Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Glimpsed Destination, Part Four



You’ve already met the Middleton family.

If you watched the video on Part One, they were the ones learning about the Westinghouse Time Capsule at the World’s Fair.

Turns out Westinghouse produced a 55 minute film, "The Middleton Family at the New York World's Fair."

Watch at:
http://www.archive.org/details/middleton_family_worlds_fair_1939

or here




By all means, go full screen.

The company took advantage of advanced film production technology (for 1939) to create a visually impressive film. Add great hokey acting. You can guess what’s left of Nick Makaroff by the time Westinghouse has its way with the dour lefty art teacher. Don’t miss the dishwashing contest between Mrs. Modern and Mrs. Drudge. Take note of Electro, the smoking robot, who resembles a seven-foot tall cell phone.



Jim Treadway, the young industrialist, is grating from the get-go if you ask me, but Westinghouse intends him to be the hero in this 1939 propaganda piece. At one point Jim intones:

[In the future] industry will make so many jobs there won’t be enough people to fill ‘em.



Here’s the synopsis from archive.org
http://www.archive.org/details/middleton_family_worlds_fair_1939

This drama illustrates the contribution of free enterprise, technology, and Westinghouse products to the American way of life. The Middleton Family at the New York World's Fair pits an anti-capitalist bohemian artist boyfriend against an all-American electrical engineer who believes in improving society by working through corporations. The Middletons experience Westinghouse's technological marvels at the Fair and win back their daughter from her leftist boyfriend.



Westinghouse Building at the New York World's Fair

In the end, what I learned from this movie was that the only thing different back in 1939 was that the guys had wide lapels on their suit jackets.

Or as young Bud Middleton put it in his aw-shucks way:

OH, BOY! THE JACKPOT! ELECTRICITY HERE I COME!

And that's what you'll be saying, too, when you drink the Westinghouse Kool-Aid poured out by this film.

In the following segment, Nick the commie is pouting. But hang on, three minutes into the clip comes the famous dishwashing contest. Nick comes back with a good line:

There's nothing funny about the tools of capitalism.

All the way, it was a battle of free-market-capitalism versus socialism... a lot like today:




Stupid Robot Tricks, Courtesy of Westinghouse:



Regarding robots, look how far we've come from 1939 New York to 2006 Japan:



Additional on the Middletons:

http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/wooda/middleton/

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

So the question becomes, are we REALLY living better now? Are we more able to get at our essence? If we are still running away from ourselves (toward consumption and anything that for a time makes us forget the pain of being human) what kind of real progress have we made?

Lucky is the person who finds simplicity, can be honest with themself about what they really want and who has the courage to go after it.

GULAHIYI said...

Amen to that!

Anonymous said...

Gort: Klaatu parada nicto.

'74

GULAHIYI said...

[Klaatu is revived by Gort after being fatally shot]
Helen: I - I thought you were...
Klaatu: I was.
Helen: You mean... he has the power of life and death?
Klaatu: No. That power is reserved to the Almighty Spirit. This technique, in some cases, can restore life for a limited period.
Helen: But... how long?
Klaatu: You mean how long will I live? That no one can tell.
Reporter: I suppose you are just as scared as the rest of us.
Klaatu: In a different way, perhaps. I am fearful when I see people substituting fear for reason.
George Barley: Why doesn't the government do something, that's what I'd like to know.
Mr. Krull: What can they do, they're only people just like us.
George Barley: People my foot, they're democrats.
Klaatu: Perhaps before deciding on a course of action, you'd want to know more about the people here - to orient yourself in a strange environment.
Mrs. Barley: There's nothing strange about Washington, Mr. Carpenter.
Klaatu: A person from another planet might disagree with you.
Mrs. Barley: If you want my opinion, he came from right here on Earth. And you know where I mean.
Mr. Krull: They woudn't come in spaceships, they'd come in airplanes.
Mrs. Barley: I woudn't be too sure about that.
Secretary: The phone doesn't work.
Mr. Krull: Well then call the phone company.
Secretary: But... the phone doesn't work!

Anonymous said...

A person from another planet might disagree with you.

So they're libertarians?

'74