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The Master Builder as Superman

The Master Builder as Superman

Norman Bel Geddes’s Futurama

Chapter:
(p.153) Three The Master Builder as Superman
Source:
Impossible Heights
Author(s):
Adnan Morshed
Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816673186.003.0004

Chapter 3 examines Norman Bel Geddes’s Futurama—the most visited show at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Bel Geddes sought to make his American utopia visually legible only to aerial spectators. Consequently, fairgoers hovered over the exhibit by means of a gliding conveyor belt, which simulated flying in an airplane. The contemporaneous advent of the comic-strip hero Superman provides a foil for Futurama’s politics of renewing the American promise, from above.

Keywords:   Airplane, Skyscraper, Ascension, Aerial Gaze, Master Builder, Superhero, Eugenics, Mystical Spirituality, Social Reform, Interwar Cultural Consciousness

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