I just came across two old Disney clips appropriate for carectomy patients. The first, Magic Highway USA (video below), I discovered via the Brazilian apocalipse motorizado – an awesome site name, and one I’d frequent if I spoke any Portuguese.
The 1958 television episode looks toward the future of American transportation. Once you dig past the kitschy sci-fi aspects, this auto-pian vision terrifyingly reveals the values which have led us to our current predicament. Everything becomes super-highway accessible – from the steepest mountains of the U.S. to the Sphinx in Egypt. Mom and son drive to a convenient parking spot in the mall where they are whisked away along a moving sidewalk. Dad’s car is lifted to within a few feet of his office desk and the film’s narrator jokes that he must then walk to work from there. The level of isolation as well as the lack of physical activity in our somewhat prescient techy-dream-future is creepy.
Disney’s pro-Auto propaganda predicts urban sprawl, boasting how automobiles will change the shape of cities by facilitating decentralized, horizontal development. Urban sprawl is shown as a boon which will allow people the space to stretch out.
Other accurate predictions include vehicles big enough to need a television for a rear-view mirror and an interactive updating navigation system (think GPS) that will help us find the way through our self-imposed mazes.
There are reasons why modern society look the way it does: conscious decisions to shape our cities around vehicles and highways. Of course the oil/auto industries wanted it to happen, but they needed companies like Disney to help push the message.
Disney’s Magic Highway USA:
I find it incredible that the same company that produced Magic Highway USA made Motor Mania eight years earlier. Not surprisingly, Disney’s “serious” treatment promotes the car as the ticket to autonomy and individual bliss. It takes a cartoon with Goofy to bring us some car-truth. In a clip that belongs with our Car Damages Your Health article, Goofy demonstrates the monstrous transition people undergo when they get behind the wheel. Disney gets soft at the end though, with parting advice along the lines of “drive nicer.”