Sunday, 17 January 2021

Tralfaz Sunday Theatre—Electric Home of Tomorrow

In 1957, power companies and manufacturers joined forces to come up with the Live Better Electrically Medallion Home programme. It was promoted as making new homes meet basic electrical appliance, housepower and lighting standards in exchange for a bronze certification medallion. It was actually an attempt to get people to buy more and more electric appliances and thus use more power (and be billed for it, of course).

One of the companies that jumped on board was Westinghouse, which came up with a number of short films to tell us all about the wonderous House of Tomorrow.

To be honest, Tex Avery’s animated The House of Tomorrow released at the start of the ‘50s is more fun than this short, but we do get Betty Furness reading cue cards and the Capitol Hi-Q library in the background. Furness was a long-time Westinghouse paid shill, but she tells us she’s just “covering stories.” Right.

Unfortunately, a search through Business Screen magazine didn’t reveal any clues about this film, such as who produced it and when.

Regardless, I’m pretty much a sucker for anything from the ‘50s that looks into gadgetry of the future that’ll make our lives so much cheerier. There’s never a mess anywhere. And we have a housewife with TWO strings of pearls!

Since you’ll want to know, the first cue as the visitors walk toward the ranch house (and isn’t hubby excited when he walks inside!) is TC-435 Light Underscore by Bill Loose and John Seely. When the camera pans over the “entertainment centre” and to the “weather control centre” is that a balalaika mounted to the wall?), we hear TC-431 Light Activity (Loose/Seely). The “home planning centre” is revealed to us with C-8 Domestic Suburban (Loose), while appetisers cook in the oven with C-3 Domestic Children (Loose) in the background; you may remember it from several Yogi Bear cartoons. The ultra-modern slide projector, tape recorder and home movie system are explained with C-9 Domestic Suburban (Loose) enhancing the visuals. Anyway, that’s enough.

Have a look below.


  1. Thanks Yowp. Yep, it's pretty much " Ozzie and Harriet " meets " Yogi Bear " . Music cutter Frank McKelvney used TC-435 Light Underscore a lot in the " O&H " episodes after 1958. A lot of early Yogi Bear cues also. You can almost see Yogi having to deal with The Three Pigs as the Loose-Seely cuts play.Just another reason I love those old training/educational films.

  2. Just think, in 1957 there were no personal computers forecast, no DVDs, MP3s, no Google, but there were Ampro 16mm projectors built in to the walls and the average family made their own 16mm color sound movies. They must have been Eastman Kodak shareholders. Mighty short throw on that projection room too, probably had to have a 1.5 inch lens, tends to be a bit of a dim picture, but big. They had to have those 12 inch TVs in every room, too, no 65 inch screens were imagined. There was a push-button house like this in Palm Springs not too many years ago, seemed really futuristic, even had a wine bottle dispenser built in to the kitchen counters. It's been torn down now.

    1. Mark, We never made it to 16mm, but looking back, we were a Kodak family. Dad had his Brownie that you looked down at the top to snap a picture. We made home movies on Kodachrome and Ektachrome for night time shooting. Started with the classic Revere manual threading 8mm projector (( Hey! make those loops perfect around the sprocket)then finally GAF Anscovision Dual 8 sound. We saved our allowance money to buy Castle Films silent and sound 200 ft digests. If we didn't feel like pulling out the screen, a trusty white wall would do. Took six weeks for those movies to arrive, but we didn't know anything different at the time.

  3. Furness 20 years later would end up as a consumer reporter for NBC's New York affiliate, and where her past as the face of Westinghouse's TV public relations efforts was pushed as an asset, not a liability because of both her celebrity, and her position as a consumer advocate during the Johnson Administration. It was an interesting mid-life career repositioning.