Home > Seafair and Greater Seattle > The Man who Invented the Seafair Pirates
Art Forde and Fred Carter
Jack Gordon in his Press Club fez
The typewritten caption on the reverse of this photo says:
"JACK GORDON, FOUNDER, FIRST PRESIDENT A&Q'rs"
Why is this guy in a fez credited as the very first Seattle Seafair Pirate? (Pirate #0 in this computer age when counting starts at 0). He's Jack Gordon, the press flack given credit for the revival of the Washington State Press Club following World War II as writers, ad-men, columnists, publicists, photogs, and the rest of the mostly print world started to trickle back to Seattle and the Evergreen State
As one of Walter Van Camp's first (and obviously the best) hires at Greater Seattle, after Van Camp was lured away from the Minneapolis Aquatennial, Jack convinced many of his buddies at the Press Club that dressing up as pirates for the "Seafair Festival" celebrating Seattle centennial would be lots of fun. The original Seafair Pirates were known as the "Davy Jones" operation of the Ale and Quail Society.* (from the October, 1951, issue of Gentlemen of the Press, the newsletter of the Washington State Press Club.)
Seafair Pirates web page copyright message
As he developed the "Seafair Legend" over the years, Jack managed to work the fun loving Press Club Pirates into the story. And as can be seen from the screen-shot above, 60+ years later, the pirates remember Jack as their creator. It may be a bit tough to see in the image above, but the Pirates' web site is copyrighted by the "Ale & Quail Society."
Photo By Dexter, 2028 Terry Ave, Seattle, SE. 0313
Members of the Washington State Press Club gather around the piano in 1947.
Identified by Jack Gordon as a photo taken sometime in 1947 or '48, the members include (unfortunately not in the order they are in the photo) Jack Sullivan (Times, Post-Intelligencer, TV Guide), Jerry Hoeck (Miller, Mackay, Hoeck, and Hartung), Cal Druxman (publicist), Joe Miller (Senator Jackson), Charles Regal (Post-Intelligencer), Lenny Anderson (Times, Post-Intelligencer), Bob Ackerly (radio), Roy Scully (Times photographer), John Class (Times photographer), Jack Gordon (Senator Magnusen, Catholic NW Progress, VFW), Bob Callan (navy), and Larry Dion (Times photographer), plus five unidentified Press Club members.
Jack Gordon is 6th from left back row (round pin in lapel)
photo credit: Del Ankers, 1122 Vermont Ave, Washington DC
Washington State Press Club delegates in Washington, D.C., late 40's or early 50's.
Members of the Washington State Press Club in their infamous "Ale & Quail" fezzes. From the photo credit, they must have been in our nation's capitol for a convention. During the late 40's and early 50s Jack Gordon criss-crossed the country for (at different times) Seattle University, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Dave Beck and the Teamsters, as well as his own publicity firm Williams and Gordon. That's Jack with a big grin and a bow tie in the back row
The writing on the fezzes says "Washington State Press Club Chapter"
Founded shortly after World War II, the Press Club still lives on through the Pirates.
And no, you'll never see a photo of Jack Gordon dressed up as a pirate. Think of him more as their manager.
You are at JackGordon.org,
a salute to John F "Jack" Gordon, Mr. Seattle
Copyright © 2002-2017 John R. Gordon