Centron, an industrial/educational film studio, 1947–1981: A microhistory
Faye E. Riley, University of Kansas, United States
University of Kansas . Awarded
At one time the industrial/educational film studios were as prevalent in the United States as Hollywood studios. They employed hundreds of film technicians, actors and directors. Thousands of industrial and educational films were created and widely distributed. These films impacted the lives of countless viewers. Educational films were shown in schools, civic clubs and churches. The subject matter of educational films covered such topics as physical and mental hygiene, grammar, civic responsibilities and safe driving. Industrial films were more devoted to inter- and intra-business communications, such as safety issues and annual sales presentations.
This dissertation is a microhistory of Centron, an industrial/educational film studio that operated in Lawrence, Kansas, from 1947--1981. Special attention is given to oral history interviews with the co-founders, Art Wolf and Russell Mosser as well as the Centron employees. Further, the Spencer Archive of the University of Kansas now houses a vast collection of Centron documents and films. This data allowed more public historical components to be interwoven with the quite personal oral histories. The composite result reveals several "motifs" which help explain Centron's successful competition with larger industrial/educational film companies throughout other parts of the United States. These motifs include Centron's central location, its special sense of camaraderie among its employees, its constant concern with technological changes which marked the motion picture industry during Centron's third of a century life span, and a special blend of economic and business structures which enabled a remarkable freedom of creativity.
Riley, F.E. Centron, an industrial/educational film studio, 1947–1981: A microhistory. Ph.D. thesis, University of Kansas.
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