One of the highlights of the 1939 World’s Fair was a massive exhibit called “Futurama,” created by General Motors. It promised that within twenty years the working man would live in a glorious future filled with friendly suburbs, gleaming skyscrapers, and extensive highways—all of this made possible by the comfort and convenience of the personal car.
More than 75 years later, most of us are living in the car-centric future prophesied at the World’s Fair, but it is not quite the utopia GM envisioned. Pollution, traffic congestion, and the looming end to fossil fuels leave us wondering: What comes next?
If the Solstice Parade and Pride festivities have you all worn out and you’re planning to take it easy next weekend, come on over to the Greenwood Car Show! Take a leisurely stroll down Greenwood Ave N. on Saturday, June 30th, where you’ll be able to drool over 1.5 miles of hot rods, collector cars, antique gems and modern masterpieces. While you’re there, swing by the Greenwood Library on 81st and Greenwood Ave N., where we’ll be stocked up on car books and movies for all ages!
You can also get a head start by requesting some of these fun films today:
Nothing says summer like a good old-fashioned car chase movie. The French Connection includes one of the most iconic car chases in film history, where a 1971 Pontiac Le Mans pursues an elevated train through Brooklyn. Or maybe it’s time to revisit Bullitt, in which Steve McQueen roars through the hills of San Francisco in a 1968 Ford Mustang, sealing his place as one of the coolest guys in film history. If you’re wondering where all the women are, look no further than Death Proof. One and a half hours of Quentin Tarantino’s trademark snappy dialogue concludes with one of the most thrilling and satisfying car chases ever. Honorable mention goes to the The Italian Job (1969), a silly British caper film involving three Mini Coopers. Compared to Mustangs and Pontiacs, these little cars are just so darn cute. Plus, they can weave through the buildings (and pipes!) of Turin like no other car can.
If one too many car chases has desensitized you to that kind of thrill, get your heart racing with a horror movie. A product of Stephen King’s and John Carpenter’s sick imaginations, Christine is the love story of a teenager and his demonically possessed – and extremely possessive – 1958 Plymouth Fury. This unstoppable car from hell stops at nothing to make sure that no one gets between her and her man. Not scared yet? Try Duel, in which a mysterious tanker truck relentlessly stalks a single unlucky motorist down a remote road. The omnipresence of the tanker leaves little time to figure out WHY this is happening, and ultimately it is this lack of any kind of explanation that makes the pursuit so horrifying.
If you’re looking for less mayhem and more family-friendly viewing, try The Love Bug, which follows the adventures of Herbie, a VW Beetle who loves to race. And if you fall in love with this funny little car, there are several more Herbie movies to enjoy! The 60’s also produced such gems as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Absent-minded Professor, both of which involve offbeat gentlemen adapting their vehicles to do magical things. (Of course, if that’s what you’re looking for you could just watch Back to the Future for the millionth time). Sure, these aren’t as flashy as Speed Racer or Cars, but they’ll give you an evening of wholesome family fun nonetheless.
A wise man once said “cars are the dinosaurs of tomorrow,” and despite their powers to destroy all of mankind, both are still pretty cool. So snuggle up with a bowl of Orville Redenbacher and hunker down with a classic car or two.