conception of a ‘Festival of the [American] West’.”

Science and technology became the primary focus of the fair. Companies from around the U.S. exhibited a variety of ‘future’ products with a push, particularly, focused on the home of the future. For 13 minutes of pure Seattleite amusement, you can take a trip back in time in this video from Bell Telephone touting how easy communication would one day be. Had they only known…

https://ia800300.us.archive.org/31/items/Century21964/Century21964_512kb.mp4

But it was the space race between the United States and the USSR which was the story which coalesced into my hubby’s family lore.

Gherman Titov was a Soviet cosmonaut and the second man to orbit the earth in outer space. Think of him as the Russian equivalent of John Glenn; a hero in his country. HistoryLink.org – a Washington State history site – chronicles that visit:

“May 5 was incredibly hectic at the Century 21 Exposition, thanks to a visit from Russian cosmonaut Major Gherman Titov, who attracted some of the largest crowds the fair had seen since its opening on April 21. At times, the diminutive 5-foot 4-inch Titov found it hard to see anything other than the Space Needle, as taller spectators gathered around him, hoping to glimpse or photograph one of the few men that had been in outer space. Scores of news reporters compounded the crush.

c21_titov1

Gherman Titov with a few Camp Fire Girls who were there on May 5, 1962.

The Russian cosmonaut wasn’t the only one to gather crowds. More than 10,000 Camp Fire Girls were on hand to dedicate the World’s Fair flagpoles, funded by candy mint sales. An estimated 20,000 people — more than a quarter of the day’s total attendance of 75,758 — were there to take part in Camp Fire Girl celebrations. Because of the large crowds, Century 21 Exposition manager Ewen Dingwall (1913-1996) announced that starting May 12, the fair would open an hour earlier each day, at 9:00.

Throughout the day Titov signed autograph books and handed out color photos of himself, especially to children. At one point he handed his photo to a baby in a stroller.”

The baby in the stroller? My husband’s younger sister, Liz!

Back in the 1980’s – when I heard this story for the first time – I contacted the Seattle PI and was able to get a photo of Liz with the cosmonaut. We then framed it and gave that to her as a present. Unfortunately, the photo is stowed away in a box in the attic of the family home… and no one is brave enough to navigate the bat guano to go find it. I will be looking through my physical archives to see if I kept a copy.

In speaking with my Mother in Law, Jean, yesterday, she shared the following:

“We were there that day because I took our older daughter’s Campfire Group. We heard the Cosmonaut was on the grounds and we went out of our way to avoid all that, but ran right in to it. He bent down and talked to Liz who was in a stroller. She was little at that time (editor’s note – she was a few days shy of her first birthday). Normally, I would not take that many in a crowd – there were at least 10 Campfire Girls with us.”

My Mother in Law is looking to see if a copy of the newspaper article and photo might be in their file cabinet. Of course Liz remembers nothing of that day.

As I was putting together the story for this week’s blog, I was reminded of how there are days in our lives which become significant but we do not recognize it at the time. Family events like these highlight how crucial it is to stop and reflect on events which impact our lives.

I was six that year and I know that my family traveled to Seattle from Yakima for the event. But I cannot recall what we did or any specifics about it. I do know that the day it opened was my dad’s 39th birthday…now 58 years ago. Just last year on April 21st, all my siblings, their spouses, and two of my nieces, gathered together at the Adult Family Home where my dad had recently moved, to celebrate his 96th birthday. It was a lovely day and perfect weather.

20200420_152237

My Dad’s 96th birthday, April 21, 2019, with his four children

Dad had told me that he didn’t want to celebrate his birthday. But my sister and I insisted and promised it would be ‘just’ family. We ignored his protests and proceeded anyway.

20190421_130235

Dad (and my sister) with his last birthday cake

Dad rallied for the event and seemed to enjoy the cake, the cards, and a few small presents. Turns out that we were all glad we did. Six months and three days later he was gone.

Carpe Diem!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Century_21_Exposition

https://www.historylink.org/File/10104

Salt and Pepper

I have a few items of memorabilia from the Century 21 Exposition. My most prized is a pair of aluminum salt and pepper shakers shaped like the Space Needle. The top of one is shown here.

One Hundred Plus Three

February 5, 2019

It really should not come as a surprise that a Snowpocalypse has gripped Seattle the first week of February. It could be worse, however, if one looks back in time. The year was 1916 and on February 5th of that year, the Puget Sound region was still reeling from a heavy snowfall which began late on January 31st. It was a 24 hour period from February 1st to 2nd, however, which produced a whopping 21 and half inches of the white stuff. That record snowfall still stands.

union street after 1916 snowstorm

Union Street in Seattle as viewed from 9th Avenue, February 1916. Photo from University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections (link below)

The Infallible Wikipedia gives us but a brief glimpse of that event:

“From January 31 to February 2, 1916, another heavy snow event occurred with 29 in (74 cm) of snow on the ground by the time the event was over.”

However, it does link to a more comprehensive article from HistoryLink.org which, I’ve found over the years, provides pretty comprehensive coverage of Seattle history minutiae. From the article:

When the big snow of 1916 began to fall on a cold Monday on January 31, 1916, there may have been more cameras than shovels in the hands of amateurs. The flurry of snapshots of our second greatest snowstorm illustrate snow-stopped streetcars, closed schools, closed libraries, closed theaters, closed bridges, a clogged waterfront, collapsed roofs, and — most sensationally — the great dome of St. James Cathedral, which landed in a heap in the nave and choir of the sanctuary. (There were no injuries to persons.)

The unusually cold January already had 23 inches of snow on the ground when, on the last day of the month, it began to fall relentlessly. Between 5 p.m. on Tuesday, February 1 and 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 2, 21.5 inches accumulated in the Central Business District at the Weather Bureau in the Hoge Building. This remains (in 2002) a record — our largest 24-hour pile.

9th and James 1916 snowstorm

James street as viewed down 9th Avenue. Smith Tower – then the tallest building in Seattle – is on the left. February 1916. Photo from the University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections (link below)

The 1916 snow was a wet snow, and it came to a foul end — a mayhem of mud that mutilated bridges and carried away homes.”

In the category of how quickly we forget, it was just two years ago that the record for snowfall on any February 5th was set when two inches was recorded at Sea-Tac airport. An additional 5.1 inches fell on February 6th for a total of 7.1 inches on these two dates in 2017.

February 5 2017 snow kirkland

The snowfall in progress on 
5 February 2017 near Kirkland, WA 
“About an inch and a half so far. Of course this is nothing compared to what Michelle has gotten in Tahoe Vista this year.”

Since the hubby and I moved north from the greater Seattle area a little less than a year ago, I cannot accurately compare the amount of snow from our old house to the one here in Mount Vernon. As of this morning (I write my blog the day before, so it’s February 4) we have between 3 and 4 inches and it is still snowing. The view from my office window – with a little wind in play – gives the appearance of being in a powdery snow globe.

I cannot complain about Puget Sound snow, however. This region has some of the mildest weather in the world and I think of the white stuff as a wondrous treat to be enjoyed. Ensconced in my warm house with a morning cup of coffee – or later in the day with a mug of hot buttered rum – the beautiful coat of white is a magical event.

Too soon the temperatures will rise, the snow will melt, and we will be back to the brown and green scenery which characterizes a Puget Sound winter. One thing I do know is that within a few short weeks, the plum and cherry tree blossoms will erupt in shades of violet and pink and carpets of purple, yellow and white crocus will spread across the landscape. All we will recall from the winter of 2019 will be these few short days in early February when the landscape was transformed into a winter wonderland.

 

 

Interesting perspective on the February 5/6 2017 event:

http://www.seattleweatherblog.com/snow/biggest-february-snowstorm-generation-wallops-seattle/

An article which highlights the biggest Puget Sound snowstorms:

http://www.historylink.org/File/3681

Some great historic photos of the February 1916 snowstorm:

http://archiveswest.orbiscascade.org/ark:/80444/xv07321

Article about the February 5th and 6th, 2017 snowstorm:

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/weather/weather-service-predicts-3-to-6-inches-of-snow-in-seattle-area/

 

 

 

Magnum P.I.

A Red Ferrari Is All You Need

December 11, 2018

magnum_tom_selleckWomen of the 1980’s loved his impish smile, his seemingly carefree attitude, and the fact that he lived in Hawaii and got to drive a red Ferrari. His name: Thomas Magnum. It was on December 11, 1980, when the world got their first glimpse of Magnum PI and the show was an instant hit.

TV viewers tuned in each week to watch Magnum solve a new crime, spar with Higgins, the caretaker of the estate where he lives in the guest house gratis, and drive the red Ferrari all around Oahu at high speeds.

From the Infallible Wikipedia:

“Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV is a private investigator played by Tom Selleck. He resides in the guest house of a 200-acre (81 ha) beachfront estate called Robin’s Nest, in Hawaii, at the invitation of its owner, Robin Masters, the celebrated, but never-seen, author of several dozen lurid novels. Ostensibly this is quid pro quo for Magnum’s services based upon his expertise in security; the pilot and several early episodes suggest Magnum had done Masters a favor of some kind, possibly when Masters hired him for a case. The voice of Robin Masters, heard only in five episodes, was provided by Orson Welles (one last “appearance” was provided by a different actor, Red Crandell).

“Magnum lives a luxurious life on the estate and operates as a P.I. on cases that suit him. The only thorn in the side of his near-perfect lifestyle is Jonathan Quayle Higgins III, played by John Hillerman. An ex-British Army Sergeant Major, he is on the surface a stern, “by-the-book” caretaker of Robin’s Nest, whose strict ways often conflict with Magnum’s more easy-going methods. He patrols Robin’s Nest with his two highly-trained “lads”, Doberman Pinschers named Zeus and Apollo. Magnum has free use of the guest house and the car, a Ferrari 308 GTS Quattrovalvole, but as a humorous aside in various episodes, often has to bargain with Higgins for use of estate amenities such as the tennis courts, wine cellar and expensive cameras.”

Tom-Selleck-Cast-of-Magnum-PINo doubt the show was a hit due, in part, to the casting of the additional regular characters: bartender Rick and helicopter pilot T.C. who are Magnum’s pals, and the never ending appearances of celebrities of the era. But the real magic was between Magnum and Higgins.

The show was so popular that both Tom Selleck as Magnum and Tony Hillerman as Higgins, were nominated for Emmy and Golden Globe awards multiple times. Selleck won an Emmy in 1984 and a Golden Globe in 1985. In 1982, Hiller won a Golden Globe; his Emmy was awarded in 1987.

Although the producers purportedly killed Magnum in the final episode of 1987 to end the series, the outcry from distraught fans created enough backlash that the show returned for an eighth and final season in 1988 by bringing Magnum back to life…

Also from the Infallible Wikipedia:

“In what was originally meant to be the final episode of the series, Magnum is critically wounded in a dockside warehouse firefight and ends up in a coma. He ‘wakes up’ in Limbo with Mac but refuses to believe that he is dead, insisting that he is only dreaming, even though no one but Mac can hear or see him. Magnum finally accepts that he is dead, and says his goodbyes. Throughout the episode, John Denver’s song “Looking for Space” plays in its entirety and ends as Magnum walks off into the clouds (the song is replaced by another song in subsequent syndicated broadcasts and video releases, a’la other CBS productions Wiseguy and Birds of Prey).

I guess they figured if they could sell the concept on the TV show Dallas the previous year then it would work for Magnum PI also.

Both my hubby and I were huge fans of Magnum PI and rarely missed an episode. Of course what wasn’t to like about Tom Selleck? Tall, curly dark hair, good looking, great personality… he had it all.

And then, one day in the summer of 1981, we had a close encounter of the Magnum PI kind.

Since my hubby worked in the Belltown neighborhood in Seattle, we decided to park our car at his office and attend the 1981 Seafair Parade. To get to the parade route we walked up Blanchard Street and had to pass a construction zone as well as several trailers which, I assumed, were being used for offices by the companies at work there.

We came upon a trailer and noticed the door was opening. I looked up just as a gorgeous blonde woman descended the stairs, her male companion right behind her. Hubby and I moved closer to the building on the right and the other couple passed to our left in the opposite direction.

We were not more than a half dozen steps past when the hubby leaned over and whispered to me “that was Magnum P.I.” What!? No way. I craned my neck so hard that I nearly gave myself whiplash. But all I saw was the backside of the couple – the beautiful blonde and the tall guy with dark curly hair – retreating down the sidewalk.

“Why didn’t you say something?!” I accused.

“I nodded at him. He knew I recognized him,” hubby replied. “I think he appreciated that I didn’t make a scene.”

So there we were, close enough to TOUCH Tom Selleck, and I’m noticing his date. Sheesh. How lame can one get?

divorce warsThe next night one of the local news stations interviewed Selleck who WAS in Seattle filming the made for TV movie “Divorce Wars” with Jane Curtin. In the interview the topic of fame and recognition came up and Selleck said he liked when people obviously knew who he was but appreciated not being accosted by fans.

Thanks, honey, for saving me from making an idiot of myself with one of the biggest stars of 1981. I owe you. Something. Not sure what. But something.

A link about the show:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnum,_P.I.

Sleepless In Seattle

May 1, 2018

A Sleepless May Day to Remember

Empire_state_building_historyWhen this building opened on May 1, 1931 it was, at 1250 feet, the tallest in the world. More than that, however, it has become an iconic symbol of New York City and America.

Kong dunawayIt only took two years for the Empire State Building (ESB) to become an American movie favorite location when a rather large ape named King Kong was seen climbing the structure –Fay Wray grasped in his hairy paw – during the final scenes of the film which bore his name.

I will say that whoever wrote the article on the building for the Infallible Wikipedia had way too much time on their hands. In it there is an exhaustive history of the land beneath the building, what was there before, how they disposed of the materials from the structure they tore down, how tall the antenna on top of the ESB is, and a hundred other trivial facts.

For those who enjoy learning that much minutiae, knock yourself out. My eyes glazed over and I seriously considered consuming more coffee than I should just to get through it.

My interest is primarily on the cultural impact of the structure. From the Infallible Wikipedia:

“The Empire State Building is an American cultural icon and has been featured in more than 250 TV shows and movies since the film King Kong was released in 1933. A symbol of New York City, the tower has been named as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The Empire State Building and its ground-floor interior have been designated as a city landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, and were confirmed as such by the New York City Board of Estimate. It was also designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986, and was ranked number one on the American Institute of Architects‘ List of America’s Favorite Architecture in 2007.”

A favorite, more recent, movie in which the ESB figures prominently is Sleepless In Seattle. The ESB becomes a main feature of the plot when Annie (Meg Ryan) watches the 1957 movie An Affair To Remember and is inspired to write a letter to the widower Sam (Tom Hanks) asking him to meet her on the observation deck of the ESB on Valentine’s Day just like in the Carey Grant and Deborah Kerr movie.

Sleepless Rainbow RoomThrough a series of plot twists and turns Annie decides to not go meet him but instead ends up in a Manhattan restaurant with her fiancé on February 14. As fate would have it they are seated near a window with a view of the ESB and Annie looks at the building and knows she must break off her engagement and take a chance with someone she’s seen but never met.

sleepless_in_seattleThe movie is recognized by the American Film Industry as one of the top 10 in the category of romantic comedy movies. Although the plot is pretty obvious, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan are just so adorable that they carry it off in a way that leaves women everywhere searching for a tissue.

Although I never saw the movie in the theater (it was released in June 1993 and I was kinda busy with a toddler and newborn) someone gave me the movie on VHS. Nowadays, it’s a perennial favorite on cable and if I happen to come across it, I’ll watch it. I am, after all, a sucker for a good romance.

Here are the links for the exhaustive history of the ESB and also for the three movies:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_State_Building

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Kong_(1933_film)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleepless_in_Seattle

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_Affair_to_Remember

The Beatles

Can’t Buy Me Love

April 4, 2017

Tune in to any radio station playing oldies and you are certain to hear a song  from this one group. Who is it? By now you are all saying the same name: The Beatles.

It was on April 4, 1964 that the Beatles accomplished something which no musical group or person either before or after has ever matched.

Imagine Casey Kasem’s voice as you countdown to number one:

  • Falling out of the number two spot to number five this week is “Please, Please Me” by the Beatles!
  • Our next song spent five weeks at number one and is probably Beatles Can't Buy Me lovethis group’s most popular song ever. At number four it’s the Beatles with “I Want To Hold Your Hand.”
  • Relinquishing it’s spot at number one, this song drops two spots to number three. It’s the Beatles with “She Loves You.”
  • The lead vocalist of our next song was suffering from a cold the day this Isley Brother’s cover was recorded. The song was laid down in just one take and the effects of the cold contribute to the rock and roll sound. Coming in at number two is “Twist and Shout” by the Beatles.
  • Catapulting to the number one position this week from number 27 is none other than The Beatles with “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

It was an unprecedented event. The top five songs on the Billboard Hot 100 were all by The Beatles. Yes, 1964 was the year of the Beatles as explained in this article from the always infallible Wikipedia:

“The song (Can’t Buy Me Love) was the third of seven songs by the Beatles to hit #1 in a one-year period; an all-time record. In order, these were “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, “She Loves You”, “Can’t Buy Me Love”, “Love Me Do”, “A Hard Day’s Night”, “I Feel Fine”, and “Eight Days a Week”. It was also the third of seven songs written by Lennon-McCartney to hit #1 in 1964; that’s an all-time record for writing the most songs to hit #1 in the same calendar year. (see List of Billboard Hot 100 chart achievements and milestones)

Rolling Stone ranked “Can’t Buy Me Love” at No. 295 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song spent five consecutive weeks at No. 1. The only Beatles songs to exceed that mark were “I Want to Hold Your Hand” at seven weeks and “Hey Jude” at nine weeks.”

Whether you think their music was genius or formulaic, one thing is certain, they dominated the Billboard Hot 100 charts in the mid-1960’s.

Now I’m positive all of you think I’m going to link to a Beatle’s Song but you’re wrong! The Beatles were such a pop culture sensation that the whole world was abuzz over these four young phenoms from the British Isles. You’ve likely all heard their songs thousands of times but I leave you instead with THIS musical masterpiece which summed up the inter-generational shock-waves they produced.

p.s. – April 4, 2021 I admit it. I’m not a big Beatles fan. But thanks to my fellow writer, Roger, I have developed an appreciation for just how groundbreaking their music was. If one were to hear it for the first time today you might think it sounds like every song ever produced in the 1960’s. But that wouldn’t be true. What is true is that all those songs came after the Beatles and were imitations.

Now for the Seattle connection and my ‘six’ degrees to the Beatles. On August 21, 1964 the Beatles stayed at the Edgewater Hotel in Seattle. No one in Seattle wanted anything to do with the headaches that would come with the world’s most famous group… no one except one Don Wright. Mr. Wright was also associated with the Order of DeMolay and was the Executive Director 10 years later when I participated in their Sweetheart program. So my Bacon Number (https://barbaradevore.com/2018/09/04/the-oracle-of-bacon/) to the Beatles is an impressive ‘two.’

Here’s an article from the Seattle PI all about their stay and Mr. Wright’s role:

https://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Beatles-stay-at-Edgewater-helped-mark-its-place-1305857.php

As my faithful readers already know, I save historical documents. Two pages from my 1974 DeMolay Conclave program. I’m the first girl from District 1.

Don’s daughter posted a number of behind the scene photos/videos of the Beatles at the Edgewater several months ago on FB. What a treasure those are for her and her family! This one’s dedicated to you KWP.