From The 1964 World’s Fair to Star Trek: Video Calling Through the Ages

Jacey Overton

Whether you prefer to call into a video conference from your meeting room or you prefer to handle client relations from your desktop, it’s safe to say that video calling has come a long way since it was imagined on The Jetsons back in 1962. To honor our favorite communications medium, we took a look back at pop culture to show the out-of-this-world ways that video calling was imagined in “the future.” Aren’t you glad we didn’t have to wait until 2062 to see each other’s faces on a conference call?

The 1964/1965 New York’s World Fair: This one wasn’t imagined, it was real life. Check out this video phone that AT&T showed off in 1964. Not exactly HD, but pretty amazing considering color TV’s weren’t quite mainstream yet.

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Dick Tracy: Also in 1964, Dick Tracy, one of the most beloved cartoon police detectives, upgraded his 2-way wrist radio to a 2-way wrist TV. Anyone who was a fan of this comic strip remembers this watch and how integral it was in all of Dick’s cases.

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

The Jetsons: The Jetsons were a family that was unafraid of embracing 2062’s latest technology trends. Here, George Jetson participates in a video call with Cosmo G. Spacely, his boss at Spacely Sprockets.






Star Trek: The Original Series: On Star Trek, Captain Kirk was on a video call in the very first episode, The Man Trap. (Side note, William Shatner recently turned 81 years young and he’s still one of the coolest Hollywood actors.)



Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century: Some of us will remember the galactic gal that took the Disney Channel by storm in 1999. Zenon and her crew were on the cutting edge of technology. Here, Zenon chats with her best friend Nebula in Zenon: Z3.


Star Trek Nemesis: Video conferencing made a Star Trek comeback years later in Star Trek Nemesis. Here, Captain Jean-Luc Picard chats with Captain Kathryn Janeway.



As you can see, it’s safe to say that video calling was alive and well in pop culture before it hit the enterprise. What’s next? Will we be driving flying cars to our day jobs? Only time will tell. For now, write to us in the comments section and let us know about your favorite pop culture video call.

2 Responses to “From The 1964 World’s Fair to Star Trek: Video Calling Through the Ages”

  1. Emily

    In one of my all time favorite movies, Back to the Future II, they thought videoconferencing would look like this in 2015: . Can you believe how awful it looks? They thought we would have hoverboards before we would have crisp, HD video communication like we have today!

  2. Geoff Constable

    UK readers who are old enough will remember Gerry Anderson’s amazing Thunderbirds (first broadcast in 1965). They used the wrist watch technique to videoconference back to base whilst out on their International Rescue missions. Back at home the pictures on the wall turned into flat screens so Dad could update the boys. …and they were puppets!
    See for example.


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