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Midweek Matinee: The American Road, Part III

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All photos are frame grabs from video below.

Brought to you by the folks at Ford Motor Company: A brief history of the automobile’s impact on American life.

Part III leads with an overview of Henry Ford, family man, at home on Fair Lane, hanging with Clara, Edsel and grandsons. Was he nostalgic, perhaps, for those simpler Quadracycle days?

Camping buddies included naturalist John Burroughs, Harvey Firestone and a guy named Edison. The boys’ outing is described in terms of “rustic simplicity and rugged quality” but included dozens of staff, a film crew, crisp white tablecloths, china dinnerware and attentive servers in bow ties.

May, 1927: The 15 millionth Model T to roll off the line marked the end of an era. Ford kept that one, but scrapped countless others after their duty was done. Warning: Scenes of T’s being crushed may be offensive to sensitive enthusiasts. Viewer discretion advised.

The mid-20th century years are covered with a cacophony of dissonant music and a dizzying montage of social and economic challenges for Ford, the country and the world, culminating with The Bomb.

And, in a scene familiar to The Wizard of Oz fans, suddenly it’s full color. But it’s also the early ’70s, which is a neat trick for a film originally created in 1953. While the film was deemed important enough to update, the contemporary footage is of surprisingly poor quality. It might have been better to let it be. Part III run time: 12 minutes.

Public domain archival footage courtesy of the Internet Moving Images Archive, in association with Prelinger Archives.

Watch Part I: 18 minutes.

Watch Part II: eight minutes.