The Jetsons? If you grew up in the sixties, how could
you forget them? The Hanna-Barbera cartoon premiered on prime-time
television in September 1962 and brought the fantasies of the
Space Age into our living rooms. Flying cars, computers, robot
maids, pills for lunch and office buildings on poles were the
stuff the Jetson's world was made of.
Did you think that was just a
cartoon? Well it wasn't!
There once existed a real-life Orbit City in our midst.
It was the Space Age extravaganza called the 1964/1965 New York
World's Fair. There has never been and never will be a more Jetson-esque
world on display as what could be found on the 646 acres of Flushing
Meadows Park in the Borough of Queens, New York in 1964 and 1965.
called those years "The Space Age." It was a time when
we were in the middle of a Space Race with the Russians to see
who could put the first man on the moon and we were fighting
a Cold War with the evils of Communism. While technological advances
were exploding all around us our world was turning topsy-turvy
with an increasingly unpopular war in Southeast Asia, political
assassinations and civil unrest at home. Over it all hung the
threat that we'd be blown to smithereens in a nuclear holocaust
if someone accidentally pushed the button and the Cold War suddenly
got very hot! Is it any wonder that we imagined a future of limitless
what promise it promised to be! How about a vacation in an underwater
hotel? How about a Rocket Pack that lets you fly above the traffic?
How about a machine that makes disposable dishes on-the-spot
so that you'd never have to wash one again? How about abundant
nuclear fuel? How about a monorail to whisk you from place to
place? All of these marvels and so much more were on display
at the Fair. General Motors' Futurama told us that they
were "beyond the promise and well on their way to tomorrow's
world." Our future was going to be terrific.
if you blinked you missed it. It all ended in 1965. Orbit
City was demolished and turned into a park. The fantastic
promises of The Space Age faded into amusing anecdotes as our
society became more aware of the dark side of technology. Worries
about nuclear accidents made abundant nuclear fuel a fearsome
thing. Monorails never overcame the popularity of the automobile.
Rocket Packs were too heavy, too noisy and gas guzzlers too boot!
We worried about filling up our landfill with disposable diapers
- where would we landfill all those dirty disposable dishes?
well they were too expensive to build,
too elitist to occupy and too damp to enjoy anyway.
nywf64.com is my chance to share with you a look back at
The Space Age on display at the Fair where we could escape the
troubles of "today" and explore the wonders of the
"near tomorrow." If you're visiting for the first time,
welcome! If you're a repeat visitor, welcome back! As nywf64.com celebrates nearly twenty years on-line, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the many people who have contributed materials to this World's Fair tribute over the years. You have made the glance backwards more enjoyable by sharing your collectibles and stories with all who come here.
YOU really have become George
Jetson you know. Think about that! Maybe you're not living in
an apartment on a pole like his Space Age family did and you
don't have Rosie the Robot to help the kids with their homework,
but your world is filled with Space Age marvels like computers
and microwaves and webcams, all things displayed and predicted
in one way or another by the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair.
Critics to this day say that the fanciful predictions of the Fair made it somehow less worthy than other Fairs whose technological predictions proved to be more accurate. Fair President Robert Moses used to call such nay-sayers "grumblers, antiseptics and jaundiced-eyed grouches!" The Fair entertained. It educated. It offered the world hope for a brighter tomorrow during some very dark and scary times in history. Here's to the Fair! We still have a future of limitless promise.
to The Space Age, George Jetson!
April 22, 2018 - Our 18th year online!
All The Jetsons
illustrations are ©
Cartoons and presented here strictly for illustrative purposes