Previously, I showed a clip featuring what people thought the world would be like in the future. Doing a little more digging, I found the original film: 1999 AD.  Here’s more information about the film and where it came from.


Previously in Classics Rock, I showed a video clip that displayed how people living in 1969 viewed computers in the future. In the comment section of that blog entry, TechRepublic member DFP027 pointed out that the husband in the film looked like perennial TV Game Show host Wink Martindale. That’s because it was!

Doing a little digging, I discovered that video clip came from a film called 1999 AD. Here’s a news report from a CBS affiliate discussing 1999 AD with Wink Martindale himself.

Brought to you by Philco

1999 AD was a film created by Philco in 1967, not 1969 as I had mentioned in the previous Classics  Rock entry. It was to celebrate the company’s 75th anniversary by showing how electronics were going to change how Americans would live in a short 32 years.

Philco itself started off as a maker of carbon-arc lamps in 1892. After the turn of the twentieth century, they started making batteries for electric cars. Where Philco became most famous, however, was as a radio manufacturer. Philco was one of the top makers of radios during the 1930s and 40s.

If you ever saw a radio in an old black-and-white movie of the era, chances are it was a Philco. I actually have a 1941 Philco radio that will pick up AM and Shortwave radio. Naturally it’s all tubes on the inside, but it still works just fine.

Philco did more than just radios. Philco went on to produce other electronic items such as car radios, TVs, refrigerators, air conditioners, electric washers, dryers, and deep freezes. The Philco brand was as common as GE, Sony, and LG are today for home electronics.

Beyond home electronics, Philco produced electronics for NASA as well, including components for Project Mercury. A 1962 Philco computer ran in NORAD’s Cheyenne Mountain defense until 1980.

Philco was bought by Ford in 1961. Phillips Electronics purchased Philco from Ford in 1981, primarily for the name brand. By then Philco was pretty nonexistent as a big name brand, but they owned the Phillips trademark in the United States. Phillips occasionally uses the Philco name today for products and has licensed it out to other OEMs to produce TVs and digital TV converter boxes. This is a modern trend where companies having nothing to do with the original company trade off of an old-school name, much like the Westinghouse brand of TVs and monitors.

More than computers in the future

1999 AD talked about other things in the future than just computing. It discussed things we’d recognize today as big screen plasma TVs, microwave ovens, and frozen food. Some of the things it didn’t get right were the flying cars, modular homes, and the basic culture.

I found some additional clips if you want to see more of 1999 AD:

Be warned that the movie is very slow paced and features lots of bad 60’s film music and editing. The quality of the captures also leave much to be desired.

If you want to actually own your own copy of 1999 AD, you can find it as part of  a DVD set called Yesterday’s Tomorrow Today. It includes other futuristic classics as Man-Made Man, Miracle of the Mind, and Future Shock.