Our pal Iowahawk went to a swap meet and picked up a pair of 3D glasses from the 1939 World's Fair. They were given out to attendees so they could watch Chrysler's whimsical stop motion movie (above) that shows a car being assembled by invisible workers. The glasses prompted Iowahawk to do a little digging into Chrysler's exhibition at the World's Fair, and he found a number of interesting images, which he shares on his blog.
What a show it must have been -- a Rocket Port of Tomorrow, a Talking Car, a Frozen Forest, all manner of Engineering Wonders, plus the aforementioned 3-D movie extraganza. Still something strikes me in this ephemera as very melacholy. In 1939 The US was going through a 10th straight year of economic depression (national unemployment was still 17%) and by September, WWII was underway; a stark contrast with the shiny optimism reflected these (kinda) rose colored glass. If any car company in 1939 had reason to be skittish about futurism it was Chrysler, which had recently taken a major financial bath on the too-far-ahead-of-its-time Airflow; and yet they seem pretty bullish on the whole thing here. It's hard to imagine this kind of optimisitic boosterism at Chrysler today. Belvidere itself home to a half-empty Chrysler assembly plant, which I passed on the way to the swap meet. Whether Chrysler can survive as a zombie mutant financial partnership between the Federal government and Italian industrialists, it certainly won't share DNA with the company who staged this production.1939 World's Fair Chrysler 3D movie
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects