to Come was H. G. Wells's attempt to put across his own brand of
socialist ideals. Across the Atlantic, the 1939 New York World's Fair had
it's own view of a utopian city, though with a more capitalist and
more immediately optimistic variety. The General Motors pavilion
at the fair featured Futurama; an attempt to show a city in the far
off year of 1960. Given that the American people had lived
through ten years of the Great Depression without an end in sight, the
key word of optimism could not be pushed hard enough.
The subject of Futurama was
a gigantic model of an America transformed by progress; a gigantic
diorama which visitors were rolled past in motorised boxes while a
soothing-voiced narrator described the wonders of the age to come.
You might argue about the wonders of the future, but you had to admit
that the exhibit itself had something of the wondrous about it.
Even the queues waiting to get in were worthy of remark and they never
got any shorter for as long as the fair ran.