SCARECROW ON SEATTLE
In appreciation and recognition of Seattle's long and illustrious film history, we are proud to partner with Scarecrow Video to bring you weekly reviews of historical Seattle films. Each week we will showcase a new movie, with special emphasis on how these films show Seattle's most filmable locations.
Things That Aren't Here Anymore (1995)
As someone who can spend hours on vintageseattle.org or flipping through Clark Humphrey's Vanishing Seattle, I was thrilled to discover this gem in Scarecrow's Seattle Interest section. The program, produced by KCTS Channel 9, features ordinary Northwest residents sharing memories of some key places and things from our city's past. It begins at Fifth and Pine at premiere department store Fredrick & Nelson. Former employees paint a picture of the tea room, where Seattle's high society ladies came to sip and be seen while fashion shows paraded past-very George Cukor's The Women. A window designer reveals that the live reindeer in the Christmas displays would shed in the heat, leaving workers to glue the fur back on to the animals. Jealousy coursed through my veins as residents described the elevator-like sensation they got riding the city's cable cars. You could ride them from Fauntleroy to Downtown and up to the U-District before they were dismantled in the '40s. Wallace Aiken describes how he and a youthful mob ambushed the last cable car run up the Queen Anne Counterbalance. While he's talking, a montage of photos of the hill shows the Harry W. Treat Residence on Highland Drive and a few other buildings still around today. Speaking of transportation, a Kalakala ferry captain says that while the silver slug's design was futuristic, the craft was, "almost a complete failure in function," so much so that you had to hold on to your coffee or the ships' vibrations would send it down the counter. There are many shots of the ferry out on Elliott Bay that feature the growing Seattle skyline. The stories then move south, starting at Sick's Seattle Stadium on Rainier Avenue at McClellan Street. The home of the Seattle Rainiers baseball team (and later the Seattle Pilots) regularly sold out its 17,000 seats, plus the gawkers camped out on "Tightwad Hill," located on the farm beyond the outfield wall. I giggled when a group of elderly ladies talked about how attractive all the players were, including star pitcher Fred Hutchinson. Musician Dave Lewis reminisces about dancing and "catching" girls at Bird Land at 22nd Avenue and East Madison Street. A Seattle Times writer recollects about Ruby Chow's restaurant at Broadway & Jackson, where reporters and cops got boozy and sampled whatever Chinese delicacies Ruby put in front of them. The program wraps up with the Green Lake Aqua Show, where in the '50s and early '60s you could watch musical theater and the now lost art of comedic diving. Careful viewers may recognize some of the footage from the opening sequence of Almost Live!'s earlier seasons. Afterwards, I couldn't help but think of all the other Seattle landmarks that have disappeared since 1995-The Kingdome, The Fun Forest, Sunset Bowl, and so on. But I found myself teary-eyed when I realized many of the interviewees probably aren't with us anymore, either. Thanks to this program, their stories will be a part of our city's history forever. -Jen Koogler
Back to Scarecrow on Seattle Archives