It has been forty years since this documentary, part of the NBC Radio series Second Sunday, first aired. The Now Generation's Tomorrow takes a look at how we perceived the future (in some cases looking as far as the 1980's) and what we thought was going to happen in it. Even Rep.Emanuel Celler had a few words of optimism.
Rep. Emanuel Celler: “I’m very optimistic as to the country’s future. We must elect to higher office, and we will in the future, men with vision and skill to resolve our problems. We cannot muddle through and we will not muddle through in the future. We will have men in the Presidency and vice-Presidency and the Cabinet who will make our survival a happy and prosperous one. I have confidence in the future. I have confidence in the people who elect these men. With better education coming, with more and much needed communication – radio, television, newspapers, periodicals. The voters will become more penetrating and more discriminating in their choices. Things may look black and dreary now. I do not despair.”
Well this was, after all, Emanuel Celler was still in congress well into his 80's and was also the one colleague Bella Abzug once referred to as having "quaint ideas"about the Women's Movement.
With all the breathless optimism the world would be cleaner, healthier, fairer and more prosperous, it's the same confusion it's always been - only now it's forty years later.
Sure, there have been strides. But for the most part the changes haven't been as sweeping as we imagined they'd be.
For that reason, this is a documentary that's more of an artifact than anything else - a time capsule of optimism - maybe more wishful thinking.