It’s always entertaining to look back at the predictions of yesteryear that guessed what life would be like in the future. Quite often the projections were outrageously fanciful (flying cars are air traffic control accidents waiting to happen, but I am still eagerly awaiting one of those automated self-cleaning Jetsons houses) but sometimes the writers hit closer to the mark. The visions of Pizza Delivery in the Future, for example, could be enabled with drone technology.

1. Back to the Future Part II

The 1989 sequel to Back to the Future transported the McFly family to the year 2015, a time when kids wore a version of Google Glass-style headsets at the dinner table and dual neckties were all the rage in male fashion. For dinner mom unwraps a tiny Pizza Hut pie and places it into the voice-controlled Black & Decker Food Hydrator. Seconds later, a large steaming hot (and conveniently sliced) pizza is ready! The first made-for-the-microwave pizzas had only hit the market a few years before this movie was released, and even then they were individual portions, not family-sized dinners. Dehydrated food, for the most part, is still something strictly for campers and astronauts.

2. Demolition Man

In the 1993 film Demolition Man, Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes were cryogenically frozen in 1996 and “defrosted” 36 years later. According to the film, in 2032 the only restaurant to survive the “franchise wars” was Pizza Hut, so that was the only choice when dining out. Watch the clip carefully and you’ll notice that the words “Pizza Hut” have been dubbed; in the original U.S. release of the movie it was actually Taco Bell that had survived the restaurant apocalypse. But it was determined that Pizza Hut had better global recognition than the Mexican fast food staple, so the dialog (and background signage) was changed when the film was released internationally.

3. The Jetsons

Fans of the Hanna-Barbera animated series most likely will remember the “A Date with Jet Screamer” episode mainly for the song “Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah” song that Judy and Elroy Jetson composed for the titular teen heartthrob. But this episode also featured some futuristic food delivery in the form of Flying Sausage Pizza. What’s humorous in 20/20 hindsight is that, despite almost everything else in the Jetson household being push-button controlled, the pizza order was contained on an IBM punch card, which was the “high tech” computer technology at the time the series was written. 

4. “Pizza for Breakfast?”

Evelyn Zemke wrote a piece for the September 13, 1959, edition of the Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine describing the daily grind of the harried housewife in the year 2000. One of her predictions certainly holds true today – that no matter how much technology advances, most of us will still be at the mercy of those who repair these new-fangled machines when they go kerflooey. Her example was a misfiring of the kitchen food computer:  “Pizza for breakfast?” her perplexed husband asks. “I pushed the ‘bacon and eggs’ button, something must be wrong…” “Call a service man,” her husband sighs wearily. (Of course today we call it “tech support”, but it’s still the same calling-and-waiting-at-their-mercy scenario.)

5. Apple

Apple warned us of the computerization of everyday life back in 1988 with its Grey Flannel Navigator concept video. It not only features a 20-something businessman coming home after a hard day at the office to continue working via email and file sharing, it also depicts the ease of ordering dinner online when the refrigerator is empty. Note the dragging and dropping of toppings (while “Funiculì, Funiculà” plays in the background), a technology that wasn’t available until restaurant online technology provider BigHoller introduced the app in 2008.

6. The Net

Sandra Bullock likewise ordered a pizza online in the 1995 film The Net. This was still rather innovative, since Pizza Hut had only introduced online ordering one year prior (the first pizza chain to employ such technology), and even then it was limited to a very limited handful of markets. The Pizza.net domain name was registered in 1995 and owned by the same party until it was sold for an undisclosed sum in August 2010 in a private sale. Three years later the domain name changed hands again when PremiumURLS.net purchased it for a reported $150,000.

7. The ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union produced a satirical video-with-a-subtle-warning-message in 2004 entitled “Ordering Pizza in 2015.” It was supposed to be an over-the-top version of how Big Brother would be watching us In The Future, what with the pizzeria employee automatically knowing your name and address as soon as you telephoned. Of course, no one had predicted how common GPS technology would be just a few years later, or that your local Little Caesar’s would know your name and address forevermore after the first time you placed a telephone order. As for how much of your other personal information is being swapped electronically behind the scenes…..who knows for sure? (Cue the Twilight Zone theme song.)