So Much Potential, So Little Will

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A 21st Century Farm as imagined by Davis Meltzer.

A 21st Century Farm as imagined by Davis Meltzer. First appeared in National Geographic Magazine February 1970.

Fields stretch like fairways, cattle fatten in high-rise pens, threshed grain flows through pneumatic tubes into storage elevators, and a control tower oversees all.

National Geographic, No. 4, October 1998

Unlike a lot of the futuristic visions from the 20th Century, there’s still time for this idyll image to be realized. When looked at and contemplated for a bit some logistical questions do arise. But the allure is in the essence of the plan – a clean, well organized, efficient farming scheme where each city is provided fresh foods from just outside of town. It seems that whether or not this type of food production will ever be realized depends on factors that are not currently present in our time.

Illustration via impactdixon | Flickr

Something Fascinating That Occurred At The 1934 Chicago World’s Fair

1939 Chicago World's Fair
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World's Fair 'A Century of Progress' - Chicago 1934, Illustration: (Sandor), A. Raymond Katz

World’s Fair ‘A Century of Progress’ – Chicago 1934, Illustration: (Sandor), A. Raymond Katz

In this famous poster for the 1934 Chicago World’s Fair, fan dancer and silent film star Sally Rand, one of the event’s star attractions, points the way to the fair. Rand simulated nudity in her act by wearing a body stocking. The street-sign-like device refers to the unique way the lights were turned on at the beginning of the fair: rays from the star Arcturus were collected at various observatories, focused on photoelectric cells, and converted to electricity. A rhythmic, luminous poster that exemplifies the Machine Age at its most kinetic. – International Poster Gallery

Emphasis added.

‘The Story Of America’s Man-In-Space Programs’ – General Dynamics’ 1964 Super Space Cards Deck

General Dynamics Astronautics Space Card Box Cover
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General Dynamics Astronautics Space Cards - Joker: Sun, Moon, Planetary Symbols, and Superman!

General Dynamics Astronautics Space Cards – Joker: Sun, Moon, Planetary Symbols, and Superman!

These space cards tell a story – the story of America’s man-in-space programs. The hearts deal with the human element, the clubs portray the sciences, the spades show products and the diamonds depict modern aerospace management without which the other three elements could not be successful.

General Dynamics Astronautics Space Cards
Manufacturer: National Periodical Publications, Inc.
Date: 1964

Click on images to enlarge.

Ace of Hearts - Vitruvian Man

Ace of Hearts – Vitruvian Man

Two of Hearts - Buck Rogers (As a salute to human imagination and sci-fi)

Two of Hearts – Buck Rogers

Two cards from the suit of Hearts representing the human element: Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man and Buck Rogers – human physical being and human imagination. With the Two of Hearts, General Dynamics recognizes the important influence of the science fiction genre as inspiration for developments in modern space exploration.

The Ace of Clubs - The Sciences

Ace of Clubs – The Sciences

Two of Clubs - Leonardo da Vinci and a few samples of his flying machines

Two of Clubs – Leonardo da Vinci

Two cards from the suit of Clubs representing the sciences: The Ace of Clubs features an illustration reminiscent of those referred to in the 19th century pseudoscience of phrenology – rather than assigning various functions to different parts of the brain, this card highlights various fields of science relevant to space travel. The Two of Clubs features an image of Leonardo da Vinci with a few of his familiar flying machine designs.

The Ace Of Spades - Rocket Launch

Ace Of Spades – Rocket Launch

The Two Of Spades - Hot Air Balloon

Two Of Spades – Hot Air Balloon

Two Cards from the suit of Spades representing products – The Ace of Spades features a rocket launch reminiscent of NASA’s Project Mercury and the lift off of Friendship 7 carrying John Glenn, the first United States astronaut to orbit the Earth. General Dynamics’ Convair division designed and produced the Atlas boosters used in the launch. The Two of Spades features a hot air balloon – the grandaddy of flight and aerial transportation. In 1783 brothers Joseph and Étienne Montgolfier succeeded in launching the first manned ascent from Earth – Étienne was lifted off in the Montgolfièr hot air balloon, globe aérostatique.

The Ace Of Diamonds - Flow Chart

Ace Of Diamonds – Management Flow Chart

The Two Of Diamonds - Communications

Two Of Diamonds – Communications

The suit of Diamonds is meant to depict modern aerospace management – and they are the most curious and enigmatic. They are wonderful representations of the Cold-War/Space-Race era. The illustrations utilize symbols to relate this part of the story making the message more subliminal. They also reflect the kind of protective secrecy that was so much a part of that era. The Ace Of Diamonds shows a flow chart suggesting the various areas of aerospace management. The third vertical row has a number of squares contained in the top square – a committee leadership governing this area, or a bureaucracy heading a bureaucracy? At the top of the flow chart flies the U.S. flag – that symbol could mean different things to different folks, depending on a persons cynicism and/or sentimentalism. The two of Diamonds shows an antique telephone and an inkwell – rather primitive devices chosen to portray ‘modern aerospace’ communications.

Below are a few favorites from the deck without descriptions. See what they bring to your mind.

The Nine Of Hearts

The Ten Of Hearts

The Six Of Clubs

The Eight Of Clubs

The Jack Of Spades

The Queen Of Spades

The Nine Of Diamonds

The King Of Diamonds

(Card deck images via Unkee E.)

The 1964 Visual Telephone System From Bell Labs

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60s Skype - the world’s very first “PICTUREPHONE set” unveiled at the World’s Fair, 1964. (From the Bell Telephone Magazine, 1964, via Prelinger Archive)

60s Skype – the world’s very first “PICTUREPHONE set” unveiled at the World’s Fair, 1964. (From the Bell Telephone Magazine, 1964, via Prelinger Archive)

One wonders why such a huge time lag in developing this technology for everyday use.
(via THE PUBLIC DOMAIN REVIEW)

‘Neuro-Vegetative Imbalance’…? Have No Fear, A Serenity Drug Is Here

serenol 1937 detail
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In the 1930s French pharmaceutical company, Laboratoires Lobica, introduced the drug Sérénol. Sérénol was developed to treat ‘Neuro-Vegetative Imbalance’ – symptoms include: anxiety, emotionalism, nervous dyspepsia, etc.. From 1935-1940 Lobica ran a print advertising campaign to promote the serenity drug in medical journals and magazines. The theme was fear. Below are a few illustration details from the adverts – they’d have worked just fine in mystery/horror promotions as well.

Lobica Sérénol 1935

Lobica Sérénol 1935

Lobica Sérénol 1937

Lobica Sérénol 1937

Lobica Sérénol 1939

Lobica Sérénol 1939

Lobica Sérénol 1940

Lobica Sérénol 1940

Advertisements via Jerome Dubois collection.

A Tale Of Sad Martian Children, A Loving Dad, And A Jolly King Elf

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Santa Claus Conquers The Martians - Dell Comics 1966Yes, something is the matter with the children on Mars.

Matian Sleep Spray Technology

*Check out the Martian Sleep Spray technology.

There is only one thing KMAR can possibly do…

Get Him, TORS!

You’ll have to tune in to Captain Video’s Secret Sanctum to read all about it: click here.

(h/t to Tim O’Brien at Pop Culture: 1964 for the absolutely divine inspiration)

The New Adam

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The New Adam - Artist: Jeffrey Jones

The New Adam – Artist: Jeffrey Jones

The original cover art for the 1969 Avon Books publication of Stanley G. Weinbaum’s science fiction novel, The New Adam. First published in 1939 (Chicago: Ziff-Davis) the novel tells the story of Edmund Hall – a superman who was born ‘a rung higher on the ladder of evolution than the men around him.’

Image Source: Nemojp Dante