Councilmember Godden’s Seattle Center fondest memory

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Councilmember Jean Godden was closely associated with the 1962 World’s Fair.  So closely, in fact, she’s in the official Century 21 coloring book.  Watch as Councilmember Godden describes her fond memories of the event and exhibits that put Seattle on the map.

Councilmember Godden’s personal historical perspective:

The primary architect for the fair was Seattle’s own Paul Thiry, who personally designed the Washington State Coliseum to house the state’s “World of Tomorrow” exhibit. The famed feature of the Coliseum was the 150-passenger Bubbleator. The giant plastic bubble floated through exhibit of the imagined future, piloted by glamorous long-legged models who instructed fair-goers to “step to the rear of the sphere.”

I, alas, was not able to apply for a job piloting the Bubbleator nor for the job of taking passengers via elevator to the Space Needle’s observation deck. Operators needed to be 5 foot 6 and gorgeous. But I did get to leave a small mark on the World’s Fair. The fair designated two official coloring books and my late husband Robert (Bob) Godden, along with his ad-agency partner Ross Swift, was hired by Hayes Distributing Inc. to produce the books. As commercial artists often did, they drew from life and, as fate would have it, almost all adult women in both books could have been my twin sisters.

Aside from coloring books, Godden and Swift did scores of drawings for the fair. They designed a Paul Bunyan Cake, a giant pastry that was the centerpiece for one of the fair’s concluding events. They turned out dozens of ads that appeared in “The Official Guide Book.” They designed punch-out headgear for the Alaska exhibit and shamelessly produced flamboyant “Girls Girls Girls Girls” ads for the scandalous (for the times) adults-only show street extravaganza. Imagine topless beauties (“heavenly bodies”) on display at the “naughty but nice” presentation. It was a reversal for the Seattle City Council, which several years before had deliberated only 24 hours before banning all topless displays.

For more information on this weekend’s Next 50 opening celebration at the Seattle Center, visit

Seattle Municipal Archives has some excellent resources on the 1962 World’s Fair.  Click to view digital files, text files.  Image files can be viewed here and here.

Official Century 21 Coloring Book, featuring Councilmember Godden
Official Century 21 Coloring Book, featuring Councilmember Godden