By Mark Frauenfelder at 10:22 am Wed, Dec 2, 2009
A happy 1958 Disney cartoon about the future of highway transportation. (Via Robert Popper)
Well, they sort of got it right. There are roads being built now with heated undersides so that the snow melts, there are some plans to build illuminated pathways, there is GPS, there are car freight trains, and we do have cars with camera mounted backup systems, and pretty much everything they said about the highway near the end now applies to the commercial jet liner.
Does anyone remember seeing a similarly-themed Disney cartoon with, I think, Donald Duck? I recall such a thing from my lost youth, but can’t find it anywhere!
#29, the video you remember is “Donald in Mathmagic Land”. They played it for us kids more than once my Elementary School of the ’70’s. It made math interesting.
It seems like parts of this video were straight-up swiped by the Jetsons!
In the future, words will mean something.
“Why do the ambulance people have a flying car when noone else does?”
Because there is a whole lot of danger in giving hundreds of thousands the civilians the license to fly.
ATOMS! Is there anything they can’t do?
Now wouldn’t it be the time to ask: what were those guys smoking?
“Ah, but this is American and any suggestion that anything be done by any group larger than a family means that you’re a Communist.”
Does it ever get lonely up there in that tower?
I’m so glad that all came true.
Anyone else expect to see the “sun-powered electrosuspension” car fall off the underside of the highway when it went into the shade?
Ah, beautiful blind optimism!
Well, at least the (otherwise featureless) interstates happened. Oh, and (eventually) GPS!
Auto-drive is something I still think we need. Those who resist may pay 10 times higher insurance, and then they too will die. I mean, if your job requires you to waste at least 4 hours/day stuck in your car, wouldn’t it be nice to use it to read/surf/nap?
A possible future — where pastel cartoon colors dare not be saturated.
Run, little pastels, run!
Well, the urban sprawl part came true at least. Yay, or something.
Some of the theme music was used again for the World of Tomorrow at the 1964 World’s Fair, if I’m not mistaken.
This would have been great on MST3K.
Know what’d go really well with this? Some Owsley. Or some of that there Obama. Yeah.
Lol yeah seems the only things that came true was urban sprawl. Thank whoever too, I like to drive my car not let my computer do it.
Although I would not shy away from faster more efficient dedicated lane mass transit setups.
I was actually more surprised by how many of the predictions did come true (or are at least possible if not practical) even the ones that turned out not to be a good idea (see: romulusnr on urban sprawl)
Honestly if you get beyond the way that they actualized most of this, the concepts -have- come. We use gps computers to plot our car routes, we have glow reflectors placed on the roads for night driving.
Keep in mind this is only 2 years after the government started the Eisenhower Interstate system. The mere concept of a national highway grid was just taking shape, and there were so many innovations some of these ideas just seemed like natural progression.
pretty visionary for 1958 – even if a little “off.”
Seriously though… the helicopter that moves crashed cars isn’t a bad idea. The traffic that crashes cause must cost the city enough to justify the fee. Hell even a curtain would do sometimes, it’s mostly rubber neckers that gawk at it… and just to make sure no one’s staring, make the curtain a goatse.
Seriously though… the helicopter that moves crashed cars isn’t a bad idea.
Yeah… but an even better idea is a helicopter that moves crashed helicopters that move crashed cars. Sure, it sounds like crazy talk now but in the future everything will be possible!
Ah, but they didn’t predict that cars would be directed by Space Beams, did they? Put that in your pipe an smoke it, futurists of the past!
Wait… an accident?! WTF kind of tragic interruption of tranquil precision requires airlifting from the nearly empty roads of the future? I’ll be taking the charmingly ethic elephant or big-wheeled ox-cart, thank you very much!
That Chuck Jones, he always cracks me up! nyuk nyuk
But it all gets me thinking too. Why do the ambulance people have a flying car when noone else does? What powers the radiant heat that keeps snow off the highways? How simplified does a sign have to be before I can read it?
Phew! It’s a good thing this is just a cartoon! ha ha!
Heard that voice somewhere… had to look it up… it’s Marvin Miller, voice of Aquaman and Forbidden Planet’s Robbie the Robot.
That emergency vehicle is bitchin’!
The only place that works like this is DisneyWorld…
…why, oh why, did Walt Disney have to die before the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow would take it to the next level?!?
Nifty! As long as you posit infinite, free, pollution-free energy and a population density of about 10 percent of what we have now. Still, they did score one bullseye: cargo container shipping freighters.
All I want is that Cargo Rocket! w00t. lol, thanks for the video, I can never get enough of this type of future-casting.
Hmm, I also wonder: with that degree of automation what’s the difference between cars and trains? If you’re not driving the thing why call it a car? It’s a mass transit system. It’s only whatever population destroying plague that they’ve suffered in this future that saves them from having to string the vehicles together in trains. Ah, but this is American and any suggestion that anything be done by any group larger than a family means that you’re a Communist.
The voice is Paul Frees. He did alot of work for disney, including the Haunted Mansion, and the voice of Ludwig Von Drake in the Donald Duck cartoons…
No it’s not. Definitely Marvin Miller, as another poster said. He also narrated Sleeping Beauty for Disney around this time.
I’m fascinated that in our Jetsonian future everything has evolved but haircuts. Apparently in the future there will be only thin white people. Whose vision WAS this? Walt’s or Adolph’s? :?
Did anyone else notice that they used the Ambulance to move the debris while the patient has life-threatening injuries?
Anonymous #18 — You made me giggle.
That does seem like “the Disney way”. First, tidy up the mess. Second, treat the injured. :)
good thing in future, family will separate upon arrival: father to the office, mother and child to the shopping centre. ah, mom, spending all of dad’s hard-earned salary. apparently, there are no black, hispanic, or asian people in the suburbs of the future either!
Mail (will not be published) (required)
Submit a tip
The rules you agree to by using this website.
Who will be eaten first?
Jason Weisberger, Publisher
Ken Snider, Sysadmin