KOMO Exposed

Thirty years ago in Seattle Weekly.

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This is one of a series looking back at Seattle Weekly's first year.

30th Anniversary

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The cover of issue No. 15 of "Seattle's new magazine" (July 7, 1976) featured a stark photo of KOMO-TV's starkly minimalist then-new corporate headquarters on Denny Way. The article inside, however, wasn't about architecture. It was Weekly editor Patrick Douglas' memoir of five years working for KOMO management—"more secretive than Boeing, more egocentric than China." Architecture was the focus of David Brewster's almost effusive tribute to Romaldo Giurgola's proposed design for a new urban mall at Fourth and Westlake avenues. It's hard to see from the perspective of 2006 just why the author was so inspired by the plan, a central feature of which (the closing of Pine Street between Fifth and Fourth avenues) proved wildly unpopular with motorists, businesses, and the general public and was soon reversed. But as the first major downtown civic development in decades, Westlake was a harbinger of a new attitude to the urban landscape which continues unabated today.

As if that weren't enough substance for a single summer issue, Seattle Weekly filed a highly critical progress report on the Alaska oil pipeline. "When technicians are working as many as 153 hours in a week," asked author Richard Fineberg, "what kind of quality-control can you expect?" The kind we got, it turns out. And though the decades since have amazingly lacked major incidents, the now rickety line south from Prudhoe Bay is threatening to make up for lost time.

On the feature side of things, Jim Lalonde interviewed Jim Whittaker's companion on the first American Everest climb, Nawang Gombu; Steven Winn reviewed David Wagoner's Collected Poems: 1956–1976, published on the occasion of the scholar-poet's 50th birthday; and Richard T. Jameson, an early admirer of Robert Altman, turned in a scarifying review of what still stands as the director's worst movie ever, Buffalo Bill and the Indians.


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