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Entries in highways (2)


Traffic Problems Will Disappear by Year 2000 (1955)

From the 1958 Disneyland TV episode Magic Highway, USA

The September 22, 1955 Lewiston Daily Sun (Lewiston, ME) ran a wonderful piece titled, "Hope For the Motorist: Traffic Problems Will Disappear by Year 2000." Such unbridled optimism for the yet to be developed Interstate Highway System is downright cute. Well, cute in that condescending "bless your heart" kind of way. But cute, nonetheless.

Remember that in 1955 the Interstate Highway System was still just a twinkle in President Eisenhower's eye. The Federal Aid Highway Act, which allocated $25 billion ($195 billion in today's dollars) for the development of the Interstate Highway System, wasn't signed into law until 1956.

As a huge Disney nerd I can't help but think about short films and TV episodes from the late 50s which were clearly produced to sell the idea of the Interstate Highway System to the American public. The film The Story of Anyburg USA from 1957 and the Disneyland TV episode Magic Highway, USA from 1958 are two such glorious examples. 

Predictions from the Lewiston Daily Sun piece appear below. 

  • Automobile traffic will increase fantastically, but because of fine expressways, there will be little congestion.
  • On these expressways cities will be by-passed or the road will be so built that it will hardly be necessary to slow down.
  • There will be no traffic lights on these major roads.
  • Large lakes will be bridged. Mountain ranges will be tunneled.
  • Opposing traffic will be separated. One-way streets and highways will be the rule.
  • Sleet? Snow? It will melt as it hits the highway.
  • Headlights? Won't need them on major roads. They will be illuminated bright as day.
  • Disabled cars -- a major source of tieups today -- will be whisked away by helicopter.
  • Cities will use three-level highways. Underground parking will be common. New office buildings will have parking facilities on each floor.


On a side note, I had a good chuckle reading about the helicopter solution to disabled cars, since comedian Eugene Mirman recently tweeted about Gallagher and his absolutely insane solution for road congestion.

Previously on Paleofuture: 



Ford's Magic Skyway (1964)

Of all the major attractions at the 1964 World's Fair it seems Ford's Magic Skyway receives the least amount of chatter, ink and pixels in 2011. It wasn't moved to Disneyland like Carousel of Progress or It's A Small World, and it wasn't a sexy sequel like Futurama II. But it looked like quite the ride nonetheless.

Narrated by Walt Disney, fairgoers hopped into Fords on a journey from the age of the dinosaurs to the invention of the wheel to a "highway in the sky carrying you across the boundless night and out into time and space." The audio-animatronic dinosaurs and cavemen of Magic Skyway would be familiar to anyone visiting a Disney park today, as Epcot's Spaceship Earth, Universe of Energy and World of Motion (R.I.P.) all look like they drew quite a bit of inspiration from this attraction.

At the end of the ride Walt's familiar voice proclaimed, "perhaps someday we'll be riding rocketships like those flashing overhead to anywhere in space. Perhaps someday we will drive jet-powered vehicles over weather-controlled highways in the sky like those spiralling tubes around you." Perhaps indeed.

For more on Ford's Magic Skyway check out the video below

The concept art above appears in Designing Disney: Imagineering and the Art of the Show by John Hench.


Previously on Paleo-Future: