Documentaries, Docudramas and Infomercials
in The Great Depression

The Great Depression in America created major economic and social disruptions. Even more importantly, it created a major crisis in faith in the Nation itself, its institutions, leaders, people, fundamental beliefs, history, and prospects. Everything that formed that made up that web of shared assumptions about the world that made life intelligible was thrown into doubt. In very important ways, the nature of reality itself seemed open to question.

One of the most distinctive effects of this crisis was the turn to some sort of documentary in virtually every medium and venue.


Abraham Lincoln (1940)

A Mercury Theatre drama with Orson Welles as Lincoln. An adaptation of John Drinkwater's 1918 play, Welles vouches for the historical accuracy of the representation; he also pointedly frames the story by noting that another president, FDR, is scheduled to speak on radio later that evening, by implication at least inviting the reader to see the similarities between two heroic men of the people facing crisis with courage, intelligence, and great personal integrity.

Representative Americans from Dupont: The Cavalcade of America