To New Horizons (1940)

Promotional film from General Motors created to champion their “Highways and Horizons” exhibit at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair. The film presents a vision of the future, namely of 1960 seen through the eyes of those living in 1940, and imagines the world of tomorrow which the narrator describes as “A greater world, a better world, a world which always will grow forward”. The 1939-40 New York World’s Fair was the first to focus on the future and the General Motors’s Futurama exhibit consisted of a ride carrying 552 people at a time and showing a diorama designed by Norman Bel Geddes wherein the roads and city planning of the future include elevated pedestrian walkways as well as highways with 7 lanes for cars traveling at different speeds. The exhibit was a hit and easily became the most popular event among the visitors as the promise of a brighter future was welcomed by the Americans who had experienced the Great Depression. Of course, the next five years — which saw war rage across the world on an unprecedented scale — would bring anything but this utopian vision.

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