GM’s Futurama and the ’39 World’s Fair

A few years ago I picked up a copy of Organization Space: Landscapes, Highways, and Houses in America – a fascinating read to say the least. This book opened my eyes to the interconnectedness of architecture, infrastructure, and design. Since then Benton MacKaye, Norman Bel Geddes, and GM’s Futurama exhibit at the ’39 (and also ’64) World’s Fair have been topics of particular interest to me. Admittedly, my enthusiasm is driven in no small part by Matt Groening’s animated series Futurama.

While searching YouTube for the latest news on 2008 revival of this show (finally) – I realized that both professionally produced, and home movies of the ’39 World’s Fair were also returned in my searches. I’ve often tried to imagine from written accounts what it must have been like to walk through that fair and see first hand the Futurama exhibit, through the lens of someone living in America at that time. I feel overwhelmingly fortunate to be able to view some of those video artifacts today:

Come, let’s travel into the future. What will we see? …The world of tomorrow!

GM Futurama – 1939 World’s Fair – Part 1

Part II of that clip:
GM Futurama – 1939 World’s Fair – Part 2

Home Movies of the Fair:
1939 WORLD’S FAIR NEW YORK CITY
The 1939-40 New York World’s Fair
1939 NY World’s Fair – Industrial – This last clip – of of what appears to be the industrial exhibit – is filled with conveniences of the future. I love the shots of the kitchen.

Also note how beautiful and enormous the typography is on the buildings. Definitely a different time.

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