The Cavalcade of America

     The Cavalcade of America is an anthology drama series that was sponsored by the DuPont Company. It was initially broadcast on radio from 1935 to 1953, and later on television from 1952 to 1957. Originally on CBS, then later changing to NBC, the series pioneered the use of anthology drama for company audio advertising. The Cavalcade of America documented historical events using stories of individual courage, initiative and achievement, often with feel-good dramatizations of the human spirit’s triumph against all odds. This was consistent with Du Pont’s overall conservative philosophy and legacy as an American company dating back to 1802. The company’s motto, “Maker of better things for better living through chemistry,” was read at the beginning of each program, and the dramas emphasized humanitarian progress, particularly improvements in the lives of women, often through technological innovation.

     This anthology program had a dual purpose in its existence. To help build a better public imagine of the sponsoring company, Du Pont, which made large profits manufacturing gun powder during World War I, and to dramatize the history of the United States.

Sponsor background information:
     Eleuthère Irénée du Pont de Nemours works as an apprentice in chemist Antoine Lavoisier’s laboratory at Essone, France at the age of 16. du Pont quickly gathers expertise in the manufacturing of gunpowder. On 07/19/1802, after moving from France, E.I. du Pont purchases property on the Brandywine River in Delaware and begins construction on his own powder manufacturing plant, Eleutherian Mills. His company, with 18 shares of stock valued at $2,000 each, is capitalized at $36,000. On 05/01/1804 he begins the manufacture and sale of gunpowder. Not until 1904 does the company branch out into nongunpowder related areas.

     Between 1915 and 1918 DuPont supplies 1.5 billion pounds of military explosives to the Allied Forces and an additional 840 million pounds of dynamite and blasting powder to domestic American industries.

     DuPont begins entry into the dye industry and rayon processes between 1917 and 1920. The 1930’s is witness to the development of synthetic rubber and early nylon. 1937 was the introduction of safety glass for the automobile industry.

     During World War II, the company produces 4.5 billion pounds of military explosives along with nylon for parachutes, tents and ropes. 1952 DuPont develops Mylar polyester film, which has many uses including recording tape.

     In the 1960’s they helped produce space suits for our astronauts. The 1970’s seen the development of bullet resistant Kevlar for the military and police agencies.

Episode Guide:

The Cavalcade of America - OTRWesterns.com