Retro Views Of The Future


Jetson family, move aside.

Today we have some 
wonderful Arthur Radebaugh
illustrations from 1959 —

about what the futureflapwing
was going to be like
50 years hence.

I admit that I really
love the whole
retro-futurism thing,
for a couple of reasons.

( Having almost nothing
to do with my long-held
hope for a jet-powered
hovering motorcycle )


Sure, the ret-fut art
usually misses the mark —
when it comes to
future prophecy, anyway–atomic

— which certainly makes it
very fun to look at.

And even when they
are so, so, so wrong,
they usually touch a nerve
or two along the way.

Another reason has
got to do with
perspective —



By comparing our world
and the way it really isa1
with the world as it was
projected to become
in the past

gives us a fresh
frame of reference
from which to evaluate
whether we’re on the road
to an automated paradise
or just a high-tech hades.



Big advances in one field of
technology often (usually)
result in changes across
the board in terms of society–

— and this makes creatingcarcolor
good prognosticative

retro-futuristic art
even more difficult.

There’s also the factor
of what I like to call
otiologic invention —

In retro-futurism,
as in real-life,
we see a lot of devices
that would seem to
have no practical purpose —


— ‘advances’ and products
that don’t improve
the functionality,
livability, or usability

of technology, but
are still prevalent.sunray

They in turn change
what society ends
up looking like.

And there are so
many things like that today,
that nobody could have
possibly predicted–

— because they are
just so ridiculous.




Paying 3 dollars
for a bottle of
‘spring’ water –
that, in actuality,
came out of a tap
in Chicago….
for instance.

Those people in the past
woulda thought we were idiots.





11 thoughts on “Retro Views Of The Future

  1. HA! I always believed fancy expensive bottled water DOES come from a tap in the Midwest! 😉 😀

    Coolio fun post, C! 🙂

    I always loved Rosie the Robot! But, I’d like to have a butler named Rocco the Robot! 😉 😛
    HUGS!!! 🙂

  2. ktz2 says:

    I love-love-love this stuff

  3. julespaige says:

    Dang it took me a while to find this link: (1930’s)
    I watched part of a show last night that showed “Beebe and Barton conducted dives in the Bathysphere together, marking the first time that a marine biologist observed deep-sea animals in their native environment.”
    “Beebe and Barton conducted several successful dives during the summer months of 1930, documenting deep-sea animals which had never before been seen in their native habitats.”

    It takes courage to think outside of the ‘box’. Now (well 2014 anyway) there is the more modern ‘Alvin’ submarine. Looks a lot like the ‘Bathysphere’ don’t it!

  4. GP Cox says:

    Great post, Chris – but the title is terrific. Makes you think, like “Back to the Future.”

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