This is a video I've wanted to edit for more than 20 years. Really. For even longer than that, I've had a love affair with retro-futurism. Things to Come. Metropolis. Streamlined moderne architecture. Teardrop-shaped cars... For as long as I can remember, I've been entranced by the wind tunnel efficiency and earnest optimism of yesterday's tomorrows. William Gibson's "The Gernsback Continuum" reminded me also of the totalitarian underside to these fantasies, particularly those arising from the Great Depression. But I am drawn to their plucky can-do spirit all the same. So when I found myself in the middle of this semester's crush of projects, feeling a bit overwhelmed by the minutia of these days' obligations, I dug up hours of source material and cut this video. The song is by Donald Fagen. The scenes range from 1927 to 1968, the year I was born. The future, of course, is where it has always been: Just beyond today's fears.
American Telephone and Telegraph (1961) Seeing the Digital Future
David Butler [Dir.] (1930) Just Imagine
Fritz Lang [Dir.] (1927) Metropolis
General Motors (1940) To New Horizons
General Motors (1956) Design for Dreaming
General Motors (1956) Keys to the Future
Peter Bogdanovich [Dir.] (1968) Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women
Philco-Ford Corporation (1967) Year 1999 A.D.
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color (1956) Man and the Moon
Westinghouse Electric Company (1939) The Middleton Family at the New York World's Fair
William Cameron Menzies [Dir.] (1936) Things to Come