Launched in late 1959 as the Futurama III solid, (or simply Futurama III or Futurama 3), this guitar was imported from Czechoslovakian builder Delicia (with pickups made by Resonet), and distributed in the UK and Commonwealth by Selmer. By the end of 1963, Selmer were distributing Hagstrom guitars, and the Hagstrom III was marketed as the Futurama III De Luxe, and the Futurama III solid was discontinued.
The Futurama III solid was, most famously, the guitar used by George Harrison in the very early days of the Beatles. Harrison bought his Futurama in Frank Hessy's music shop in Liverpool in November 1959, and although he found it somewhat hard to play (did it just need a good set up?), he also acknowledged it had a great sound. (Read about Harrison's guitar in Andy Babiuk's exceptional Beatles Gear
If i'd had my way a Strat would have been my first guitar. I'd seen Buddy Holly's Strat… On the Chirping Crickets album cover and tried to find one. But in Liverpool in those days the only thing I could find resembling Strat was a Futurama. It was very difficult to play, [the strings were] about half an inch off the fingerboard... But nevertheless it did look kind of Futuristic.
The image shows Harrison playing the guitar in The Top Ten Club, Hamburg, 1961 - photo Jurgen Vollmer
See also the Futurama II Solid
Electric guitar advertisements originally published from 1961 onwards. Click on the images for larger copies. Check out other vintage Hofner advertisements
Hofner 3 Solid - 8 out of 10 players select solids from this range (1961)
1961 Selmer Melody Maker advertisement for a series of imported Hofner and Futurama solid body guitars available in the UK, circa November 1961