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Entries in 21st century (13)

Tuesday
Aug092011

Walter Cronkite Explores the Home of 2001

While visiting New York a few years ago I stopped in at the Paley Center for Media (formerly the Museum of Television and Radio). They have quite an extensive collection of TV programs that anyone can view, two at a time, for an admission fee. One of the shows I watched was an episode of the CBS show, The 21st Century hosted by Walter Cronkite. Titled "At Home, 2001" the episode aired on March 12, 1967 and is a wonderfully retrofuturistic artifact that shows off the technological advancements of a house in the future. The house featured in this episode will look familiar to those who've watched the 1967 Philco-Ford promotional film, 1999 A.D. 

According to Cronkite, the home of the year 2001 will feature inflatable furniture, push-button kitchens, computers for educating Junior at home, and enormous TV screens. The episode talks to a handful of experts, including Philip Johnson who -- as we know from this radio documentary from 1966 -- wasn't terribly optimisitc for the future of innovation. Cronkite himself lived to see the first decade of the 21st century. I wish I'd been able to interview him about some of the changes he'd seen.

An excerpt from the March 12, 1967 edition of the Pasadena Independent Star-News appears below.

The home of tomorrow is the subject of "At Home, 2001" on The 21st Century, in color Sunday at 6:00 PM on CBS.

CBS News Correspondent Walter Cronkite is the reporter.

The broadcast will explore the promise of modern technology, architecture and city planning, as well as new ways of doing things in the home. Robots may help with housework. The kitchen might resemble a laboratory where cooking might be done in seconds by high-energy sound waves. The man of the house could conduct much of his business at home by electronic devices. The children of the 21st Century might be educated at home by a computer.

Whether tomorrow's home will be a thing of beauty, a tasteless suburban tract or a high-rise beehive also will be examined. Whatever it is, it is estimated that some 60 million homes will be built before the year 2001.

Longtime readers of Paleofuture might recall that we looked at another episode of The 21st Century a few years ago. titled the "Mystery of Life" that asked some hard questions about science's role in reproduction. In the episode, James Bonner argues that eugenics is the only way to breed out the undesirable traits in humanity, while Harrison Brown asks how things like "undesirable" might be defined.

Saturday
Apr162011

Giant Babies of the Future (1937)

Many people in the 20th century assumed that the average citizen of the 21st century would be taller. However, a smaller (and for our purposes admittedly more entertaining) contingent assumed that advances in chemistry would breed hilariously super-sized babies. Having tipped the scales at ten pounds and ten ounces when I was born, it may be difficult to convince someone like my mother that this wasn't shockingly accurate; but we haven't quite reached Paul Bunyan proportions as a species just yet.

The article below from the November 21, 1937 issue of the San Antonio Light (San Antonio, TX) references the H.G. Wells novel The Food of the Gods. In the book, scientists create a chemical called "boomfood" which causes rats to expand to the size of ponies and makes people grow to be forty feet tall. The piece goes on to explain that Dr. Albert F. Blakeslee had created a new "elixir of growth" called colchicine which may bring about this super-sized world of the future. Of course, colchicine wasn't some magical elixir that would turn people to giants -- nor was it really even "created" by Dr. Blakeslee -- but it's certainly fun to think about what a world overrun with giant killer caterpillars might look like.

1937 Nov 21 San Antonio Light

Monday
Dec222008

Man's Life in the Space Age (1962)


Fun House has posted some fun images from the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle, which was also known as the "Century 21 Exposition." The image above is a map which "illustrates your trip through the World of Century 21."

Previously on Paleo-Future:
Seattle World's Fair Official Souvenir Program (1962)
Frederick & Nelson Ad (1962)
Century 21: Space Needle Designs (1962)
X-20 Monorail Toy (1962)
GM Car of the Future (1962)
Seattle World's Fair Postcards (1962)

Sunday
May182008

Problems with Eugenics (1967)


A few months back we looked at a clip from the February 26, 1967 episode of CBS's 21st Century. The episode includes an interview with James Bonner, who advocated for human eugenics in the future.

Today, we have a clip of the retort by Harrison Brown, who raises questions about whether eugenics is as "common sense" as Bonner insists. Interestingly enough, Harrison Brown and James Bonner co-wrote a book together in 1957 titled, The Next Hundred Years.

 

 

What are the outstanding virtues we should attempt to breed in to our population? You might say intelligence, but what kind of intelligence? You might say attractiveness, but what kind of attractiveness?


The episode, "The Mystery of Life," can be found in its entirety on the A/V Geeks DVD, Twenty-First Century.

 

See also:
21st Century Eugenics (1967)
Future Shock - Babytorium (1972)
Instant Baby Machine (1930)

Thursday
Dec062007

21st Century Eugenics (1967)

The CBS series 21st Century aired a program titled, "The Mystery of Life" on February 26, 1967. The program looked at genetics and the future of humanity.

In this clip, host Walter Cronkite interviews biologist James Bonner. Bonner advocates a "large-scale program of [breeding] better people," otherwise known as eugenics. Procreation by committee sounds like tons of fun!

The episode can be found in its entirety on the A/V Geeks DVD Twenty-First Century.

 

 

Bonner: Each baby, when it's born, must donate some of his sex cells, sperm or eggs, and these are put in a deep freeze and just kept. The person leads his life, and dies. And after he's all dead and gone, so the heat of passion is taken out of the matter, a committee meets and studies his life.

 

Cronkite: So during his lifetime then, he hasn't had any children?

Bonner: He's been sterilized, and hasn't had any children in the normal way. After he's dead and gone, the committee meets and reviews his life and asks, 'Would we like to have some more people like him?' If the answer's no they take out his sex cells of the deep freeze and throw them away. But if the answer's yes then they use him to fertilize eggs similarly selected on the basis of review and validation of a person's contributions during his lifetime. He just doesn't get to brazenly go out and propagate his own genes without assuring himself and everyone else that they're the best possible genes.


See also:
Future Shock - Babytorium (1972)
Instant Baby Machine (1930)

 

Tuesday
Jul242007

Wristwatch of the Future as Crimefighter (1979)

The 1979 book Future Cities: Homes and Living into the 21st Century goes into some detail about how the "risto" may be used in a variety of applications. Aside from instantly voting via your watch the device apparently has crime-fighting capabilities.


Crime in cities could get a knock from the risto. Police would all be equipped with ristos, making equipment in patrol cars unnecessary. Conversations would be "scrambled" so they could not be overheard and in an emergency, police ristos would have priority over other. In the picture above two thieves have just stolen a car - its owner presses the emergency button on his risto to get help quickly. Emergency calls could be free, though computers would add up the price of other ones.


See also:
Ristos (1979)

Tuesday
Jun262007

Seattle World's Fair Official Souvenir Program (1962)


The Seattle World's Fair of 1962 brought us Seattle's most iconic structure, the Space Needle. Also known as the Century 21 Exposition there is much to examine for those interested in the paleo-future. The image above is the cover to the Official Souvenir Program. We'll be taking a peak inside over the next few weeks. An excerpt from the introduction to the program appears below.

The World of Century 21 awaits in the Washington State Coliseum, at the west entrance to the grounds. The building encloses the state's theme show, a dramatic concept of 21st century man's environment presented in a unique cube structure rising above the Coliseum floor. On the floor level are industrial and governmental exhibits, all contributing to the image of the future.

See also:
Century 21: Space Needle Designs (1962)
To The Fair! (1965)
Expo '92
Walt Disney Explaining the Carousel of Progress to General Electric (1964)
All's Fair at the Fair (1938)