Retrofuturist Flashback: Tex Avery's Tomorrow


American animator Tex Avery (1908-1980) made these four "World of Tomorrow" shorts for MGM between 1949 and 1954, all spoofing the very sort of future-gazing promotional content we enjoy here in the Retofuturist Flashback series. Here we see "House of Tomorrow," "Car of Tomorrow," "TV of Tomorrow" and "Farm of Tomorrow," all in one video -- at least until MGM orders it taken down.

The shorts are loaded with absurd futurist humor, much of which holds up well today. But of course they also hit us over the head with jokes about murdering your mother-in-law and the occasional dose of 1950s-style sexism and racism. Prepare for some particularly cringe-worthy moments in "Car of the Future," as it features both implied sexual assault and derogatory Native American and Chinese stereotypes.

But hey, this all comes with the territory of re-seeing the future from the vantage point of the past.


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.