The Magic of Monsanto: Your 1950s Guide to Better Gardening

A promotional film illustrates how you, too, can achieve the American dream by using chemicals in your home.

 

In Garden Wise, a promotional short from the controversial chemical company Monsanto, an all-American couple experiences the ups and downs of trying to plant their own garden after moving to a new house. They soon discover that their clay-based soil, combined with the unpredictable weather, makes it impossible for their once “tender city hands” to grow anything. That’s when they turn to their elderly neighbors (the keepers of a beautiful garden themselves), who recommend the “chemical soil conditioner,” Krilium. However problematic, the film’s narrative appeals to the fantasy of owning a slice of the outdoors, a dream shared by many Americans in the 1950s.

For more films from the Prelinger Archive, visit http://www.archive.org/details/prelinger.

Alessandra Ram is a former writer and producer for The Atlantic Video Channel. Her work has also appeared in Foreign Policy.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Video

Just In