Central Mutual Insurance - Tomorrowiness.

The Central Mutual Insurance company new a good thing when they saw it. Space was big stuff in 1957. All the world's scientists had nipple erections for the I.G.Y. project, and Russia's Sputnik was about to scare America into a trouser-moistening hysteria, motivating them to build Nasa in '58. What to do? Sell insurance.
"Tomorrow Minded". Tomorrow minded how? Did Central Mutual underwrite part of the government's efforts to put a coffee maker into orbit just so they could say they did it? Nope. They just want you to plan for The Future, and getting your attention with some spacey imagery is job one. Aah. Well, they made some nice art for their ad, at least.
America's first satellite would eventually be Explorer 1, pictured above. It was the symbol of America's tumescent excitement about space. Hands above the table please, gentlemen. If Nasa had been run by women, would Explorer have looked the same?

Here's a watercolor of Central Mutual's advertiser's hired artist's impression of a satellite, which you'll agree looks rather Sputniky. And why not? It was the only successful satellite at the time this ad ran. Note the safety tips on the ends of the antennae. We don't want to poke space's eye out. This would be the dominant American image of a satellite until the Space Shuttle program of The Seventies, which allowed every American to see video of satellites being placed into orbit. This revealed to everyone the fact that satellites from now on would look less like chrome basketballs and more like dishwashers. Progress.

And here's the super brilliant house that we all hoped to be living in. Some of us are still dreaming of owning a futuristic lair of such enviable coolness. Such crazy angles. Wantwantwantwant. But look at the little man next to the car. All the future in the world isn't going to help you remember where you left your keys. Maybe you left them in the solarium, where Bond will find them and escape with your wife and nonspecific sports coupe?

"I think I left it in drive."
Lastly, we bring you this watercolor astronaut, in the Michelin Man-style spacesuit that everyone imagined but nobody ever used. Note the two change makers on his breasts. He must be parking cars in orbit. Poor job he's doing of it, too. Look at the satellite. It's getting farther away with every orbit. You call THAT geosynchronous? You're off the mission. You can walk home. Maybe he's staring up at the satellite, wondering if his bubble helmet will be enough to protect him from the rather pointy parts, once it's unstable orbit brings it out near him? I hope he has Central Mutual. Pitching their services as "future minded", they'd better cover satellite-related injuries. Also some kind of joke about Laika, Russia, and coverage of "acts of dog". [Note to self: have an intern polish up this last paragraph into a delightful zinger.]

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Jim Dillon said...

That car looks like someone partially melted a Chrysler 300.

But 1960 is anachronistic.

Still, awesome or what?

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

Yes. highly awesome and hilarious at the same time. These are the two reasons I love the futurism craze of the mid century. Thanks for reading, Jim!


Steve Miller said...

It's all in the perception -- the general configuration of the car suggests Studebaker's Hawk to me, but the front end suggests the Imperial with those gawd-awful pod headlights. But less is more -- the Hawk's fins are missing, and the headlight count is 50% of Chrysler's sins. But wait! Is that the Cord electro-mechanical transmission in the middle of the grill?

I'm more puzzled by the windows above the garage doors. Is that the chicken coop, or Tattoo's Stay Free Mini Pad?

Steve Miller said...

No, on reflection, that's not the Cord tranny -- that's the neighbor's cat. SLow down when you're cruising the neighborhood, few chrisakes!

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

Jeez, Steve. Now you're just showing off. Knowing my fair share of professional artists, I'll bet this guy just painted a car he thought looked cool, and was probably influenced by stuff he saw on the highways of the time. It's surprising how many artists aren't car guys.

Based on your immeasurable knowledge of autolore, you should be called "Steve Jeez". So let it be written.

Thanks for commenting! Y'all come back now.


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