November 11, 1938 – Robert Trout Interviews Mr. Davis of The Ford Motor Company – 1939 Auto Show – CBS Radio – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
By the end of 1938 the threat of a war in Europe had been averted (for the time being). Back in the U.S., all indicators were pointing that the Great Depression was finally over. America could dive into consumption and think about the future. There was a World’s Fair just around the corner whose motto was “The World Of Tomorrow” and, like the coming attractions of the Fair, promised bright and shiny things to astound and inspire awe.
So with rampant optimism in full swing, it was only natural the focus on the American consumer was to buy a new car – one that conveyed all the promise and wonder the world of Post-Depression America was chafing at the starting gate for.
And November 1938 marked the start of the Great Auto Shows – all around the country, the nation’s car manufacturers descended on places of public gathering to unveil Detroit’s latest creations, in the hopes the beat-up clunkers and geriatric Model-T’s in America’s hands and driveways would be tossed aside in favor of something new – something modern – something of the Future.
This episode (the second half of it, unfortunately) of a Special program CBS Radio ran on November 11, 1938 focused on Ford’s contribution to the 1939 Auto Show and an interview between correspondent Robert Trout and Ford Sales Manager Mr. Davis over what was described by Davis as a “milestone year”.
Jewel in Ford’s latest automotive crown belonged to the Mercury 8; a car that promised to be everything and much-much more. It was indeed a celebration that the dark and foreboding days of 1929 were over and that, in fact, happy days were here again.
And 1939 did prove to be something of a milestone year – considered by many to be the last great year for American Cinema, a banner year for the Great American novel – a year that started out with promise, with borderline hope and giddy optimism.
And it lasted until September of 1939 when it all abruptly changed.
But in November 1938 that possibility was far off and difficult to imagine, especially since we now had “peace in our time”. They said so – they promised.
Here is that interview as it was broadcast on November 11, 1938 over CBS.
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