Design for Dreaming

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Design for Dreaming is a 1956 cult[1] industrial short or sponsored film of about ten minutes' length about a woman (played by dancer and choreographer Tad Tadlock; real name Thelma Tadlock) who dreams about a masked man (dancer and choreographer Marc Breaux) taking her to the 1956 General Motors Motorama at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and to Frigidaire's "Kitchen of the Future". The entirety of the dialogue is sung, though the actors do not move their lips to their characters' pre-recorded voices.

The film starts off with her in her bedroom, with the masked man suddenly appearing. He then takes her to the Motorama. After looking at several cars including Buick, Chevrolet Corvette, Oldsmobile, and Cadillacs, she is taken to the "kitchen of the future", where she bakes a cake. She then goes back to the motorama and dances the "dance of tomorrow". After looking at more cars, she and her masked man (who unmasks himself) travel on the "road of tomorrow" in the "Firebird II" and fall in love.


Tad Tadlock and Marc Breaux in "Design for Dreaming"

The film was directed by William Beaudine, produced by Victor Solow for MPO Productions, stars Tad Tadlock and Marc Breaux, and features the voice of Thurl Ravenscroft. The original music was by George Kleinsinger. It was shot in 16mm Anscocolor. GM sponsored a sequel, "A Touch of Magic", for the last Motorama in 1961.[2]

It was included a short feature in a fifth-season episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K).[3] In a related comedy sketch, the unnamed female lead is given the name "Nuveena, the Woman of the Future", and portrayed by Bridget Jones Nelson, who reprised the role in a handful of sketches in subsequent episodes.

The BBC documentary series Pandora's Box by Adam Curtis made extensive use of clips from Design for Dreaming, especially in the title sequence.[1]

Excerpts from this public domain[4] film also were featured in Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story. Part of the film, with dialogue, is played during the opening titles for The Hills Have Eyes. Some snippets (without dialogue) are played in the video watched by Michael Douglas during his physical in The Game and in the opening titles for The Stepford Wives (2004).[1]

Some footage was also used in the music video for Peter Gabriel's 1987 single "In Your Eyes",[1] Rush's 1989 music video for "Superconductor",[1] a 1989 commercial for the Nintendo Game Boy game Super Mario Land,[1] a 1994 commercial for Power Macintosh,[1] and during Nine Inch Nails concert performances.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Everleth, Rose (February 9, 2016). "What's a 1956 General Motors Ad Doing in 'The Stepford Wives' and Super Mario?". Atlas Obscura. Archived from the original on June 17, 2017. Retrieved April 28, 2018. 
  2. ^ "1956 Motorama: Design for Dreaming". General Motors Heritage Center. Archived from the original on October 21, 2017. Retrieved April 28, 2018. 
  3. ^ Mystery Science Theater 3000, "12 to the Moon" [5.24], February 5, 1994.
  4. ^ Design for Dreaming is available for free download at the Internet Archive

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