Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Scientists of the World of Tomorrow

The Middleton Family has returned to Boom-Pop!  They were the wholly fictitious family created by Westinghouse Electric to promote its pavilion at the 1939 New York World's Fair.  The family's primary showcase was the fifty-five minute film The Middleton Family at the New York World's Fair, but their celluloid adventures were mirrored in a series of magazine advertisements published throughout the Fair's first season in 1939.  This particular ad was featured in the August 7, 1939 issue of Life magazine and chronicled young Bud Middleton as he visited the Junior Science Laboratories, one of the attractions inside the Westinghouse Electric Pavilion.

The text shown on the right side of the ad is as follows:
The Junior Science Laboratories at the Westinghouse Building leave a deep impression with the Middleton family — especially Bud, who has now decided to abandon his ambitions to lead a swing band in favor of an electrical engineering career. You, too, will enjoy seeing and talking with these scientists of the future. They are school children, 12 to 18 years old, whose projects in varied branches of science are carried on with the help of the American Institute of the City of New York. Don't miss this feature of the Westinghouse exhibit in the World of Tomorrow.

Yes, indeed! One visit to the Westinghouse exhibits and Bud quickly abandoned his dream of a career in music in favor of electrical engineering.  The corresponding scene from the film features actors Jimmy Lydon (Bud), Harry Shannon (Mr. Middleton) and Douglas Stark (Jim Treadway).  The Treadway character is not identified by name in the advertisement; in the film he is portrayed as a passionate advocate for free market capitalism and ultimately wins the affection of the beautiful Babs Middleton who was being lead astray by Nicholas Makaroff.  The Makaroff character is presented as an embittered and frustrated socialist who despises the Fair and everything it represents.

Explore the Boom-Pop! Archives:
You'll Remember the Westinghouse Building as Long as You Live