At midcentury, many American corporations put on Broadway-style musical extravaganzas for their employees. Typically staged for just a performance or two at sales conferences and managerial meetings and occasionally recorded for posterity, the shows were meant to rally the troops — a kind of “How to Succeed in Business WIthout Really Trying.”
Industrial musicals boasted professional casts — Florence Henderson and Dorothy Loudon are alumnae.
They also had high-level composers and lyricists, including Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, known widely for “Fiddler on the Roof” and less widely for “Ford-i-fy Your Future,” the Ford Tractor show of 1959.
Mr. Brown, whose clients included the J. C. Penney Company, Singer sewing machines and DuPont, was among the genre’s most sought-after creators. His shows — he supplied music, lyrics and direction and often took part as a singer — were known, Mr. Young said, for “their high quality and general buoyancy and fun.”
Consider Mr. Brown’s “Love Song to an Electrolux”: "This is the perfect matchment, All sweet and serene. I’ve formed an attachment. I’m in love with a lovely machine."
Starting in 1953, he produced industrial musicals for corporate clients in the United States and other countries. His biggest production was DuPont's multi-million-dollar Wonderful World of Chemistry at the 1964 New York World's Fair. Brown wrote, produced, and directed a musical involving interaction between live performers and life-sized actors on film. In over 17,000 performances it was seen by over 5.2 million people.
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