Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Road Ahead from Magic Highway USA

It is with great pleasure that I am finally able to present the video of "The Road Ahead" segment from the 1958 Disneyland episode Magic Highway USA. I provided background on this nifty piece of 1950s futurism in the posts The Road Ahead and Another Drive Down the Road Ahead.



Disneyana World said...

Thank you very much for finding this.

Do you know who did the voice work?

Ladytink_534 said...

Something tells me that those people won't be getting much exercise!

-- Ryan P. Wilson said...

I have been searching for this piece for years... Thanks for sharing!

Cory The Raven said...


I have no doubt that they'll have labour- and time-saving devices to do the exercise for them!

The more bits and pieces I see of this program, the more I wish it was on the Walt Disney Treasures: Tomorrowland DVD.

Jeff Pepper said...

I had to pull the post for a short time as Google Video had either intentionally or unintentionally made it inaccessible. It's back up and running so hopefully there will not be any more problems.

Anonymous said...

thank you I love this segment. I used to watch Disneyland tv show reruns at five in the morning when I was a kid. and this was my favourite. thanks for letting me see it again.

Lainey Schallock said...

Jeff... just when I think your blog can't get any better... man I love you.

Anonymous said...

I love that episode. I remember watching it years ago on the Family channel (Canadian version of the Disney Channel).

Any idea if it will ever be released on DVD??

AKA Disneynorth

Dennis said...

It's amazing that not a single one of the ideas in this video is feasible. Why would anyone think that an air conditioned glass-enclosed highway in the desert is a good idea?

Anonymous said...

Disneyana World said, "Do you know who did the voice work?"

Paul Frees, of course.

Dennis said, "It's amazing that not a single one of the ideas in this video is feasible. Why would anyone think that an air conditioned glass-enclosed highway in the desert is a good idea?"

What do you expect from cartoonists? :)

Ignore the desert highway for now. Scientific predictions of any kind are based on current knowledge. Predictions of the future are extrapolations of that knowledge. That means if new knowledge is discovered, that messes up the predictions. The farther ahead you do that, it's more likely that predictions will fail.

Science fiction, such as that of Jules Verne, is sometimes touted as making accurate predictions. But even sci-fi writers will tell you the misses vastly outnumber the hits.

So don't expect too much of things like this. Think of them more as brainstorming. It's "creative"! :)

Janet said...

Oh dear. I laughed myself silly at this. The concept of energy efficient certainly never occurred to them, did it? About the only thing that came true at all was the possibility of conducting business from your car.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to put some things in my 11/20 5:54 post.

I'm old enough to remember this show vaguely from the original broadcast. When I saw it on the Disney Channel in the 1980s, I remember marveling that they said nothing about air pollution and said very little about traffic congestion. Even at the time of the original airing both were problems in LA, though not as severe as today.

More evidence they were just blue-skying the future.

And of course, in the cartoon Dad went to work and Mom cared for the family. Even the best sci-fi of the time went with that.

Anonymous said...

The narrator for this film was not Paul Frees, but actually the voice of Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet, Marvin Miller, also an actor and voice actor from the 50's.

museum of the obsolete said...

"Dennis said...
It's amazing that not a single one of the ideas in this video is feasible."

Are you sure ?

- Intermodal freight transport involves the transportation of freight in a container or vehicle, using multiple modes of transportation (rail, ship, and truck), without any handling of the freight itself when changing modes.

- One pioneering railway was the White Pass and Yukon Route, who acquired the world's first container ship, the Clifford J. Rogers, built in 1955, and introduced containers to its railway in 1956.

- In the United States of America, starting in the 1960s the use of containers increased steadily. An example of such a major intermodal project was the $740,000,000 Port of Oakland intermodal rail facility begun in the late 1980s

- In the United States of America, rail intermodal traffic tripled between 1980 and 2002 according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR), from 3.1 million trailers and containers to 9.3 million.

Richard said...

To build on what Museum said, it's not so much that what's portrayed is unfeasible, it's that it simply has a different form that what's presented. Almost all of the stuff presented has a real-world analogue that simply "looks" or "feels" different from what's in the video.

When "looking at the future through the eyes of yesterday," focusing on details of *how* is usually a distraction from greater trends and sweep of *what.*

duramatters said...

"It's amazing that not a single one of the ideas in this video is feasible..."

What about the rear-view mirror that is a "televison"? Many trucks, rv's etc. use cameras for backing up. I am surprised our cours don't come with "blindspot" cameras, the technology is so accessible nowadays.

Brandy said...

"It's amazing that not a single one of the ideas in this video is feasible. "

And I seem to recall a thing called the Chunnel, where you can drive or take a train under the English Channel between England and France.

And my screen clearly showed a GPS sort of tracking system, available today in many cars.