Of Bumblers and Bumber- shoot

Thirty years ago in Seattle Weekly.

The big news in Seattle Weekly‘s 24th issue (Sept. 8, 1976) was the Washington governor’s race: more precisely, how the five leading candidates were being marketed, and why the public didn’t seem to give a good goddamn. Considering that with the exception of Dixy Lee Ray (the ultimate winner), the candidates were pretty well known and politically high-caliber individuals (King County’s first elected executive John Spellman, future EPA director Marvin Durning, county assessor Harley Hoppe, and soon to be ex-mayor Wes Uhlman), the lack of enthusiasm probably reflected the voters’ pessimism after a half-decade of recession, combined with the anybody-but-a-professional-pol spirit that led to the election of the grotesque and incompetent Ray to the state’s highest office.

Business editor Bill Cushing surveyed one of the Boeing Company’s odder attempts to diversify after the aircraft-market bust of the early 1970s: commuter hydrofoils. The company sold a few in South Asia, but the craft were tricky and dangerous in even slightly rough waters, and with the revival of the commercial-aviation business the company quickly lost interest.

On the lighter side, we cocked an eyebrow at the growing fashion for designer kitchens (the $12,000 price tag we cited would just about buy you a Viking range and some marble countertops today). Robert Horsley wrote evocatively about hash-house breakfasts, while a photo feature about Kiane Katsiaficas’s vinyl-and-fabric play-sculpture for Bumbershoot is a poignant reminder that once upon a time, Seattle’s “arts festival” was both populist and art-oriented.


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