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Entries in futurama (3)


Lunar Crawlers (1964)

For the 1964 World's Fair in New York General Motors hoped to create the same sense of wonder that it had achieved with its Futurama exhibit of the 1939 New York World's Fair. Futurama II expanded upon the highways, cities and conveniences of tomorrow to include lunar and sea exploration. The photo above shows manned "Lunar Crawlers" that are the main form of transporation for future moon travelers.

This image appears in the excellent book Exit to Tomorrow: World's Fair Architecture, Design, Fashion 1933-2005.


Super-Highway of Tomorrow (1939)

While not spectacular to someone from 2008, this illustration of the "super-highway of tomorrow" was quite extraordinary to people attending the 1939 New York World's Fair. A concept drawing for the original Futurama, this image was found in the Official Guide Book to the 1939 World's Fair.

Read more:
Official Guide Book: 1939 World's Fair (1939)
Dawn of a New Day (1939)
Railroads on Parade (1939)
Memory of 'Tomorrow' (New York Times, 1941)


Postmodern Paleo-Future

Lately, I've been trying to organize my thoughts around this idea of the postmodern paleo-future. That is to say, when did a certain level of self-awareness about futurism outweigh the sincere, optimistic brand of futurism?

I might suggest that the first great postmodern paleo-futuristic film was Woody Allen's Sleeper from 1973. Allen was not so much reflecting present-day anxieties and dreams of the future but rather those of generations before him.

In a world of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Meet the Robinsons, and the Futurama TV show, (not the General Motors exhibit from the 1939 World's Fair), where do we go from here?

Is a return to sincerity the answer? Is such a thing even possible, let alone desirable?

Despite what some may have argued at the time, irony did not die on September 11, 2001. In fact, it was the only way Americans knew how to deal with tragedy. Yet, there continue to be moments when a sincere reverence for the future and its possibility poke through, as though asking if it's safe to come out and play.

As usual, your thoughts on this topic are more than welcome.