Gimme The Future
November 11, 2019 9:27 AM   Subscribe

In 1967, Philco-Ford Corporation produced 1999 A.D., a film about what life would be like in the future. Here's another educational film from 1967, about how computers might be used in the home.
posted by mattdidthat (45 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have posted this comment at least once or twice in other threads and it still seems relevant:
"From a tweet on my timeline: Unless you're over 60, you weren't promised flying cars. You were promised an oppressive cyberpunk dystopia. Here you go."
posted by Fizz at 9:35 AM on November 11 [18 favorites]


but will there be PUSH BUTTON PHONING
posted by Countess Elena at 9:41 AM on November 11 [4 favorites]


The size of the TV screen seems about right.
posted by Liquidwolf at 9:46 AM on November 11


Reassuring to know that perfect toothy hansome Wink Martindale will be ensuring genetic purity... IN THE YEAR 20001999!
posted by zaixfeep at 9:46 AM on November 11 [3 favorites]


Unless you're over 60, you weren't promised flying cars. You were promised an oppressive cyberpunk dystopia.

If you are over 60 your parents lied to you about the flying cars and embittered, you produced those visions of a future that was more likely, an oppressive cyberpunk future.
posted by Zedcaster at 9:49 AM on November 11 [2 favorites]


I get the feeling that a lot of young people back in '67 took these visions of the future pretty seriously, I mean that's what I assume led to the boom in chiropractors in the 90's. (That furniture, ouch! It hurts my back just thinking of sitting on it. And for that second video, how about putting the view-screens at eye level instead of making it like you're sitting in the front row of a movie theater?)

Reassuring to know that perfect toothy hansome Wink Martindale will be ensuring genetic purity... IN THE YEAR 20001999!

I gotta give whoever cast that first one credit, both Wink and Marj Dusay, the wife, were regulars on TV for the next 40 years and this was near being the first gig for each of them.
posted by gusottertrout at 10:09 AM on November 11


It is odd to note that Philco reckoned in 1967 that the first moon landing would be in 1999. Good lord, guys, the Apollo program was already underway when you made this.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:22 AM on November 11 [9 favorites]


I gotta give whoever cast that first one credit, both Wink and Marj Dusay, the wife, were regulars on TV for the next 40 years and this was near being the first gig for each of them.

If like me you are having trouble placing Marj Dusay (and like me, you have seen more Star Trek than is good for you), picture her saying “Brain and brain! What is brain?”
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:30 AM on November 11 [6 favorites]


Unless you're over 60, you weren't promised flying cars. You were promised an oppressive cyberpunk dystopia.


I'm 55 and the cyberpunk stuff didn't really come out until I was an adult but I was promised a global ecological collapse and we're doing pretty well at fulfilling that.
posted by octothorpe at 10:41 AM on November 11 [10 favorites]



I'm 55 and the cyberpunk stuff didn't really come out until I was an adult but I was promised a global ecological collapse and we're doing pretty well at fulfilling that.



Mad Max and Blade Runner have been our dystopian future options for the past 40 years and I think it's really affected us, almost as if we subconsciously create these visions we're ingrained with.
We need new brighter and more inspiring options to work toward.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:59 AM on November 11 [8 favorites]


It's hard to imagine a modern corporation like Facebook (oops, sorry... FACEBOOK) doing one of these and it not feeling more like Triumph of the Will.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:06 AM on November 11


I was thinking more Soylent Green and Silent Running.
posted by octothorpe at 11:13 AM on November 11


Look, I know you guys all want the future promised by Ford and Philco in 1969, but seriously, I just want to go back to the incredible mod, beat-inflected world of highly-decorated refrigerators in MATCH YOUR MOOD with Westinghouse (Jam Handy, 1968).
posted by eschatfische at 12:15 PM on November 11 [8 favorites]


We need new brighter and more inspiring options to work toward.
I mean there's a chance, a generation or two down the line, that we end up living the vision of a mostly happy, quasi-agrarian magic-using society under a benevolent sun-goddess monarch. That's pretty bright.
posted by Wolfdog at 12:22 PM on November 11 [3 favorites]


In the Unintended References column, we can add that from roughly 2:00 to 3:00, what with the overhead shot of a beach, the eerie music, the cliffs to our left and the surf to our right, viewers from roughly 1968 onward really cannot avoid seeing a despondent Charlton Heston on his knees in the sand, damning us all to hell.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:24 PM on November 11 [6 favorites]


I just want to go back to the incredible mod, beat-inflected world of highly-decorated refrigerators

Unfortunately, eschatfische, you dosed a little too hard and now you're headed to IHOP.
posted by JoeZydeco at 1:01 PM on November 11 [2 favorites]


I was thinking more Soylent Green and Silent Running.



You know- Carousel might not be the worst idea right now...
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:14 PM on November 11 [5 favorites]


For those who slept or doodled in engineering class here's the core tech that drives theses modern marvels: the Turbo Encabulator!
posted by sammyo at 1:29 PM on November 11 [7 favorites]


I love this kind of thing. That second video seems quite prescient with the online shopping and video calling. What all these things miss, even when they realised we would network our computers together, and even if they realised it could be done with handheld devices, is the huge change brought about the idea that anyone can publish. Things like Twitter and YouTube and Instagram, and the idea of things going viral. The idea that some random person could publish something and then other random people could amplify it until it got nearly everyone's attention. Thats the big paradigm shift, and we're still coming to terms with what it means and what can be good about it and how it can also be weaponised against us.
posted by memebake at 1:47 PM on November 11 [6 favorites]


Dangit. This 1999 film has showed up on MeFi three times now, but I still haven't figured out who the singer is nor a recording of the song near the end.
posted by onehalfjunco at 1:56 PM on November 11


hey sammyo, I bet they don't use splay-flexed brace columns...
posted by bartleby at 2:05 PM on November 11 [1 favorite]


I was promised a global ecological collapse

They told me nuclear war.
posted by Segundus at 2:12 PM on November 11 [2 favorites]


When you're done on the computer*, why not go for a drive into a great big beautiful tomorrow?
Or take the family trip in your turbine-engine car, on automated highspeed safety highway in far-off 1976?

[*ok, boomer]
posted by bartleby at 2:14 PM on November 11 [4 favorites]


"From a tweet on my timeline: Unless you're over 60, you weren't promised flying cars. You were promised an oppressive cyberpunk dystopia. Here you go."

Different segments of the SF audience were promised different things at different times. The Jetsons were early-sixties, but had a mid-eighties revival. Soylent Green was based on Harry Harrison's Make Room! Make Room!, which was published in 1966, the same year that Star Trek premiered with its ultimately optimistic future (although with occasional mentions of the Eugenics Wars and World War III yet to come, in the much less distant future). Blade Runner and The Fifth Element had flying cars in their dystopias.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:22 PM on November 11 [2 favorites]


What I found interesting is that even with all that whiz-bang technology they couldn't imagine adult women actually working outside the home, paying their own bills, etc...
posted by elmay at 2:38 PM on November 11 [1 favorite]


Let's not forget to look at how music might sound in the Year 2000.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:41 PM on November 11 [1 favorite]


Predicting the future is a sweet gig. No matter how wrong you are you’ll be dead before it happens. That is until we figure out how to extend human lifespan.
posted by tommasz at 2:44 PM on November 11


Sooooo much casual sexism and racism.
posted by signal at 2:48 PM on November 11 [1 favorite]


That is until we figure out how to extend human lifespan.

Which I predict will happen some time in the next 100 years.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:48 PM on November 11 [1 favorite]


I was thinking more Soylent Green and Silent Running.

Don't forget A Clockwork Orange and THX-1138.
posted by Rash at 2:50 PM on November 11


Oh, JoeZydeco, you're not fully dosed until somewhere along Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the three shoelaces and a hubcap begin to take hold. [Additional late-60s KFC nonsense: 1, 2, 3.]
posted by eschatfische at 3:39 PM on November 11 [1 favorite]


Is that the beach from Planet of the Apes? Looks like it.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 3:53 PM on November 11


I sometimes ponder websites’ algorithms. IMDb’s “More Like This” lists only two movies: the 1953 noir classic The Big Heat and a 2019 Spooky Child horror film from Ireland called The Hole in the Ground. Sure, let’s go with those.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:06 PM on November 11


I get the feeling that a lot of young people back in '67 took these visions of the future pretty seriously

well, yeah, kind of - i really did see this film in school at the time

although musically it really struck me as pretty square

now - it's like "my philco ford middle class life drove me to a life of self-harm and heroin addiction" - you can just tell that little kid is going to drown in ennui
posted by pyramid termite at 5:15 PM on November 11 [1 favorite]


It IS the Planet of the Apes beach!
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 6:52 PM on November 11 [5 favorites]


...Carousel might not be the worst idea right now...

Now is an excellent idea. As befitting a Great Leader, the Donald – who could use a little Renewal, frankly – may ascend first as we cheer him on.
posted by cenoxo at 7:02 PM on November 11


Well, they got one thing exactly right - living in 1999 sure was creepy as all get-out. I can vouch for that one personally.

Also, they one million percent nailed the DeLorean from Back to the Future a full 18 years before the film was made, so be sure to give them full credit for that.
posted by flug at 7:38 PM on November 11


Let's go back a bit further for a vision of the future from 1899:
What will the future look like? That's what French artists tried to depict in a series of futuristic postcards presented at the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris. The vision of Jean-Marc Cote and other artists, at least 87 different cards were distributed in France from 1899 to 1910 and show everything from flying carriages to men riding seahorses underwater. This is how nineteenth century artists envision France in the year 2000. [gallery of 50 cards]
Rocket belts, meh. Giant catamaran dirigibles with shipshape, tumblehome-bow gondolas, oui!
posted by cenoxo at 7:46 PM on November 11 [2 favorites]


The six-wheeled gull-winged creation flug points out is the Ford Seattle-Ite XXI Concept Car of 1962 from when Ford stylists were encouraged to consider the possibilities of fuel cells or a compact nuclear device as motive power.
posted by channaher at 7:49 PM on November 11


Planet of the Apes, Back to the Future, and then on top of that--the blue milk from Star Wars--right there for just anyone to see.

They may more may not have predicted the actual future accurately, but surely they have the future of movies about the future down cold.
posted by flug at 7:53 PM on November 11 [1 favorite]


> the Ford Seattle-Ite XXI Concept Car of 1962 from when Ford stylists were encouraged to consider the possibilities of fuel cells or a compact nuclear device as motive power.

Hmm . . . if only they'd thought of showing one of those Seattle-ITE XXI Concept Cars strapped to the business end of Project Orion booster and launched into space, they could have predicted Elon Musk from 50 years in the past.

For added verisimilitude, they could have made the Nuclear Concept Car Space Shot some kind of marketing ploy to promote to Dad's wild-ass scheme for accelerating the colonization of Mars.

That would have been quite an amazingly precise prediction of the future and they were so, so close . . .
posted by flug at 9:01 PM on November 11


Hark, is that the sound of someone awkwardly dragging Elon Musk into this thread?

If we're doing that, then I'll point out that he is doing his best to give us rocket cars.

and the first FH launch was not a marketing ploy and SpaceX are doing things no-one else is close to achieving.
And as we're talking about the future its worth mentioning that Elon Musk's stated purpose is "to do useful things, maximize the probability that the future is good, and make the future exciting".
I would like the future to be exciting again.

posted by memebake at 4:25 AM on November 12


I always end up trying to puzzle out how they think the controls worked. Sometimes it makes more sense than others.

That second video, feels like they were thinking about that aspect more. She types in a search for what item she's buying, and then selects sub-categories. The 1999 video has some odd ones, like when the kid is doing a multiple-choice quiz, the controls have multiple x/y buttons, as though you have to use a different pair for each question? As far as I can tell, the paperwork view screen requires you punch in a unique code on some unlabeled buttons, so you have to memorize the code for each file you have in storage?
posted by RobotHero at 6:12 AM on November 12


the controls have multiple x/y buttons

Yeah, that got me too. OK, they're two-answer multiple choice quizzes, he needs only two buttons, sure, but why does he need 10 copies of each of them?
posted by jackbishop at 8:25 AM on November 12


So he can answer up to 10 questions, of course.
posted by RobotHero at 8:44 AM on November 12


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