Overhead Garage Doors - Sally's Hard Day

Hm. This needs a caption. But Jeez, the possibilities are endless. Screw it. I'll do all of them.
Caption 1. "It was a hard day at the office. Firing workers is always stressful, but Sally couldn't have the unions coming into her factory, telling her how to run her own tobacco company. The rabble rousers got what they deserved. Fortunately, her new garage door practically opens with one finger. One less thing to worry about."

Caption 2. "Would daddy like him? Would they get along okay? Would daddy think less of her? Sally's hand trembled as she opened the door to the garage where she kept her boyfriend."

Caption 3. "I'm ashamed at you, Sally. What kind of parallel parking was that? And do you even know where the turn signal is? You know what? I think you can open the garage door your own damn self today."

Caption 4. "Daddy slowly rose from the engine compartment, moving carefully, checking to see if she was looking. Sally was opening the garage, and her back was turned. Perfect! This was going to be the best surprise party ever."

Caption 5. "Daddy was waiting. She had to time this perfectly or he'd have a chance to scream and that would bring the neighbors over. The garage door had just gotten new springs the day before. That was good, because she needed to get the door open fast and dive out of the way. She hoped the bear was awake."

Caption 6. "Golly, what a long day. Two mergers and a sexual harassment suit from that prick she should have fired a year ago. Sally just wanted to put her feet up and have a bourbon. But daddy showed up before she even had a chance to get the car in the garage. 'What's for dinner honey?' he beamed. Good thing she kept a shovel just inside the door."


Pontiac Grand Prix - Eat Your Quaker Oats

This is just a really nice painting. I can't stand modern pontiacs. Overdesigned, underengineered, cheesy and cheap is how I'd describe them. Product managers spend all the money on the motor and cut every possible corner on the rest of the vehicle. This one's pretty, though, and even prettier in this mixed media rendering.

It's a full page ad from 1961. Click on the image to see/save it in really high reolution.It looks like watercolor or Dr. Martin's inks with maybe guache painted on top. I dunno. Technique can make these things hard to call.

By 1961, auto makers had recovered from the juvenile whale tail craze of the fifties, when cars had silly shark fins on the back. Also, the chrome bumpers that looked like brassieres were mercifully finished. Straight, clean lines were in fashion and I think these made cars look more grown up and less goofy.

To show that nothing goes away forever, cars now seem to be returning to a hysterical over-designed style, with creases and criss-crossing character lines all over the place. Gives me a headache looking at them.

Anyway, I didn't think I'd have a joke to make about this picture, but guess what? Wilford Brimley seems to be talking to the young owners of the car, probably about oatmeal. "I know you two kids think your new automobile is the bees knees, but that doesn't mean you can neglect your health. Take this free packet of Quaker Oatmeal on your journey, won't you?"

The youg couple reject Wilford's offer, calling him a "square", doing that thing in the air with their fingers that makes a square. Wilford becomes enraged, his chest cavity opening like a large vertical mouth, and engulfs the young man's head. The wife stares, too shocked to scream, even as arterial spray dots her sunny yellow dress. Just as she draws breath, tentacles from Wilfred's mouth loop around her throat, cutting off her cry before it happens, and she is lifted off her feet by the creature that has was two men but is now one. Her legs wave in the air spasmodically, and their combined throats scream its alien rage, a strange, wheezing groan. Sungold Metallic paint was fifty dollars extra for the model year.

Man, that was a great movie.


Smith Corona - Microsoft word, Ver. Minus44

Copy and paste, undo, fonts, formatting, etc. It's easy to list the things we can't live without that are all things this thing can't do. Don't care. I love this thing, and I'm not just being a grumpy luddite.
Undo, and all the rest, are things that I agree we can't live without. I can't either. That's why it's called progress. But when was the last time you typed on a fossilized machine like this? They feel great. When the keyboard was integral to the mahcine itself, much more engineering effort was put into the feel of the keyboard. If the keyboard failed, the whole mahcine was dead, so better switches were used underneath every key. The whole thing feels more solid and smooth. Of course, the whole machine eighed as much as your desktop computer, but meh, so what?

Currently, your keyboard costs about twenty dollars and is kind of disposable. And, if you ask me, it feels that way. It feels like thin plastic with silicone domes under each key. Yes, this makes the action very light and silent, but each key has a lateral wobble that doesn't lend my fingers any confidence. Old typewriters and to some extent, old keyboards (more on that in a minute), work on a mechanism with metal springs and mechanical switches. The feel is much more solid, smooth, and can still have a light action.

The popularity of retro-looking, but otherwise completely modern, products should indicate that there's a market for more. The new Camaro and Mini Cooper show us that people like modern engineering with classic styling. I'd pay a little extra for a super fast computer with a case and keyboard like this Smith-Corona. I'd love a two tone mint green computer with clicky cylinder keys. The closest I have come, short of doing some custom frankenstein case mod, is my IBM Model M keyboard. You can get one of your own if you're weird like me. My keybaord is from 1995, the tail end of the beige era in personal computer design. I think there's a crying need for something that looks like 1964, but works like 2009.


Magnavox - Children, Obey HypnoClown.

Wendy and Eggbert stared, feared and continued to stare. HypnoClown seemed to see them right thruogh the glass of their spectacular 400 square inch screen. Their hearts quivered. It seemd like days since they had felt  two evenly spaced  heartbeats. Blood barely crawled through their little veins. Jaws slackened, and a thin filament of spittle shivered in their otherwise imperceptible breath.

HypnoClown would tell them when to breathe again. HypnoClown would reveal the wisdom of their next heartbeat only when they were worthy. An age passed and they fell into the inky depths of his loving eyes. They fell for days it seemed and still they continued to fall. No bottom to those knowing, understanding eyes.

Surely HypnoClown would reach for them. His fingers would inevitably grasp the edges of the screen and he would step beyond the bounds of the Provincial Fruitwood cabinet, and then he would be with them, possibly forever. Then HypnoClown would preotect Wendy and Eggbert from mother and father. Protect them from the cold light of day. Protect them from the terrifying agony of ever making a decision again. HypnoClown would decide what was best for them. Wendy and Eggbert would simply live forever in the warm, loving mind of HypnoClown. Then everything would be okay forever. All they had to do was... just.. let...go.


Winston - Kind of Tacky, Even for a Tobacco Company

Yes, the sixties were swinging. They swung hard (swang?). Still, this ad for Winston cigarettes... wow.
Really? A penis joke? Just like all innuendo, it's totally implied, but totally blatant at the same time. Granted, there's not that many ways to convince someone to buy cigarettes, so ideas for ads must be hard to come by.

What's the relationship between the two people? Does she know him? Are they dating? Married? He looks old enough to maybe be her father, which would make the wiener joke really creepy. Is there even a wiener joke? She sure looks as though she's comparing the cigarette favorably to the man's junk. Meanwhile, he's happy to shovel the walk for her. "Hi Honey! Look! I'm shoveling!" He can't see what she's doing with her hands, so he doesn't know she's humiliating him in front of a photographer, the photographer's assistant, the lighting guy, and reps from the the advertising company and R.J. Reynolds. To be sure, magazine readers almost never think this hard about ads, but you can bet that the ad execs though long and hard about it when they designed it.

It's interesting to think that this ad ran in 1962, only a few years into the sexual revolution. Just ten years earlier, you'd never have seen an ad like this, with a cheeky, even disrespectful woman so prominent.

So what's going on in this ad? No idea. Does it make me want to start smoking? Nope. But I kind of want to see what that girl does with the cigarette in a few minutes.


Kodak - Rejoice, We Are Spoilt

Christmas, 1961. A camera under the tree. "Weeeeee!" goes little Rufus. "Weeeeee!" goes little Agda. "Weeeeee! Why'd we give our kids weird names?" goes mom. "It was your idea. This marriage is a lie! Weeeeee!" goes dad.
Not to put too fine a point on it, your mobile phone can do 90% of what this family wanted this camera to do for them. Your pocket-sized point & shoot can do 90% of what all the stuff on the right could do. Maybe 92%. This is definitely great. All this capability owes it's existence to these guys, who just won the Nobel Prize for inventing the CCD chip that has made basically every non-filmy camera technology possible.
Look how cool all those cameras are. All boxy and chunky. In some way or another, each resembles the front of a semi truck. Hilarious and great. So, in a way, it's kind of sad that the era of this stuff is now gone. You can find really good film cameras in antique stores for not much money at all, maybe 15-50 dollars, even for a European brand. They are tempting, but I'd only be buying it to worship the engineering. As always, all of these images can be clicked and viewed at insanely high resolution.

Lastly, look at the plug for Disney's TV show "The Wonderful World of Color". BAH hah hah! That's adorable. Color was still enough of a thrilling novelty that they put it in the name of the show.

Jeez. Now that I'm thinking about it, maybe I'll have to get an old film camera. You know.. just to worship the engineering of it.


Radio Facial - You look prettier when you take it off.

One of the priveleges we enjoy as Dwellers in the Future is the easy dismissal of errant scientific claims made in the past. Some technological discoveries are made purely by chance, which leads me to wonder how long it would have taken us to arrive at the same conclusion by pure experimentation and logic. Vulcanized rubber springs to mind. So much for me trying to be fair and objective. This is friggin retarded.
Based on the scientific principal of "if people don't understand stuff, you can sell anything to them", the Short-Wave Helmet was alleged to have "beneficial effects" on the skin. Maybe the inventor had more specific information that didn't fit in the allotted space of rthe article? I dunno. I think that in Popular Mechanics, readers expect some explanation of how things work. When being shown something as clearly insnae as this helmet, most people would need to be convinced that they want to go through the serious weirdness of wearing the thing.

Apparently, the mask uses ultra short wave radio frequencies to make your skin better. Even the model in the photo looks skeptical. She looks like she's going to punch Nurse Funkenstein "You are NOT putting that thing on me." "Ooooh yes you are." the nurse replies. "You've been very naughty in the eyes of the Lord, doncha know. In this photo, we can almost see your knees, you little Jezebel!"

That was 1940. If the  thing actually worked, people would be using it. If it's a goofy footnote in Popular Mechanics from 69 years ago, it must be crap. "Ho ho ho." We all laugh while stroking our wise beards. We in The Future are far to smart to be bamboozled by shenanigans like that." Nah. Examples: Herbal supplements, accupuncture, homeopathy, kinoki foot pads, HD sunglasses, magnetic healing, copper bracelets. Ignorance and gullibility have no season.


Artcraft Stockings - Sitting in the Dark is Elegant.

"Hi, Mom, It's me... Hm? Oh, nothing, just bored. A fuse blew, and since it's 1946, and I'm a woman, I can't do anything about it. So, I just thought I'd give you a phone call in the dark.
Pardon? Yes, I'm still dating the giant cowboy. Hm? No, actually, he's gotten a little bigger since then. Now he's thirty-THREE feet tall.  He gave me his bandanna, so I guess it's pretty serious, huh? I made a skirt out of it. Romantic, huh? No, of course I washed it first, because I'm so elegant. Also I have these stockings that make me even more elegant. I dunno, 'art' something. Oh well. I better go;  this dark isn't going to sit in itself, ha ha. I will. Love you too, Mom. Bye bye."


Get Wealthy - Be an Artist!

Really old Popular Mechanics magazines contain at least one great laugh per page. This one's from 1940. I scanned the whole page, partly because grayscale images are storage-cheap and partly because all the ads on the page reange from quaint to really funny. Today, we're here to laugh at the idea that becoming an artist is the easy road to the good life.

Washington School of Art: "stART drawing big money!" You see what they did there? They realized that the word "start" has the letters that, carefully rearranged, will spell "art". That's not very ridiculous, just corny, and back in 1940, all humor was corny. If they had invented irony or sarcasm at that time, I don't think they were out of the prototype stage on either one. Because I'm weird, I listen to old radio programs on my iPod, and trust me: all humor before, say 1960, was pun-based.

No, the really hilarious and/or amazing thing here is the idea that during hard times (WWII was already yanking and cranking, although the U.S. had yet to join the party), becoming an artist was a genius career move. In 2009, this is laughable. I'm an artist, and yes, I have a good job - for an art job. I have an office to go to and a health plan and a cafeteria and everything. For an art job these are amazingly cushy perks. But if I were a business major with eighteen years in the workplace, I'd stand a pretty good chance of having a small army or worker bees bowing and scraping to me and perhaps my own hovercraft with it's own helipad on board, and my own subterranean lair to park it in.
I suppose that in 1940 it was different. For reasons not yet clear to me, there were a lot more illustrations in magazines. This is, of course, partly due to the fact that Photoshop was still a thing that science fiction writers would pants you for suggesting may one day be ubiquitous. Also, painted ads were way more common then. For some reason, they didn't use photographs by default. A beauty shot in a magazine was pretty likely to be a painting rather than a photo. I imagine that, at the time, it was cheaper to pay a guy to paint the thing rather than stage a photo shoot, hire models, and hope the weather cooperates.

Still, has there ever been a time when commercial artists were envied for their piles of cash and freewheeling lifestyle? My coolest job ever, bay far, was at StarToons; a cartoon studio in Chicago that did a lot of work for Warner Bros TV. Some of my friends are bloggers, like this guy, this guy, this guy, and this guy. We're all getting by, but we're not stinking with richness.

The very idea that you can "teach" someone to be an artist is laughable to me. It's easier now, becuase schools can promise parents that they will teach their kid 3DSMax, Photoshop, Painter, Illustrator, Flash, Maya, and whatever software, but they can't promise that their kid will "get it". I see portfolios wll the time from kids just out of college, wanting to be artists, that do know their way around a program, but are still terrible, terrible artists that can do nothing decent with their knowledge because their basic art skills are completely undeveloped. "You poor fool" I think to myself. "You're wasted four years and many thousands of dollars, and nobody will hire you while you do horrible work like this". In 1940, all there were were basic art skills, so to promise someone that you could teach them to be an artist is, to my mind, dishonest, because I think you can't teach just anybody to "get it". There needs to be potential there to start with.

We do get to draw naked ladies, though. Even drawing a naked lady very badly is better than studying finance.


Southern California - A Place for Medieval Families

I'm not sure why images in magazines of the 1940's were more often painted, rather than photographed, but I'm glad. Maybe it had something to do with the printing technology of the time or maybe it was just the fashion. I can't see why it would be cheaper or easier to reproduce a full color painting than a full color photo. Even on the cover of this magazine (not shown here), it was a mix of B/W and color photography. When flipping through an old magazine, it immediately leaps out at me that it's from the 40's, because of all the painted ads. That's usually one to buy.

Rendered ads seem to be more naive and delusional than photos, and these are the things that make old magazines hilarious for me. Without looking up demographic information, I'm guessing that the population of Southern California has been pretty diverse for a long time, based on nothing more than it's proximity to Mexico. Back in '46, though, you had better promote the idea of a country paved with white bread, regardless of the actual demographics.

The rendering is typically gorgeous, of course. I'm trying to figure out what it is about the style that screams 40's to me, and it's hard to put my finger on. It's almost certainly gouache, but that's not it. I think what, to me, is so great about these old renderings is the contrast between the light and dark parts. Also, the saturation of color is higher, almost cartoony. This may be because color printing was novel at the time, so they wanted to flaunt it, like in Wizard of Oz, with the berserk technicolor. I still see billboards for Coke on my way home from work, featuring paintings like those done for Coke by Haddon Sundblom in the 30's, and those have that old look that's so hard to explain. You know... the ones with Santa Claus drinking a bottle of Coke? The style has that balance of realism with spontaneous, unblended brushwork that make me so jealous.

Anyway, back to making fun of the ad. Check out the picture of dad, who's just caught a fish with his trident! Wait - a trident? Who brings a trident on vacation? "Honey, let's pack up the nomad this weekend and head to San Diego for a picnic and some spear fishing. Then I can bring down a puma with my flail for dinner and we can have that sparrow I killed with my morning star for a midnight snack!" Have you ever known anybody who spear fishes AND looks like Ward Cleaver? Have you ever known anybody who spear fishes?

Also not to be missed is the unfortunate compositional decision to have the butt of the spear look as though it's been rammed through the boy's head. "Uh, that's a nice fish, dear, but you've almost certainly killed our only son." "That just means more fish for us, sweetie!" Maybe I'm being too glass-half-empty about this? Maybe dad is pulling the trident OUT of his boy's skull, which has been pushed through from the opposite side by parties unknown (fishes, perhaps?), and now mom can begin to administer direct mouth-to-brain resucitation in time for the whole family to enjoy a nice fish dinner? Junior should recover in no time. There's a massive aloe vera plant in the forground to heal up the gaping skull wound, with only slurred speech to remember the incident. The important thing is, everything works out fine in Southern California. You should visit. Just be sure to bring along your trebuchet, for some light hunting.


Highways of Tomorrow - Whenever that is.

In 1946, Holiday magazine published a story about the new (at the time) highway system, and how it would end traffic congestion. All together now... "BAH hah hah hah hah hah hah hah *snort* hah hah har har har *wheeze* hah". Remember in Roger Rabbit, when Judge Doom revealed his grand vision for a highway system spanning the country, with restaurants serving rapidly prepared food? This is the same expression of an automotive fantasy, only without the insane grin.
In case you didn't know, the American highway system is based on the German Autobahn, which was conceived by our pal Uncle Hitler. There's an episode of Modern Marvels that covers this topic and is also fascinating, therefore you should watch it.

Anyway, back in '46, us Americans were all excited about highways, because we were tired of sitting in traffic jams. To the left you can see a picture of the Cahuenga freeway in California, shown as an example of what we can all expect to enjoy when Tomorrow comes. Yes, there will be plenty of room for all nine privately owned cars in the state of California. Actually, there's a reason to have a half mile of following distance between cars in this photo: at the time, that's the distance required to stop a car from a speed of twenty miles per hour. Cars were squishy, floaty, cast-iron tubs on wheels, and their brakes were based on the prayer system.

Maybe this photo was mistakenly printed as a negative, and the shot was actually taken at 3am, in the dead of night, when all normal people are sleeping? Wait.. nope. Closer inspection reveals that the cars have shadows. It must really be daytime! How bout that? I guess this is how they thought it would always be. More proof follows.
The highway system will forever destroy traffic snarls. See? See the big exes scribbled over the pictures? Stop being skeptical you skeptical jerk. Should we give the people of 1946 a break? After all, they'd just defeated Hitler. It was natural for them to assume they could also fix traffic. Things would really be much worse now without the highway system, and how could they forsee a time when every person in the country above the age of six would own two cars and use them  both simultaneously while cooking a turkey on the way to work? Maybe they imagined that in a few years everyone would get where they needed to be and just stay there, eliminating the need for cars at all?

Lastly, here's a picture of Lakeshore Drive, for Chicagoans to enjoy. I don't know where the Chicago is in the picture. It looks like a highway running past a farm or orchard of some kind. At least Chicago is more sophisticated than Cahuenga California. We have eighty-one cars and eleven boats.


1946 Monark - It's not for sale...Fran-CIS!

Streamlining was the carbon fiber of the 1930's, 40's, and 50's. At the time, it was recently discovered by the auto and rail industries as a means of reducing drag and improving fuel efficiency. It came to exemplify the era's design aesthetic, even when applied to things that didnt really move at all. Toasters, radios, blenders, you name it. Everything was rounded, with horizontal ornamental ridges. Carbon fiber is worshipped in much the same way today. Originally developed for the aerospace industry as a super light replacement for metals, carbon fiber first trickled down to sports equipment, where it's use still made sense. Then fashion took over and, as usual, went deliriously insane over the material's low-weight, high-tech, high-strength chic potential. Now, it's characteristic checkerboard gray and black pattern can now be found imitated on pretty much everything marketed to male humans, from steering wheels to electric shavers.

So it was with streamlined shapes in 1946. It's easy to find pictures of streamlined trains from that time, and they are eye-wateringly gorgeous to behold. The designers knew that streamlining was more than functional, too. The trains were often painted in bright colors to enhance their delicious candy-like appeal.

The 1946 Monark bicycle is just one example of streamlining at the consumer level. The bicycle probably weighed close to fifty pounds, and never saw speeds above twenty miles per hour, making wind resistance a non-issue. That was irrelevant. It was all about styling. It says so right there in the copy: "Airline-style pedal crank...streamlined auto-type rear reflector... built-in auto-type tank horn". A bicycle had no use for a gas tank, but every bike had one, because A) it made it look like a motorcycle and B) it gave the designers some surface area to do some streamline stuff. Two-tone paint is something else borrowed from the auto industry of the time. I have a personal theory that, as part of the recent hysteria over retro car designs, two tone paint will make a return at the factory level.

If you look at the bottom of the ad, Monark mentions another model called the Silver King, made of aluminum. Aluminum production was ramped up for World War Two, and when peace broke out, aluminum producers needed new markets for their new and useful wondermetal. Strangely, a bicycle is an excellent candidate for aluminum construction, as every ounce counts in a vehicle powered by a human whose (adult) legs have been rated at 1/4 horsepower. Even now, aluminum is just about the most popular of the "affordable" lightweight frame materials in the bike industry. Just like carbon fiber, it first appeared in the aviation realm, and trickled down to the consumer level. However, even something as mundane as a kitchen chair makes sense when made from something strong, relatively cheap, and light, like aluminum. Carbon fiber is still pretty expensive, and though strength and low weight will never go out of style, it is my hope that cheesy pretend carbon fiber checker patterns die like the dodo.


Analog Retouching - The toolbar of 1966

Here's what they had to work with in 1966: an airbrush. A real airbrush made out of machined brass and plated with chrome. Just like Photoshop, it was a beautiful tool that, in the hands of a dedicated idiot, could do some real damage.
This was an article in Life magazine about some new Truman Capote novel about a murdered farmer in Kansas. The murder actually happened, and here's the mangled newspaper photo to prove it. The picture was reprinted in the Life article about the novel. I can't tell if the photographic pummeling was done by a Life staffer (unlikely, as Life was a national publication that probably had decent artists in-house) or an artists working at the local Kansas paper that ran the original story. I'm guessing it was the latter.

There's a site I visit daily called Photoshop Disasters. They post unbelievable photo molestations found on the web and in print, out in the real world. PSD pretty much has  made it their mission to call out terrible artists who have no business doing art. Some may call it mean, but I think that people who have no business sticking their nose into Photoshop shouldn't stick their nose into Photoshop.

The digital revolution, like so very many technologies, has brought the tools of production within easy reach of nearly everybody. Who should have the tools of production within easy reach? Something less than almost everybody, if results count for anything. Back in '66, there were more excuses for bad retouching. The local Kansas paper had a small talent pool to draw from. The picture may have needed to go to press really quickly, allowing very little time to do the retouch. Mostly, though, I think skill with the tool can be blamed. I have an airbrush, and they  are hard to control. Granted, I didn't concentrate daily on improving my skill like a career airbrush guy would. Still, getting the feel of a tool like a dual-action airbrush is something that takes years to get decent at, to say nothing of mastery. At least in the digital realm, there's CTRL+Z to help you get the hang of it.

The moral of the story is, the digital revolution has brought the tools of shitty art within easy reach of nearly everybody.


Encyclopedia Britannica - Endorsed by The Munsters

Finally! Someone found a way to sell encyclopedias: with wacky sitcom tie-ins. It seems so obvious now, I can't believe nobody thought of it sooner. Of course, that's the way it always is with genius. It seems natural and easy only after the visionary does it.
I imagine it went down this way. Britannica had this old Munsters license lying around the office that they paid tens of thousands of dollars for and never exploited. Then a temp worker found it while dusting off a few thousand pounds of obsolete volumes of last year's product. The Munsters license was stuck between M and N. "Hey, why don't we use this thing? It looks expensive." the temp said. "Oh, that thing" marketing guy replies. "Sure, just make up some feeble tag line and call a few magazines. We don't really need to try real hard to sell these things. People will always need paper books for information. There will never be a superior technology. You'll learn that once you've been here a while."

The very young reader may not remember the era of printed encyclopedias. We are spoiled. Don't let anyone tell you different. Back in "yore", any kid who needed to find something out either asked one of the parents (whichever one wasn't wasted on cooking sherry or plain old brandy) or went to the library to look it up in a book. That was the smart family (apart from the being drunk part). Let the library buy the books and go use them for free. Or, the really rich / foolish family spent upwards of seven hundred dollars on a set of encyclopedias that would be inaccurate and useless before they were don't making payments on them.

Seven hundred dollars in 1966 money comes to 75 million dollars now. So, family pays 75 mil for books that should be mostly accurate for several days, and until mom and dad send in the last check for 288 thousand dollars, there will be no new and more accurate encyclopedias. Meanwhile, Susie still thinks that Namibia is still part of South Africa and she has never heard of Burkina Faso. What a poor, dumb kid.

Britannica is very careful not to mention the price in the ad. They only ention "easy payments." On top of all this, Britannica's accuracy is right about on par with Wikipedia. Either Britannica's editors have gotten sloppy or Wikipedia actually works. Or paper encyclopedias are something we should be happy to see go the way of the dodo.


Coke Tower - The Soda Messiah Will Be With Us Shortly

They really knew how to do things right in '64. This alien cathedral was apparently re-purposed for the glorification of Earth's sugar water deity, Coke. Man oh man, is it cool.

Yes, it's made of prefabricated concrete forms, which is kind of lame. See those crucifix shapes that reoccur all over it? I see those on other buildings while driving around in my horseless carriage. The disappointment of off-the-shelf design elements doesn't bug me really, because the shapes are used as the design motif (ooh, fancy word) for the whole thing. Looks like those pointy bits round the edge spray water into the air. At least I hope it's water and not Coca-Cola.

So what could Coke possibly exhibit in their pavillion? Rather than try to make up some silliness about coke's history or illusory health benefits, they just talked about how great the world is. A cop out? Maybe, but you could also call it sensible. There was a Hong Kong Street scene, a diorama of the Taj Mahal, a Bavarian ski lodge, Angkor Wat, a scene in Rio de Janeiro and the world's largest electronic carillon, which was moved to Stone Mountain Park, in Georgia after the fair was demolished. I guess these attractions make more sense than showing visitors how sugar is added to water and poured into bottles, occasionally inhabited by accidental rats.

In Descending order of coolness, here's another, more realistic rendering of the Coke tower. The spire in the middle isn't nearly so tall as the other rendering would have you believe.

And then there's the actual photo. I guess it still fires the imagination, right? Right? The tower was 120 feet tall, which is, for instance way taller than me, but that first painting makes it look a thousand feet high. Wasn't that where Sarumon trapped Gandalf after they had their little slap-fight? "...and you can just stay up there and think about what you said about Coca-Cola, and no sneaky talking to moths while you're up there. Are you listening to me? You just wait till your mother gets home."