What Hello Tomorrow and Tex Avery have in common: Gizmos and gadgets

A new series on Apple TV+ starring Billy Crudup keeps the future in the past as optimism begins to bubble.

The world of “Hello Tomorrow” loves both retro and future in retro-future aesthetics, making the Apple TV+ series visually special. While the story itself — an exploration of ambition, the American dream, and family ties — deals with classic tropes, the show’s presentation combines the biggest style hits of the 40s, 50s, and 60s with fashionable leaps in technology. the World’s Fair catalog and an episode of “The Jetsons.”

A less obvious effect? Tex Avery, one of the most prominent contributors to the Looney Tunes characters and the man behind the cartoon series that outlines the The world of tomorrow, whose work inspired the pleasant facades and gizmos of the Vistaville series. A mousetrap, Rube Goldbergesque atmosphere pervades the world of “Hello Tomorrow,” where hilarity masks hidden violence — as suburban housewife Marie (Annie McNamara) discovers all too quickly in the first episode’s moments when she’s run over by a freshman. driven hover van. This is the kind of Tex Avery atmosphere that production designer Maya Sigel wanted to bring to the world of a show that promises optimism and happiness – until a stork who sends smiles to pedestrians puts a woman in a coma.

“The whimsical, playful quality that (those cartoon gadgets) have was extremely inspiring to us,” Sigel told IndieWire. “A lot of thought went into making train and air travel have this kind of streamlined movement and make everything look aerodynamic. And it was also very important to me to know that our gadgets would float, fly or move through spaces (using this style).

Exploring everything from roadside Americana to the flourishing of Art Deco, Sigel’s designs evoke the promise of a future world that is, in part, a dream of avoiding down-to-earth problems. The Vista Motor Lodge, where Jack (Billy Crudup) runs a traveling sales business, is deliberately both. “It was important to me that it was a bringing together of these two worlds. So there are some traditional lines and then in the middle is the rotunda, which is the circle. Vistaville has colors like an autumn color palette. It’s all earthy in tone. The moon is cooler, sexier. Blue, metallic, silver, Sigel said.

Billy Crudup comes in "Hello Tomorrow"

Vista Motor Lodge in “Hello Tomorrow”.

Apple TV+

As Jack and his team—played by Hank Azaria, Nicholas Podany, Dewshane Williams, and Haneefah Wood—struggle to convince the good people of Vistaville to spend on timeshares on the moon, a sense of excitement and opportunity for the world. in “Hello Tomorrow,” the Future is perfectly represented by his floating cars (floating strollers, actually). But for Sigel and his team, realizing the long-promised possibility of flying cars, even in fiction, was a big challenge.

“At first we thought we could build (the cars) from scratch, and then we realized that with the time and money we had, we had to figure out a smart way to modify the cars of the time,” Sigel said. “We had amazing sculptors and they sculpted these covers out of styrofoam and painted them metallic, custom for each car or van. That’s practically all done.”

Tex Avery poster "The car of tomorrow"

Tex Avery’s “Car of Tomorrow”

Courtesy of the Everett Collection

Promotions master Eric Cheripka was excited to tackle all the custom work on the float cars and bring much more than a fresh coat of paint to the vintage cars used at the show. “If you look at cars these days, it’s almost universal. I mean, they basically all look the same. Even the new ones have that shape and size, but no one stole anyone’s shape back then, you know what I mean? A Cadillac didn’t look like a T-Bird,” Cheripka told IndieWire. “So it was a lot of fun. We had these beautiful plans.”

To emphasize the design of the cars and create the illusion of motion, Cheripka finally equipped the show’s hovering cars with nose arms to create multi-plane motion. That move, along with the chrome-colored skirts that hide the boring earth wheels that were later removed by the VFX team, really sell these cars of the future.

Bright Side's sales team looks to the sky in Episode 1 "Hello Tomorrow"

In “Hello Tomorrow”, none of the cars have wheels

Apple TV+

The show takes the same basic approach to every gadget and robot that floats through the air. Both the production and VFX teams puppeteered robots and floating vehicles, sometimes making marionettes out of chopsticks, and sometimes controlling floating hair salons like a giant RC toy. For the mobile salon chair in Episode 1, props maker Frances Smith took apart a real old hairdressing salon chair and then subbed a Rascal scooter so it could be driven across the street. “I’ve always wanted to make props that are funky, very humble and almost mousetraps,” said Smith. “A lot of things have to happen in this show.”

The world of “Hello Tomorrow” is filled with props that speak to the reckless, relentless optimism that Jack is trying to exploit. “I bought a lot of things from the 40s, 50s and 60s, electronics and all kinds of things. I had an arsenal, so I could take things apart and put them back together. He was almost like Robinson Caruso,” Ceripka said. However, it was important to Sigel, the production team, and the entire creative team that the characters physically interact with as much of the Vistaville world as possible.

“I think it’s a little bit beyond what’s on television right now,” Cheripka said of the show’s visually stimulating tools and retro designs. While the gadgets seem like an extra set of credits, they also highlight the anxieties and desires of the characters. “There’s a lot of light, there’s hope, and it’s a lot of fun, but then there’s also a lot of darkness,” Sigel said. If nothing else, “Hello Tomorrow” is happy to explore that darkness, one gizmo at a time.

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