British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

History of Advertising - Automobiles 1940-1950

Synopsis
A compilation of classic American automobile advertising films and examples of car-centric stories from the 1940s and the early days of television. It includes classic "Capitalistic Realist" dramas showing the manufacture of cars from foundry to finished vehicle. Also features examples of a day in the life of automobile workers in the U.S. while attempting to convince them that their own fortunes were inexorably linked to the fortunes of the company.

Included here among others are a theatrical screen advertisement for one of the last pre-World War II automobiles emphasising Oldsmobile’s adaptability under wartime conditions and a series of theatrical commercials hawking the "B-44" line of "handsomer, huskier, heavier" Oldsmobiles. A few of the films were designed to promote corporate citizenship rather than any specific model of automobile. While it forcefully demonstrates how central automobile manufacturing was to the American economy it even more strikingly shows the effects of the automobile on the landscape. Most of the work is by Jam Handy.

The 1940s were a period of transition for America and its economy. It was coming out of the Great Depression, but spent the early years fighting World War II. Then when the war ended it brought with it a huge burst of prosperity and consumerism. Advertising agencies were quick to compete for the sudden surge in disposable income. While in the 30s most moving picture ads were shown in movie theatres, the 40s brought the television into many people’s homes. Advertisers had to react and change their plans to adapt to this new medium.
Language
English
Country
United States
Year of release
2004
Year of production
1940-1950
Subjects
Business studies; Social Studies; Media studies
Keywords
advertising; motor vehicle industries; social history; television advertising; United States of America

Distribution Formats

Type
DVD
Format
Region 0
Price
£15.99
Availability
Sale
Duration/Size
38 minutes
Year
2005

Sections

Title
Girl on the Magazine Cover, The
Synopsis
This film shows how automobiles were photographed to look as beautiful as possible. This film features a very tongue-in-cheek narrator popping into a studio to find out how they make "those dames" look so good. To do this, we meet a disgusted photographer who grudgingly lets us take a tour while he photographs his latest model, but the narrator’s camera always seems to get in the way. Produced by the Jam Handy Organization for the Chevrolet Motor Company. 1940.
Duration
9 mins

Title
Defense comes first with Oldsmobile
Synopsis
This is a movie advertisement for one of the last pre-World War II Oldsmobiles. With war on the horizon the advertisers emphasise Oldsmobile’s adaptability under extreme conditions. The shadow of war is present throughout the film. Made for Oldsmobile Division, General Motors Corporation. 1941.
Duration
1 mins

Title
Oldsmobile Presents The Handsome Husky B-44
Synopsis
These theatrical screen ads hawk the "B-44" line of "handsomer, huskier, heavier" Oldsmobiles. Jam Handy provides pompous narration and low-angle shots of the last prewar road behemoths. These "'big, broad shouldered commanding" tanks would be considered gas guzzlers today. Made for the Oldsmobile Division, General Motors Corporation. 1941.
Duration
2 mins

Title
Classic Television Commercials
Synopsis
This DVD features dozens of television commercials from 1948 covering nearly every make and model of American car. These commercials at first resemble their theatrical relatives but very quickly become similar to the flashy car ads of today. Produced for the Chevrolet Motor Company. 1948.
Duration
16 mins

Title
Olds Minute Movies
Synopsis
For seven years - from 1941 to 1948 - no new cars hit the market. All of the factories were needed for the war effort. Then in 1948 Oldsmobile went back into production and created the Oldsmobile Futuramic. Produced by the Jam Handy Organization for Oldsmobile Division, General Motors Corporation. 1948.
Duration
3 mins

Distributor

Name

a2zcds.com

Email
support@A2ZCDS.com
Web
http://www.a2zcds.com External site opens in new window
Phone
+1 866 254-8579
Fax
+1 954 337-6215
Address
1618 Camerbur Drive
Orlando
Florida
32805
USA
Notes
Tel: or +1 321 251 5253
 

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