Fritz Kuhn was a despicable man. But he and his fellow Nazi followers in the United States thought he had a valuable reputation to protect. Which is why Kuhn sued Warner Bros. for libel in 1939 after the Hollywood studio released a film called Confessions of a Nazi Spy.
Tagged With paleofuture
You’re probably familiar with the old sayings, “Where’s my flying car?” and “Where’s my jetpack?” But the most depressing question for plenty of space nerds from the 20th century might be, “Where’s my holiday on the Moon?” And I just got really depressed reading a paper from 1987 about the space travel advances we were supposed to have by 2013.
Did you ever imagine what the future would be like when you were a kid? We all did. Some of us were obsessed with jetpacks and robots, while others dreamed of videophones and space travel. It was “all of the above” for two kids in Reynoldsville, Pennsylvania, who imagined what the futuristic world of 1999 would look like in 1975.
The world of invention is famous for its patent disputes. But what happens when your dispute wasn’t with another inventor but whether the Patent Office saw you as a person at all? In 1864, a black man named Benjamin T. Montgomery tried to patent his new propeller for steamboats. The Patent Office said that he wasn’t allowed to patent his invention. All because he was enslaved.
Phone calls here in 2018 seem to be rarer and rarer, especially with younger people. But most of us still know basic phone etiquette, like saying “hello” when you answer the phone, and not hanging up without some kind of goodbye. But in case you’ve forgotten, here’s a helpful guide from 1950 that was produced by a phone company—complete with some silly retro advice.
Americans who opened the newspaper on 5 January 1961, were greeted with an article by Associated Press science writer John Barbour. He described the futuristic world of the year 2000 and the great medical advances that would be achieved by then. And quite frankly, reading about all of the medical miracles we were supposed to see by now is really bumming me out.
Never say never. Thomas Edison was both a great inventor and an amusing prognosticator. But nobody, no matter how smart, knows the future. And that goes for Edison as well. Back in 1894, Edison predicted that transatlantic phone calls would be impossible. But his doubts would prove silly roughly 30 years later when the first transatlantic phone call was completed in 1927.
Back in the 1950s and 60s, the American government’s foreign propaganda arm, the U.S. Information Agency (USIA), invented fake names for journalists to plant stories in newspapers. In 2016, I wrote about Guy Sims Fitch, just one of the pseudonyms that was used globally. But I recently stumbled upon a few more names that might be helpful for people interested in Cold War history.
Alvin Toffler, who died in 2016, will be remembered for his many contributions to the work of futurism. Toffler was a prolific writer, most notably the author of the 1970 best-selling book Future Shock, and a man who became friends with important figures across the political spectrum in Washington DC, including Newt Gingrich. But Toffler’s newly released 400-page FBI file, obtained by Gizmodo through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the National Archives, reveals that he was also investigated by the FBI for being a communist, something Toffler didn’t often talk about after he became a public figure.
A lot of things were supposed to kill newspapers in the 20th century. There was radio, then TV, then the internet. Somehow newspapers have survived, in one form or another. But it’s still interesting to take a look at the predictions that people of yesterday had for how the news business would change, such as this comic strip from 1913 about the newspaper of tomorrow.
When you hear about the concept of missile defence in space, your first thought might be Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defence Initiative, more commonly called Star Wars. But ideas for an invisible missile shield in the sky are much older than the 1980s. As just one example, we have this Sunday comic strip from 1959, which imagined the missile defences of the future.
When you think of jetpacks, your first thought is probably an image of some fun, carefree piece of pop culture such as The Jetsons or James Bond. Or maybe even the Super Bowl. But jetpacks were serious business for the US military in the 1960s. And, believe it or not, there were plenty of futuristic ideas that involved deploying jetpacks on the battlefield in Vietnam.
Have you ever seen a kid take a marker or crayons to a phone or iPad? If so, you might be able to imagine what it was like to see kids of the 1950s drawing all over the fantastic new technology of the day: television. But in at least some cases, this wasn’t a horrifying mistake. The person on the TV screen told them to do it—provided they had purchased the “magic screen” protector, of course.
Do you know WWII veteran Richard Silagy or his family? Silagy lived in Cleveland, Ohio, sometime after World War II and hid a time capsule filled with personal items in his home. The time capsule was recently discovered by a housing contractor doing improvements on the house, but a search online for Silagy or any living relatives has been a failure. The contractor is now turning to the public for help.
One of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most famous mansions, known as the Ennis House, is up for sale in east Los Angeles. And even if you don’t know the house, you certainly know the movies that the famous building has appeared in, including Blade Runner (1982), The House on Haunted Hill (1959) and The Replacement Killers (1998). The 560m2 house can be yours for the low price of just $US23 million ($31 million).