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.