The only thing about this 1950s educational cartoon that’s more remarkable than its stylishness is how badly it botches its core prediction. It projects that between 1957 and 1975, electricity use in the U.S. would increase four-fold. But America's electricity consumption didn't quadruple from 1950 levels until 1989. Cartoons, we trusted you! How could you get it so wrong?

Since we live in the future this video attempts to describe, we know how things actually turned out: Atomic energy failed to create electricity too cheap to meter, and combined with the oil crisis that meant we had to figure out how to do a lot more with a lot less. So we increased energy efficiency, which staved off the predicted spike for more than a decade. And thank goodness for that, because if we went around doing things that were predicted in 1950s cartoons, we’d all be shooting wabbits and nosing meatballs at each other.

Just remember that the next time some politician tells you that energy efficiency regulations are kryptonite to jobs and productivity.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.