6 Times Entertainment Predicted Reality
Not all pop culture manages to predict the future -- which is why you're not reading this article while dodging Terminators on a hoverboard. But occasionally, random pieces of entertainment crafted purely for our own amusement inadvertently go full Miss Cleo, and anticipate what's to come with unnerving accuracy. Looking back, it's kind of weird how...
A 1950s Western Featured a Con Artist Named "Trump" Selling a Bogus Wall
We're guessing you probably haven't seen the 1950s Western TV series Trackdown, probably because you aren't a background character in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The show starred Robert Culp as Sheriff Hoby Gillman as he, er, tracked people down. The show is mostly forgotten today with the exception of one particularly prescient storyline. In the episode "The End of the World", the town is visited by a shifty snake oil salesman who claims he can save the world for a price. Oh, yeah, and this con man's name is ...Trump.
Old West Trump warns the townspeople of a coming deadly meteor, and offers them "the means with which to save yourself".
Most eerie is fictional Trump's magical solution to stop the asteroid. Instead of grabbing some nuclear weapons, Ben Affleck, and an Aerosmith song, he suggests that the best way to save the world is to build a wall around the town. Yeah, they beat Arrested Development to this prediction by more than five decades.
Of course, his ultimate goal is to enrich himself, so this wall costs citizens $50 bucks a piece. Strangely the episode ends, not with the townspeople deciding that this shifty kook should take on a position of responsibility and power in their society, and instead he gets hauled off to jail by the Sheriff and no one mentions him ever again. No wonder Tarantino is so nostalgic for these types of shows.
South ParkMade a Joke About Movie Studios Using A.I. Technology
South Park has been on the air for what seems like an eternity, so it's perhaps no surprise that in the hundreds of episodes the show has produced, at least a few would predict future events. Recently, a new development in the movie industry, oddly, is reminiscent of one of Cartman's wacky escapades. In the episode "Awesom-O", Cartman fools Butters into thinking he's a highly advanced robot. But the prank goes too far and AWESOME-O is hired by movie studio execs to come up with blockbuster pitches.
Which sounds insane -- but that's basically what's happening in Hollywood today, minus the part about a ten-year-old boy hiding underneath some cardboard. Earlier this year Warner Bros. announced a deal with Cinelytic to utilize their A.I. technology as a way of processing film pitches. And most of AWESOM-O's ideas involved Adam Sandler, which also somewhat came true when Adam Sandler was awarded a lucrative Netflix deal based on new advancements in technology and data analysis.
Warner Bros. real-life movie robot would be able to calculate the most profitable combination of actors, which isn't without controversy. Due to Hollywood's not super-great track record of inclusivity, relying on historical data could further squeeze out women and people of color from future projects. So for all we know, a small child in a janky Halloween costume would do a better job.
Saturday Night Live Put Princess Leia in a Gold Bikini 5 Years Before Return of the Jedi
Star Wars parodies have an uncanny ability to predict the future; from the time Mad Magazine published a ton of prequel spoilers way back in the early '80s to when Spaceballs' canned-air gag became a thing. Another spoof of that galaxy far, far away managed to beat reality to the punch. One of the most famous moments in the Star Wars franchise is when Princess Leia wears a gold bikini for the sexual gratification of a toxic slug monster ... in a children's movie that wraps up with a teddy bear dance party.
Return of the Jedi came out in 1983, a full five years after Carrie Fisher hosted Saturday Night Live in 1978. Fisher did her entire monologue dressed as Leia, then appeared in a Beach Blanket Bingo-type parody sketch in which Leia beams down (which is a Star Trek thing, Lorne) and chills with a gaggle of 1950s teens. Since she's overdressed, Leia disrobes, revealing...a gold bikini.
Along with half the faces on Comedy Mount Rushmore.
Of course, it's totally possible that this isn't a coincidence at all, and that George Lucas was inspired by this episode of SNL-- so maybe we should all just be thankful that The Empire Strikes Back didn't reveal that one of the Coneheads was Luke's father.
Bill Cosby Recorded a Whole Album About the Dangers of Pills
These days most Bill Cosby records are being put to good use propping up tables and sprucing up dartboards, but it may be worth re-visiting one of his old albums -- not for the jokes, but because it weirdly anticipates the thing that we all associate with Bill Cosby. Yes, back in 1971 Cosby made an entire album just about pills. And it was a children's album. It was literally called Bill Cosby Talks to Kids About Drugs, which in retrospect seems like a terrible, terrible idea -- kind of like if Phil Spector made an educational record about gun safety.
The first track features Cosby introducing himself, stating that he's "going to talk about amphetamines, cocaine, depressants, barbiturates, opiates, alcohol, tobacco, hallucinogens," which presumably were the contents of his briefcase. Yes, the man who went to prison for drugging and raping women once lectured minors about responsible drug use. Its "central message" was "Say no to pills". And this asshole won a damn Grammy for "Best Recording for Children", because "Most Soon to be Grotesquely Ironic Recording" isn't a category.
That wasn't even the only time Cosby made a PSA for children that foresaw his future as a convicted rapist; he once explained to Fat Albert audiences why people go to prison, AKA his future home.
Maybe kids shouldn't have been taking legal advice from a dude hanging out in a junkyard body-shaming his childhood friend in the first place.
An Old Superman Comic Foresaw the Spread of White Nationalism in 2020
If you want to know where the world is heading, apparently you just have to flip through the pages of Superman comics. Old stories involving the Man of Steel predicted the atomic bomb and 3-D printers -- though admittedly, they were way off with the whole "your dead parents will be able to visit you in time machines" thing. One Superman comic was specifically set in the future year of 2020, focusing on Superman's grandson who is unimaginatively named Superman III -- keeping in mind that was before that name was ruined by a movie in which a drunken Superman battles an evil computer.
What crazy future problem did Superman III deal with? Martians? Robots? Nope -- friggin' future Nazis. Yes, somehow white supremacy is still rampant in 2020, albeit with a trendy new swastika.
These guys are mostly concerned with aliens mingling with humans, but it's strangely prescient. The whole comic is basically a crappy version of HBO's Watchmen. In the end Superman III defeats the "bigots".
Rage Against the Machine Anticipated Trump's Presidency in the '90s
Rage Against the Machine has been around so long, the machine they're raging against is probably running Windows '95. Recently, people have been paying a lot more attention to their 1999 music video for the song "Sleep Now in the Fire", which found the band defiantly performing in front of the New York Stock Exchange.
The video was directed by provocateur/baseball cap enthusiast Michael Moore, who was actually accosted by the police during shooting -- which we know, because Moore predictably cuts away from the band to footage of himself being accosted by the police.
But what's really of note is the dude holding a "Donald J. Trump for President" sign.
-Donald Trump, 1999. Nice job, Rage.
Which was obviously meant as a satirical jab at corporate America, not an omen of what was to come less than twenty years later. Still, someone should probably check if there are any lottery numbers hidden in "Killing in the Name."
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