Remember this, the 1939 GM Futurama video?
Well, the professor for my Disney class lent me the gem that is The Middleton Family at the New York World's Fair (1939).
As Kevin Hyde, a clearly competent commenter, writes in some detail on the movie's IMDB page,
"In many ways, it is the grand-daddy of all corporate propaganda films -- i.e., outrageously expensive, shamelessly self-aggrandizing, overblown, naive in its estimate of audience intelligence/suggestibility, and utterly clueless when it comes to creating believable situations and dialog. The loving, earnest ineptness of this show is only magnified by its hapless, jut-jawed, attempt to contrast the mendacious failure of Communism with electric dishwashers and a cigarette-smoking robot."
Yes, there is a cigarette-smoking robot. There is also a clearly deviant Eastern European who - I kid you not - utilizes phrases like "a study in polychromatic harmony," creates abstract paintings, has arched eyebrows that reach roughly to his ears, and tells the sweet Indiana girl he is trying to trick into marrying him, "Now you're being provincial, Babs."
Yes, her name is Babs... But I digress.
The commenter goes on, "What I'm saying, paradoxically enough, is that "The Middleton Family" is an absolute must-see for anyone seeking to know, precisely, when and how America went mad. The 1939 World's Fair, it seems, is the exact moment when we all began buying into our own PR. "Streamlining" was hip. Capitalism was triumphant. Technology was limitless (if all you wanted to do was burp into a microphone). Black people were wise kitchen help. And manly virtue (i.e., compassionate conservatism) gave the lie to flip-flopping, hate-America Leftist claptrap. "
While the movie in its entirety isn't on YouTube, some excellent bits of it are. Do enjoy! Though you might want to get a drink (armagnac, may be?) or a joint first.
And finally, here it is, your moment of Zen:
Electro, the cigarette-smoking robot:
I could spend all day (or night) learning about this thing, but I'll be brief:
The wiki article on the Fair is here;
Lest we forget that minor bit of context, World War II started September 1, 1939. The Fair ran for two seasons, the first from April 30th to October 1939. Worth noting: "Although the United States would not enter the Second World War until the end of 1941, the fairgrounds served as a window into the troubles overseas. The pavilions of Poland and Czechoslovakia, for example, did not reopen for the 1940 season."
And finally, what kind of post would this be if it didn't have a gratuitous plug for the greatness of my native land: "Exhibition in the USSR Pavilion included the life-size copy of the interior of Mayakovskaya station of the Moscow Metro. Designer of the station, Alexey Dushkin, was awarded Grand Prize of the 1939 New York World's Fair." Here are some shots of Mayakovskaya, though none do it justice.
I think I'm gonna make some innocent by-stander watch the movie tomorrow. It's just too fucking good.