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Entries in leisure time (9)

Sunday
Jun262011

Leisure in 2006 A.D. (1906)

What's the biggest problem people thought we'd be facing in the 21st century? Mid-air jetpack collisions? Disobedient robot servants? No, the greatest problem of our futuristic world was supposed to be too much leisure time.

It was believed that a push-button future of automation would bring about a world of unprecedented convenience and leisure. The question was only how to pass the time.

Many imagined a leisure-centric society driven by wholesome degeneracy, jet-setting golfers and sixteen hour work weeks. The mundane nature of such a simple push-button future would even drive people to suicide!

In reality, the amount of time spent on purely enjoyable activities hasn't really changed much in the last hundred years. But to steal a line from one W. Elias Disney, if we can dream it, we can do it! Feel free to leave your comments below about how to push ourselves into such a wondrous dystopia of automated despair.

The March 26, 1906 New Zealand Star told the story of leisure one hundred years into the future, through the lens of a more efficient and time-saving bath. Onward into our freshly scrubbed dystopia!

Probably the speediest dresser of our own day does not consume less than a quarter of an hour over his morning tub and the operation of drying himself. A hundred years hence people will be so avid of every moment of life, life will be so full of busy delight, that time-saving inventions will be at a huge premium. It is not because we shall be hurried in nerve-shattering anxiety, but because we shall value at its true worth the refining and restful influence of leisure, that we shall be impatient of the minor tasks of every day. The bath of the next century will lave the body speedily with oxgenated water, delivered with a force that will render rubbing unnecessary, and beside it will stand the drying cupboard, lined with some quickly moving arrangement of soft brushes, and fed with highly dessiccated air, from which, almost in a moment, the bather will emerge, dried, and with a skin gently stimulated and perhaps electrified, to clothe himself quickly and pass down the lift to his breakfast, which he will eat to the accompaniment of the morning's news, read out for the benefit of the family, or whispered into his ears by a talking machine.

 

Wednesday
Jan272010

"And This Button Annihilates the City" (1965)

We've looked at many advertisements that use the push-button future as a way to position products as cutting edge or innovative. But when the Future is used in this ad from the August 19, 1965 Marion Sentinel it just seems lazy.

Where is Father looking, and what --oh gawd, WHAT?-- will pushing those buttons do to that poor futuristic city? I think Daughter's been dipping into Mother's little helper, which would explain her crazy eyes, but doesn't explain why almost everyone is looking at a different point in space.

I guess the lesson here is that if you want to see the Future just look up and to your left. And leave your mouth slightly agape.

Oh, and shop at A & H Appliance.

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Sunday
Dec062009

Jet Set in 1999 A.D. (1967)

Though commercial aviation has become a tedious exercise in repeatedly proving that your shampoo is not actually made of C-4, it's easy to forget that air travel used to be too expensive for the average American. Flying was an event, something you dressed up for. It wasn't so easy to book a relatively inexpensive flight one evening and be in a faraway land the very next day. Adjusted for inflation, flying has never been a better deal.

So, while most of us are not living Wink Martindale's life of jet-set luxury... enjoying 16-hour work weeks, clunky videophones, and zipping down to Mexico for a quick 18 holes, we can dream along with the 1967 film 1999 A.D.

 

 Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Sunday
May172009

Predictions for 1993 (1893)

The March 25, 1893 Newark Daily Advocate (Newark, OH) ran predictions of what the world of 1993 would look like. Excerpts from each of the four journalists (George Alfred Townson, Kate Field, Nym Crinkle, and John Swinton) appear below. The entire article is embedded below, or you can read it here.

Substitute the word "blog" for "book" in the last prediction and it could have easily been written today.

  • Where will be our greatest city? In all probability Chicago. There will be wonderful cities in the west, none more beautiful and extensive than Salt Lake City; but unless all signs fail Chicago will take precedence.
  • So called temperance legislation is a temporary aberration of well meaning but narrow minded men and women with whom sentimentality supplants reason, and who actually thinks morals are an affair of legislation. One hundred years hence personal liberty will be more than a phrase. When it is a fact sumptuary laws will be as impossible as witch burning is now.
  • The encyclopedic man, who makes a show of knowing all things, will give way to the specialist, who makes an effort to know one thing and know it well.
  • They will have more leisure to think. The present rate of headlong material activity cannot be kept up for another hundred years.
  • While I am writing this the statesmen of the country are asking themselves if it is not time to make laws which shall restrict if they do not put a stop to immigration.
  • In 100 years Denver will be as big as New York and in the center of a vast population.
  • If the republic remains politically compact and doesn't fall apart at the Mississippi river, Canada will be either part of it or an independent sovereignty, and the northern shore of the Gulf of Mexico will be the Riviera of the western continent.
  • I guess that there will be great political and social changes in our country before the year 1993, and that these changes will be advantageous to the community at large. I guess that before the next century shall end the functions and powers of our government will be greatly enlarged; that railroads, telegraphs and many other things now held as private spoil will be public property; that law, medicine and theology will be more reasonable than they now are; that the inventions and discoveries will be greater than we have ever yet had, and that the welfare of mankind will be higher than it is in this age of confusion.
  • Every person of fairly good education and of restless mind writes a book. As a rule, it is a superficial book, but it swells the bulk and it indicated the cerebral unrest that is trying to express itself. We have arrived at a condition in which more books are printed than the world can read. This is true not only of books that are not worth reading, but it is true of the books that are. All this I take to be the result of an intellectual affranchisement that is new, and of a dissemination of knowledge instead of concentration of culture. Everybody wants to say something. But it is slowly growing upon the world that everybody has not got something to say. Therefore one may even at this moment detect the causes which will produce reaction. In 100 years there will not be so many books printed, but there will be more said. That seems to me to be inevitable.

1893 March 25 Newark Daily Advocate - Newark OH Pa Leo Future

Previously on Paleo-Future:

Sunday
Jun222008

Sports Fans of the Year 2000 (1967)

The August 20, 1967 Progress-Index (Petersburg, VA) ran a piece titled, "Hard Times Facing Joe Fan," about the overcrowding of sports stadiums that was sure to come with exponential population growth.

My favorite quote of the article comes from the only source, real estate developer Joseph Timan: "With unprecedented leisure time on their hands, millions of sports fans will want to patronize more than one team."

The cartoon at right, reading, "Bleachers $8," appeared in the July 30, 1967 Lima News (Lima, OH) publication of the article. Adjusted for inflation $8 in 1967 is a little over $50 in 2008 currency.

NEW YORK (NEA) - It is the year 2000 and you want a ticket to a baseball or a basketball game. You figure it will be just like today, walk up to the box office, push your money over the counter and buy a reserved seat for $2.50.

 

Forget it.

This opinion comes from one Joseph Timan, city planner and president of Horizon Land Corp., a real estate development company in Tucson, Ariz.

Timan made his prediction following a Horizon-sponsored sociological study of future planning problems in metropolitan areas.

The study revealed that city populations are expected to double and triple by the year 2000. This means there will be two to four times more sports fans in the next 30-40 years. Stadium capacity will remain relatively the same.

"Stadiums could be built to seat 150,000" TIman says, "but watching a sporting event in a structure this size would be like watching a flea circus from a block away.

"Besides, the crushing chaos of getting this much humanity in and out of such a facility makes management of today's World Series crowds a simple routine by comparison."

Because of the increased number of fans and the lack of space, tickets, Timan says, will be sold months and in some instances, seasons in advance.

"Even third baseball and football leagues won't meet the demands for tickets," Timan said. "With unprecedented leisure time on their hands, millions of sports fans will want to patronize more than one team."

To obtain a ticket, the average fan is going to need influence as well as affluence.

"Diamonds, mink and champagne, instead of shirtsleeves and beer, will be commonplace in the bleacher section at ball games," Timan continued.

"These sports will no longer be for the masses. The box seats, upper stands and bleachers will be filled up with junior and senior executives - and mostly senior at that. The rest of us will have to be content to see sports over television.

"Prices for a bleacher seat that goes for $2 today will sell for $8 because of the great demand and limited supply. Box seats, for those lucky enough to get them, will bring $20 or more."

Far fetched?

"Not at all," Timan said, "It's a simple matter to extrapolate from history and project into the future. Consider these facts:

"In the past 30 years the number of fans attending major sporting events have more than tripled while population has increased about 50 per cent.

"Consider salaries of sports greats of 30-40 years ago. Today they're easily four or five time bigger. By 2000 they can be expected to quadruple again.

"Now, larger stadiums are being built, but they are very close to maximum possible size for viewing team sports.

"Thirty years ago bleacher seats were going to 50 cents while they are generally four times this amount today.

"Tickets to many major league football and hockey games are already almost impossible to obtain, unless you have 'pull.' Today just try to get a ticket to a hockey game; a big Saturday college game, or a baseball game when the team is on top.

"Multiply these factors by a doubled or triple urban population by the year 2000, a population with many more upper-income people with more leisure time; couple this with the physical limitations of stadiums, and you can't escape the conclusion that soon there won't be enough stadium seats to go around."

It sounds like something out of a Walter O'Malley dream.


See also:
Mile Run in 3:41 by Year 2000 (1965)
Lunar High Jump (1979)
Sport in Space Colonies (1977)
Olympic Games on the Moon in 2020 (1979)
Zero-Gravity Football (1981)
Future Without Football (Daily Review, 1976)
"Grasshopper" Golf Cart (1961)

 

Tuesday
Jul312007

2000 A.D. Radio Documentary (1966)

The 1966 radio documentary 2000 A.D.: A documentary on life in the universe in the 21st century, hosted by Chet Huntley, covers some very interesting topics. Government, energy use, leisure time, electronics, use of the oceans, and private enterprise were among the many issues discussed by Mr. Huntley and those he interviewed.

You can listen to the introduction here. A transcript of the program's introduction appears below.

Year 2000!

Now, here is Chet Huntley.

We'll be celebrating a special New Year's Eve. Bells will ring, orchestras will play "Auld Lang Syne," boys and girls will embrace and the new century will be upon us.

It will be the year 2000. Or, if you prefer twenty-hundred. But what shall we call it? Two-triple-oh, perhaps.

A baby born tonight could not be president of the United States in the year 2000. He would have not yet attained the constitutional age of thirty-five years.

Statistics indicate that about three-fourths of the people listening to me at this moment will live to see that year, which is no further in the future than the election of Franklin Roosevelt is in the past.

What do we know about year 2000? Well, ecologists tell us that in that year we will have run very nearly out of food, that half the world's population will be on a starvation diet. We can project the so-called electronic revolution and predict that the number of workers engaged in actual production will drop to only 18 percent of the workforce. At the same time, the number of people in all the various service occupations will almost double.

Experts tell us that we will cluster more than ever into cities, drive electrically powered cars, work less, and retire earlier. But what about these things? What will they mean to you and me, to the average worker and to his family?

See also:
Closer Than We Think! Monoline Express (1961)
The Population Bomb: Scenario 1 (1970)
The Population Bomb: Scenario 2 (1970)
The Population Bomb: Scenario 3 (1970)

Thursday
Jun142007

Closer Than We Think! Fish Bowl Swimming Pool (1958)

More often than not, Arthur Radebaugh's brilliant series Closer Than We Think! makes practical sense. However, this image which ran in the July 13, 1958 Chicago Tribune, threw me for a loop (cringe-inducing pun intended).


Today's spectators can see beneath the surface of a swimming pool only through windows or portholes below the water line. But tomorrow's vacationers will be able to do far better. Pools in transparent structures above the ground will enable observers to relax alongside and have the fun watching underwater aquatic frolicking at the same time.

This in-the-air pool for swimming in the future is shaped like a cocktail glass or the bottom half of a fish bowl. It is reached by a circular ramp leading to platforms and diving boards - a highly decorative addition to the grounds of tomorrow's pleasure resorts.

See also:
Closer Than We Think! (1958-1963)
Closer Than We Think! Monoline Express
Closer Than We Think! Lunar Mailbag (1960)
Closer Than We Think! Polar City (1959)