Flashback to 1951: “Industry on Parade: Sylacauga Saga!”

SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Episodes of the television series Industry on Parade, first broadcast in 1950, highlighted American manufacturing and business, and the first seven minutes of the third show in July 1951 focused on Sylacauga and Avondale Mills.

It’s especially interesting to take a close look at 22 of the more than 25,000 frames devoted to Sylacauga in the film. Frozen in time, you’ll see long-gone downtown stores including Wallis Hardware Co., Goldberg Bros., and Belk-Hudson Company; the Martin Theater (opening “On the Riviera”); Boy Scouts; the welcoming Sylacauga sign a the train station; medical staff examining patients in the 35-bed Drummond Fraser Hospital; scenes from the original B.B. Comer Memorial Library; what is now Alabama Highway 21 north of town across from Taylor Estates; and the late John and Jane Quenelle and their family.

The National Association of Manufacturers wanted “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.”

Until 1953, the series was jointly produced with NBC. By 1957, it was carried by 270 stations in the United States and in 33 countries.

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