Fifty years ago today, (Yes, that’s 50 years ago!!) “The Century 21 Exposition,” also referred to as the “Seattle World’s Fair,” opened for a six month run. (April 21 to October 21, 21st Century, see the pattern?) With paint colors named Orbital Olive for the body, Astronaut White for the legs, Re-entry Red for the saucer, and Galaxy Gold for the roof, the Space Needle invited us to explore “The World of Tomorrow.”

It took just 13 months and 4.5 million dollars to build the Space Needle, created to withstand 200 mph winds and all earthquakes registering less than 9 on the Richter Scale. It’s the iconic structure defining Seattle’s landscape, and I can’t image the city without it. Hard to believe that original plans called for its demolition after the fair closed!

Seattle is my birthplace, and I was in the second grade when the Space Needle was constructed. Well I remember sitting on the sidewalk curb, happily munching on a cheeseburger from Dick’s Drive-In, watching the huge machinery move about below the emerging structure.

Sighting the Space Needle in various movies and television shows always gives me a sense of “home.” I often escort visitors to our region up to the observation deck to enjoy the indescribable view. It’s one tourist stop that must be seen to believe!

Readers probably know that Elvis Presley starred in the 1963 movie with the above title. (And true Seattle fans will also know that the Gary Lockwood who played opposite Elvis is NOT the same Gary “LockJock” Lockwood, the most infamous broadcaster on Seattle’s rock and roll radio station KJR AM.)

So Happy 50th Birthday to the Space Needle (whose last elevator was actually installed the day before the Fair opened). Here’s thanking you for keeping the light on in Seattle!