Thursday, April 2, 2009

GM Futurama 1939-40

The General Motors Futurama was an exhibit and ride at the 1939-40 New York World's Fair. It was designed by Norman Bel Geddes and was created to show the world 20 years into the future, including automated highways and vast suburbs. The Futurama is widely held to have first introduced the general American public to the concept of a network of superhighways connecting the nation.

City street separates automobiles and pedestrians.

Modernistic office buildings and apartment houses.

A modernistic urban section.

A futuristic airport.

A catenary suspension bridge.

LINK: All pictures were photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt for LIFE MAGAZINE

11 comments:

Major Pepperidge said...

Oh man.... I love the 1939 World's Fair, and wish that I could have seen it with my own eyes. Luckily, so much of it has been preserved with color footage (and nice black and white like these) that at least we can get some idea of what it was like.

Futurama Episode said...

Great pictures, They look close to real, The airport is a cool design

Cory Gross said...

Very cool, thank you! I have seen the future!

Keith said...

I would have loved to have gone to some of the World's Fairs of the past.

Dave said...

Really cool stuff, Richard. Bel Geddes, along with Loewy and Teague was one of the great designers. Interesting that the Wiki article doesn't mention his daughter, actress Barbara Bel Geddes, who starred in Hitchcock's "Vertigo" and later in the TV show Dallas.

Dave said...

Whoop - I guess it did mention her, kinda hidden in the article. Sorry!

TokyoMagic! said...

This had to have blown people's minds back in 1939! I love miniatures. Disney should restore Progress City back to it's orginal glory!

I believe Flushing Meadow has a model of New York City that goes back to the 1964 World's Fair and it is housed in the only surviving building from the 1939 World's Fair.

Great post...great photos!

Anonymous said...

Stupid Futurama. The only thing Geddes left out was all the crappy signage lining every superhighway, and the abandoned historic main streets that resulted from this reallocation of commerce.

Otherwise, everything here is pretty much exactly what we got... a crappy auto-centric public realm that is repulsive to pedestrians and totally unsustainable in the long run. Future generations will mock us for being taken down the river by a Broadway set designer's vision for a self-serving GM.

Watch Futurama Online said...

great photos!

Term paper said...

It’s great to see good information being shared and also to see fresh, creative ideas that have never been done before.

watch futurama online said...

Looks amazing! Thank you for this post :)