The United States Office of War Information (OWI) sponsored and provided the concept for Victory Front.
Throughout American history, and in all fairness throughout the histories of most modern nations, when faced with political, economical, or State crises there emerge patriots and scoundrels. It's an immutable fact of world history in general. History can, of course be revised. Indeed, revisionist history has become something of a cottage industry among huge corporate interests, religious interests and political interests of the Post-World War II years. And it's only become even more elaborate and outlandish during each subsequent decade.
With America's entry into World War II, hoarders, war profiteers, and black marketers soon became a regrettable, yet prevalent fact of Life throughout America. Some of it was right out in the open. Most of it transpired via backroom deals, neighborhood-level black markets, and good ole American free-enterprise capitalism. The common aim of all these unpatriotic practices was, throughout time immemorial, to benefit the few at the expense of the many--yet another time honored American tradition finding fashion again in the 21st Century.
The rightness or wrongness of these practices has always been hotly debated--and continues to be so to this day. Thankfully, for the vast majority of Americans, the concept of free-enterprise has always been understood to have an underlying--and absolutely essential--moral component. On the opposing side, natural human greed has always been the bane of any society and only becomes even more pronounced in times of distress. America during the post-Depression era still had a strong moral component. Even more importantly, Radio, the most important communication medium yet to emerge, was still controlled by literally thousands of family owned, 'mom and pop' Radio stations across the nation.
Those thousands of independent 'voices' were still virtually impossible to squelch. Thus revisionists, profiteers, fact-spinners, and truth-benders might well succeed in a few small geographic pockets across the America, but the overwhelming number of Radio stations across the country simply told--and disseminated--the truth as they were told it, by whichever news bureaus to which they subscribed. Those stations affiliated with the three major networks and the seven to eleven other smaller networks of the era were naturally obliged to air their respective networks' points of view--or find another network with which to associate themselves. The other thousands of as yet unaffiliated stations and groups of stations were free to adopt their own standards, viewpoints and practices within their respective communities or broadcast range.
When it became obvious to the Government that hoarding, gouging, profiteering and black-marketeering were significantly affecting the War effort, it fell upon the Office of War Information's Office of Fact and Figures to undertake a national campaign to discourage such detrimental and unpatriotic practices. Newspaper, print media and poster campaigns were proving effective, but it was obvious that Radio could most effectively reach the widest audience with the most timely messages.
The messages were quite simple: hoarding, profiteering, black-marketeering and price-gouging were unpatriotic, un-American and illegal. While the O.W.I. understood that such messages would be lost on the violators themselves, the notion of the messages was to curtail the demand-side of the practices. If enough people were reminded that these illegal practices were not only unpatriotic, but were seriously constraining the War effort, demand for such illegal practices and supplies could be curtailed.
The Office of War Information's Office of Facts and Figures was responsible for approaching the broadcast networks with the idea of obtaining commitments of blocks of prime airtime to get out their various War messages. The first of the O.W.I. programs to take to the air was Victory Parade, over NBC. Beginning at 6 p.m Sunday night, the 7th of June, 1942 and running through August 23, 1942, NBC mounted a 12-week series of Victory Parade renditions of some of their most popular prime time Radio features, such as Baby Snooks, The Red Skelton Show, and The Jack Benny Program.
CBS' imposed contributions to the War effort were Victory Theater and Victory Front, produced in cooperation with and under the auspices of the Office of War Information. As with NBC's Victory Parade that preceded them, O.W.I. War messages were delivered in place of commercial announcements as a vehicle for disemminating messages of national importance to the wider public.
The O.W.I. taps NBC again for its Daytime Serials
And so it was, that following the success of Victory Parade, NBC and The Office of Facts and Figures undertook to repeat that success in a similar promotion with thirteen weeks of NBC's most identifiable daytime serial programming. NBC and the O.W.I. proposed the following special presentations for NBC's' Monday to Friday morning lineups:
- Stella Dallas
- Portia Faces Life
- Lorenzo Jones
- Pepper Young's Family
- Young Widder Brown
- When A Girl Marries
The casts, crew and production facilities were, as with Victory Theater, Victory Parade, and Victory Front, donated by the respective parties.
Notes on Provenances:
The most helpful provenances were the log of the RadioGOLDINdex and newspaper listings.
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