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A Jam Handy Picture made for General Motors to promote the Futurama, a ride and exhibit hall in the Parashere at the 1939 New York World's Fair. The film remains a time capsule of the 1930's and the future past of the now that never came to be. Enjoy!
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By Fran

14 thoughts on “World Of Tomorrow – 1939 World’s Fair Futurama”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jes.e B. says:

    I've seen this several times over the years here on YouTube. The most telling moment is at 25 minutes- "On all express city thoroughfares, the rights of way have been so routed as to displace outmoded business sections and undesirable slum areas whenever possible."

    Yes yes yes. The national highway across the USA did just this, destroying and/or segregating black neighborhoods all across the country.

    The all functions of the city kept separate? The residential, business, industrial, and recreational areas all divided by 7 lane superhighways. Check. That means you needed a car to get anywhere.

    Two things I don't see in those cities are people and parking lots.

    Is everyone dead with just our machines living on?

    Even the music, which must have seem futuristic.. I heard the same sounds from the 1964 Seattle worlds fair 30 years later, now sounds like the sound one would hear as the embalming fluid was filling your veins when you reached the age of retirement – [Note: There were going to be no retired people in Walt Disney's Experimental Community of Tomorrow as originally planned. Everybody worked!]

    This and other visions of the future brought to us through corporate America were not utopias.. quite the opposite.

    This is extensional horror.

    And we have arrived here in 2021 as a result.

    "More things for more people- brought to you by Amazon."

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars El Kabong says:

    I wish I could show this to my mom, who visited the 1939 World's Fair with my grandfather when she was 11 years old. Mom passed away in 2014, but there are still some photos of the event that her dad took at the time, at least.聽
    Years later, my Parental Units took me and my older brother to the 1964 World's Fair. Mostly, I remember the introduction of the Touch Tone phone in the AT&T Pavillion (we thought it was neat-o!) and the General Motors Pavilion was fun, too. I don't remember much else, though.
    Thanks for the share, Fran!

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars ghostsoup1313 says:

    Norma Bel Geddes was a theatrical & industrial designer. He designed the Futerama ride at the 1939 World's Fair. He was also the father of actress Barbara Bel Geddes, probably best known for her role as Midge in Hitchcock's Vertigo.
    Thanks, Fran, for uploading this. I love anything about World's Fairs.

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars N2YTA says:

    I know this film was produced my General Motors so it鈥檚 emphasis was on transportation, however I鈥檝e seen other productions from the early twentieth century predicting the future of technology and none of them envisioned the advances in communications we all use today.

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Shayne S. says:

    Vintage documentaries from those eras a kinda relaxing to watch. To quote Mr. Spock, "I find this fascinating". Maybe there should be some thought in city planers to revisit this. The idea of city pedestrian walking on a level above the road traffic is an interesting idea. But what happened to Autogyros to fly onto city room top landing pads? I want one!

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Bob Williams says:

    Sort of has a Nazi vibe to it, what with all those dirigibles and autobahns and what not. Or maybe it's just me?

    Thanks for putting this out there, Fran!

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Bill Kerr says:

    We did build the soul crushing freeways through cities but forgot to "displace the undesirable slums".

    I wonder how people were supposed the cross the moat surrounding the floating dirigible landing pad.

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars TechneMoira says:

    The bombast of that heroic-sounding music is actually funny and typically naive for the era. It's striking, though, people at Nasa chose to call their latest interstellar probe "New Horizons"… one has to wonder if this movie is/was part of some collective memory or is this Murphy's law at work…
    Also, I recognized a rural scene as a viewpoint for a Lowell Houser's painting of farmland being tilled. Coincidence? Or did the painting inspire the scene?
    Did anyone notice the industrial building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright?
    It's striking though, the whole movie seems to advocate that "New Horizons" is synonymous with blatant consumerism and wealth as a substitute for mental or general wellbeing… If WW II hadn't occured, where would that era have lead us, motivated by greed for more, better, richer hidden by a so-called hunger for (scientific) progress… right; the Golden Sixties 馃檪
    Also, if this Idyllic future is so perfect, why would water have to be purified if it isn't polluted by "science that lends agriculture a friendly helpful hand"?

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars 鎴仭鍒囥倠飧烩富飧烩富飧烩富飧烩富飧烩富飧烩富飧烩富飧烩富飧烩富飧烩富飧烩富飧烩富飧烩富飧烩富飧烩富飧烩富飧烩富飧烩富飧烩富飧烩富飧 says:

    Fran, now that it's been confirmed that UAP are real and from probably from another world, do you think Crop Circles are possibly real/related to each other?

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars cerulean daydream says:

    Thanks for sharing this! When I was a kid, I used to actually believe that the future in the GE Carousel of Progress at Disney World, or in short videos like this one, was based on some kind of scientific research that was being developed, and that they had a reason to believe the estimates of the dates for all the futuristic marvels described. 馃ぃ It's more fun to be a kid, and not recognize the smell of marketing and propaganda bullshit for what it is.

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Leo Alexander says:

    "Remember: 1960. Do not be frightened, for this is the world of the man of the 1960s. In the Year of our Lord, AD 1960, everyone will live in 1960. Automobiles will travel on motorways built for the year 1960. All cows will live hoof-in-hand with chemists in specially designed tubes in the year…"

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars MR MR says:

    On the contrary Fran, This video is romantic and charming but the vision it sold was horrendous .
    GM dis sell the vision that those people would never forget. The vision of the highway would absolutely manifest.
    The glorification of mobile life. A dream of unbound mobility. Le Corbusier would succumb to this undeniable future, saddened by what he would say was the loss of the streets to the automobile. He mourned but moved to overcome it by elevating highways and working to keep the flow of traffic away from cities. He became the world's greatest metaphysician of the highway and his greatest pupil, Robert Moses would lead the way in urban planning, not focused on people but on the automobile. Moses would create models that the rest of the country would mimic. Urban sprawl would begin and the concept of living in a climate where one could walk to their needs would be held by few places.

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars John Hawkes says:

    New horizons I love this. Yep those nice people at GM in 1939 sure were visionaries. We do seem to have gravitated towards a lot of the ideas and products however; in my opinion we are nowhere near the utopian city with the lovey dovey life styles depicted. Don鈥檛 get me wrong it would be super if we could make it work but honestly I really do think we still have a long way to go. Just my thoughts.

  14. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Withnail1969 says:

    It did come to be. America became a country designed and built for the comfort and convenience of cars. Industrialised agriculture has also become a reality. And rural areas now have electricity.

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