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Entries in entertainment (6)

Friday
Jan082010

Opening in Theaters 2019 (1986)

Chapter 8 of Arthur C. Clarke's 1986 book July 20, 2019: Life in the 21st Century describes what the year 2019 holds for popular media such as TV, music and movies.

Some predictions, like a mass medium that plugs directly into the human brain, may not be a reality by 2019 (Clarke writes about demand for this with a lot of references to LSD) but he was certainly on the right track with HDTV and 3D movie technology.

Below is a hypothetical listing from the San Francisco Chronicle of Saturday, July 20, 2019. I suppose in 1986 it was inconceivable that several major American newspapers might not even exist in 2019.

 

THIS WEEKEND IN ENTERTAINMENT

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Opening at Movie Theaters

Still Gone with the Wind. The sequel picks up several years after where the 80-year-old original left off, with Rhett and Scarlett reuniting in their middle age, in 1880. Features the original cast (Clark Gable, Olivia de Havilland, and Vivien Leigh) and studio sets resurrected by computer graphic synthesis. Still Gone sets out to prove that they do make 'em like they used to (Selznick Theater, 2:00 and 8:00 P.M.)

The Apollo Mystery. Fine ensemble acting in this science fiction account of a murder during one of the Apollo Moon missions of the 1970s. The allure of the film, though, is in its setting; it was actually filmed on the Moon's surface during a commercial expedition last year. Very appropriate considering this weekend's anniversary. High production costs mean increased admission prices for this one, $15, only a dollar or two more than a regular ticket. (Roxie, 1:00, 3:15, 5:30, 8:00, and 10:15 P.M.)

This Is Holorama. One of this summer's gimmick films, Holorama is another of those ultra-realistic holographic movie processes that only scare the kids and leave Mom and Dad with a sick feeling in their stomachs. Like other "thrill films," it's mainly a travelogue, only this time the emphasis is on danger (an extended war sequence shot in the middle of battlefields in the Middle East, Central America, and Africa) and hostile environments. (We go inside an old-fashioned fission reactor during a real nuclear accident!) (Holostage, 2:00, 4:00, 7:30, and 10:00 P.M.)

Music

All-Star Simulated Symphony. Always a treat for lovers of classical music, this duo uses the latest in synthesizers and digital music techniques (and a few robots) to simulate a live performance of the world's greatest orchestra and recreate the sounds of legendary performers. A robotic Rachmaninoff has the piano solos in the highlight of the show. Gershwin's An American in Paris, conducted by an animatronic likeness of the composer. So real, you'd swear the players were alive and in the room. (Wozniak Hall, 8:00 P.M.)

Television

Don't Mess with Me. Tonight mark's ABC's first attempt at a new English-language situation comedy in prime time since the network went to all-Spanish programming a few years ago. A summer replacement, the series brings back one-time child star Gary Coleman (has he ever been away?) who plays the father of two adopted children. Beats reruns, anyway. (7:30 P.M.)

So Who Wants to Work? Jerry Rubin is the resident con man in a San Francisco retirement home where, ever since the collapse of Social Security, the old folks must rely on their wits to stay afloat. Rubin is particularly effective as the elderly baby-boomer wunderkind. In this episode, he convinces an oil company to use his pals in a TV commercial.

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Sunday
Aug172008

RCA's Two Thousand (1969)


Remember when adding "2000" to a product name was shorthand for futuristic, cutting-edge technology?

In 1969 RCA invited the American public to "take a leap into the year 2000" with a new television set called The Two Thousand. Selling a limited edition of 2,000 sets at $2,000 a pop, (about $12,000 in 2008 dollars), The Two Thousand certainly turned heads.

The advertisement above appears in a book about the history of television advertising, Window to the Future. The ad below appeared in the December 18, 1969 Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM).


From the Albuquerque Journal:

In one giant step RCA harnessed the speed and accuracy of the computer to help unveil a new century in color television. It's a limited edition (2,000 sets) with unlimited advancement.

 

First and most obvious, is its 21st century design, its sculptured whiteness curves to a rosewood veneer top. The black translucent doors slide back and disappear into the set, revealing the 23-inch diagonal screen.

And what a picture you'll see on that screen.

It's the new RCA Hi-Lite 70 tube - computer designed and engineered for 100% more brightness than any previous big screen RCA color tube. The Hi-Lite 70 tube gives such a vivid, detailed picture, you can even watch it in a brightly-lit room.

The remote controls of color, tint and volume are computer-designed too. They operate electronically so there are no motors, no noise, and no moving parts to wear out or break down.

Inside The Two Thousand, though, is the biggest news.

RCA eliminated the conventional VHF tuner. In its place are new computer-like "memory" circuits - electronic circuits with memories like tiny computers.

When you press the remote control button, the circuits automatically remember which channels you have programmed. So there's no wandering through empty channels for the station you want. You simply go silently and instantly from one live station to the next.

Press the UHF lever and the signal seeking circuitry takes over. A silent motor sweeps up and down the UHF band, seeking an active channel. When it finds one it stops. There's never any need to fine-tune the pictures. It's done for you electronically.

The Two Thousand represents the pinnacle of achievement in Color TV engineering and performance. Open its doors and embark on a totally new viewing adventure.


Read More:
Television of Tomorrow (1974)
Living Room of the Future (1979)
Motorola Television (1961-1963)
Motorola Television Revisited (1961-1963)

 

Sunday
Feb242008

Movie Theater of the Future (1930)


The August 3, 1930 Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, NY) ran the above article about the movie theater of the future, complete with robot staff.

Titled, "Television Soon Will Flash Talkies Through the Ether; Theater of the Future Will Receive Its Films From Afar," the piece opens by explaining how a single man at a central control booth could beam movies, via television technology, to multiple theaters miles away. The accompanying illustration shows a man opening and activating theaters throughout New York state.

The caption below our robot hosts reads, "Vic Lambdin, Herald staff artist, sketches the Syracuse theater of the future, operated by robots and automations, and [receiving] its talkie programs by television from a distant master station."

The analysis of economic forces behind the move to "talkies" is fascinating. And the feeling that a move to television on the big screen is inevitable is also intriguing given the fact that most people had never even seen a television set in person at that point.

Much the same economic factors that forced the motion picture industry to climb on the talkie band wagon will compel the adoption of television, this may be later . . . but more likely it will be sooner.


See also:
Thinks We'll Do Our Reading On Screen (1923)
Movie Trends of the 21st Century (1982)
How Experts Think We'll Live in 2000 A.D. (1950)
"Just Imagine" Pictures Life and Love 50 Years From Today (1930)
Robots vs. Musicians (1931)

 

Thursday
Feb072008

Home Entertainment of the Future (1981)


This image from the book Tomorrow's Home (World of Tomorrow) by Neil Ardley illustrates the home entertainment system of tomorrow.

This section's most interesting prediction may be that, "the magazines, books, records, tapes and television sets we now have will begin to disappear. But in their place the computer will offer us a greater range of entertainment."

The two page spread's text appears below in its entirety.

Look at this play of the future - a performance of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar by famous actors in your very own living room! Even more amazing, you play the title role yourself. The play has just reached the point where Caesar is killed.

 

All this could come about with developments in holographic video - a system that uses laser beams to produce images that have depth just as in real life. Once perfected, it will produce a show that takes place not on a screen but in real space - even around you. You could walk in and out of the action, and view it from any direction - the ultimate in realism. In this case, the computer that operates the system has been instructed to omit the role of Julius Caesar so as to allow you to take part. Although the images look so real, you could walk through them, so you suffer no harm from your killers' knives.

Such developments may lie far in the future, but there's no doubt that the computer is going to affect home entertainment soon. The magazines, books, records, tapes and television sets we now have will begin to disappear. But in their place the computer will offer us a greater range of entertainment.

The home computer will be linked to a radio dish on your roof. A satellite or radio mast feeds it with many television channels; on the viewscreen of the computer, you can sit and watch the news or sport in several other countries as well as your own. The radio dish or telephone wires also link your home to computer complexes that feed it with all kinds of recorded entertainment - films, television shows you have missed, video magazines and news. Music comes through the computer too, playing whatever you want and whenever with a quality far beyond today's records and tapes. If you want to read something on your own, a portable screen linked to the computer displays any story of your choice.


See also:
Movie Trends of the 21st Century (1982)
Living Room of the Future (1979)
Thinks We'll Do Our Reading on Screen (1923)
Learning in 1999 A.D. (1967)
Tomorrow's TV-Phone (1956)
Closer Than We Think: Headphone TV (1960)

 

Tuesday
Jun262007

Thinks We'll Do Our Reading on Screen (1923)

The second part of the February 12, 1923 article, "Thinking Men and Women Predict Problems of World Century Hence," focuses on motion pictures.

Written by David Wark Griffith (D.W. Griffith) the piece provides some great insight into the hopes and dreams for this new medium. While he has some spot-on predictions, Griffith couldn't have been more wrong about "instantaneous transmission" (i.e. live television) never taking off.

The great publishing industry will be the publishing of motion pictures instead of print.

Motion picture libraries will be as common as private libraries - more so.

Theatres will have the same relation to these libraries as the spoken theatre today has to the printed copies of dramatic works.

By their very scope and area of appeal the films must vastly outrank the stage in importance. The artistic development should be parallel since one will always draw more or less from the other.

Talking pictures will have been perfected and perhaps have been forgotten again. For the world will have become picture trained so that words are not as important as they are now.

All pictures will be in natural [unreadable]. The theatres will have special audiences; that is, there will be specialty theatres.

I do not see the possibility of instantaneous transmission of living action to the screen within 100 years. There must be a medium upon which the dramatic coherence can be worked out, and the perfected result set firmly before the screen will be permitted to occupy the public's attention. In the instantaneous transmission there would be entirely too much waste of the public's time, and that is the important thing - time.

See also:
Movie Trends of the 21st Century (1982)
Thinking Men and Women Predict Problems of World Century Hence (1923)
Pictures Stately Edifices (1923)

Wednesday
May022007

Movie Trends of the 21st Century (1982)

The 1982 book The Omni Future Almanac describes the future of Hollywood.

*Cartoons, westerns, and love stories will still constitute the pre-dominant hits of the twenty-first century.

*Future audiences, unfamiliar with classic films like Citizen Kane, Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, and The Godfather, will see these enduring tales remade with the stars of the future. This will continue a revivalist tradition that has long been in existence in Hollywood and on the Broadway stage.

*Instant classics will be created by increased Hollywood hype and intensive advertising. Aggressive marketing techniques will also be used in the promotion of pay television and home video media.

*Old-time movies - black and white films from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s - will be electronically colored by computer techniques for a generation unfamiliar with the medium of black and white photography.

*Trends at the theater concession stand may come and go, but popcorn will remain America's favorite movie-going snack.

*Movie studios will continue to become electronic entertainment conglomerates. With their vast financial resources, these will be the only organizations capable of funding the giant spectaculars of the future. The trend is already exemplified by Universal, Paramount, MGM and Warner. Smaller experimental movies, on the other hand, will flourish with the availability of video to independent producers.

*Though the techniques and technologies of movies are certain to change, movies will always be called movies.

Citizen Kane, Gone with the Wind, Casablanca and The Godfather may very well be the only movies in history that haven't been remade. I'd be pleased as punch if they kept it that way. (Oh, and if you could halt production on that remake of The Birds, that'd be awesome.)