Retrofuturist Flashback: Airport 1985

In the year 1985... © Bettmann/CORBIS

You may remember 1985 as the year "Back to the Future" hit theaters.* Marty McFly and Doc Brown took us on a time-traveling journey all the way back to 1955 and hilarity ensued.

Interestingly enough. today's slice of yesteryear futurism takes us on the reverse journey, as we see how denizens of 1955 envisioned the high-tech airports of 1985.

Obviously they missed the mark a bit with this Jetsony pipe dream. Let's read the original caption:

America's big commercial airports may look like this in 1985 based on predictions of leading aeronautical and astronomy scientists in a symposium sponsored by Trans-World Airways, as part of the airlines' thirtieth-anniversary program. In the 1986 airport model, above, the airliner on the ground at right of transparent domed passenger lounge is not too different from today's transport except for a different wing design.

That airliner still looks pretty spacey if you ask me. I love how the caption completely skips over the rocket ships.

Of course there will be rocket ships. We're talking about 1985!

* We also got "Return of the Living Dead," "Brazil," "Clue," "Legend," "The Goonies" and "Weird Science," so there!

About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.