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DeniseFuller

Seattle World's Fair

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I watched the Jerry Fairbanks "Century 21 Calling" doc about the Seattle World's Fair today. The tour stopped at a Peep Show at the fair. What the...? The outside of the building was painted with women's legs. Does anyone know the details of this "exhibit?"

Denise

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The outside of the building was painted with women's legs. Does anyone know the details of this "exhibit?"

Denise

uhhhh...........American Podiatry Association exhibit, no doubt.

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Ha!

My favorite part of the documentary was a stop in front of the Africa Pavilion, where our two teenage hosts engaged in an exchange with two women from ----- India. Well, I guess that's close to Africa.....

Denise

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I think the entire name "Peep Backstage USA" was intended to connote a behind-the-scenes look at a Vegas-style stage show, as seen in Bill's photos. The main entrance was made to look like a back door.

However, they didn't exactly try to hide any secondary meanings, as seen on postcards they put out:

P25964_Peep_Backstage.jpgP25964_Peep_Backstage-back.jpg

This attraction was found on Show Street at the World's Fair.

Another attraction on Show Street was 'Night in Paradise'. It's hard to believe that the neon apple with a bite out of it wasn't intended as a sly connotation of Biblical 'original sin'.

C13145_Show_Street.jpgC13145_Show_Street-back.jpg

Note the comments on the back of this postcard!!!

These kind of shows- let alone the even more risque versions found at the '39 Fair, were the kind of thing Robert Moses raved about keeping out of his Fair in 1964.

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More from the 'net-

the fair's Show Street would offer "A Night in Paradise," a Las Vegas-style showgirl revue. Promoter Gracie Hansen teased scandalized locals that her production would be "naughty but nice." Nonetheless, the Seattle Board of Censors only passed her show and the risqué "Les Poupées de Paris" within days of the fair's opening. "Les Poupées," a French puppet farce, was hastily rewritten to suit local standards of propriety.

Show Street was the “adult entertainment” section of the Fair, tucked into the northeastern part of the fairgrounds. Here, cultural aficionados could take in Gracie Hansen’s Paradise International, a Las Vegas-style floor show, or Sid and Marty Krofft’s “Les Poupees de Paris,” an adults-only puppet show. For the less cultured, there was “Girls of the Galaxy,” where young women posed naked for visitors with cameras. One had to be fast to catch this show -- Fair officials shut it down almost immediately.

and what is located on 'Show Street' today?

KCTS Channel 9 Building – This building is on the site of the “Show Street” area of the World’s Fair. Such notable places as the Gracie Hanson Paradise International (the building was later moved to Ravensdale County Park to be used as a gym) were constructed in this area. After the removal of Show Street, the corner of 5th and Mercer was nothing but grass mounds for years until KCTS built their facility in 1986.

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Thanks Bill & Randy,

Excellent information as always. Yes, love the "bite of the apple" sign! Another element of the Seattle World's Fair doc that really cracked me up was the science exhibit with the chicken pecking at buttons. Hmmm...didn't I just see that one at the Monetery Pier Arcade?

Denise

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"Late in 1961 State Senator Reuben Knoblauch complained to the World's Fair commission that too much emphasis and space was being devoted to an art exhibit which he said would not draw the crowds that high class entertainment or a skin show would attract. State Representative Len Sawyer, a member of the Commission, agreed and added that a cadaver in a medical exhibit in Canada was outdrawing an art exhibit.

"So a Show Street was included, along with the Gayway with its rides and games. The Seattle Censor Board was persuaded to raise its eyes to the heavens while the girls bared their breasts. An empresario named Gracie Hansen--short, raucous and witty--emerged from the backwoods, found financial support in Seattle's staid Chinese community, and sponsored a girlie show up to gambling casino specifications for nudity and chic. Some imaginative Californians imported a pack of risque puppets. Other shows, from bad to indifferent, were organized to slop up the lascivious overflow. They were left high and dry.

"True, the puppets made a mint; Gracie managed to finish in the black; and some of the other attractions were around for the last hurrah. But throughout the fair, Show Street was a financial embarrassment, in such trouble that not even well-publicized, carefully rehearsed trouble with the police could produce a profit."

From "Century 21: The Story of the Seattle World's Fair, 1962" by Murray Morgan.

“Les Poupees de Paris,” the risque puppet show, would also perform at the New York World's Fair.

"...in 1964, Moses had insisted that bras be put on 'Les Poupees de Paris' and that sexy posters be taken off the front doors of that show..."

From ""The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York" by Robert Caro.

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