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Entries in jetsons (10)

Monday
Nov122007

Meet George Jetson (Wall Street Journal, 2007)

Jason Fry has a very interesting piece in today's Wall Street Journal about those who long for the Jetsons' version of the future. The November 15, 2007 issue of Rolling Stone also has an article about paleo-futurism, although I haven't read that one yet.

An excerpt from the Wall Street Journal piece appears below but just to clarify, there were only 24 episodes of the original 1960s version of the Jetsons. New episodes were produced in the 1980s.

I doubt the creators of "The Jetsons" ever imagined how they'd influence kids growing up in the 1970s. The last episode of the original "Jetsons" aired in the spring of 1963, but its real heyday came in syndication, with the show playing on what seemed like continuous loop in the late 1970s. Amazingly, there were only 24 "Jetsons" episodes --- it's a bit frightening to imagine how many times I must have seen each one.

And I'm not alone. Rolling Stone just released another anniversary issue, this one interviewing 25 big names about the future of the music industry, global warming, politics and the like. Turns out a fair number of Rolling Stone's famous interviewees spent their childhoods the same way I did: watching George and Jane and Judy and Elroy.

Kanye West and Bruce Springsteen would like their flying cars already. The future was "The Jetsons," George Clooney recalls -- it "meant getting into a silver costume with a ring around your neck and riding around in floating cars. It was antiseptic and perfect." Chris Rock also grew up expecting airborne cars and moving sidewalks. Mr. Clooney finds it "funny that none of it really came around," but Mr. Rock notes that flying cars aside, "The Jetsons pretty much came true. My kid even has a mechanical dog that does flips." (Who's right? I'll get to that.)


See also:
Paleo-Future in the Wall Street Journal

Friday
Oct052007

Space Age Lunch Boxes (1950s and 60s)

The Smithsonian has an online exhibit which includes these lunch boxes from the late 1950s and early 1960s. The satellite lunch box from 1958 shows a torodial space station, which is featured prominently in the short film Challenge of Outer Space. Excerpts from the Smithsonian website appear below each picture.

Satellite Lunch Box (1958)

The Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellite in late 1957 sparked interest in the United States in science education even among elementary school children. In 1958, King Seeley Thermos produced this imaginative box evoking space travel and landings on distant moons and planets. Children provided a receptive audience to this imaginary yet hopeful view of scientific achievement in the early years of the space race. This is one of the few pop culture lunch boxes from the late 1950s not designed around a television show.

Jetsons Lunch Box (1963)
Aladdin Industries profited from the success of The Jetsons television cartoon series in the fall of 1963 by introducing a domed lunch box featuring that space-traveling suburban family and their robotic maid. American notions of family life in the 1960s traveled effortlessly outward to interplanetary space on this fanciful box.

Domed metal lunch boxes traditionally were carried by factory employees and construction workers, but Aladdin and other makers found the curved shape made an excellent young person's landscape, ocean scene, or starry sky. Despite the more earth-bound adult concerns of the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 and the Kennedy assassination, The Jetsons box and bottle showcase the metal lunch box at the zenith of its design life and its popularity among school children.


(Found in yesterday's USA Today)

See also:
Challenge of Outer Space (circa 1950s)
The Complete Book of Space Travel (1956)
Mars and Beyond (1957)
Man and the Moon (1955)

Monday
Sep242007

Pop Culture and the Space Age


Today's New York Times has a very interesting piece about the effect of the Space Age on popular culture.

An effect was much more than simply a spillover from the silvery streamlining of the space program. It was an increasing preoccupation with the future and technology that helped change not only the country’s look in the 1950s and ’60s, but also, in some ways, its very conception of itself, as if seen anew from space.

 

The architect Buckminster Fuller, one of the space age’s most ardent proselytizers, put it much more coherently in his book “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth”: “We are all astronauts.”


See also:
Outer Space Furniture (1964)
Sincerity and the Paleo-Future
Is Futurism Dead? (New York Times, 1982)

 

Wednesday
Sep052007

That 60's Food of the Future

The May 4, 2003 New York Times Magazine ran an interesting piece by Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma. An excerpt appears below. The piece can be read in its entirety at Michael Pollan's own site.

When I was a kid growing up in the early 60's, anybody could have told you exactly what the future of food was going to look like. We'd seen "The Jetsons," toured the 1964 World's Fair, tasted the culinary fruits (or at least fruit flavors) of the space program, and all signs pointed to a single outcome: the meal in a pill, washed down, perhaps, with next-generation Tang.

The general consensus seemed to be that "food"—a word that was already beginning to sound old-fashioned—was destined to break its surly bonds to Nature, float free of agriculture and hitch its future to Technology. If not literally served in a pill, the meal of the future would be fabricated "in the laboratory out of a wide variety of materials," as one contemporary food historian predicted, including not only algae and soybeans but also petrochemicals. Protein would be extracted directly from fuel oil and then "spun and woven into 'animal' muscle—long wrist-thick tubes of 'fillet steak.' "

See also:
Just Imagine (1930)
That Synthetic Food of the Future (Ogden Standard-Examiner, 1926)
Food of the Future (Indiana Progress, 1896)
Delicious Waste Liquids of the Future (1982)
1999 A.D. (1967)
Frigidaire Kitchen of the Future (1957)
The Jetsons "A Date With Jet Screamer" (1962)

Wednesday
Jul252007

The Air Ship: A Musical Farce Comedy (1898)


The 1960's TV show The Jetsons taught an entire generation what to expect of the future. Using comedy to create fanciful expectations of the future is not an idea exclusive to the twentieth century. The posters above advertise The Air Ship: A Musical Farce Comedy from 1898.

Below is an article which appeared in the January 18, 1899 Fort Wayne News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) along with illustrations from a January 16, 1899 Fort Wayne Gazette article.


"The Air Ship," a new and original spectacular musical farce comedy, written by J.M. Gaites, possesses some novel and realistic scenic features, and it will probably draw a big audience at the Masonic Temple ton-night. One of the most realistic stage scenes ever presented will be the flight of a real air ship with fifteen passengers on a Klondike expedition, and a view of Dawson City in winter. While the author does not claim a plot, "The Air Ship" has a central idea or theme, with which it is infested by amusing dialogue, new songs, dances and specialties. Careful attention will be given to staging "The Air Ship," and the company of artists engaged will give a lively presentation of the farce. The principal members are Marie Stuart, the clever vaudeville artiste; Lattie Burke, Marlaud Tyson, Raymond Finley, Ben Welsh, James T. Kelly, Max Millian and Shields, and Nana Bancom. The management of the company announce that the scenic features and the performance of the piece will be both new, novel and worthy of cordial support.

There are many places online to buy posters like those shown below but I would recommend downloading the Library of Congress files here and here and bringing them to your favorite photo-printing establishment that can handle poster-sized prints.



See also:
Going to the Opera in the Year 2000 (1882)
Futuristic Air Travel (circa 1900)
Postcards Show the Year 2000 (circa 1900)
What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years (Ladies Home Journal, 1900)

Monday
Jul162007

The Jetsons Car We've Been Waiting For?

Over at Moller International they take the idea of a flying car very seriously.

Moller's June 28, 2007 press release announced the start of production for their, "Jetsons-like M200G volantor, a small airborne two passenger saucer-shaped vehicle that is designed to take-off and land vertically." Further excerpts from the press release appear below along with video of what appears to be an earlier prototype.

CEO Paul Moller calls the M200G, “the ultimate off-road vehicle,” able to travel over any surface.

“It’s not a hovercraft, although its operation is just as easy,” he says. “You can speed over rocks, swampland, fences or log-infested waterways with ease because you’re not limited by the surface. The electronics keep the craft stabilized at no more than 10 feet altitude, which places the craft within ground effect where extra lift is obtained from operating near the ground. This lets you glide over terrain at 50 mph that would stop most other vehicles.”

While the company does not foresee the requirement for significant training or licensing to operate the vehicle, it is prepared to offer demonstration sessions in Davis, Calif., once the vehicle is ready for market.

See also:
In 50 Years: Cars Flying Like Missiles! (Chicago Daily Tribune, 1959)
Where's My Jetpack? (2007)
Automobiles Without Wheels (1958)
Flying Car Patent (1991)

Tuesday
May222007

The Jetsons Intro (Family Guy style)

Family Guy produced a spot-on parody of the Jetsons that you can view here.

See also:
The Jetsons "A Date with Jet Screamer" (1962)
Jetsons