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Video: Century 21 Calling...

Yesteryear Travel: Century 21 Calling...

Seattle, Washington

As night falls on Seattle's "Century 21" World's Fair (which took place in 1962), two overly-enthusiastic teens glimpse, for the first time, the difficult-to-miss Space Needle, and go for a ride to its observation deck.

This is the conclusion of a much longer film made by Jerry Fairbanks Productions to promote both the Fair and the Bell System. The unnaturally gleeful teenage couple romp about the Fairgrounds, barging in front of unsuspecting tourists, marveling at everything from the Monorail to a tic-tac-toe playing pigeon (At one point the girl mouths, "So pretty!" when viewing a model of a DNA molecule). Much time is spent in the Bell Pavilion, testing future tech such as push-button phones and brick-sized mobile pagers.

As the film ends, and the Space Needle's glass elevator offers views of the igloo-inspired Alaska Pavilion and Seattle at dusk, a Las Vegas lounge singer croons the Century 21 theme song:

Ride a rickshaw, dine on caviar
You can telephone a star!
It's just a part of the thrilling start of
Century Twenty-wun-un-un!

There's still plenty of 21st Century left to make this film's predictions come true. We might start, as this film shows, by staffing all of our elevators with at least three cape-wearing women.

Old Films: Fascinating!

Yesteryear Travel.

The Team has a special appreciation for archival films -- from family home movies to sponsored travel shorts. Senior editor Ken Smith is author of "Mental Hygiene," the definitive book-form history of America's classroom educational and industrial films. He was an archivist and cataloger for Rick Prelinger in the early days of the Prelinger Archives.

Complete film at

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