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Science FICTION Reviews


We start this weeks review of the 1930 ‘Just Imagine’ which is 90 years old today with the attached Title card. This was a Talkie, but Title cards were still used at critical points, it sometimes hard to break a habit of 40 years. The film tries to use the changes from 1880 through to 1930 to anticipate what 1980 would be like, later today and through this week we’ll look at a lot of interesting technology, but for now we’re just looking at this Title Card which stated;
“… when everyone is a number…” and “the Government tells you whom to marry…”
The latter wasn’t a surprising assumption in prohibition America, this film followed 17 years of increasingly strict marriage laws, by 1929 all States required a Marriage Licence, meaning that officials could decide who you could not marry, with many mixed race marriages nullified by new laws. So the idea that the Government would move to more instructive Marriage rules, where women have no say what so ever, is the result is no surprise.
Numbers are an interesting one, predating the idea of usernames by decades. Not only that but it was 6 years prior to the first issue of Social Security Cards, the start of numbers being assigned to people. ‘Just Imagine’ postulated that by 1980 babies will be provided with State assigned identifications and not names, identifications like LN-18, J-21 and D-6. The simple nature of these numbers indicates to me that this is only a part of their overall username style identification, predating social security numbers. It’s a nice leap and just one the demonstrates why this is an amazing film depicting a future now past.

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