Driverless Car of the Future (1957)
TVs that hang on walls? Automatic lights? Food cooked in seconds? American power companies sure had the future figured out! Except for one little thing... we're still waiting on those driverless cars. The futuristic family from this ad bares a striking resemblance to the family of Disneyland TV's 1958 episode, "Magic Highway, USA."
ELECTRICITY MAY BE THE DRIVER. One day your car may speed along an electric super-highway, its speed and steering automatically controlled by electronic devices embedded in the road. Highways will be made safe -- by electricity! No traffic jam.. no collisions... no driver fatigue.
I'm certainly no expert on energy politics of the 1950's, but I must say that the ad takes a weird turn when it starts explaining that power companies are so great because they don't have to wait for an act of Congress to get things done. Can anyone explain the subtleties of the dynamic at work here? Was it merely Cold War chest-pounding about free enterprise or was there a threat to nationalize American power companies around this time?
Your air conditioner, television and other appliances are just the beginning of a new electric age.
Your food will cook in seconds instead of hours. Electricity will close your windows at the first drop of rain. Lamps will cut on and off automatically to fit the lighting needs in your rooms. Television "screens" will hang on the walls. An electric heat pump will use outside air to cool your house in the summer, heat it in the winter.
You will need and have much more electricity than you have today. Right now America's more than 400 independent electric light and power companies are planning and building to have twice as much electricity for you by 1967. These companies can have this power ready when you need it because they don't have to wait for an act of Congress -- or for a cent of tax money -- to build the plants.
The same experience, imagination and enterprise that electrified the nation in a single lifetime are at work shaping your electric future. That's why in the years to come, as in the past, you will benefit most when you are served by independent companies like the ones bringing you this message -- America's Indpendent Electric Light and Power Companies.
Update, February 18, 2019: I’ve obtained my own copy of this image and if you’re looking for a high-resolution scan of it for a film or book project you can download it over at the Novak Archive.