This 1956 Ford Motor Company film signals a major shift in direction for the Dearborn car maker.
This 1956 film, produced by the Raphael G. Woods Studios of Hollywood, represents a major departure for the Ford Motor Company. All through the reign of company founder Henry Ford I, public relations campaigns most often centered largely around Ford the man. While the company didn’t come right out and claim that Henry created every feature and personally directed the assembly of every Ford car, if you were to somehow get that idea, they wouldn’t mind. The Ford Motor Company story as presented to the American public was very much the story of Henry Ford himself.
But in this production, introduced by Henry Ford II, grandson of the founder, the perspective has been turned around. Now the story is about the thousands of Ford workers doing the thousands of important Ford jobs, and these are the people who make up the Ford Motor Company. There was an important reason behind this shift: On January 17, 1956, the company went public, selling almost $658 million in shares. (At that time, it was the largest public offering in history, and while the Ford heirs now owned 40 percent of the company, special voting provisions allowed them to maintain near-total control.) This film was intended in part to to shed the company’s image as Henry Ford’s personal kingdom and present the automaker as a modern, responsive corporation in tune with the times.
Naturally, the presentation features numerous 1955 and 1956 Ford cars and trucks from around the world, and there’s a chapter toward the end devoted to the company’s ambitious flagship project, the 1956-57 Continental Mark II. We also get some priceless glimpses of the Highland Park and Rouge plants, the Dearborn Proving Grounds, the Rotunda, and the brand new Ford world headquarters. Enjoy the movie.
Article courtesy of Mac's Motor City Garage.