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From the Vaults: Your Safety First

by Paul Strauss

It seems as if those looking towards the future have always imagined a day where cars will be able to fly. In this cartoon by the Automobile Manufacturers Association from 1956, we get a neo-futurist look at what they imagined automotive technology to look like in the distant year 2000. Though in this clip, the flying feature was used strictly to pass over other cars on the single-lane highways of the future. Another clever idea is the “commuter van” which would let multiple vehicles be transported by a single large car carrier, then dropping people off to their destinations with their own vehicles.

In addition to the car tech, the clip envisions a variety of outlandish and not so outlandish ideas, ranging from print magazines that come to life with animation and smell, desktop computers that printed results on punch cards, 3D projectors, tax cuts, and four-hour, three-day work weeks with a two-hour lunch break. It also provides a basic history of the development of automobile through the time of its production, and the numerous comfort, convenience and safety improvements which had been seen by the 1950s – most of which have continued into today’s cars.

Our favorite part of the clip – the voice of the protagonist is clearly that of the late George O’Hanlon, the same guy who provided the voice for George Jetson.

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