Monday, July 26, 2010

Pastel Pajamas and Future Cities

One reason why I liked EPCOT so much as kid was because it reminded me of something else I loved: Star Trek. EPCOT Center of the 80s and the Star Trek films of that same period shared remarkably similar design aesthetics. How similar? Well, take a look at some of the Cast Member costumes for CommuniCore circa 1982:

communicoreuniforms        Image borrowed from ImagineeringDisney

. . . and notice how they bear more than a passing resemblance to this:


The costumes for the late-70s TV series Space: 1999 share the same aesthetic. Pastel pajamas were once considered to be very futuristic. But the similarity between early-80s Star Trek and early-80s EPCOT didn’t stop with the wardrobe. Compare Horizons’ apartment of the future . . .


. . . with Admiral Kirk’s apartment in a 23rd century San Francisco high-rise:


The Horizons apartment looks a little more futuristic (probably because the EPCOT guys had a bigger budget than the production staff of Star Trek II did) but the similarities are quite strong.

Finally, compare the architecture of Future World (and the view outside the narrators’ apartment in Horizons) to this view of 23rd century San Francisco from Star Trek IV:


Is is just me, or do the geometrically-shaped buildings remind one of Future World?

In June 1984 I saw my first Star Trek film, The Search for Spock. I had only ever seen the television show before then, (usually on my family’s 15-inch black-and-white-TV) so needless to say it make quite an impression on my six-year-old self. Three months later, in September, my first trip to EPCOT Center made an even stronger impression. Their aesthetic similarities made being in Future World feel like a walk though 23rd century San Francisco. Horizons’ scenes of futuristic living seemed to fit in well with the Star Trek movie universe, too. It seemed like I was seeing the stuff that was hidden just beyond the edges of the movie screen. The early ‘80s were an interesting time. Space adventure films were in vogue thanks to the success of Star Wars, and the new Space Shuttle seemed poised to make space travel routine. It was a fantastic treat to be able to see EPCOT Center while its vision of the future was still “current”. I’ll never forget it.

Well, I’m continuing to make little tweaks to the layout here. The background image I’m using is 1600 pixels wide, which may very well be narrower than the horizontal resolution of the monitors many of you are using. So, if you’re seeing white space along the left and right edges of the page, please leave a comment telling me what resolution you’re using, and I’ll try to adjust the background image accordingly.

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