Showing posts with label movies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label movies. Show all posts

Friday, November 21, 2008

Moving Pictures to Show Schoolboys of 1995 Our Time (1920)

The March 18, 1920 Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA) declared that movies would help future generations better understand the past. This piece has striking similarities to 1920's predictions of movies replacing textbooks. The piece is also interesting to read side-by-side with "Big Laughs Coming" from the Modesto Evening News in 1922.
Every moving picture is a contribution, for the benefit of posterity, to the history of our time, its manners, its customs, its thoughts, its virtues and its follies.

To the schoolboy of the year 1995 history will not merely be something to be memorized out of books. It will be visualized and made real for him by the moving pictures that are being made now. The people of our time will not be mere history book ghosts to this boy but living creatures who smile at him and walk and play and love and hate and work and eat.

If only we had today moving pictures of the times of Washington and Lincoln! Imagine a Fourth of July celebration with moving pictures of the signing of the Declaration!

The historical value of moving picture plays will be as great as that of movies of current events. The 1920 photoplay exhibited in the year 1995 will serve as an exposition of the social life and manners of this period.

And, despite its faults, the present generation will make a fairly good showing when it appears in the movies before posterity in 1995 and thereabouts. The schoolboys of that time may laugh at some of the ways of their ancestors, but, in the main, they will agree that they were a pretty good sort at that.

Read more:
Movies Will Replace Texbooks (1922)
Thinks We'll Do Our Reading On Screen (1923)
Movie Theater of the Future (1930)
Movies to be Produced in Every Home (1925)
Big Laughs Coming (1922)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Movies to be Produced in Every Home (1925)

The September 5, 1925 Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV) ran an article titled, "Expect Movies to be Produced in Every Home," in which Cecil B. DeMille predicts not only home movies of the future, but the rise of the amateur filmmaker as a force in the film industry.

Alongside D.W. Griffith's 1923 prediction of future private movie libraries, it is quite astounding how forward-thinking the film industry was in the 1920s.
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 4 - Even as father now slices the beef roast and Sister Mary plays the piano, so may motion pictures in the future be produced in every American home.

This is the belief of several leading American producers.

"It is not at all beyond the range of possibility, and to me it seems probable, that within the next 20 years some householder with absolutely no studio training will produce a screen masterpiece, with no stage except that of his own parlor, dining room or bedroom." Cecille DeMille, the Los Angeles producer, declared today in an exclusive interview.

Explains His Theory

In explanation of his theory, DeMille said:

"Slow film and slow camera lenses requiring a great quantity of light have been the sole reason until now that especially equipped studios have had a monopoly on the making of photoplays.

"Very elaborate and expensive electrical equipment has in the past always been necessary to produce a great flood of light. Lenses and aim have not been developed to a point where they can pick up a moving figures in ordinary light and still give the sense of depth necessary is good photography.

"That time is rapidly passing. Every day better lenses are being developed and every day some new chemical is found which increases the speed of our film.

"It will not be long until anyone will be able to make motion pictures in no more than ordinary indoor daylight. And when that time comes we will find cameramen utilizing daylight to give far better results than at present. For such limited light will do away altogether with sharp lines and shadows, which often mar pictures taken in too dazzling an illumination.

Use to Be Widespread

"With the necessity of powerful lighting done away with, motion pictures can then be taken in every American home and the motion picture camera used in just the same fashion as kodaks are today.

"So one sees that as a prairie woman in Nebraska may produce the greatest novel of the year or a man in the mountain wilds of Montana compose the best musical composition of a decade, so may an ordinary householder produce a motion picture far superior to all others."

See also:
Movie Theater of the Future (1930)
Thinks We'll Do Our Reading On Screen (1923)
Robots vs. Musicians (1931)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Desk Set (1957)


The 1957 movie Desk Set, starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, explores fears of automation and computerization. When Tracy's character, Richard Sumner, introduces an "electronic brain" into the workplace it sets off a chaotic chain of events. Katharine Hepburn plays Bunny Watson, the head of a research department for a fictional television network and reluctant warrior in this battle of woman versus machine.

A short clip from the film appears below.




See also:
How Experts Think We'll Live in 2000 A.D. (1950)

Monday, February 25, 2008

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, February 7, 2008

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)

Monday, January 28, 2008

How Experts Think We'll Live in 2000 A.D. (1950)


The December 27, 1950 Robesonian (Lumberton, NC) ran an Associated Press article titled, "How Experts Think We'll Live in 2000 A.D." The article covered the future of movies, commercial flight, space travel, medicine and women, among many other topics. Can you believe that by the year 2000 a woman may be president of the United States? Apparently not.

Some highlighted predictions of the piece appear below. A transcribed version of the article in its entirety can be found on my other blog, Older Than Me.

- Third dimensional color television will be so commonplace and so simplified at the dawn of the 21st century that a small device will project pictures on the living room wall so realistic they will seem to be alive. The room will automatically be filled with the aroma of the flower garden being shown on the screen.

- The woman of the year 2000 will be an outsize Diana, anthropologists and beauty experts predict. She will be more than six feet tall, wear a size 11 shoe, have shoulders like a wrestler and muscles like a truck driver. She will go in for all kinds of sports – probably will compete with men athletes in football, baseball, prizefighting and wrestling.

- Wireless transmission of electric power, long a dream of the engineer, will have come into being. There will be no more power lines to break in storms. A simple small antenna on the roof will pick up the current for lighting a house.

- The Third World War - barring such a miracle as has never yet occurred in relations between countries so greatly at odds - will grow out of Russia's exactly opposite attempts to unify the world by force.

- The telephone will be transformed from wire to radio and will be equipped with the visuality of television. Who’s on the other end of the line will seldom be a mystery. Evey pedestrian will have his own walking telephone – an apparatus by a combination of the X-ray and television. Electronic appendectomies will be performed with an X-ray-TV camera, projection screen and electric “knives” – the latter actually being electrodes functioning without puncturing the skin.

- In 2000 we shall be able to fly around the world in a day. We shall be neighbors of everyone else on earth, to whom we wish to be neighborly.

- The nation's industrial and agricultural plant will be able to support 300 million persons 50 years from now - twice the present population. Land now unproductive will be made to yield. Science will steadily increase crop production per acre. Technological, industrial and economic advances will give the American people living standards eight times as high as now.

- Public health will improve, especially the knowledge of how air carries infections, like the common cold, from person to person. Before 2000, the air probably will be made as safe from disease-spreading as water and food were during the first half of this century.

- Space platforms, sent out from earth, will end mid-century’s “iron curtain” era by bringing the entire globe under constant surveillance.

- Combination automobile-planes will have been perfected.

- People will live in houses so automatic that push-buttons will be replaced by fingertip and even voice controls. Some people today can push a button to close a window – another to start coffee in the kitchen. Tomorrow such chores will be done by the warmth of your fingertip, as elevators are summoned now in some of the newest office buildings – or by a mere whisper in the intercom phone.

- Radio broadcasting will have disappeared, for no one will tune in a program that cannot be seen. Radio will long since have reverted to a strictly communications medium, using devices now unheard of and unthought of.

- Some movie theaters of A.D. 2000 may be dome-shaped, with ceiling and walls arching together like the sky. These surfaces would be the “screen.” Most action would still be in front of you, as now. But some could be overhead, some at the sides, and some even on the wall behind. A little girl steps into a street in the action before you – and you turn around and look behind you to see if an auto is coming.

- Through the extended use of better plants and animals, improved fertilizers, new growth regulators and more efficient machinery, it should be possible, leaders say, for farmers to produce future crop needs on much less land than today.

- Some see us drifting toward the all-powerful state, lulled by the sweet sound of “security.” Some see a need to curb our freedom lest it be used to shield those who plot against us. And some fear our freedom will be hard to save if a general war should come.

- So tell your children not to be surprised if the year 2000 finds 35 or even a 20-hour work week fixed by law.

The piece was written by the following specialists of The Associated Press: J.M. Roberts, Jr., foreign affairs; Howard W. Blakeslee, science; Sam Dawson, economics; Dorothy Roe, women; Alexander George, population; James J. Strebig, aviation; David G. Bareuther, construction; C.E. Butterfield, television; Gene Handsaker, movies; Ovid A. Martin, agriculture; Ed Creagh, politics; Norman Walker, labor; David Taylor Marke, education.

See also:
After the War (1944)
Will War Drive Civilization Underground? (1942)
Taller Women by Year 2000 (1949)
Tomorrow's TV-Phone (1956)
Disney's Magic Highway, U.S.A. (1958)
The Future is Now (1955)
Closer Than We Think: Headphone TV (1960)
Transportation in 2000 A.D. (1966)
I want an oil-cream cone! (1954)
The Complete Book of Space Travel (1956)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

"Just Imagine" Pictures Life and Love 50 Years From Today (1930)

The September 14, 1930 Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, NY) ran a piece about the people of 1980 who may stumble upon the 1930 film Just Imagine. At the time this article was published the film had not yet been released. The entire article appears below.
Hollywood, Sept. 13. - New Yorkers of 50 years hence may draw down from the dusty shelves where forgotten movies rest a quaint roll of celluloid dated 1930 and labeled "Just Imagine," and gather en masse to ascertain what prophetic powers, if any, were possessed by a certain trio of gay song-showmen of our day, the Messrs, DeSylva, Brown and Henderson.

Should this transpire, that future audience will see a screen musical comedy conception, by 1930 prophets, of what their life, customs and dress would be.

Just how good a picture "Just Imagine" will be remains to be seen, but at present it stands out as the most unusual movie idea in Hollywood, one that has not been done before, and that is saying much.

Two or three pictures, true, have looked into the future for their settings, but none on so large a scale as this. "Just Imagine" is laid in New York in 1980.

Secrecy has surrounded work on the picture, and sets built to scale in a vast hangar miles from Hollywood were used to depict "a metropolis where traffic proceeds on many levels, where boats dock at the feet of 230-story skyscrapers, and aerial traffic has supplanted the automobile.

Science has achieved the miracle of reviving a Brooklynite (El Brendel) struck by lightning in 1930. Television long since has ceased to be a novelty, and people have numbers instead of names.

There is a marriage tribunal which confers a desired maiden on the most worthy of her suitors, and this supplies the plot.

The hero (John Garrick), an ocean air-liner pilot, loves Maureen O'Sullivan, but a newspaper publisher (Kenneth Thomson), wins the tribunal's approval.

Garrick, appealing his case, has four months in which to prove his superiority to Thomson - but what can he do? The act that made Lindbergh an international hero in 1927 is just a routine job to him.

Then a scientist offers him opportunity to be the first to fly to Mar, to become the Lindbergh of 1980. Of [unreadable] hectic adventures on the strange planet, to which he is accompanied by Frank Albertson (his friend) and Brendel, the stowaway.

"Just Imagine," say its authors, is not intended, of course, as serious prophecy, but as entertainment.

See also:
Just Imagine (1930)
Instant Baby Machine (1930)
Movie Trends of the 21st Century (1982)

Friday, July 6, 2007

Just Imagine (1930)

The 1930 film Just Imagine depicts the futuristic world of 1980. With flying cars, food pills, and a totalitarian government the world is orderly but not much fun.

This scene depicts the meal of the future. The prohibition reference is particularly funny.



Many thanks to Amy Macnamara for this paleo-futuristic classic that hasn't yet been released on VHS or DVD.

See also:
That Synthetic Food of the Future (Ogden Standard-Examiner, 1926)
Food of the Future (Indiana Progress, 1896)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

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)

Monday, June 11, 2007

In a Cashless Future, Robots Will Cook (1996)

The January 24, 1996 New York Times ran an article titled, "In A Cashless Future, Robots Will Cook." An excerpt appears below. You can read the entire article here.

It's a typical day in the year 2006. After a hectic afternoon of negotiating contracts with business partners in Hong Kong, London, Moscow and the Bronx, you step from your office and into your kitchen. What's for lunch? You press a hand on your personal diagnostic machine, and quicker then you can say Michael Jackson does Sinatra, the unit checks your blood pressure, cholesterol and weight-fat ratio and reads out your nutritional requirements. Up pops suggested menus.

Kitchen robots quietly go to work moving ingredients from a "smart" refrigerator that is built into a microwave oven. A minute later, out rolls a garden salad with dill dressing and an open-face pork-roast sandwich on wheat -- no crust. After lunch, you return to your home office to finish some business in South Africa. If you're done early, maybe you can squeeze in a movie: "Gone With the Wind" you reconfigured with Bruce Willis as Rhett Butler.

For much of human history, talk of the future was relegated to the musings of self-described prophets, astrologers, dreamers and fools. But as the world lurches toward the 21st century, futurism is being taken more seriously by more people. Experts of all stripes are studying the patterns of the past and present, trying to project tomorrow. Forecasts of what might be spill out of corporate boardrooms, government offices, magazine stands, talk shows and bookstores like a bubbly brew.

See also:
1999 A.D. (1967)
Call a Serviceman (Chicago Tribune, 1959)
Something must be wrong with its radar eye! (Chicago Tribune, 1959)
The Electronic Brain Made Beef Stew (1959)
Monsanto House of the Future (1957-1967)

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

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.)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Syd Mead

As a robot designer for Short Circuit, concept artist for Tron, a production illustrator for the first Star Trek movie and a "visual futurist" for Blade Runner, Syd Mead has contributed to the paleo-future through some amazing movies.

Flickrtarian Michael Heilemann recently posted a set of Syd Mead concept art. Be sure to check out the Paleo-Future Flickr group started by trixiebedlam.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Men in Black Hate iTunes

Agent Kay: "This is a fascinating little gadget. These are going to replace CDs soon. I guess I'll have to buy the White Album again."

It's funny to think that a movie like Men in Black, produced just ten years ago, could not forsee the very rapid changes the music industry was about to go through. The CD was not eclipsed by something smaller, but rather something virtually invisible; digital files traversing the internet. It makes you wonder what the media landscape could look like in just another ten years. (Or fewer, if technology continues to progress exponentially.)

If iTunes goes DRM-free, like eMusic I certainly have no reason to ever buy a CD again.