Valentine’s Day is a divisive holiday, but whether you’re for or against a holiday of hearts and love, I think we can all agree that these cheesy vintage Valentines are “out of this world.” Featuring retro robots, vintage astronauts, and cheesy messages, these images are a nostalgic reminder of exchanging Valentines in elementary school. In addition to a nice trip down memory lane, many of these Valentines are perfect to print out and give to your beloved for a day of retro love.
This lady astronaut proclaims “You are out of this world!” (At least she’s dressed practically for space travel!)
A couple years ago, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory released a line of retro-style travel posters known as “Visions of the Future.” These vintage style posters were gorgeous imaginings of traveling to distant planets and systems. (The posters are available for free download here.) Like many vintage sci-fi fans, I fell absolutely in love with these imaginative posters advertising opportunities to travel to places I’d dreamed of, like Mars, Jupiter, and Venus.
The holiday shopping season is upon us and all the ads and websites pushing toys and gadgets for this year make me feel like we’re living in a technological dystopia. From the kid’s Think and Learn Smart Cycle that just looks like training for Black Mirror’s “Fifteen Million Merits” to the FrontRow Wearable Lifestyle Camera that brings the surveillance state to your own body, I am missing simpler times. And of course, the simpler time I’m missing is from before I was born.
Tin toys first came into existence in the mid 19th century as a substitute for wooden toys. They were cheap to make from durable tinplate, manufactured in Germany originally and then in the US in the early 1900s. Once World War II started, the materials needed to produce the toys were diverted for the war effort and Japan became the main manufacturer of tin toys through the 1950s. After that, plastic toys became all the rage because they were cheaper to manufacture and easily met new government safety regulations. (Read all about their history on Wikipedia.)
Many parents and grandparents remember their tin toys fondly, especially the space and robot-themed toys that remain popular among vintage collectors today. Luckily, there are many retro-style tin toys still being manufactured today that are affordable for regular consumers looking for a little nostalgia. Good for kids, collectors, or a meaningful gift for Dad or Grandad, let’s take a walk down memory lane and enjoy these retro sci-fi themed tin toys.
Robby the Robot Inspired Tin Toy
One of the most famous robots from the 1950s and 60s, this tin toy is based on Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet. While it’s also available in red, the black version looks the most like the classic robot. This is a wind-up toy, but it’s meant for collectors to display rather than for children to play with. Continue reading “20 Retro Scifi Tin Toys to Take You Back to Simpler Days”
I love modern films that use retrofuturist visuals and this short film has that in spades. “Over the Moon” is an alternative history short film about the first woman to walk on the moon in 1957. It follows her adventures as she tries to prevent the 1969 moon landing.
The main character, Connie Radar, leads this comedic story with her sidekick Julius–a robot she built. You can watch the 7 minute short film below:
Many people of my generation (and the previous one) are nostalgic about Disney, whether they have memories from going to Disneyland as a child, watching Disney Specials on TV, or fondly recalling the animated movies of your childhood. For me, though, most of my Disney nostalgia has to do with Walt Disney’s futurism, which all happened long before I was born.
This independent documentary by CM Films called Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow: The Futurism of Walt Disney dives deep into the technologies Walt Disney used and developed over the course of his life. They cover his animation technology, his educational TV shows, and even the experimental city he originally envisioned EPCOT to be. The film utilizes vintage archival footage that any retrofuturist will love, while exploring the history of Disney’s visions and developments through expert interviews from people who worked on the projects.
The full-length documentary is available to stream for free on Youtube:
If you’re not as interested in the history of Walt’s animation achievements, the documentary starts discussing the development, construction, and early days of Disneyland at 48:30, and the futurism of Tomorrowland in the park and the TV show at 58:00. This section talks about how the TV show was designed to be “science factual” to show viewers technology in development and how we would travel in space. There’s beautiful vintage footage of these retrofuturist visions from the “Man in Space” TV program. Check out some awesome screencaps below:
I hate feminine hygiene ads. Modern ones are ridiculous and vintage ads are cringeworthy. But I discovered half of this ad on Pinterest today and I was so intrigued that something so epic was ever created and published in magazines that I had to find out more.
This lady is fierce. She is an astronaut. She is a pioneer. She has fabulously styled hair. Ain’t no period gonna hold her back in her advancement in a male dominated field.
And then I found the other half of the ad.
Her friend is less adventurous: a DJ heading to spin some discs at a retro-future themed rave.
I understand why the first image is the most shared of this vintage two-page advertisement, with the courages space-age styled astronaut and less repetitive use of the word “napkin”.
I found this gem of a retrofuturistic movie clip today from the 1958 German film Bühne frei für Marika (translated to Stage Free for Marika). The musical comedy stars German triple-threat Marika Rökk as a former dancer who has recently divorced her husband and is trying to re-start her career. The only plot summary I could find was in German, and even with Google Translate it was a little tricky to figure out how this video comes into play, though it seems she’s starring in a sci-fi themed musical.
The clip is of a song called Mir ist so Langweilig (translated to: I’m so Bored). In it Marika is an alien girl living on a planet entirely populated by portly men with antenas on their heads. And they are boring. As she laments her uneventful existence, she notices through her telescope the awesome fun dance party people are having on Earth and takes off in a rocket to join in the fun. Continue reading “A Bored Alien Travels to Earth in a 1958 German Musical”
These vintage sci-fi themed advertisements from 1968 for a now defunct product-line called Tomorrow’s Lestoil display some slick atom-punk style space suits and some outdated projections about women’s roles on the Moon. (For modern times, we are stuck with just general Lestoil.)
Unfortunately, women have yet to set foot on the Moon, and Lestoil’s hope to dominate the lunar home-cleaning market also did not come to fruition (in fact, the 12 men we’ve sent to the Moon have done no cleaning and have actually dirtied up the place).
While I love the design of the helmet, the practicality of it comes into question as it’s not air-tight and she’s not even wearing gloves. I wonder if this is another failed prediction on the part of Lestoil’s marketing department, attempting to kick-start helmet based fashion trends of the future, once our domed moon cities make space suits unnecessary.
At least Mom is making Junior responsible for his messy Martian friend…
Discovered this great photoset on Flickr today: The World of the Future: Future Cities from 1979.
Right off the bat I love the foresight of the solar-heated houses and the smart-ish wristwatch (though who would want to watch TV on such a small screen?).
The Home of the Future
The living room of the future, complete with a wall television (check), video phone (check-ish, if we count smart phones), antique film camera (check, especially if the guy in the back is film student using a Bolex), and bowl of fruit (check).
The technology I wish we had: drink serving robotic companion and that spaceship control panel-looking media center (do you think it plays records or is the laserdisc player of our dreams?).
The headphones, record collection, and Bolex camera in the back do make me wonder if we’re peaking into the home of future hipsters. Maybe those jumpsuits are the latest hipster fashion trend?
Perhaps the Russians have secret plans to send cosmonauts… (….maybe?)
The moonbase, appropriately named after Neil Armstrong and expected to be fully established by the year 2000. This underground base would be established for the noble purpose of mining the Moon of all of its natural resources and making money for the “Moonie” run corporations.