The 1977 Special Photo Issue of Us magazine has become poignant with the passage of time. The ads and the pictures on the cover are the only colour photographs in the magazine. It featured stories about the Concord, the Panama Canal, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, and a two-page photograph of a toy-maker and mountain-climber named George Willig scaling the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
‘The year 1977 brought Americans a Baptist in the White House, supersonic passenger travel and cinematic encounters with extraterrestrial beings and intergalactic warfare. What’s in store for the future?’
The ‘Speaking Out’ section was subtitled, ‘The future: no diets, less work, and we’ll retire at 47.’ Predictions by America’s leading futurologists about the year 2000 included:
– Thermostats would be set lower in the winter as ‘waste and environmental pollution will become the new sins.’
– The RAND Corporation predicted certain animals would be bred as organ donors for humans.
– The Institute for the Future in California predicted that dieting would be obsolete by 1985 because ‘specially prepared food and supplements’ would control the absorption of calories.
– The amount people spent buying cosmetics, exercise equipment, and health club memberships would double.
– The average retirement age for American workers in 2000 A.D. would be 47. By 2050 the average lifespan would be 100.
– The Red Cross predicted that heart, lung, and liver transplants would be commonplace by the 1990s.
– National parks would have wear-resistant hiking paths, electronic guide systems, and camping would be controlled by a national computerized reservation system.
-Space would be so limited that cemeteries and roof tops would be used for recreation.
-By the 1980s, people would be able to punch up train schedules, make plane reservations, and comparison shop on mini-computers which hooked up to their television sets. By the millennium, facsimile newspapers and magazines would be printed at home.
-‘There will be jet-powered backpacks. Human cloning will be a reality.’
-‘Apes and other animals will be bred for low-grade labor.’