We kicked off 2010 with a collection of speculative visions of tomorrow. (In honor of this occasion I hosted the show dressed up as late-career Orson Welles, when he hosted the sensationalist Nostradamus documentary.)
We screened clips from a few futuristic favorites (including THE APPLE, FUTUREWORLD and BUCK ROGERS), then Jay Stern presented an edited-down video of JUST IMAGINE, a 1930 talkie that shows us what life would be like in 1980. (The film featured a lot of prohabition jokes.)
Daily Show writer Elliott Kalan shared a photo-essay on the 1939 World’s Fair. Elliott featured surprising details and photos of the world’s largest cash register — but he also got at the heart of the World’s Fair’s sorrow.
Continuing with the 1930’s promise of tomorrow, M. Sweeney Lawless gave us the ultimate profile of ELEKTRO the Moto-Man. Elektro was the star-attraction of the ’39 Fair, but after the Fair ran out of money and shut down, Elektro became the world’s first has-been robot.
We moved onto the 1950’s with the promise of exciting advances in automobiles, highways, homes and luxury devices. Special thanks to Matt Novak (editor of Paleofuture.com) for suggesting some of these clips…
Continuing with the march of progress, we featured a slide-show by Seth Porges (technology editor for Popular Mechanics.) Seth shared some of the more outrageous predictions made by his employer over the years.
After that we welcomed a very special guest to the show: Psychic Jane Doherty. Before the show started, we asked audience members to submit questions about life in the future, and Jane would tell us what we could expect. The segment revealed that we would see a woman president in the United States, a vegetarian fast-food chain will be established by 2015 (it will start in New York or California), within this decade a lot of questions will be answered about finding a cure for cancer (we will find a cure!) And finally, Jane answered a question about whether there’s any truth to the prophecy that 2012 will bring the end of the world. Jane has communicated with Mayan Elders and explained that they do not believe 2012 is the end, rather there will be a shift in consciousness. (EDITOR’S NOTE: They were half-right.)
We watched clips from a NOSTADAUMS documentary: The Man Who Saw Tomorrow; the 1981 movie featured re-enactments of past events, plus dramatizations of things that hadn’t happened yet.
For a thematic treat, we served a heaping helping of DIPPIN’ DOTS – the ice cream of the future! The good people of Dippin Dots donated enough cryogenically frozen ice cream for each and every audience member. During the snack break, Kevin looked at five futures predicted by Saturday Morning Cartoons, including Thundarr the Barbarian, The Partridge Family 2200 A.D. and the worst Bugs Bunny cartoon I’ve ever seen.
At this point we delved into the darker possibilities of tomorrow. The amazing Kriota Wilberg (aka The Cinematologist) addressed the topic of Mutants in the future. Kriota dealt with the overthrow of the human population, viral vampirism, genetic engineering, hypertrichosis (aka Wolfman disease) and more!
Our penultimate guest was a favorite, Tenebrous Kate, who edited together this very special video about lessons learned from the 1982 Italian post-nuke favorite The New Barbarians (aka Warriors of the Wasteland).
Our final guest was the first person we thought to book for this event: Scott Christian Carr, a writer/filmmaker/and author of post-apocalyptic fiction.
Scott started his segment by asking the audience a thought-provoking question “If you survive the end of the world, who do you want by your side?” Scott answered that the one person you’d want more than anyone is your brother — and then he shared a scene from his original film The Nuke Brothers. Then we watched a montage Scott edited (with his brother Jeremy) looking at the theme of “Loneliness in the Future”.
Oh, it was a splendid evening of oddball entertainment, super-cold ice cream, and fantastical futures.
Meg’s essay on ELECTRO:
Watch excerpts from THE MAN WHO SAW TOMORROW:
Read Kriota’s essay on mutants