Friday, December 7, 2007

Electro, the Smoking Robot, and Other Stories from the 1939 New York World's Fair

Why, hello there!

It's been a blur around here. I spent the past week researching and writing an epic term paper on chubbiness and consumerism among young teenage girls during World War II. And yes. It was exactly as crazy as it sounds.

...I love history.

Speaking of history: something brilliant happened this week in my RSS feed reader. Everything I love converged at a single point on the Internet, and that point was this 55-minute promotional film for the 1939 New York World's Fair.

And yes. It is exactly as amazing as it sounds.

Haven't had time to watch the whole thing yet, but I'm inclined to save it for a rainy day. Just listen to this description, courtesy of the Prelinger Archive of ephemeral films:
This drama illustrates the contribution of free enterprise, technology, and Westinghouse products to the American way of life. The Middleton Family at the New York World's Fair pits an anti-capitalist bohemian artist boyfriend against an all-American electrical engineer who believes in improving society by working through corporations. The Middletons experience Westinghouse's technological marvels at the Fair and win back their daughter from her leftist boyfriend.

Memorable moments: the dishwashing contest between Mrs. Modern and Mrs. Drudge; Electro, the smoking robot; and the Westinghouse time capsule.
Did you hear that? It's the sound of my heart skipping a beat.

My discovery of this outstanding contribution to society was all thanks to the Prelinger Archive's RSS feed, which notified me of its appearance. And, considering that the film is stored online at the Prelinger Archive and that it involves the 1939 New York World's Fair—i.e. my favorite world's fair of all time—I do believe it connects to not one, not two, but three of my posts from November.

It all feels almost too fortuitous. At this point, the Prelinger Archive might as well just go ahead and upload an operating time machine. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they did. Because, honestly? I don't see how else they're going to follow this act.


Annemarie said...

i LOVE electro the smoking robot! we watched that in 'things that move.'

the more i think about it, the more i think you and despina should hang.

Julie H. said...

You may also be interested in another film that is coming to DVD on April 8, 2008. The film is called Westinghouse and covers many of the topics you mention here - Electro, 1939 World's Fair and more. Check out a trailer at