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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Saturday, March 29, 2008

Old Bellevue featured on YouTube

For longtime Bellevue residents who remember the city when it was a sleepy suburb, a new video has surfaced on YouTube that can help them reminisce.Opening frame for the "Over the Bridge to Gracious Living" video Since "Over the Bridge to Gracious Living" was posted on Feb. 28, more than 6,000 people have viewed the show that features stills of old landmarks such as the Bel-Vue Theatre, Clark's Crabapple Restaurant and Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour.

Also featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Eastside Uptown Girl blog and the Downtown Bellevue Network, the video has prompted more than a dozen online comments about the good old days.

"As someone who grew up in Bellevue (and my family is still there), but has lived away for 25 years, this is such a lovely walk down memory lane!" one viewer wrote on YouTube. "I can now show my family Farrell's and the John Danz (Theatre), where we went all the time."

The five-minute video features many photos held by the Eastside Heritage Center, but a former Bellevue resident now living in Vancouver, B.C., created it.

"I have many fond memories growing up on the Eastside," Louis Chirillo explained in an e-mail. "A few years ago, just for the heck of it, I googled "Marvel Morgan" -- the drugstore on Northeast Eighth Street and Bellevue Way where I spent many a quarter on comic books, sodas, toys and candy bars. I was thrilled when the search came up with a beautiful color photo of Marvel Morgan.

"The image was located on the Eastside Heritage Center image database," noted Chirillo, an actor. "I perused the database further and found many more wonderful images of vintage Bellevue. The images inspired me to put together a video." 

Viewers may notice the video is credited to "Rocco Caramello Productions." Chirillo, who has 16 videos posted on YouTube, explained that "Rocco Caramello" is the name of his cat.

Bellevue will celebrate the 55th anniversary of its incorporation on Monday, March 31. We invite residents to share fond memories and photos they have of historic Bellevue via e-mail by April 15. We will present a selection on the website.

"Over the Bridge to Gracious Living," the title of which was a marketing slogan for Bellevue in the 1940s and '50s developed by the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, is a kind of slide show featuring 61 photos. A 1964 lounge tune by Brazilian musician Eumir Deodato plays in the background.

While there are photos dating from the 1940s to the 1980s, Chirillo said the bulk of the pictures are from the '60s and '70s. "It's the Bellevue I remember as a kid," added Chirillo, who graduated from Bellevue High School in 1979. (His parents still live in Bellevue and he visits often.) To give the sequence of photos context, Chirillo used scans from an old brochure he found on eBay called "Over the Bridge to Gracious Living." 

The Eastside Heritage Center has hundreds of images of Bellevue, Redmond and Kirkland from the 1880s to the present accessible on its site. "We at the EHC hadn't really thought about making a YouTube video of our own," Megan Carlisle, the organization's archivist, wrote in an e-mail ."But judging by the amount of attention this one is receiving ..."

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450 110th Ave. NE
P.O. Box 90012
Bellevue, WA 98009
Contact: Claude Iosso
Phone: 425-452-4448
E-mail: ciosso@bellevuewa.gov

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