April 30, 1939.
The first signs of a dark age in Europe loom at the horizon with The Night of Broken Glass from last year in people's mind, Hitler threatens Jews during a Reichstag speech and the Pact of Steel is to be signed in a few weeks.
3960 miles away - a different world: New York City. The gates for one of the most memorable fairs full of hope for technology in a depression ridden time open in Flushing Meadows:
"The World of Tomorrow".
40 million visitors join Albert Einstein, President Roosevelt and the King and Queen of England when they pay 75c each before they get to stand in line to see what the architects, artists and engineers of America and sixty foreign nations have planned for them.
On over 1260 acres, Utopia-like buildings show concepts and items just invented and yet to be invented. We see Elektro and Sparko dance and bark on Westinghouse's site, pointing to a future where the lady of the house hands her work over to a service robot.
Light bulbs are finally fluorescent while Consolidated Edison presents their vision of the future New York Metropolis in their City of Light. A huge dome hosts Democracity - the perfect city for the perfect world of the future.
All this of course is nothing compared to what two other exhibitors have to show:
RCA gives the world its first television broadcast! Stunned by Roosevelt's opening speech on TV, people walk out of RCA's Pavilion, proud to have a 'I was televised' card in their hands.
But no other site fascinates people more than the spectacle General Motors brings about: Futurama.
Industrial designer Norman Bel Geddes created an idealized version of the USA "re-planned around a highly developed, modern traffic system" in the not so distant future: 1960.
The long line of admission vanquished, Mr and Mrs 1939 sit back in one of the 552 moving chairs equipped with speakers. They see a model of "trees, farms, hills and valleys, flowers and flowing streams" dominated by motorways where busy cars take turns at up to 50 miles per hour with 'automatic radio control' maintaining safe distance, circular airports - resting in a pool of liquid so that they can turn with the wind and cities featuring elevated walkways allowing pedestrians to do their business without interfering with the cars below.
The trip spans from coast to coast and leaves people astonished with skyscrapers a quarter of a mile high - landing decks for helicopters included. "I have seen the future" says the free blue and white tin tab button handed out at the end of the amazing journey that should never become all true but was to inspire Matt Groening, David X. Cohen and the various writers to create what we now know as the home to Bender, Leela, Amy, Hermes and Fry.
Take a look into the future!right click
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