I feel sorry for people who never experienced the late 50's and early 60's. It was such an exciting time to ponder the future - which was always better than the present. After Kennedy's death, Vietnam and the student protests, the future began to look drab; we still haven't pulled free of this Fear of the Future.

There's a website that is called that contains a great collection of wildly buoyant "anything goes" commercial art and personal photos that nicely summarizes the era. Some highlights, with my comments:

Food-O-Mat - If there was any doubt that America was the land of plenty, the Food-O-Mat dispelled it.

Biddy - I am not a wax mannequin. I'm a real person. Really. See? My breasts heave when I breathe.

Shovel Woman - Okay, honey, here I am wearing that sweater you asked me to, holding your shiny new shovel. Now can I get back to the kitchen, please?

Bank Building - Driver, his head out of window attempting to read sign: "What's that sign say? P-A-S-C-A... I can't make it out. What's that first word?" CRASH!

Desk - Oh, honey, we've really made it! First my mink stole, then the green phone - and now that swell desk! I'm so proud of you!

Peachblow - That's right. In 1959 Kohler actually called that shade of pink, "peachblow."

Frigidaire Kitchen of the Future, 1957 - That's an ancestor of R2D2 cooking up that chicken.

Made entirely of plastic! - And one wrong move will see you in the hospital.

Vinyl boudoir floor - I bet every click of that gal's high heels sound like rifle shots going off.

TV Room, 1949 - The sofa is on casters so it can be moved to 2 inches away from the tube to see the picture.

True Vinyl Flooring in Citron Yellow and Driftwood - Citron yellow tiles conceal those embarrassing little urinary mishaps.

Hi-Fi Storage Unit - One of the things in this room really doesn't go with the others. Can you guess which one?

TV Party - There's something about slugging down beers while watching the basketball game that encourages conversations with females (the older of which enjoy bringing more brews). In the future all mixed company parties will feature this activity.

Loomed living - If we start out at daybreak we ought to get to the white curtain by nightfall.

1942 Oldsmobile "B-44" - We'll bomb the Japs with this Oldsmobile!

Preview of Cadillac Power - In case you thought the modern Cadillac Escalade was excessive.

Nash Service - Mister GOP Poster Boy.

1958 Buick Century - Bricks were all the rage.

Which straw for you? - Back then, nobody would have thought, "They're gay."

Electric Light and Power Companies, 1950 - In the future, mothers will nag their children assisted by electronic surveillance.

Dry Ice rings the bell - Hey kids! This SOB just handed me a Brick on a Stick!

A sky full of men - On the front cover of the New York Times: "Unexpected battlefield decapitation losses skyrocket."

Joyce Gordon, Instant Chase & Sanborn TV hostess - She will take to snorting something else in the Eighties.

Fantastic? Not in the electronic world of the future! - An Australian's dream come true.

Already, they're working on this - If "they" is the builders of the Internet, I'll believe it.

35mm Kodachrome slide, 1950s- Martha Stewart, the Early Years

Hamburg, NY - In Hamburg, the annual Christmas decoration wars got out of hand.

Christmas 1961 - Hey, Sis, why is it so cold in this room?

Sofa by Edward Wormley - Getting it up that ladder may be an issue.

Ham girl - Now that ham is more common, people don't get crazed like this anymore.

The Goodness of Malt - The beer clones have Heinrich Himmler surrounded.

Pine fresh Dutch cleanser - Don't you hate it when people strew trash in our National Parks?

Goodyear Tire & Rubber, 1949 - Why this blonde is getting so excited over what looks like a colostomy bag, I don't know.

Allegheny Metal - Unless she removes the can from under the sink, I bet the trash ends up outside of the can rather than in it.

Portable air conditioner - 1963? - No.

Northrop Aircraft, 1955 - ...and here's where I hide the flask!

A potent firefighter - The men are away in Korea, so our womenfolk have to sort out housefires themselves.

High-octane gasoline- Who says menopause can't be fun?

How to Sail - I... I have no comment for this one.

Champion Spark Plugs, 1949 - They renamed the dog "Sparky" after shoving the plug up his butt. (Which explains the concerned look on his face.)

Steel . . . gloved in style - I want to leave this dreary office life and find myself... oh, I dunno... a cowboy...

Intercontinental vittles - See? This breathless visionary stuff is exactly what I mean. While Los Angeles International Airport did erect a building much like the one pictured, the jetting from New York brunch to Paris for lunch in the Fireball XL-5 never happened. (And if you count the Concorde, it came and went.)

Fight carelessness, the Master Saboteur! - Adolph Hitler is just waiting for the moment that Mom steps on this toy and breaks her coccyx.

Clear heads agree - I hate the Bickersons. They use enough lights to light up the whole neighborhood. Can't sleep at night, what with all that light and them pouring out Calvert like there's no tomorrow.

Olin batteries - Stephen Spielberg's inspiration for Close Encounters of the Third Kind

1958 Oldsmobile - You know them white people. They'll live in hovels, but they'll always have their nice cars!

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