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Today in history: Adult show ‘Girls of the Galaxy’ shut down at 1962 Seattle World’s Fair – Seattle PI

The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair saw the debut of the city’s iconic Space Needle. On the whole, the fair focused on exhibits featuring science, space exploration and a progressive future.

But futurism and development were not the only themes found within the fair’s exhibits.

Show Street featured adult-only entertainment. Scantily clad showgirls danced and posed to the delight of patrons. One particularly popular show, called “Les Poupées de Paris” featured wooden marionettes exempt from censorship rules because the stars were made of wood.

Adult shows had to follow strict rules, called “minimum decency standards,” including no obscene dialogue, no suggestive body motions and advertising should not have included obscene or suggestive content. All adult entertainment were regulated by the Board of Theater Supervisors.

Stars of the shows were required to be 21 years old or older. Attendees also needed to be 21 years old, though patrons as young as 18 were also allowed if accompanied by a parent.

Though Show Street was there for the entire six-month run of World’s Fair, it did change. One show, called “Girls of the Galaxy,” kept getting in trouble. On this day in 1962, “Girls of the Galaxy” shut down for the second time.

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“Girls” featured about 20 women posing in space-age, semi-nude costumes on a revolving stage. Performers held the poses for three minutes at a time so attendees could take pin-up photos.

The first closure happened on April 25, 1962, due to objections to a performer behind a glass window beckoning those who walked past in to watch the show. Her comments were made “in poor taste,” board member John Peluso told The Seattle Times after the shut-down. “The remarks were made in the presence of young children and unescorted young girls passing through the area.”

“There will be no selling of sex at this fair. Nudity can be only incidental to the entertainment provided,” George Whitney told The Seattle Times on April 28, 1962.

The show remained closed until May 9, 1962. The next time it opened, the woman behind the glass was gone. The show was slightly revamped to include a new master of ceremonies — and closed again on May 13, 1962. A record 1,200 patrons attended on its closing day.

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But the creators of “Girls of the Galaxy” did not give up. Art Townsend, husband of the show’s manager Mareissa, spent the night inside the show’s venue to keep fair managers from locking the door. The cast also paid their own entry to the fair the following day, determined to perform. A crowd gathered outside their venue’s doors, but officials closed its box office.

The cast gave a full performance to an empty house as security officials stood guard outside. The emcee was arrested after trying to crash through the security guards. Fifteen minutes later, the cast went home, and “Girls” closed for the second time.

It reopened on May 21, 1962. It was scrutinized for the rest of its run until it closed again for good on Aug. 23, 1962, due to financial reasons.

To see photos from the 1962 World’s Fair, click through the slideshow above.


Unless otherwise cited, historical information came from HistoryLink.org essays and SeattlePI archives.

Producer Natalie Guevara can be contacted at natalie.guevara@seattlepi.com. Follow her on Twitter. Find more from Natalie on her author page.

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