The play Railroads on Parade was featured at the 1939/40 New York World's Fair. It told the story of railroad transportation progress from the 1820s until 1939, and into the future. The photo below depicts a "woman of the future" from the cast and can be found in the book Dawn of a New Day, published in 1980.
Entries in new york world's fair (19)
The May 1, 1939 Hammond Times (Hammond, Indiana) ran these images of Elektro, a robot featured at the 1939 New York World's Fair.
Elektro could supposedly "speak," distinguish between colors, smoke a cigar and direct an orchestra.
All's Fair at the Fair (1938)
Robots Will Be Kings (1949)
"I Can Whip Any Mechanical Robot" by Jack Dempsey (1930s)
Gigantic Robots to Fight Our Battles (Fresno Bee, 1934)
The Mechanical Man of the Future (1928)
The Robot is a Terrible Creature (1922)
Mammy vs Robot (Charleston Gazette, 1937)
Donald Duck's "Modern Inventions" (1937)
The 1964 film World's Fair Report with Lowell Thomas took viewers through a preview of what the 1964 New York World's Fair would have to offer. Below is a short clip of the film that shows the transportation exhibits, including the paleo-futuristic Futurama.
World's Fair Report with Lowell Thomas can be found on the DVD 1964 New York World's Fair, released by Extinct Attractions Club.
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.
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.
Disney produced attractions for many companies during the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair. One of these attractions was the Carousel of Progress for the General Electric Pavilion showing, "how life has changed through electrical energy." Below is a clip from a short promotional film Disney produced.
The film was not intended for the public but rather General Electric, who had not yet heard the featured song of the attraction, "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow."
Also, unconfirmed rumors are circulating that Carousel of Progress will be entering the Smithsonian in 2009 along with the Enchanted Tiki Room but you didn't hear it from me.
Monsanto House of the Future (1957-1967) 19 March 2007