Monday, January 31, 2011

Visiting Seattle Center

One of the best things about the 1962 Seattle World's Fair is the lasting impact it made on the city. While some cities have totally obliterated all traces of their fairs, such as New Orleans, the Seattle fair was always planned to become part of the landscape of the city. This is far more than just the very visible Space Needle, for much of the former fair is now known as the Seattle Center. It's a great collection of exhibit halls, museums, sculptures, fountains, a beautiful park and more. I'll be posting some modern day looks at what's there over time. For now, here's a view of the Space Needle and a nice banner that sums up much of the purpose of Seattle Center. Click on it to see a larger copy.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I just flew in from Seattle...

And yes, my arms are tired. More from carrying stuff than from the actual flying, happily. Thanks to those who turned out for the book signings. It was great to meet some of the people who I have only know online, and to see some old friends again. I couldn't post while there as my hotel had the slowest "High Speed Internet" in the world, but I'll add some pictures from the trip soon.

Now it's time to unpack and get ready to go back to work on the real job.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition

I'll stay on the subject of Seattle today, but WAY before the days of Century 21, the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. This is a view of the groundbreaking ceremonies for an earlier fair. Taken on June 1, 1907, it looks like everyone in town must have turned out for the fun. The AYP looks like it was really something to have seen, with massive pavilions and exhibits built on this forested area. I'll be posting more AYP shots shortly.

Monday, January 24, 2011

My book on the 1962 Seattle World's Fair

I'm not sure if I ever posted a picture of the cover from my book on Century 21, also known as the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. If I already did please excuse the indulgence of a proud author! This was a fun one to write, as I'm a big fan of the Space Needle, monorails, and Seattle in general. This is my sixth book for Arcadia Publishing. Now I have to work on #7!

I just found out that the first printing of this one has sold out and it's being reprinted. If you can't wait for a copy let me know - I have copies available, and they'll also be at the events in Seattle. Here are the dates again:

Thursday, January 27 at 7:00 pm: Barnes & Noble, 2675 NE University Village Street, Seattle, WA 98105

Friday, January 28 from Noon – 2:00 p.m.: Seattle Museum of Mysteries, 623 Broadway E., Seattle, WA 98102

Saturday, January 29 at 2:00 pm: Elliott Bay Books, 1521 Tenth Avenue, Seattle WA 98122

Sunday, January 30 at 2:00 p.m.: Borders, 2437 Southcenter Mall, Tukwila WA 98188

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Got a sweet tooth? Come to the Fair!

In case the picture of the cotton candy from yesterday put you in the mood, here's where you could have gotten some at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. This stand, which was not so surprisingly sponsored by the U and I sugar company, also offered up snow cones and candied apples.

Somehow that giant sample of cotton candy on the top of the stand doesn't look so appealing.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Even more ways to eat at the fair

I'm still working through pictures of food opportunities at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. For some reason it's making me hungry! It looks like these guys were having fun though. There were a number of cotton candy stands at the fair, along with other ways to ruin a waistline.

The vending machines behind them were also quite popular. Some of them offered hot meals, which was a real novelty back in 1962. Numerous newspaper and magazine articles covered this exciting innovation in American cuisine. I can't say I have ever thought any meals from vending machines were worth writing about - at least not in a positive light. The machines seen here offered up cigarettes, ice cream, shakes, cold food and hot food.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Still hungry? How about a hot appleskiver?

The Food Circus wasn't the only place to get something to eat at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. There were plenty of small food stands scattered across the grounds, such as the two seen here. The one closest to the camera sold traditional fare such as hot dogs and hamburgers, but if you wanted something new you could get a tasty appleskiver just across the aisle. Don't know what an appleskiver is? Well, the folks at Google do. Just drop back later when you find out.

Back already? Getting hungrier? Well, in the meantime, there's one more thing of interest in this shot - some more great lighting fixtures. They fairly well shout "Space Age"!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hungry? Come on in and grab a seat.

If you were at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair on July 27, 1962 you might spot yourself in this shot of the Food Circus. This was the largest collection of food stands and restaurants at the Fair, and from the look of the picture, a pretty popular spot. It's interesting to see the shops are all small local operations - no McDonald's or Subways. This was in the days before the big chains took over, making it sort of special.

I love the lights!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Looking forward to Seattle!!

Next week I'm heading to Seattle for some book signings to publicize my newest book, which by no coincidence is about the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. So, to help get in the mood I thought I would post a shot I enjoyed of the Fair. This one should be of particular interest to fellow photography buffs as it shows "Morley's Miniature Camera Shop". Morley was the official photographic licensee for Century 21 and this image captured a few of the many products he had available. In the background and overhead is the Union 76 Skyride. I'm not sure why the young lady was wearing this particular outfit but it fits in nicely with the colors of the Skyride station.

In case any readers of this blog are in the Seattle area here's where you can find me:

Thursday, January 27 at 7:00 pm: Barnes & Noble, 2675 NE University Village Street, Seattle, WA 98105

Friday, January 28 from Noon – 2:00 p.m.: Seattle Museum of Mysteries, 623 Broadway E., Seattle, WA 98102

Saturday, January 29 at 2:00 pm: Elliott Bay Books, 1521 Tenth Avenue, Seattle WA 98122

Sunday, January 30 at 2:00 p.m.: Borders, 2437 Southcenter Mall, Tukwila WA 98188

Hope to see you there - even if you don't buy a book!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Robots at World's Fairs - Part 7

I thought I would close out this series of posts about robots with a view of perhaps the most famous one ever to appear at a world's Fair. That would Elektro, the star of the Westinghouse Pavilion at the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair. Elektro was quite the sensation as he responded to verbal commands. They usually came from a pretty hostess but in this shot he's listening to a dapper gentleman instead. Elektro went through some tough times after the fair ended but he's now enjoying his retirement in a museum.

I wonder if any of the other robots seen in past posts are still around. I know the Robot Zoo Keeper ended up in New Jersey but I think he was last seen about 10 years ago. If anyone knows where he or any of the others are please let me know.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Robots at World's Fairs - Part 6

This thread started with a shot of a robot at the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair, and we're heading back there another look at a far bigger one. This was the Robot Zoo Keeper at the Chrysler Pavilion. The Chrysler "zoo" was made of up whimsical creatures all created out of car parts, so it was only natural that the Zoo Keeper be made of similar parts. He sure was big, as this picture shows. Behind him you can spot the Transportation & Travel Pavilion.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Robots at World's Fairs - Part 5

Time marches on, taking us to Japan once again for Expo 85 in Tskuba. This robot was the Wasubot Musical Robot, a rather ungainly collection of gears, pulleys, wires, and a very big head with one eye. What made him special was that big eye, for it was actually a lens that scanned sheet music. The robot would then play the music on the keyboard, complete with foot pedals. I remember seeing it in action but I think the signs were all in Japanese so it wasn't clear at the time that there was some pretty sophisticated OCR going on. Happily, now with the Internet, you can read more than I could then on how this thing worked.

Here's a link to get you started.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Robots at World's Fairs - Part 4

Another day, another robot. This one was at Expo 70 in Osaka. The label on the slide says this was the Fuji Pan Robot Pavilion. I'm not sure what this guy did. He sure looks friendly, though. He's even smiling!

If anyone knows more about this one please let me know.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Robots at World's Fairs - Part 3

This robot certainly was nowhere as cute and friendly as Tik Tok! It looks more like it was some sort of war machine from a science fiction film. It's actually the "Mascot I" robot from the Italy Pavilion at Expo 67. I'm not sure what it was doing, but it appears to be manipulating something firmly clamped in a large vise. The kid looking up it sure looks impressed. Or scared!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Robots at World's Fairs - Part 2

Here's another robot, but he's not as cute as Tik Tok. This one from the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville was based on an industrial robot. That's a theme we'll see followed at a few other fairs in the days to come. Most of them were programmed to do some task usually done by a human - in this case, turning out some artwork. This was pretty advanced for the time, but crowds were usually not impressed. When they heard the word robot they were thinking of ones like Robby the Robot from "Forbidden Planet", the one from "Lost in Space", or perhaps Gort from "The Day the Earth Stood Still". Robots should be able to walk and talk, right?

Even Tik Tok could do that.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Robots at World's Fairs - Part 1

Robots have been stars at fairs since at least the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair. This cute little guy, Tik Tok, is from the 1964-1965 edition. I remember seeing him wandering happily around the grounds near the Japan Pavilion. I also remember looking around for the guy operating it but never did spot him. I wonder what became of Tik Tok after the fair ended. I'd like to think he's still out there somewhere...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Another Ford view from another tower

Here's another view of a circular Ford pavilion from a convenient tower. This time we're at Hemisfair 68 in San Antonio, Texas, up on the Tower of the Americas. The Ford pavilion was a popular spot for car enthusiasts, once again showing the latest models and concept cars. They even recycled some displays from the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair. More on that later.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Let's check out the new Fords!

Ready to check out the 1963 line-up from Ford? They were all on display at the Ford Pavilion at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. From the looks of this line, though, the 1964 models might have been out by the time the last person got inside.

This view from the Space Needle was taken in August 1962.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Why is this man so happy? #2

Could it be because he's selling cups of cold Tuborg beer for only 25 cents and that makes everyone around him happy? Maybe it's that it's a beautiful day in July 1964 at the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair. Or just maybe it has something to do with s shapely young lady passing by...

In any event it beats most of my summer jobs!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I bet the view was fantastic!

Here's something you don't see every day (but could see on July 26, 1962 if you were at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair).

Imagine how surprised you would be to spot this guy up there as you were enjoying your trip on the Skyride?

Why is this man so happy?

Maybe he's happy because it's a beautiful day in Seattle in 1962 (July 26 to be precise). Maybe it's because he's at Century 21, the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. Or maybe it's because he enjoyed the exhibits at the Bell System Pavilion just behind him. The signs on the wall list wonder such as "Data Phones" and "Bell Solar Batteries". This fair was the first public demonstration of the new Touch Tone dialing system we all take for granted today.

I'm happy about Seattle as well. I'll be up there at the end of this month signing copies of my new book on the fair. I'll be posting more about that shortly.

And yes, I do intend to post more than I did last year. It looks like I was MIA since October. Wow, where does time go? It's easy to miss a day, have good intentions to make it up the next day, then before you know it, days turn into weeks, and weeks into months...

Well, here's hoping for more consistency in 2011. Happy New Year, by the way!