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The Future Is Now (1955)

This short goes inside government research laboratories to showcase some of the products that will be used in the near future. Some are for general use, such as computerized assembly lines,... See full summary »

Director:

Larry O'Reilly

Writer:

Burton Benjamin

Star:

Dwight Weist
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Dwight Weist ... Narrator (voice)
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Storyline

This short goes inside government research laboratories to showcase some of the products that will be used in the near future. Some are for general use, such as computerized assembly lines, nuclear energy and solar powered batteries, and industrial uses for television. Others are consumer products, including video telephones, videotape to make instant home movies, irradiated food, and fully automated kitchens. Written by David Glagovsky <dglagovsky@prodigy.net>

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Genres:

Documentary | Short

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Quotes

Narrator: There are other interesting possibilities ahead. Preserving food by gamma rays, instead of refrigeration. Cooking meals in 60 seconds by radio frequency. Washing dishes with ultra sonic waves.
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Soundtracks

Gwine to Rune All Night
(uncredited)
aka "De Camptown Races"
Written by Stephen Foster
Performed by a music synthesizer
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User Reviews

 
Amazingly Prescient
9 September 2019 | by john_meyerSee all my reviews

I have read dozens of books and seen at least that many movies that attempt to envision the future. Most miss the mark wildly. Of those which don't, they usually only get one or two things right, like Jules Verne predicting the submarine, or Star Trek showing the "communicator," long before every person on earth had his/her own cell phone.

The rest of the "predictions" in these movies or books usually completely miss the mark, like the Star Trek transporter, as one example.

The worst record for inaccuracy, however, usually goes to those who attempt to specifically predict the future, rather than just showing some idea as a plot device. I was alive at the time this film was made, and many people were predicting flying cars (like we saw ten years later in "The Jetsons."). Chester Gould kept predicting flying ships that used antigravity to stay in the air.

By contrast, this show accurately predicts videotape, three years before Ampex brought the first successful video recorder to market (the 2" Quadruplex broadcast tape recorder in 1958). It shows home video recording twenty years before it happened with the first Betamax. We see home videophones over thirty years before Skype (and later, Facetime) brought it to the masses.

It correctly predicts the microwave oven which also didn't happen for another twenty years, in the early 1970s.

They even showed a woman in a kitchen getting her recipes from a video card catalog, very much like many people cook using recipes they display on their tablet or phone.

One segment shows what amounts to an early MIDI sequencer, a forerunner of the MOOG synthesizer and Melotron both of which didn't happen until the late 1960s.

Some of the things are just happening now, like their prediction of remote surgeries, where the doctor and patient are separated by thousands of miles.

Even small things, like the prediction that we'd have ice dispensers that would dispense both cubes and crushed ice is something I didn't see in homes until the early 1970s.

Most amazing to me -- and it is worth seeing just for this one segment -- is its statement that "many scientists" believe that the future of energy production is direct energy from the sun via solar cells. This is mind blowing given that this was the heyday for nuclear power, and much of the last part of the short describes all the wonders of the atom. I didn't think the silicon solar cell was invented for another five years, but they show a small prototype generating enough energy to move the needle on a galvanometer.

Some of the prediction are less stunning, but in light of the other things they got right, they add to the film's credibility. These include the prediction that the just-invented transistor would help miniaturize electronics, and that the computer would improve manufacturing precision and productivity.

They didn't get much wrong, although since this was the "atomic age," the movie does go a little overboard in predicting that we'd all embrace things like irradiated food. This did happen, and it is perfectly safe, but people got spooked because of all the scare B-movies about monsters created by radiation from the atomic bomb.

I really enjoyed this short and highly recommend it to anyone wanting to see the rare movie that somehow is able to correctly see and predict the future.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 September 1955 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

RKO-Pathe Specials (1955-1956 season) #1: The Future Is Now See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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