One monkey typing Shakespeare, one post at a time - Where did our future go?

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September 6th, 2007


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11:21 am - Where did our future go?

This one’s for annoyinghandle, bikerbearmark,
fj, cuteorkill, themonkeybear and urso...


Where did our future go?














These are from a series of ads that appeared in magazines in 1961 and 1962 selling
Motorola TVs and high-fidelity electronics, touting this new thing called “stereo.”

It’s a good thing we'd soon have all that meterless,
clean-burning nucular power to heat our homes with!

Click below for more.



These have appeared twice on the internet and both times disappeared, so I thought I’d share them one more time. The artist for most of these was Charles Schridde, who is still painting, although now landscapes and rodeo cowboys these days. Some of these scans come from the molto fabuloso paleo-future.blogspot.com blog (paleofuture_rss here on LJ), which takes a look back at how the future was envisioned in the past. The ads can be found in Taschen’s massive All-American Ads of the 60s collection, and you can purchase high-quality reprints of some of them at plan59.com.





















There are even a couple more, unfortunately I couldn’t find larger versions on the web. One of these days I’ll have to scan them in from the book.






(Previously in the future)


(46 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:fj
Date:September 6th, 2007 03:40 pm (UTC)
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Oh, I thought I had seen all of them, but there are some here I didn't know.

And always that TV console that simply doesn't fit anything else.
[User Picture]
From:thornyc
Date:September 6th, 2007 03:50 pm (UTC)
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I love how they're sited among the most majestic views and nature ("I got yer cantilever right here, Frank!"), yet are transfixed by a TV set.

My favorite is probably the prairie house with no living room furniture (they're sitting on the floor) to mimic the great plain outside.

Growing up, our shag carpeting was avocado, not chartreuse.

[User Picture]
From:fj
Date:September 6th, 2007 05:21 pm (UTC)
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You know, that decor would totally work if they just had two of these around:



and when they finished watching, just flatten them to their original flat pillow shape, and stack them in the corner of that carpet. I am thinking of getting one in white for if I ever get more guests than I have couch.

I am suddenly struck that I seemed to have glanced over the fact that someone decided the outfit to wear to a BBQ / TV Viewing party at night was a full ballgown.
[User Picture]
From:sultmhoor
Date:September 6th, 2007 03:43 pm (UTC)
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Those are mind-bogglingly beautiful. I bought my house because it had a resemblance to #9, with the giant brick wall/fireplace and expansive square window expanses...

That kind of Googie 60-s Futurism needs to make a comeback, right quick!
[User Picture]
From:thornyc
Date:September 6th, 2007 04:02 pm (UTC)
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Expansive expanses! Sounds expensive! ;)

Don't mind me... it's just shelter envy.

From:that_dang_otter
Date:September 6th, 2007 03:48 pm (UTC)
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Whoever made those illustrations obviously never crossed paths with the California Coastal Commission. I find it hysterical to think that everyone in the future would be living on the beach.

Oh, and the building department might have quite a lot to say as well. QUITE a lot. The engineering and design costs for these would probably exceed the cost of construction, even though there's nothing particularly difficult about them - engineering for even a standard stick-built house costs tens of thousands of dollars, which explains the popularity of cookie-cutter developments over custom homes. Our design costs, for example, have exceeded $80K - and what we're building is resolutely traditional, save the fact that it's on a hill and includes a commercial kitchen.

In short, if it weren't for bureaucracy and population pressure, everything in these drawings would be completely plausible and attainable. The only thing derailing this vision of the future is other people. Which is what is so tragic about futurism - the futurists were correct in most regards, save that pesky issue of human depravity.

I'm charmed, though, by the idea that people would still be watching boxy black and white televisions.
[User Picture]
From:thornyc
Date:September 6th, 2007 04:00 pm (UTC)
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I'm charmed, though, by the idea that people would still be watching boxy black and white televisions.

I know... how quaint!

[User Picture]
From:albadger
Date:September 6th, 2007 05:21 pm (UTC)

Everything in those drawings is plausible and attainable...

(Link)
...for the profoundly rich.

Me, I look at these and think about the army of poorly paid charwomen who keep it clean and then disappear so as not to sully Madame's evening with their squalidness.
[User Picture]
From:fj
Date:September 6th, 2007 05:28 pm (UTC)

Re: Everything in those drawings is plausible and attainable...

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You're right.

All I have to do to see stuff of this opulence, and sensibility, is drive up to Malibu. In fact, since the beach is public, I just walked up the coast and ended up in front of some huge houses of glass panes right on the surf line, with terraces winding down to rock boulder formations.
From:that_dang_otter
Date:September 6th, 2007 05:39 pm (UTC)

Re: Everything in those drawings is plausible and attainable...

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Well, yes, but my point was that this vision would be attainable for the middle class, too, if it weren't for the fact that American life is completely dominated by competition for space in the few parts of the country where there's still good money to be made.

If you could combine the wealth of California with the low population and laissez-faire regulatory environment of Tennessee, everyone could live like that. I don't think the futurists of the past had any idea how quickly the easy American life of unlimited space and cheap resources would turn into a mad scramble for the few remaining scraps thereof.

The charwoman comment is interesting - these pictures suggest, to me, that the woman of the house does not work, and is responsible for keeping the place clean herself.
[User Picture]
From:reslbear
Date:September 6th, 2007 03:56 pm (UTC)
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So many of them remind me of sets from James Bond movies.

Ah! the memories ... We had avocado kitchen appliances but shag carpeting was too modern (read expensive) for my parents. Instead we had rugs.
[User Picture]
From:robearal
Date:September 6th, 2007 04:51 pm (UTC)
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No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to DIE!
[User Picture]
From:dhpbear
Date:September 6th, 2007 04:00 pm (UTC)
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Ouch! OSHA would have had a field day with #'s 3, 12 and 14 !:) NO RAILINGS!
[User Picture]
From:thornyc
Date:September 6th, 2007 04:04 pm (UTC)
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I can tell you what the ads weren't selling -- wheelchairs!

[User Picture]
From:dhpbear
Date:September 6th, 2007 04:05 pm (UTC)
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Also, in #10, what is the girl looking at?
[User Picture]
From:thornyc
Date:September 6th, 2007 04:10 pm (UTC)
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I was tempted to caption some of them, and that one would have been, "I like to pretend I can see the TV, even though I can't. My mommy says I can't come on the carpet until I learn how to stop peeing my panties."

[User Picture]
From:deafdyke
Date:September 6th, 2007 09:55 pm (UTC)
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She's the BAD SEED.

[User Picture]
From:moroccomole
Date:September 6th, 2007 04:08 pm (UTC)
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All I want is my jetpack and my treehouse on the moon.

Is that so goddamn much to ask???
[User Picture]
From:dhpbear
Date:September 6th, 2007 04:21 pm (UTC)
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Where is my Picture Phone™?

[User Picture]
From:woofmantoronto
Date:September 6th, 2007 04:30 pm (UTC)
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I never did see Elvis's home in Palm Springs but I did happen to visit Frank Sinatra's home perched on a mountain peak in Acapulco in '83.

It was a circular affair like a 60s standard flying saucer shape, but nice. It had one story glass walls curving around the entire perimeter of the frame. The home really looked exactly like the restaraunt on top of the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel on the downtown Toronto waterfront, but not as brown.

It had clear glass panels, very nicely done, it looked very simple but I can imagine it cost about 10 million at the time. I can't remember the sq. footage of the interior but imagine it was at least 5,000 sq ft. I remember that it was mentioned that it was one of his vacation homes. It had a full 360 degree view and as I looked at the home from the road below I imagined that about 290 degrees of the windows had unobstructed ocean view. It would have felt like you were in a space ship floating over the ocean, I thought.

So these houses actually did exist, it's just that only the celebrities of the time could afford to build these designs.
From:_cellardo0r_
Date:September 6th, 2007 04:44 pm (UTC)
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I want the one with the underwater window!
[User Picture]
From:bearhedded
Date:September 7th, 2007 05:50 am (UTC)
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that's a vertical pool!
[User Picture]
From:robearal
Date:September 6th, 2007 04:49 pm (UTC)
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It must be nice to not be encumbered by stuff. There must be a room or two in the house that we can't see where all the junk accumulates.
[User Picture]
From:jaspamaster
Date:September 6th, 2007 04:51 pm (UTC)
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I used to dream of this stuff
[User Picture]
From:jefferzephyr
Date:September 6th, 2007 04:52 pm (UTC)
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Oh how cool!

This reminds me of the cd jacket cover from my "Air" cd...20th Century Legend.
[User Picture]
From:bullneck
Date:September 6th, 2007 05:12 pm (UTC)
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Seeing all this exposed glass and the minimalist interiors makes me...shudder. It's gorgeous-looking, but think of all the Windex one would have to buy! And where are the bathrooms? :-p
[User Picture]
From:stivalineri
Date:September 6th, 2007 05:38 pm (UTC)
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I watched s a documentary on NASA's Orion project, to replace the Space Shuttle in the next few years, and go back to the Moon. It's a bigger version of the Apollo equilateral capsule. I know that it's the best and safest shape for atmospheric reentry, but I was so disappointed that the future just looked like the past, and not even the cool past of these illustrations. It's so important to have something big to dream about, and not just another nifty version of an iPod.
[User Picture]
From:jazzbearny
Date:September 6th, 2007 06:12 pm (UTC)
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How do you insert an image in a comment?

Anyway, since I don't know how, you can go to http://jazzbearny.livejournal.com/25533.html to see a picture of a favorite futuristic 1960s piece of memorabilia from my collection of oddities.
[User Picture]
From:thornyc
Date:September 6th, 2007 06:34 pm (UTC)
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If the image already resides on the internet, in Windows right-click on the image, and under 'Properties' it will give you the location of that image. Copy that location address.

Then, paste it in thusly:

< img src= http://pics.livejournal.com/jazzbearny/pic/0004ehh2/s320x240 >

except for the spaces.

Which will give you

!

[User Picture]
From:thornyc
Date:September 6th, 2007 07:03 pm (UTC)
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Whoops, you want to keep the space between "img" and "src" -- otherwise it's continuous text.

[User Picture]
From:jazzbearny
Date:September 7th, 2007 03:05 am (UTC)
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Thanks! I've added this to the html cheatsheet I started back at the beginning of the year with other info from you....
[User Picture]
From:theoctothorpe
Date:September 6th, 2007 06:56 pm (UTC)
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Oh, this made my day!

Thanks for this.
[User Picture]
From:joebehrsandiego
Date:September 6th, 2007 07:45 pm (UTC)
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As David/annoyinghandle said when e_ticket posted the initial photo ...

"Pass the Jungle Juice and walnut oil!"
[User Picture]
From:mister_don
Date:September 6th, 2007 08:41 pm (UTC)

Whatever happened to:

(Link)
self-cleaning windows :)
[User Picture]
From:progbear
Date:September 6th, 2007 08:56 pm (UTC)
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Some of these just totally make me laugh! Sure, they’re beautiful visions, but most of the designs are just so impractical! Building a house on a leaning post over a waterfall? First of all, just getting the land would be a miracle...if you could even find such a plot that hasn’t already been swallowed up by the park service. Second, the design totally doesn’t look at all earthquake- or landslide-safe!
[User Picture]
From:deafdyke
Date:September 6th, 2007 09:04 pm (UTC)
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Wonderful entry. I'd comment, but I'm too busy digesting the rampant heteronormativity of it all :)

[User Picture]
From:thornyc
Date:September 6th, 2007 09:38 pm (UTC)
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I think you could get a paper from the second one alone with its man-conquers-nature hot-dogs-and-donuts of it all. And note that in these 19 examples, the only time a woman is shown independent of a man is when she's privately striving to make herself even skinnier.

Still, not all cultural norms were in place back then -- in #10 (chartreuse shag carpeting and suspended TV) she's actually handling the TV's remote control!

[User Picture]
From:deafdyke
Date:September 6th, 2007 10:08 pm (UTC)
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Are those SLACKS she's wearing, or is that a long pencil skirt??

Yes, also notice the husband's slightly slumped posture and balled fist. Nonetheless, she--like nearly all of the women in the ads featuring televisions--is standing, not reclining. One gets the sense that they are making a futile effort to compete with the TV for their husband's attention.
[User Picture]
From:bearhedded
Date:September 7th, 2007 05:57 am (UTC)
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she's actually handling the TV's remote control!

And I'm thinking it's one of those ones that clicked loudly when you pressed the button, and then the set would clunk, even MORE loudly, as it carried out the function! The Lindahls had one, and it was amazing!
[User Picture]
From:thornyc
Date:September 7th, 2007 11:40 am (UTC)

ka-CHUNK

(Link)

Yer absolutely right, click on the "remote control" link in the above comment and see how.

[User Picture]
From:bearhedded
Date:September 7th, 2007 01:42 pm (UTC)

Re: ka-CHUNK

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I did! They probably had the 600 model. I remember 4 buttons, and those lond cylinders were visible through the pierced grill.


Now, I'm wondering if the one in the picture goes to the TV, or the little android-girl?!?!?
[User Picture]
From:danbearnyc
Date:September 6th, 2007 10:39 pm (UTC)
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The first one actually reminds me of a REAL boathouse I used to see every summer - the one where Abbie Hoffman was hiding out from the law! It belonged to his girlfriend and was on Wellesley Island in the 1000 Islands. The boat was to enable Abbie to escape the Man and head to Canada where apparently cocaine sales are perfectly acceptable. The island is also connected to Canada by bridge in case the river is frozen over.
[User Picture]
From:themonkeybear
Date:September 7th, 2007 12:05 am (UTC)
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*faints*
[User Picture]
From:annoyinghandle
Date:September 7th, 2007 12:05 am (UTC)
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OMFG!!! You know what I like!

My mind is reeling from the socio-economic discussion above. For now, I'm simply touching myself inappropriately.
[User Picture]
From:beastbriskett
Date:September 7th, 2007 09:07 am (UTC)
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Ah, 60's illustration...a crisp goache world filled with fabulous, impossible architecture, thin wispy women, and clean-cut men with slim Dr. Quest pipes.
[User Picture]
From:bearzero_avp
Date:September 8th, 2007 03:26 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for the the great illustrations!!! Our place is designed VERY Mid Century Modern, and these illustrations are just perfect examples of our dream home!!!
Here in South Florida, there are so many places that have very modern designs. And they are always trying to capture the essence of this style. But its so nice to see it how it was viewed back then.

Thanks again, it made our day!!!

Love the image of the little boy in the swimming pool!!! Thats our fav!!

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