This original oil on canvas painting, used as the cover for the January 1955 pulp digest, Imagination – Stories Of Science And Fantasy, offers a whimsical mid-century futuristic look at the then far-off year of 1990. The 1950s were abundant with delightfully optimistic and utopian visions of what future life would look like – works like this piece, titled Traffic Mishap, 1990, presented a idyllic vision of a future that despite its aliens and invisible cars retained the style and feel of mid-century America. The breezy mix of Automobilia car culture with a far fetched “alien close encounter” is wonderfully odd, and characteristic of the period, which is today remembered as “The Golden Age of Futurism.” The illustration shows a pin-up “Mac Girl” giving a piece of her mind to a green skinned alien driver who forgot to familiarize himself with the rules of the road on planet earth before taking his invisible car out for an ill advised spin. The “Terra 1990 A.D.” license plate on our heroines car is a particularly nice touch. McCauley loved working for The Greenleaf Publishing Company, and was a frequent illustrator for Imagination-Stories of Science Fiction, and their sister title, Imaginative Tales. McCauley always tried to outdo himself with the high-spirited works he created for this publishing house, which he nicknamed Madge, we can see his immense commercial talent and artistic whimsy on display in this sparkling cover rendering. Adding to the personal charm of the work, McCauley–a devoted family man–posed his lovely wife Grace as the futuristic pin-up queen model. The artist seemed to take great joy in avoiding the violent undercurrents that were commonplace cover themes in the pulps, and instead consistently offered this sort of humorously absurd, spirited breezy imagery.
In all regards just a defining example, handsomely framed and sold with a complete edition of the Imagination Stories of Science And Fantasy – January, 1955.