Farms of Tomorrow, Today

From Tex Avery's "World of Tomorrow" 1954


Fueled by Cold War fears and rapidly developing space technology, Americans were crazy about making futuristic, George Jetson-style predictions in the mid-20th century. In addition to flying cars, robot maids and Tomorrowland-style gadgets, the future of farming became a focal point for satirists and animators.

Tex Avery (creator of Bugs Bunny and all-around animation icon) was not immune from taking a tongue-in-cheek stab at what farming might look like 100 years into the future. Released in 1954, Avery’s animated short, The Farms of Tomorrow, spoofed the many ways farms of the future might cross-breed animals (or animals with objects) for increased productivity.

The list below outlines all the goofy farm animal hybrids proposed by Avery, ranked (by yours truly) in order of projected barnyard superiority and usefulness. Each cross-breed is rated on a scale of 1-5 eggs for both functionality and absurdity, with 5 eggs indicating the highest levels of functionality or absurdity, respectively.

orange_fir

1. Orange tree crossed with a fir tree: This cross-pollination would—in Avery’s world—allow citrus fruits to be grown year round in all climates. Bonus? Each orange sprout is wearing a tiny winter coat.
Functionality: 4 eggs
Absurdity: 4 eggs

toaster_incubator

2. Egg incubator crossed with a toaster: The incubator machine in this cartoon is eerily similar to a recent Saturday Night Live sketch about a Keurig-style chicken generator.
Functionality: 5 eggs
Absurdity: 3 egg

tree_umbrella

3. Christmas tree crossed with an umbrella: This version of a Christmas tree would simply fold up (umbrella-style) and pop out the next year for easy assembly. This is genius. (SkyMall, where are you when we need you most?)
Functionality: 5 eggs
Absurdity: 3 eggs

cow_beaver

4. Cow crossed with a beaver: In theory, the beaver tale would flop around like a ping pong paddle to help ward off flies. The jury is still out on whether the cow would have to use beaver teeth to chew its cud.
Functionality: 4 eggs
Absurdity: 3 eggs

corn_jumpingbeans

5. Mexican jumping beans crossed with corn: Mainly, I can see this becoming a popular party food.
Functionality: 3 eggs
Absurdity: 4 eggs

chicken_parrot

6. Chicken crossed with a talking parrot: Sure, the chicken would let you know when it had laid an egg, but it feels like a slippery slope toward poultry oversharing.
Functionality: 4 eggs
Absurdity: 3 eggs

sheep_longundies

7. Sheep crossed with long underwear: Intended to make sheep shearing simpler, it makes the prospect of owning a fuzzy, lamb-like onesie seem almost appealing.
Functionality: 4 eggs
Absurdity: 2 eggs

chicken_ostrich
8.
Chicken crossed with an ostrich: Ostensibly to create larger drumsticks; I think Renaissance fairs have already cornered this market.
Functionality: 3 eggs
Absurdity: 3 eggs

chicken_centipede
9.
Chicken crossed with a centipede: This hybrid would be a way to up the number of drumsticks per chicken. (Avery was really into drumsticks.)
Functionality: 2 eggs
Absurdity: 3 eggs

cow_kangaroo
10.
Cow crossed with a kangaroo: Apparently, if cross-bred with a marsupial, a cow’s milk would appear—pre-bottled—in its front pouch. I don’t buy it.
Functionality: 1 egg
Absurdity: 1 egg

pig_disposal

11. Hampshire hog crossed with a kitchen sink: This device would place a gigantic hog underneath a kitchen sink to function as a natural garbage disposal. It probably actually exists.
Functionality: 5 eggs
Absurdity: 1 egg

duck_banana

12. Duck crossed with a banana: “You don’t have to pick him, girls, just peel him.” No.
Functionality: 1 egg
Absurdity: 4 eggs

tomato_grapefruit

13. Tomato crossed with a grapefruit: “To discourage that vegetable squeezing [grocery store] customer, we’ve crossed a tomato with a grapefruit.” This would be a mighty fine gag if properly executed.
Functionality: 4 eggs
Absurdity: 2 eggs

lamb_dachsund

14. Lamb crossed with a dachshund: This cross would give farmers “five yards more wool per sheep.” Avery clearly overestimated a dachshund’s length and girth.
Functionality: 2 eggs
Absurdity: 2 eggs

giraffe_racehorse

15. Race horse crossed with a giraffe: Perhaps the cheesiest of all the puns, this would allow a racehorse to always “win by a neck.”
Functionality: 0 eggs (A terrible pun.)
Absurdity: 1 egg

stork_elk

16. Stork and a big-horned elk: This hybrid creature would accommodate “impatient newlyweds itching to start a big family.” The practicality of a baby for every antler on a 13-point buck borders on Duggar levels of extremity.
Functionality: 1 egg
Absurdity: 4 eggs

Screen stills from Tex Avery “World of Tomorrow” 1954

Farms of Tomorrow, Today