Reminder: this is a Hiatal Week, so there's just less of everything. No updates. No Odds & Ends. Nothing below the fold. No long essays on tiny subjects. But there's something to repay your visit, and conversation to be had at the end.

Today: another of those urban renewal movies. Let's scold the past for falling down, lament the present for being a reflection of our society, and dream of something utopian that will look inhuman in 30 years!

Did we ever have time for this?

It's another Urban Renewal film, intented to make us excited for the wholesale destruction of urban cores. And which disinterested party would make the case?


That's the statue atop Grand Central Station, I believe. The narrator tells us that our streets are chaotic and undisciplined. Messy.

The LIFE magazine you see on the top shelf fixes the date at February, 1965; that's Albert Schweitzer, not a Mark Twain imitator.


"What do you have?" the narrator says. "Urban sprawl. The careless misuse of land. Unregulated, unrestrained. The big loud sell, on the march."

Dean! Dean of Carpet! Anyone named Dean who had a store was obliged to appear in academic garb in his ads for a while.

This must have been made before the diversity and excitement of signage became an acceptable argument. I mean . . .

It's not pretty . . .

But it's vibrant, to use their word. Right?

There's color and action, in a sense:

And the googie-influenced signage that spread from California.

What did they want to replace this ugliness? Answer after the break.





In the new non-ugly world, the narrator says, "Housing for low-income families need not be low grade."

These would be ratty and tired by the start of the 80s.

Large glass filing boxes for the poor, or corporate campus?

Doesn't matter. Form does not follow function. Form is everything. And there's just one form: RECTANGULAR.

The narrator says: "The gift of order and smart design."

Hmm. Well. Strip malls are ugly and bad, but "Detroit's Northland Mall points to the future."

The post-war dream, fulfulled.

Modern shopping must include incomprehensible scuplture, for Beauty's sake:

The mall was already ten years old by the time this film was made. It was designed by Victor Gruen, the Father of the Mall.


Macy's, the last anchor, closed on March 22, 2015, exactly 61 years to the date of the mall's opening.

It's dead. And ugly.


Exit topic: Mall memories. Have at it, and we'll see you tomorrow.



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