By Eric Schaefer: More than any other form of motion picture, exploitation movies developed a symbiotic relationship with American road culture over some five decades in the mid-20th century.
American Autopia: An Intellectual History of the American Roadside at Midcentury
By Gabrielle Esperdy
Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2019
384 pages, Cloth, $49.50
Reviewed by Ralph S. Wilcox
The introduction of the automobile into American life in the early 20th century brought a myriad of changes to the landscape. American auto travelers required new types of facilities that weren’t needed with wagon and railroad travel. Gas stations, service garages, motels, and tourist courts sprouted up along the highways of the U.S. like plantings in flower beds along a sidewalk. The book American Autopia: An Intellectual History of the American Roadside at Midcentury examines how the development of the automobile changed the American landscape, and how the changes appeared to contemporary sources.
Non-California’s introduction to the Los Angeles Basin’s San Fernando Valley came with the 1968 inauguration of Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In broadcast from “beautiful downtown Burbank” at the Color City television studio opened there in 1952.