“Tanks Are Mighty Fine Things!” And Other Tales Of Truthiness. . .

At the end of World War II the Chrysler Corporation tooted its own horn by dispatching small hardbound books to its shareholders chronicling what was involved in their contributions to the war effort.

Tanks

These satisfying little gems used tinted photographs,  illustrations, and graphic diagrams to tell the story of how Chrysler swung their huge plants from  automobile related production into the manufacturing of tanks, munitions, radar, and gyroscopes. The 4 titles are wonderful chronicles of WWII technological history, but they also put into perspective how monumental the conversion and retooling task was. So, if you happen to be looking for a good example of mid-20th century corporate PR, grab these.

In the meantime, The (Chrysler) Imperial Club has been kind enough to have uploaded two of these onto their website. You can access them here:

“Tanks Are Mighty Fine Things”

“A War Job Thought Impossible”

 

 

Tanks

Tanks

Tanks

Tanks

 

Chrysler Corporation

blank cartridges

 

 

 

 

I also think it’s adverts and self promotional pieces like this that helped form the foundation for the satire and parody soon to be pioneered by humor sources like Mad Magazine. The staging of the illustrations and the tinted photos feel like they could be out of a Bruce McCall “faux-nostalgia story for National Lampoon, and “Tanks Are Mighty Fine Things !” – seriously ? Sounds a bit like an expose’ on “The Daily Show” or “Colbert Report”. . .

Left: An illustration from "A War Job Thought Impossible". Right: A Bruce McCall illustration from his 1982 "Zany Afternoons" collection, "Wir Fliegen Nach Amerika Mit Dem Zeppelin".

Left:An illustration from "Tanks Are Mighty Fine Things". Right: Another McCall illustration titled "Tank Polo".

Left:An illustration from "Tanks Are Mighty Fine Things". Right: Another McCall illustration titled "Tank Polo".

 

2 thoughts on ““Tanks Are Mighty Fine Things!” And Other Tales Of Truthiness. . .

  1. Pingback: J. J. Sedelmaier on a World War II Poster Campaign

  2. Lloyd Quinn

    My first job out of college was as a job analyst for the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, a Dept. of Labor Job Service reference begun in 1939, as an attempt to provide a common nomenclature to describe every occupation in the US economy. One of the purposes was to provide a coherent basis in case an industrial mobilization was needed for a major war. I don’t know what the occupational code would have been for Industrial Publication Illustrator, but they could have used one for the DOT. It would have been a better read with a few illustrations like those shown here

    Lloyd Quinn

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