Three to Be Served (1944): Film from the National Industrial Information Committee

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

"Oh, good gosh!" So Bill Miller claims numerous times in Three to be Served, a 1944 educational film presented by the National Industrial Information Committee (NIIC) and sponsored by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

The film follows Bill, a high school freshman, as he starts a small business manufacturing bug sprayers after he squandered the money for football camp on a car that fell apart – quite literally. With startup funds from investors, Bill must learn the fundamentals of business management. 

The Paramount Pictures produced featurette starred Bobby Scott, Mary Vallee, Edythe Elliott, and Willard Robertson. The latter two acted in movies from the 1920s to the 1950s. The film debuted May 23, 1944, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California. It premiered in front of the studio audience for the radio broadcast of “Duffy’s Tavern” featuring Ed Gardner and guest star Paul Lukas.

Three to Be Served director, Leslie Roush, and cinematographer, Jerry Fairbanks, would pair up to win an Academy Award in 1945 for Best Short Subject. Fairbanks produced and Roush directed the award-winning film titled Who’s Who in Animal Land.

Records related to the film can be found in the Central Files series in the National Association of Manufacturers records at the Hagley Library.

Ashley Williams is the project archivist for the NAM Collection at Hagley Museum and Library.