Are you watching HBO’s new American sci-fi western thriller, Westworld? (Or at least trying to follow the twisted plot?). Based on Michael Crichton’s 1973 film of the same name, Westworld isn’t your typical historical theme park. Intended for rich vacationers who pay to live out their western fantasies, guests are welcomed to the pioneer town by artificially intelligent “hosts”. The show is filled with strange time-travelling characters and has all sorts of dark and sinister undertones weaved into the plot– naturally I’m a little hooked. So when I came upon this old photo album in the University of California’s archives, I immediately found a spooky similarity.
The Dressler’s Pioneer Place album contains 21 photographs dating from the 1920s. Located at 2282 Fulton Street, Berkeley, Dressler’s Pioneer Place was an apparent curio museum for humorous historical reenactments of the wild west. The visitors dressed in pioneer costume, goofing around on western-themed sets, could almost be mistaken for a clever and nostalgic promotional campaign featuring HBO’s all-star “Westworld” cast.
I always find it fascinating to see historical photographs of people dressing up in costumes from their past generations. Little did these 1920s flappers imagine that we would one day be playing dress-up in their own latest fashions and mimicking their old-timey ways for our historical reenactments and party themes of decades past.