In the 1951 Tex Avery animation “Car of Tomorrow” we learn of the “Glass Bottom Car” that allows drivers to see below them. This way they can look down and see if the pedestrian they ran over was a friend of theirs. 50’s era racism and sexism abound in this uncensored cartoon:
In 1955’s “Four Wheels, No Brakes” we get a satirical glimpse of car dealers as Pete Hothead finally decides to get a new car:
A world overrun with automobiles is the dystopian nightmare of the cartoon “Automania 2000” from 1963. So many cars have grid-locked that people have just been living in them for the past 5 years. The cartoon is an anti-consumerist critique of 1950s excess.
In this Disney film from the late 1950s we are introduced to the highway of tomorrow. I look at this and wonder if they could possibly have been that naive. An atomic reactor melting rock to tunnel through mountains? Complete robotic control of your car? Rocket powered cargo ships? Everything works smoothly and cleanly in the world of colorful cartoons. In real life I think there’d be problems with highways cantilevered on the side of the Grand Canyon.
Disney obviously hated the clutter, chaos and decentralization of the city. He dreamed of a centrally planned world where there were no conflicting interests, everyone agreed that his vision was ideal, and we could be whisked away from dirty reality and concentrate on shopping. No thanks, Walt.
Since the Simpsons just revamped their opening sequence after 20 years, I figured I’d pull up this 3 year old video out of Europe that reconceives the intro using live action. Marge winds up in a faded red 240, rather than the bulbous wagon from the cartoon.