In 1964, Polaroid commissioned the eminent Lowell Thomas—then in his latter days as an NBC News radio correspondent—to narrate a film that stumped for the company and taught dealers how to sell its products. It’s a strange thing, by today’s standards: You’d never see a journalist doing this anymore, certainly not one so prominent, because he’d get hit with conflict-of-interest criticism. (Also, you very quickly realize that his high-key radio delivery doesn’t translate so well to the screen: He comes off pretty stiff and melodramatic.) But the film itself is weirdly compelling, at least here in Polaroidland: It’s full of information about how the business of photo sales really worked, and makes reference to the forthcoming Model 180 and Swinger. Although the unique art-meets-science approach that defined Polaroid barely makes an appearance, you definitely get the sense of a growing company, on the move.
Side note: It also starts off with a brief aerial view of the main factory complex in Waltham, about which I’ve been writing here these past few weeks.
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