“On a microscopic piece of sand that floats through space is a fragment of a man’s life. Left to rust is the place he lived in and the machines he used. Without use, they will disintegrate from the wind and the sand and the years that act upon them. All of Mr. Corry’s machines – including the one made in his image, kept alive by love, but now obsolete – in the Twilight Zone.”
-Rod Serling, “The Lonely”, The Twilight Zone (1959)
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.
“Like me, Antoine [in The 400 Blows] is against violence because it signifies confrontation. For me, what replaces violence is running away, not from what is essential but in order to obtain what is essential. That is what I showed in Fahrenheit 451. This is the most important aspect of the film, the apology for cunning. ‘Oh, really, so books are banned? Fine, we’ll learn them by heart!’ This is the ultimate cunning.”
“Now the questions that come to mind. Where is this place and when is it? What kind of world where ugliness is the norm and beauty the deviation from that norm? You want an answer? The answer is, it doesn’t make any difference.
Because the old saying happens to be true: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, in this year or a hundred years hence, on this planet or wherever there is human life, perhaps out amongst the stars. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. A lesson to be learned— in The Twilight Zone.”
The Twilight Zone’s crew looks on as Rod Serling performs his on-camera narration for the episode Static (1961) (via)
“As I grow older, the urge to write gets less and less. I’ve pretty much spewed out everything I have to say, none of which has been particularly monumental. I’ve written articulate stuff, reasonably bright stuff over the years, but nothing that will stand the test of time. The good writing, like wine, has to age well with the years, and my stuff is momentarily adequate.”
The Motorist (1906, R.W. Paul) (via), a silent comedy short about a couple who exceed the speed limit and fly off the face of the Earth into outer space whilst fleeing the police. Motoring through the solar system, their car touches down on the sun and goes for a spin around Saturn’s rings.