Seattle Sesquicentennial Presentation of Channel 150 News, November 14, 2001 -- Part 1 of 3

  • By Walt Crowley and Chris Goodman
  • Posted 2/13/2002
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 10273

This People's History by Walt Crowley and Chris Goodman recounts the celebrations of the sesquicentennial of the first landing by settlers on Alki Point. On November 14, 2001, the Seattle Rotary 4 and Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce presented a special luncheon program in the Washington State Convention & Trade Center to celebrate the previous day's formal marking of the date. The program recapped Seattle's history in the form of "The Early, Early Report" of "Channel 150 News." Anchors and reporters from KING, KIRO, and KCPQ television news played themselves and Chamber and Rotary members and other citizens portrayed various historical figures (see the cast list below).

Creation of the event was guided by Bob Watt, then president of the Greater Seattle Chamber, with the assistance of Karin Zaugg, Chamber communications director, and Dorothy Bullitt, President, Seattle Rotary 4. Co-presenters included the CityClub, Downtown Seattle Association, City of Seattle, League of Women Voters, The LYFE Enhancement Company, Municipal League of King County, Seattle Works, and Southwest Seattle Historical Society & Log House Museum. Funding and in-kind support was provided by Boeing, Group Health Cooperative, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Port of Seattle, Washington State Convention & Trade Center, HistoryLink, and the Museum of History & Industry. Cecile Hansen, Chair of the Duwamish Tribe, offered the invocation.

The 25-minute revue was produced by Norm Langill and One Reel and directed by David Koch, Jim Anderson, and Ben Baird, Cabaret Productions, with the assistance of Lisa Mix and Ron Leamon. Composer Norman Durkee provided a live musical accompaniment on the piano. The script was written by Walt Crowley and Chris Goodman designed and coordinated the use of historical images. The production was recorded for broadcast by TVW government access television and photographed by Steve Schneider.

Part 1: November 14, 2001, Seattle Sesquicentennial Luncheon: "Channel 150 News"

Cast:
Anchor Team 1: KIRO: Steve Raible and Susan Hutchison
Anchor Team 2: KCPQ: Scott Engler and Leslie Miller
Anchor Team 3: KING: Jean Enersen and Dennis Bounds
Announcers: Dorothy Bullitt, Rotary Club of Seattle
Alan Stein, HistoryLink
Field Reporters: Eric Bremner
Deborah Horne, KIRO
Don Porter, KING
Labor Reporter: Kate Joncas, Downtown Seattle Association
Science Reporter: Roger Oglesby, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Political Reporter: Walt Crowley, HistoryLink
Meteorologist: Henry Webrink, KCPQ
Business Reporter: Mike Flynn, Puget Sound Business Journal
Sports Reporter: Tony Ventrella, KIRO
Arthur Denny: Ralph Munro, Former Secretary of State
Chief Seattle: James Rasmussen, Duwamish Tribe
John Back: Jahn Hedberg, Consul of Sweden
Erastus Brainerd: Mac MacDonald, The LYFE Enhancement Company
Anna Louise Strong: Mary McWilliams, Regence Blue Shield

(News Team 1: KIRO)

Announcer (Dorothy Bullitt): And Now for the Northwest's Oldest Newscast -- The Early, EARLY Report on Channel 150. Remember, if it's history, it's news to us.

Steve Raible: Welcome to the Early, Early Report. It's been a busy 150 years, and we've got a lot of old news to cover.

Susan Hutchison: But let's first check on weather and traffic at the Channel 150 Climate Center.

Meteorologist (Henry Webrink): Well, things have definitely warmed up since that pesky Vashon Glacier retreated north about 14,000 years ago. It left a lot of big lakes and hills behind that could pose some traffic problems down the road. Channel 150's exclusive Totem Cam shows that Duwamish and Suquamish canoes are moving smoothly up and down Puget Sound, but things are little tight on the Black River S-curves to Lake Washington. We're expecting a big salmon run tonight, so watch out for congestion. Back to you...

Raible: Thanks. Speaking of traffic, there's some down at Alki (al-KEE) Beach, where the Schooner Exact just dropped anchor. Channel 150 reporter Eric Bremner is on the scene with a live report. What's it like there?

Reporter (Eric Bremner): It's pretty wet and miserable, actually. The longboat is just coming ashore with a group of settlers led by Arthur Denny. I can see that the women and kids are crying. There's a half-finished cabin on the beach, built by Lee Terry and David Denny, but it doesn't have a roof yet -- and it's starting to rain.

Raible: Doesn't sound like a very auspicious beginning. What are they planning to do?

Bremner: with Arthur Denny: Let me ask Mr. Denny. So here you are in the middle of nowhere with two dozen adults and kids. What's your next step?

Arthur Denny (Ralph Munro, shivering and adlibbing mercilessly): I'd say finishing the cabin roof is real high on the list.

Bremner: And then what?

Denny: Then we'll start building a great city. A queen city, maybe even an Emerald City, the jewel of the Pacific Rim. (At this point, Munro begins adlibbing with a phone book. "And look at all the things we'll name after me, "Denny Hill," "Denny Regrade," "Denny's Restaurants," "Denny Dry Cleaning....") My new friend Charles Terry wants to call it New York after his home. You just wait and see.

Bremner: Well, there you have it. These people think they're going to a build another New York City, by and by.

Raible: (skeptically) Or like the Indians say, Alki (al-Kee).

Hutchison: Right, like I'm holding my breath. We'll check back after this word from our sponsors...

Announcer (Alan Stein): Need A Needle? Asking for Axes? Aching for Baking Soda? We got it at the New York Store, conveniently located on Alki Beach, with ample free moorage. Just ask for Chuck Terry or Brother Lee. We won't be overstocked! (Music: Old Settler's Song)

Hutchison: We're back with some new developments. It seems that the Alki settlers made it through the winter -- thanks to food and help from the Duwamish and Suquamish tribes. They split up in the spring of 1852, and most of the Denny party has now settled over on Elliott Bay. We sent Channel 150 reporter Deborah Horne to check on their progress.

Reporter (Deborah Horne): Things definitely seem to be happening here on the bay. Chief Seattle convinced Doc Maynard to move his store up from Olympia, and Henry Yesler has built the first steam sawmill on Puget Sound. There are a lot of ships moving in and out, and more settlers are arriving everyday.

Hutchison: Sounds like they might build a city after all. Are they still calling it New York?

Horne: No, the new village called itself Duwamps for a while, but Doc Maynard persuaded everybody to rename the town Seattle after the chief of the Duwamish.

Hutchison: What does he think about that?

Horne: The Duwamish actually frown on that sort of thing. They believe it disturbs the dead, but Chief Seattle is more worried about his people's fate right now. In fact, he's just finishing a speech to territorial governor Isaac Stevens, who's come to negotiate treaties with all the tribes. Let's listen in...

Chief Seattle (James Rasmussen): The sable braves, and fond mothers, and glad-hearted maidens, and the little children who lived and rejoiced here, and whose very names are now forgotten, still love these solitudes, and their deep fastnesses at eventide grow shadowy with the presence of dusky spirits. And when the last red man shall have perished from the earth and his memory among white men shall have become a myth, these shores shall swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe, and when your children's children shall think themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop, upon the highway or in the silence of the woods they will not be alone. In all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude. At night, when the streets of your cities and villages shall be silent, and you think them deserted, they will throng with the returning hosts that once filled and still love this beautiful land. The white man will never be alone. Let him be just and deal kindly with my people, for the dead are not altogether powerless." .[Production Note: At the last moment, Mr. Rasmussen declined to perform the part of Chief Seattle. KIRO News Anchor Susan Hutchison filled the gap to keep the performance moving.]

Hutchison: Powerful words.

Raible: And prophetic. While Chief Seattle's people remained at peace, members of other tribes attacked Seattle on January 26, 1856. They retreated under fire from a Navy sloop and Marines. Authorities report two settlers killed but they couldn't find any bodies of the attackers.

Hutchison: I don't think we've heard the last of this story. We'll check back after this commercial message.

Announcer (Alan Stein): Go West, young man! And you, too, young lady! Don't fret about six-month treks on the Oregon Trail or dangerous voyages around the Horn. Make tracks on the Northern Pacific! The line's almost done so reserve your tickets now, and remember our slogan, Here today, Tacoma tomorrow! (Music: working on the railroad)

 


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