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Monday
Apr182011

Talking of Tomorrow (1962)

Talking of Tomorrow is a short animated film that was produced for Bell Labs and released in either 1960 or 1962. Directed by Jetsons writer Chuck Couch, the film tells the story of a business executive from the future who works for an "interspace engineering company."

This executive works in a soundproof room attached to his house and doesn't have to worry about commuting or traffic jams -- yet still wears a suit, tie and hat to work. Why dress up if you're working from home? Because, of course, Mr. Future Executive lives in a world of videophones!

Business, school and play in this retrofuturistic utopia all depend on the highly advanced communications technologies brought to you by Bell Telephone Labs. Documents -- or "business materials" as they call them -- are exchanged by "telephonic machines." Lasers transmit phone calls and TV shows from space. Data processing machines... um... process data.

Kids get school help from tutors via videophone, wristwatch radio telephones are all the rage with teenagers, and windowshopping becomes that much easier with picturephone.

The character design of Talking of Tomorrow instantly reminded me of both the Pink Panther shorts as well as the Rocky and Bullwinkle series. Perhaps someone more educated in animation history can scan the credits and tell us where those connections might be. 

NOTE: You can watch the video at the AT&T Archives site, but I didn't like how it looked while embedded, so I ripped my own copy from the DVD set of Invaders from Space and Atomic Rulers.


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Reader Comments (7)

So...the astronaut in distress has to wait for the manager to finish his videoconference? Spot on!

BTW: the houses remind me of this:
Haus der Kulturen der Welt which was built 5 years before this animation was created.

April 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTimeFlies

Thanks for the link! As the author mentioned, we have Talking Of Tomorrow on the AT&T Tech Channel site, but we also have a ton of other video taken straight from the AT&T Archives.
Please check out our other AT&T Archives videos if you have the chance.

Thanks again!

April 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAT&T Tech Channel

Actually, I've seen quite a few home office experts advising that getting "dressed for work" is a good way of getting into the right mindset.

So it wouldn't be strange for an executive to be wearing a suit and tie even without the videophones.

April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRick Pikul

Mutatis Mutandis (microprocessing and lack of expansion into outerspace), this vision of the future seems to be pretty accurate. Of course the cultural vision is pretty narrow: all of the executives are white men, and Mrs. Future is primarily concerned with shopping and making dinner. Plus it's great that the 1960's Bell Labs worker is holding a pipe the whole time.

April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWill

Did you recognize the " Rocky Jones Space Ranger " music in the intro ?

April 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarl

This Bell Tel short was written & directed by my father when he ran his own company Chuck Couch Associates in the late fifties & early sixties. He put this together BEFORE the Jetsons came out and before he went to work for Hannah-Barbera. He also did several productions for AT&T in the following years: Mr. Digit, About a Century and the Tiny Tree. Thanks for your posting. This is the first time since I was a kid that I've seen this!

June 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCharley Couch

It's 2011! Here's MY helicycle?!

October 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterImmelmann

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