Monday, March 26, 2007

Memphis: Back to the Future

Posted By on Mon, Mar 26, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Memphis, like so many cities today, is a community beset with problems. Crime seems out of control, our transportation system seems to operating at maximum capacity, and we still fret about diseases that should have been brought under control decades ago (such as the flu). Sometimes it’s just too much trouble to get through the day.

Well, years ago the world’s top scientists put these same issues under the microscope and came up with some innovative, if not downright bizarre solutions. And now, thanks to a company called Synchronicity, we can take a look at the "World of Tomorrow," as people in the 1950s envisioned it might be.

Fresh from Hollywood's historic film vault, the POPULAR SCIENCE Cinema Series is now available. These extraordinary, rare and timeless film shorts, produced with the cooperation of the editors of Popular Science magazine, brought the “future” to over 100 million information-hungry moviegoers during the Golden Age of Hollywood each week.

Originally produced in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s as entertainment novelties and shown before Paramount Pictures’ major feature film releases, these wonderfully retro cinema shorts contain thousands of iconic images of inventions, scientific breakthroughs, lifestyles and American pop culture — “The Birth of TV Dinners,” “The Space Age Ice Gun with Bullet Ice Trays,” “The Batchelor Gal Pad,” “The Flying Wing,” “The Angora Swimsuit,” “The All Glass Bathroom,” “The Hitchhikers Secret Suitcase,” “Moon Rockets,” “The Three-Wheeled Car” and many, many more.

Some are awe-inspiring, others more whimsical, and some downright bizarre, but all possess a unique, retro and inimitable quality that sets them apart. These films capture the wide-eyed wonder of American ingenuity and optimism as the country began to dream about what technology had in store for us and our future.

The series has been digitally restored by Shields Pictures, owners of the original archival 35mm silver nitrate Masters. “Because these films were shot in full 35mm film Magnacolor, high-resolution images can be extracted to create fabulous retro pictures and products," explains Cynthia Hall Domine, president of Synchronicity, Shields Pictures’ licensing agent. "It’s yesterday’s World of Tomorrow — today."

Learn more here.

— Michael Finger

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