Space, the next frontier, had to be sold just like cars and cigarettes back in the 1950s. “At the dawn of the space age,” writes Eve Lichgarn, “emerging aerospace companies sought to appeal to level-headed engineers, scientists, and technicians by utilizing mind blowing astro-art recruitment ads in industry magazines. While the text of these employment entreaties spoke of such button-down tools as photo-electro-magnetic cells, solid state multicouplers, transducers and magnetohydrodynamics systems, the accompanying artwork seduced with surreal images of bodies floating in inky blackness, dismembered hands grasping at the Moon, colossal mountain ranges on unknown planets, and optical atomic art. It was an era when the slide rule entered the Twilight Zone.”
Lichgarn is writing about Another Science Fiction: Advertising the Space Race 1957-1962 by Megan Prelinger, published by Blast Books. The visually rich book is a collection of advertisements for aerospace and kindred companies. Some were futuristic, while others were expressionistic, but it was science reality and fiction rolled into one. It took a lot of mad men to make space flight sexy. Wasn’t the future wonderful?
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