British Universities Film & Video Council

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History of Advertising - Automobiles 1950-1960

Synopsis
A compilation of classic American advertisements for automobiles from the 1950s, when the suburbs were growing and cars were becoming less of a luxury item and more of a necessity. Movie houses - long a staple of automobile advertising - were losing their influence to television and advertisers responded by creating fascinating aggressive advertisements to put people behind the wheel.

This 2-DVD set depicts classic advertisement films and examples of automobile-centric stories from the 1950s. 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 is a clip of how the oil industry is central to the American economy, a film showing socialisation through driver education at an early age in Phoenix, and a promotional clip for the controversial Chevrolet Corvair. 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.

The advertisements are produced by the leading teams in the business including Jam Handy, Shad E. Graham Productions, Filmways and MPO Television Films, Inc.

As you go through this 2-DVD set you will see examples of this masters at work - creating beautiful advertisements to market their cars to the masses. This is where the groundwork was laid for the future of television advertising and it is possible to see how the television advertising principles that are still used today were developed.
Language
English
Country
United States
Year of production
1950-1960
Subjects
Social Studies; Media studies
Keywords
advertising; motor vehicle industries; television advertising; United States of America

Distribution Formats

Type
DVD
Format
Region 0
Price
£18.99
Availability
Sale
Duration/Size
102 minutes
Year
2005

Sections

Title
Roads to Romance: Coral Gables
Synopsis
Another Chevrolet travelogue. The viewer is taken on a trip in a Chevy through Arizona, following the Santa Cruz Trail. Shows the huge open expanses of desert, huge cacti and the beauty of the undeveloped terrain of America. Produced by the Jam Handy Organization for Chevrolet Division, General Motors Corp. 1950.
Duration
3 mins
Technical information

Title
Roads to Romance: The Santa Cruz Trail and Land of the Giant Cactus
Synopsis
Another Chevrolet travelogue, this time taking a trip in a Chevy through Arizona following the Santa Cruz Trail. Shows great open expanses of desert, huge cactuses and the beauty of this undeveloped section of American countryside. Produced by the Jam Handy Organization for the Chevrolet Division, General Motors Corp. 1950.
Duration
3 mins
Technical information

Title
A Great New Start
Synopsis
One of the most famous automobile advertisements ever filmed. Dinah Shore promotes the new 1953 line of Chevrolets and sings "See the U.S.A. in your new Chevrolet." It is the only time that she was ever caught on film singing the complete song with the entire set of lyrics. The film opens on the set of a television studio and shows people the magic of how television is created. Then Shore sings before talking about the beauty of this year’s Chevy. Produced by the Jam Handy Organization for the Chevrolet Motor Division, General Motors Corporation. 1952.
Duration
12 mins

Title
Tomorrow’s Drivers
Synopsis
Jimmy Stewart in one of his rare advertising appearances. He sells the new line of Chevrolets by talking about driver safety - particularly among young driver and explains how the people of Phoenix, Arizona are trying to keep the roads safe for everyone. Produced by the Jam Handy Organization for Chevrolet Division, General Motors Corporation. 1954.
Duration
11 mins

Title
Our Home Town: Doylestown, PA.
Synopsis
This advertisement explores the burgeoning new American phenomenon of the time - the suburb. A tour of Doylestown, Pennsylvania ilustrates how new the concept of middle class suburban living was to the American people! Produced by Shad E. Graham Production for County Theatre. 1954.
Duration
16 mins

Title
Our Home Town: Levittown, PA.
Synopsis
This advertisements again visits the suburbs - this time one of the planned communities built by William Levitt & Sons - Levittown, Pa. Depicts history in the making as the United States reshaped the way its citizens lived, worked and played. Produced for Towne Theatre. 1954.
Duration
22 mins

Title
Chevrolet Screen Ads
Synopsis
This track contains 10 short theatrical "screen ads" promoting the 1955 Chevrolet models. One of the spots ends with "More than a new car, a new concept in low-cost motoring." It’s rare to see these cars looking as crisp as they appear here. In addition to the iconic Bel-Air Convertible, there are lots of shots of the more modest trim lines and 4-door models, which are today seen less often than the showier cars. Produced by the Jam Handy Organization for Chevrolet Division, General Motors Corporation. 1955.
Duration
9 mins
Technical information

Title
The Corvair in Action
Synopsis
The first advertisement ever for the Corvair. Produced by the Jam Handy Organization for Chevrolet Division, General Motors Corporation. 1960.
Duration
6 mins
Technical information

Title
A Wonderful New World of Fords
Synopsis
This Ford commercial links the new compact cars to futurism and the space frontier. With the three Ford model lines shown here together, in the same place and in the same colour, it’s easy to see how the marketing of American cars worked. With each increasing price point there was more chrome, more power accessories, and more suggestion of status and buying power. A Falcon, had concave, sculpted sides, raked wheel arches and round jet-exhaust taillights; the higher specification Galaxie (a name that blends the Space Age world of satellites with a faux- French misspelling of the car’s name) has the same shape, only chromed. The most expensive - the Thunderbird - was the "dream car" of the whole range. But the sheet metal and the underlying mechanics stayed the same. Produced by Filmways for the Ford Motor Company. 1960.
Duration
3 mins
Technical information

Title
A Touch of Magic
Synopsis
This General Motors 1961 advertisement presents new cars, appliances and futuristic ideas at their most banal. Nuveena and her beau dance a tribute to medieval chivalry, but when the audience shows up, they actually look embarrassed. The time shifts to the present and the couple displays the 1961 GM cars. Then they get married, move into a new house and have a housewarming party. Instead of making all the food by pushing a few magic buttons in the Kitchen of Tomorrow, Nuveena sends her beau into the Kitchen of Today to do all the cooking while she gets on the phone and invites all the guests. The guests turn out to be all invisible imaginary friends, though they have real cars and eat all the real food. Produced by MPO Television Films, Inc. for General Motors. 1961.
Duration
11 mins
Technical information

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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