Industry on Parade was a television series created by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) from 1950-1960. The series consisted of weekly episodes that highlighted American manufacturing and business. Hundreds of companies and products were documented during the programs decade-long run.
Scope and Contents:
The Industry on Parade Film Collection, 1950-1960, is comprised of 428 reels of thirteen and a half minute long 16mm black and white composite optical track (sound) motion picture film prints and one document box of episode descriptions. The films have been organized chronologically in the order they were produced and broadcast by the National Association of Manufacturers. The episode descriptions, which accompanied the film reels as they were sent to stations for broadcast and other venues for screening, are organized in the same manner. It should be noted that each film reel does not have a corresponding episode description and many of the later episodes were not donated to the National Museum of American History.
This collection covers hundreds of topics, providing a comprehensive portrait of American business and manufacturing during the 1950s. The films portray work processes, community life, recreation, and reveal through narration the ideology of American business during this era.
The collection is organized in one series:
Series 1: Motion Picture Films
Biographical / Historical:
The Industry on Parade Film Collection, 1950-1960, was created by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) from 1950-1960. In 1950, Johnny Johnstone, NAM's radio and television director, developed the idea for a television program highlighting American manufacturing and business. Working with Frank McCall, an NBC News Department Manager, Johnstone created and presented a sample reel to NAM's board of directors. Based on this sample, the board supported and financed the production and distribution of an NAM-sponsored series, intended
... to show the marvels of American industrial technology in operation and show how the industrial process results in higher living standards, to show new developments in the fields of science, invention, and research, particularly as they contribute to health, welfare, and national defense, to show the integral part that industry plays in the civic, religious, and social life of American communities as well as the economic, to show people who work in industry and the attention industry pays to their well-being, and to show some of the difficult problems that have been faced and solved by American industry. (From: Industry on Parade Fact Sheet, October 15, 1955)
The series, titled Industry on Parade, was first broadcast during the week of October 15, 1950.
Each Industry on Parade episode was 13.5 minutes long and, for most of the series, contained three to four stories examining some aspect of American manufacturing and business. Towards the end of the 1950s, episodes were arranged thematically, featuring a single type of product, industry, or American consumer. Most episodes also included "public service announcements" placed between story segments or at the end of the episodes to promote capitalism, the American way, and the rewards of a free economy and society. NAM provided the weekly episodes to one television station in each market throughout the country, at no charge, for broadcast, usually in non-prime time slots.
During the first few years, the series was co-produced with NBC, although not necessarily broadcast through NBC affiliates. In 1953, NBC decided to work exclusively on its own productions for broadcast on NBC stations. Arthur Lodge, the NBC producer who had been working on the series, left NBC, formed his own production company, and produced Industry on Parade for NAM from October 1, 1953 until the series ended. In addition to producing the series, Arthur Lodge wrote, directed, and narrated each episode.
By 1957 Industry on Parade was broadcast on 270 stations nationally and on foreign stations in 33 countries. NAM also made each episode available for screening by schools and community and business groups. Industry on Parade won the Peabody Award for National Public Service Programming in 1955. The series ended its run in 1960, although NAM continued to distribute the films for educational screening throughout the early 1960s.
Transferred to the Archives Center from the Division of Work and Industry, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Instition. Originally donated by the National Association of Manufacturers in 1974.
Collection is open for research but the films are stored off-site. Special arrangements must be made directly with the Archives Center staff to view episodes for which no reference copy exists. Contact the Archives Center for information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-633-3270.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees will be charged for reproductions.