Tom Swift Jr. in The Race to the Moon. Our bet's on the rocket though.
The future was a chrome-trimmed triangular window in the front of dad's car, and it had its own knob to open it up. The future was a hamburger under a light fixture that looked like an atom. The future was going to be awesome.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen takes place in a parallel universe where all fiction is true, so the aesthetics of the world shift in every time period to match the aesthetics of that time period's pop culture. Appropriately, the first two volumes (which take place in the late Victorian era) have a pronounced Steampunk vibe, whereas the standalone graphic novel The Black Dossier (which shifts the action to the 1950s) changes this to Raygun Gothic.
Spoofed and homaged in Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space with Captain Proton tracking down a Tesla doomsday device in the far-flung future of 2009 with its jetpacks, flying cars, domed cities and vast electronic superbrains, not to mention inconceivable marvels like mobile telephones, interstate highways, automatic sliding doors, artificial satellites, and weapons of mass destruction.
Used in the Star Wars prequel trilogy: The Naboo space fleet and the architecture of Coruscant are modeled after this, while the Republic space fleet morphs over time into the blocky, Used Future Imperial fleet.
Men In Black had the same idea as the above example interestingly just a few years before the iPod was even developed. It could be justified in that the MiB was formed in the mid-1950s in which this aesthetic was in at the time.
Anton Furst's designs for Gotham City for the 1989 Batman film have some elements of this.
Like the source material, the Flash Gordon movie is full of this. Of note is that the Cool AirshipAjax is referred to by the delightfully old-timey title of "war rocket".
Just as Star Trek: The Original Series was one of the last unselfconscious uses of this trope, this film is one of the first entirely conscious uses of it. (Also note that the Zharkov's rocket, built on Earth, does NOT invoke this trope, at least in comparison to the ships of Mongo.)
Zathura takes place in more or less present day, but the magical board game of the same name is most definitely Raygun Gothic.
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is a funny corner case. It's set in an alternate-universe version of the 1930's, so it's often cited as an example of Diesel Punk, but the aesthetics and optimistic worldview are much closer to Raygun Gothic.
The villains in J Men Forever are all about this, especially the Lightning Bug baby!
Bedtime Stories: The final story Skeeter and the kids make up together is set in a futuristic space arena very much adhering to this trope
The Trope Namer, William Gibson's "The Gernsback Continuum", is about a freelance photographer hired to take pictures of buildings inspired by this aesthetic, who either slowly finds himself being sucked into an alternate timeline where it was all Canon or is hallucinating the whole thing.
Gibson's story refers to Hugo Gernsback, the "Father of Science Fiction," who founded the first science fiction magazine, created science fiction fandom (by encouraging readers who wrote to him to interact with each other directly), wrote very early examples of the genre, such as Ralph 124C 41+, and coined the term "Scientifiction."
Lensman. In fact, the bulk of E.E. "Doc" Smith's better-known work is this. Although his early works had their first origins as early as 1917, Smith continued writing into the mid 1960s (he died in 1965), by which time men had travelled in space, and his writing takes on a somewhat different focus and flavour after the first manned flights.
E3 in Ian McDonald's Planesrunner is an Alternate History that combines aspects of this trope and Steam Punk. Zeppelins are the main form of air transport but their bags are woven of carbon nanofibers. The main motive power is coal powered (because there's no oil in this world) electric motors, which were invented before the steam engine. Their computers are of the vacuum tube and punch card variety. There's radio but no TV, but they use monofilament wire.
Live Action TV
Pick a Gerry Anderson TV show, any Gerry Anderson TV show. Thunderbirds, Stingray, Captain Scarlet, Fireball XL 5...
The alien message decoded in the final episode of Dark Skies had elements of this, presumably as a nostalgic in-joke, since the rest of the series's aesthetics and mythology were much more modern X-Files-inspired sci-fi.
On The Flash, 1950s villain the Ghost adheres to this motif, and is rather dismayed to find that 1990 isn't like this when he awakens from cryogenic sleep.
Doctor Who, especially in its earlier seasons (as they were made in the early 1960s). This particularly leads to Zeerust Canon, as the look of the inside of the TARDIS (particularly the a big hexagonal console with a glass column that comes up and down) and the Daleks (very Art Deco, but with plungers) can only really be changed so much before they don't look like they're supposed to any more. It should also be noted that during the early Sixties, there was an obsession with hemispheres as being futuristic (similar to the modern-day High-Tech Hexagons aesthetic) which helps to explain the round things on the TARDIS walls and the weird little orbs on the Dalek armour, all of which would cause fan despair if it were removed. This aesthetic carried on showing up as late as the early 70s thanks to the show's No Budget nature - the original Sonic Screwdriver as used by the Third Doctor was actually an unused prop from Thunderbirds (which began in 1965) and hence looks 60s as heck. While the new series modernised everything as much as possible - starting off during the Ninth Doctor's tenure with a semi-organic, Steampunk influenced TARDIS interior and weighty-looking, almost industrial Daleks - the sonic screwdrivers are still knowingly designed to follow this aesthetic, perhaps because in the Ninth Doctor's tenure it's revealed that the screwdriver is laughably low-quality, dated technology.
Other things that deserve mentions - the Dalek warships are the most cheesily stereotypical Flying Saucer things ever, designed as they were for the 1950s-B-Movie-influenced "The Dalek Invasion of Earth". They were redesigned with a 00s-SF Used Future paint job in the new series, but kept the original basic shape, the contrast between the two visual styles coming off as rather silly.
"The Robots of Death" uses this as an intentional homage to the 1920s and 30s science fiction the story is based on, with the sets, robots and human costumes all fitting a distinctive Art Deco aesthetic.
Doctor Steel plays with this aesthetic in his music and interactive Fandom community.
The phrase was applied (probably before Stereolab) to the distinctive lounge musical stylings of Juan García Esquivel. note Not during Esquivel's heyday of the early Sixties, but in a 1994 compilation album called "Space Age Bachelor Pad Music".Have a listen.
"IGY," the first track on Donald Fagen's 1982 album The Nightfly, is pretty much this trope in a nutshell. He describes a world where there's a train running undersea from New York to Paris every 90 minutes, everyone gets their own Spandex jacket, weather is controlled and solar power is plentiful - and it's all run by computers programmed "with compassion and vision." The liner notes describe the album as "certain fantasies that might have been entertained by a young man growing up [...] during the late fifties and early sixties, i.e., one of my general height, weight and build."
The title is a reference to the International Geophysical Year, a scientific event in 1957-8 that was the USSR's excuse to launch Sputnik into space, thus kicking off the "rocket age" for real.
In Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin's daydreams of Spaceman Spiff, interplanetary explorer extraordinaire. He wears Space Clothes, carries a Ray Gun, and jets about in a flying saucer with a bubble cockpit and tail fins.
Some of the elements in The Twilight Zone are reminiscent of this, particularly the rocket.
Many, manySons of Ether made use of this aesthetic, their greatest triumph being their alternate dimensional laboratory city - and perfect example of this trope - the Gernsback Continuum. Occasionally an eccentric Technocrat, usually a Void Engineer, would do something similar, particularly if they'd been around for a while.
Spaceship Zero featured a retro-Space Opera setting where, for instance, there was no miniaturization, and bigger computers were always better. Partially deconstructed as well, as there were definite indications that underneath all that chrome was a decent amount of grit, causing one reviewer to refer to it as "pulp—with bathrooms."
Realms of Mars from Exile Game Studio promises to be this for sword and planet, much as Hollow Earth Expedition harkened back to adventure pulps.
Rocketmen utilizes this as part of its theme, from its space ships, lasers guns, and the whole solar system being colonized.
The Fallout series is set in a post apocalyptic Raygun Gothic world.
The Covenant in Halo are modeled after a version of this, as everything they design has a very sleek design. As do most things on the titular halo rings, which are designed by the Forerunner. Understandable, as the Covenant just copied everything they have from the Forerunner.
Rapture in BioShock has strong elements of this in its design to go along with the Steam Punk.
In Star Control II, the Syreen had this aesthetic — their ships were old-fashioned rockets, and what you saw of the Syreen themselves and their ship controls would look right at home illustrating some 1920s sci-fi pulp about Amazon princesses in space or what-have-you. Appropriate, as the Syreen were a species of good old-fashioned Blue Skinned Space Babes in a game otherwise populated by Starfish Aliens and Eldritch Abominations; their pulpy style helped lampshade this fact.
The Soldier of Team Fortress 2 has several retro rayguns modeled after Weta's "Dr. Grordbort's" line.
As have the Engineer and Pyro now, and the medic and scout are next in line.
Atomic Rockets is a website that starts with this trope, but uses it as a launchpad to explore very hard science-fiction ideas about space flight. It refers to "raygun gothic" as "rocketpunk", to follow "steampunk" and "dieselpunk".
Much artwork associated with the various World's Fairs. For example, this map cover which manages to make a bus look absolutely glorious.