1962 And The Seattle World’s Fair

My first recollection of hearing about a world’s fair was Montreal in 1967, but that was mostly because I’m a baseball fan and I remember the new team from Montreal, the Expos, playing the Reds.   I had asked my Dad about their name, Expos, and he told me about the world’s fair (Exposition) that had taken place two years earlier.  As I got older and visited family in St. Louis, they often talked about the 1904 World’s  Fair and all the great inventions of the time.   The world’s fair used to be a really big deal.  They were the place to showcase the latest and greatest technological advances and inventions that would change the world.  We don’t hear much about them anymore but they’re still around.  The 2012 World’s Fair was held in South Korea and mark your 2015 calendars when the world gathers in Milan, Italy for the next world’s fair.

America no longer belongs to the organization of nations eligible to host a world’s fair.  There’s just not enough interest here to make it financially viable.  That wasn’t the case in 1962 when the world’s fair was held, for the second time, in Seattle.  The 1962 World’s Fair was a six-month celebration of science and technology, and featured an exciting mix of culture, cuisine and celebrity.  At the time, the relatively unknown town of Seattle, hosted more than 10 million visitors from around the world.

On Monday night WOSU TV will present a new program that brings to life the sights and sounds of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair.  In 1962 WORLD’S FAIR: WHEN SEATTLE INVENTED THE FUTURE we’ll hear from historians, community leaders and longtime residents  about the excitement and ambition the Fair ignited.   Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen credits seeing the 605-foot Space Needle, Monorail, “Bubbleator” and other exhibits for inspiring his love of technology and science. Our own travel expert Rick Steves shares his thoughts on seeing “exotic” Belgian Waffles for the first time at The Food Circus.

It’s also interesting to see just how important the world’s fair was in 1962 when you get a glimpse of all the celebrities and politicians who visited the fair. Footage of people appearing at the fair include  John Glenn, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, Robert Kennedy, Edward R. Murrow, Prince Philip, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Lawrence Welk, and, one of my personal favorites Elvis.  I hope you’ll tune in, or set your DVR, to experience the fun of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair.

1962 WORLD’S FAIR: WHEN SEATTLE INVENTED THE FUTURE airs Monday, August 26 at 10pm on WOSU TV with an encore presentation Tuesday, August 27 at 10pm on WOSU PLUS.