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Opening in Theaters 2019 (1986)

Chapter 8 of Arthur C. Clarke's 1986 book July 20, 2019: Life in the 21st Century describes what the year 2019 holds for popular media such as TV, music and movies.

Some predictions, like a mass medium that plugs directly into the human brain, may not be a reality by 2019 (Clarke writes about demand for this with a lot of references to LSD) but he was certainly on the right track with HDTV and 3D movie technology.

Below is a hypothetical listing from the San Francisco Chronicle of Saturday, July 20, 2019. I suppose in 1986 it was inconceivable that several major American newspapers might not even exist in 2019.



Saturday, July 20, 2019

Opening at Movie Theaters

Still Gone with the Wind. The sequel picks up several years after where the 80-year-old original left off, with Rhett and Scarlett reuniting in their middle age, in 1880. Features the original cast (Clark Gable, Olivia de Havilland, and Vivien Leigh) and studio sets resurrected by computer graphic synthesis. Still Gone sets out to prove that they do make 'em like they used to (Selznick Theater, 2:00 and 8:00 P.M.)

The Apollo Mystery. Fine ensemble acting in this science fiction account of a murder during one of the Apollo Moon missions of the 1970s. The allure of the film, though, is in its setting; it was actually filmed on the Moon's surface during a commercial expedition last year. Very appropriate considering this weekend's anniversary. High production costs mean increased admission prices for this one, $15, only a dollar or two more than a regular ticket. (Roxie, 1:00, 3:15, 5:30, 8:00, and 10:15 P.M.)

This Is Holorama. One of this summer's gimmick films, Holorama is another of those ultra-realistic holographic movie processes that only scare the kids and leave Mom and Dad with a sick feeling in their stomachs. Like other "thrill films," it's mainly a travelogue, only this time the emphasis is on danger (an extended war sequence shot in the middle of battlefields in the Middle East, Central America, and Africa) and hostile environments. (We go inside an old-fashioned fission reactor during a real nuclear accident!) (Holostage, 2:00, 4:00, 7:30, and 10:00 P.M.)


All-Star Simulated Symphony. Always a treat for lovers of classical music, this duo uses the latest in synthesizers and digital music techniques (and a few robots) to simulate a live performance of the world's greatest orchestra and recreate the sounds of legendary performers. A robotic Rachmaninoff has the piano solos in the highlight of the show. Gershwin's An American in Paris, conducted by an animatronic likeness of the composer. So real, you'd swear the players were alive and in the room. (Wozniak Hall, 8:00 P.M.)


Don't Mess with Me. Tonight mark's ABC's first attempt at a new English-language situation comedy in prime time since the network went to all-Spanish programming a few years ago. A summer replacement, the series brings back one-time child star Gary Coleman (has he ever been away?) who plays the father of two adopted children. Beats reruns, anyway. (7:30 P.M.)

So Who Wants to Work? Jerry Rubin is the resident con man in a San Francisco retirement home where, ever since the collapse of Social Security, the old folks must rely on their wits to stay afloat. Rubin is particularly effective as the elderly baby-boomer wunderkind. In this episode, he convinces an oil company to use his pals in a TV commercial.


Previously on Paleo-Future:


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Reader Comments (8)

I like how he mentions how the 3D effects get "leave Mom and Dad with a sick feeling in their stomachs" -- I saw Avatar in 3D over Christmas with my parents and my dad felt quite queasy afterwords. Was that consequence already observed in the first round of 3D movies in the 1950s (Creature from the Black Lagoon, etc.)?

January 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Badger

Well, they certainly got the ticket prices close. An evening show at my local theatre is $9.50, with a $3 fee for 3D. D:

January 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJabberwocky

"Wozniak Hall" -- take that, Jobs!

January 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWutzke

That's a nice mixture of good and bad guesses.

My favorite book of Clarke futurism is still "Profiles of the Future", in which almost everything is absurdly off except for the chapter on telecommunications, which is all hits and really close misses.

January 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMatt McIrvin

He doesn't mention 3D cinema, but HOLOGRAPHIC cinema.
Something quite different. Holograms can be viewed from ALL angles whereas 3D only creates the illusion of debth on the screen.

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJimmy

I guess Gary Coleman wont be making that TV show after all. Bet Clark was startled to see him.

July 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterpsCargile

Guess NO ONE could see reality TV coming.

September 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBriana

Have fun with a real nuclear accident. Oh yeah.

2019 used to be so far away. Also makes me realize how primitive we were in 1986.

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Jetson

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