Just Imagine

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Just ImagineHugh Ferriss

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1930s imagining of 1980s New York in the sci-fi musical Just Imagine (1930, dir. David Butler) (via)

Designed by art director Stephen Goosson, the city set was an elaborate miniature model that covered a ground area of 75 x 225 feet and whose tallest tower measured 40 feet.

Just Imagine’s New York was primarily inspired by architect Harvey Corbett’s prediction that 1970’s New York would resemble a “very modernized Venice” and by the futuristic urban designs presented in Hugh Ferriss’s 1929 book, The Metropolis of Tomorrow.

Ferriss’s drawings of the ”business center of the future” (pictures #3-5) provided the most direct inspiration for Goosson’s sets. Broad superhighways establish a geometric ground plan that extends upward through overlapping levels of bridges, streets, and terraced walkways. The grid of streets and bridges is pierced by huge freestanding skyscrapers surrounded by lower setback buildings, a design Ferriss created as an analogy to the natural world of “towering mountain peaks… surrounded by foothills”

The opening scenes of the (otherwise mediocre) film, which feature this cityscape, can be seen here.

More on the building of the Just Imagine set. Collection of Hugh Ferriss’s futuristic city sketches here.

"There is nothing more musical than a sunset."-Claude Debussy

Tonight I rode off into the sunset.

It’s true. Char and I realized we had a golden opportunity to saddle up this late afternoon and enjoy a little January thaw ride. We groomed and round-penned Izzy & Ruger Jac, then tacked up and took off. By the time we got to the other side of our driveway, Good God gave us a glorious sunset. As we turned into the big field, the colors of what I think of as apricot preserves started to transform into rose pink shades. Deep Larkspur and Delphinium purple-y blues prepared to fill the rest of the sky at twilight.

It was exquisite. A gift.

But we had to return, naturally, so at a certain point we picked our way back east. The rest of the barnyard was happy to see us return in time to serve dinner, and our ponies that served us so well were given a special treat.

Music is a mysterious mathematical process whose elements are part of Infinity. … There is nothing more musical than a sunset. He who feels what he sees will find no more beautiful example of development in all that book which, alas, musicians read but too little — the book of Nature.”

– Claude Debussy, as quoted in The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music (1996) by Don Michael Randel