On January 2, 1951, the Rex Morgan, M.D. comic strip featured a New Year’s greeting insisting to readers that time is measured by progress instead of simply by years. And it’s not a bad thought! But looking at the “headlines of the future” from 1951, one can’t help but be a little bummed out.
Miracle Drug Cures Multiple Sclerosis! Cancer Cure Found! Polio Vaccine Discovered!
1) No. 2) Not really. And 3) Sure, but we could legitimately see a resurgence of polio if we’re not careful. Over half a century later, we’re still waiting on so many of these predictions to come true.
On the other hand, we have pretty much licked Hansen’s Disease (otherwise known as leprosy) in the United States. And our antibiotic treatment of tuberculosis is pretty damn good. But I guess “great strides” in fighting heart disease is certainly open to interpretation.
Life expectancy is certainly better than it was in 1951. But there’s nothing quite like old, optimistic predictions for the future to remind you just how far humanity has yet to go.
Picture: From the January 2, 1951 issue of the News-Palladium in Michigan