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The Last Dream-O-Rama - The Cars Detroit Forgot to Build, 1950-1960 Hardcover – September 18, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Archetype; 1 edition (September 18, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609608010
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609608012
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 11.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #704,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Bruce McCall's The Last Dream-o-Rama offers us a very skewed view of the Fifties and the American automobile, and with it, a comic masterpiece. It represents a special kind of evil genius. I only hope he is not found and locked up by the sanity patrol. This book is a must-have for the, uh . . . the other people like him."
-- Steve Martin

"Bruce McCall's The Last Dream-o-Rama is dreamy-o-rama. McCall is the last of the great comic illustrators. Here, truly, is a coffee-table book of
the gods!"
-- Christopher Buckley

"The Last Dream-o-Rama is excellent in the extreme. Such is the power of America's 'Autocracy' that even today-forty years after the fact-Bruce McCall is forced to publish this book as 'humor.' We who experienced the car shows of the era and survived know better. A word of advice, Bruce: look both ways before crossing the street."
-- P.J. O'Rourke

From the Inside Flap

"When the postwar economic boom fostered such prosperity that easy credit allowed even hourly workers to plunge themselves hopelessly into debt, a brand-new car became an attainable dream for millions in the 1950s. And soon came dream cars to further stimulate their automotive saliva glands. By mid-decade, every American carmaker was parading its glittering glimpses of four-wheeled futurism before a dazzled public -- flights of styling fancy and functional wonderment blaring 'Headed for your driveway soon!' while mumbling, sotto voce, 'Don't hold us to it.' "

So begins Bruce McCall's tongue-in-cheek history of Detroit's dream car era. From the author of the cult classic Zany Afternoons comes perhaps the sharpest, funniest, most original overview of Fifties culture -- and Fifties cars -- yet published. The Last Dream-o-Rama is a surrealistic satire, not just of the dream car phenomenon but of the conformist and materialistic value system that produced it. From the Quizfire 5000 Jackpot to the Nixoneer Squelchchoramic to the Bongo Beatnik Ferlinghetti TurboHipster, McCall's lavish illustrations and the antic text memorably restore the world of America in the Fifties in all its glitzy grandeur.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Beiman on October 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bruce McCall used to work as a commercial illustrator specializing in automotive illustration. This caricature of period advertising is a delightful addition to his incredibly out of print ZANY AFTERNOONS.
I believe that Bruce McCall really loves the overdesigned, overhyped monster cars of the Fifties and Sixties. I love his wicked parodies of the copy that used to be found in auto ads.
Now available with special Individually Bound Pages!
Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sebastian Vale on December 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I really liked this book. As someone who has always been critical of the schlock the automakers enjoy forcing upon the American people (can you really tell me the difference between a Camry and an Escort - come on), I enjoyed this artist's take on what would have happened if designers in the 50s had been allowed to have carte blanche at the drawing board, creating vehicles based on all the fads and crazes of the day. While not practical in the least, the cars all had an enjoyable retro-futuristic feel to them that made me think of a cross between the Jetsons and I Love Lucy. The illustrations are rich and wonderful, in that vibrant palette of hipster 50s pastels so commonly used in the Eisenhower era. The captions and comments from the author/artist are clever. My favorite cars are the Orbitronic Minus-Zero Saucersnatcher 1956 (p.47), which has room for a Roswell space alien friend in the back, and the Panavista FilmFlyte Visionaire 1955 (p.35), that brings the experience of a drive-in movie to a drive down the freeway. This would be a great conversation piece for the coffee table, or a nice addition to any library for car buffs or fans of the fabulous 1950s.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bruce McCall's "The Last Dream-O-Rama" is a wickedly clever satire of the 1950's dream car phenomena.
If you've seen McCall's "Bulgemobile" advertisements from the 1970's vintage National Lampoon magazine, you already know he's a gifted artist with a droll sense of humor about automotive excesses. He has a talent for writing that comes close to real advertisements but just pushes it a little bit further such as "Fireblast! Twice the car you'll ever need - and that goes double for the new four-door FunTop!"
In this colorful book, after some pages spoofing dream car shows ("It's un-American to miss the Cavalcade of Chrome"), the bulk of the book has delightful full-page drawings of outrageous concept cars. Each has a half page history on the facing page.
One is the "Silver Sabre Patriomatic Funfighter, 1957" which looks only slightly more like a jet airplane than Pontiac's actual Firebird dream cars. Another is the "Armageddon Mk1, 1958" for the fallout shelter crowd. And there are many, many more with great variety. A few may be too silly for some tastes, but they are all wonderfully drawn.
The book wraps up with "Name Your Own Dream Car - the Detroit Way" and finally "Dream Cars Around the World" with yet more drawings and descriptions.
This book is a satisfying satirical, or perhaps all too true, look into the fifties and a great value even if you're only going to look at the drawings.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sebastian Vale on December 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I really liked this book. As someone who has always been critical of the schlock the automakers enjoy forcing upon the American people (can you really tell me the difference between a Camry and an Escort - come on), I enjoyed this artist's take on what would have happened if designers in the 50s had been allowed to have carte blanche at the drawing board, creating vehicles based on all the fads and crazes of the day. While not practical in the least, the cars all had an enjoyable retro-futuristic feel to them that made me think of a cross between the Jetsons and I Love Lucy. The illustrations are rich and wonderful, in that vibrant palette of hipster 50s pastels so commonly used in the Eisenhower era. The captions and comments from the author/artist are clever. My favorite cars are the Orbitronic Minus-Zero Saucersnatcher 1956 (p.47), which has room for a Roswell space alien friend in the back, and the Panavista FilmFlyte Visionaire 1955 (p.35), that brings the experience of a drive-in movie to a drive down the freeway. This would be a great conversation piece for the coffee table, or a nice addition to any library for car buffs or fans of the fabulous 1950s.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tim Costello on November 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I remember when I first read his 'Zany Afternoons' thinking this is the absolute peak of comic/catoon/satire. If you think some of the New Yorker cartoons are good just wait till you read either 'Zany' or 'O-Rama'
Not alone are his actual cartoon pictures brilliant but the ideas behind them are mind-bogglingly clever. You actually wonder if some of them are true to life.
I have been searching the Internet ever since for more works by this exceptional artist so I am open to suggestions.
You know the picture of the dogs playing poker around a table? Forget it, Bruce McCall has them licked and left panting!
timcostello1@eircom.net
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