Peter Lynch

Yesterday’s Tomorrows

CBS TVIt’s About Time ” (1966/7)

Once upon a time (Christmas Eve, 1968; I was eleven years old), I saw “2001: A Space Odyssey.” It was a galvanizing cinematic experience, which shattered my idea of time and space. That night, I became obsessed with wondering about what life would be like in the year 2001. That date presented me with a point of reference that linked a world between the primitive and the future seamlessly and poignantly particularly as represented by Kubrick’s opening shot, of an ape throwing a bone into the air, which then turns into a space ship.

Stanley Kubrick, “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968)

When 2001 did arrive, I had just finished my documentary Cyberman on self-professed cyborg Steve Mann, an appropriately futuristic subject. Interestingly, Steve was fascinated with a form of retro looking technology, which reflected the speculative science fiction style the media of my childhood frequently tried to invent. He was also obsessed with a form of cybernetic digital photography which he believed allowed him to get outside of his body and step into space and time.

Love You Till Tuesday” (1969) David Bowie: Space Oddity (1967)

As a child in the 60s, I was fascinated by that weird split wherein people were obsessed with prehistoric time and the cave man aesthetic as well as the future, generally represented as the space age. Somehow dinosaurs and spaceships were all around us, in houses, couches, tables and chairs, lamps, stereos, in rock bands, in TV shows, in movies.

Don Chaffey, “One Million Years BC” (1967)

Roger Vadim, “Barbarella” (1968)

What I loved about this era of pop culture was that it was a contemporary portrait of the times as much as it was about the future or the past. Both the “Flintstones” and the “Jetsons” somehow depicted recognizable portraits of contemporary life of that era.

ABC TV, “The Flinstones” (1960-66),

ABC TV, “The Jetsons” (1962-63),

My first dramatic film, “Arrowhead,” was based on an archaic point, a primitive artifact I found in the modern apartment complex I grew up in Thorncliffe Park in Toronto. “Arrowhead’s” mythology was deeply informed, not only by prehistory, but by a blurring of history and pop culture.

Freddie Francis,Trog” (1970)

“Arrowhead” set time and space in motion between the poles of prehistory and the retro future. I think it speaks to our longing to connect with our past while trying to imagine a more idealistic world, our attempts to confront the conflicts and realities which grow out of the human condition.

Franklin J. Schaffner, “Planet of the Apes” (1968)

These two seemingly disparate historical poles were always about people living on the outside of society — how we would cope with these two extremes of the universe which make up both who we are and where we might be going.

President John F. Kennedy, 
Special Joint Session of Congress, 
25 May, 1961; Moon landing, 20 July, 1969.

The 60s depicted this kind of warping of the time and space of history, and the success of Apollo 11 at the end of the decade seemed to announce the imminent arrival of our imagined future.

– Peter Lynch

“It’s About Time” — Theme Song

It’s about time, it’s about space,
About two men in the strangest place.
It’s about time, it’s about flight –
Traveling faster than the speed of light.
This is the tale of the brave crew
As through the barrier of time they flew.
Past a fighting minuteman, past an armored knight,
Past a Roman warrior, to this ancient site.
It’s about caves, cavemen too,
About a time when the earth was new.
Wait’ll they see what is in sight!
Is it good luck or is it good night?
It’s about two astronauts, it’s about their fate,
It’s about a woman and her prehistoric mate.
It’s about time, it’s about space,
About two men in the strangest place.
They will be here right on this spot
No matter if they like it or not.
How will they live in this primitive state?
Will help ever come before it is too late?
Will they ever get away? Watch each week and see!
Will they be returning to the 20th Century?
It’s about time for our goodbyes
To all these prehistoric gals and guys.

Ryeberg Curator Bio

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Peter Lynch’s widely acclaimed work is often compared with that of Werner Herzog and Errol Morris. His first dramatic short, “Arrowhead,” received the 1994 Genie Award. In 1996, he made “Project Grizzly," one of Canada’s most acclaimed documentaries (referenced on The Simpsons!). These were followed by “The Herd” and “A Whale Of A Tale.” His 2001 “Cyberman” was featured at over 50 international film festivals, and listed as a top 10 feature film of the year by Film Comment. In 2018, he released a feature film called "Birdland."