Saturday, October 24, 2015

The PostWar World: Back to the Future

With Back to the Future now set entirely in the past, Skateback Saturday returns once more to A Bird's-Eye View of the Postwar World, (Consolidated Book Publishers, 153 N. Michigan Ave, Chicago 1, Illinois. And no, I don't know whatever became of Chicago 2. But that's what it says on the front cover.)
Click on image to enlarge.
I'm posting some text-intensive stuff today, starting with the above riff on the postwar kitchen from none other than Gracie Allen (George Burns's better half, for those of you too young to remember, but old enough to know who George Burns was. For you millennials, she portrayed a ditsy female whose innocent misunderstanding of the world around her delighted radio and TV audiences in the 1940's and 50's. This piece doesn't really show off her style, which required having George there as the straight man).

Gracie's home planner was definitely overoptimistic about an antless future, but Gracie was not alone in her opinion of orange decor. The color I associate with a 1950's kitchen is white, which I assume looked better than orange on a black-and-white TV. Ugly colors came roaring back about the same time as color televisions came into general usage; avocado was inexplicably popular.

This next one, imagining the changes to be faced by the man of the house, takes up two pages. I had to look up who H. I. Phillips was; reports that he was a Broadway composer and sketch writer who contributed to such memorable revues as "Life Begins at 8:40" (1935) and "Ziegfeld Follies of 1934" (1934).

Whether Phillips was writing for radio by 1944, or Colliers, I have no idea. There's nothing in his credits after the mid-1930's.

At any rate, even though he failed to foresee gas supplanting coal and oil as the heating source for the majority of American homes -- and perhaps the toaster-sized furnace is yet to come -- it's kind of fun to see how some anonymous artist pictured the domicile of the 1950's.

Marty McFly would have felt right at home.

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