Strange 1968 Westinghouse film for refrigerator with decorator panels

DIY tip: Don’t do the twist jerk while using scissors, please

Thanks to Jackie and Todd from Furnish Me Vintage for sending us this strange — but fascinating — film from 1968. I am guessing, because of the video’s 6-minute-plus length, that it is a marketing film aimed at Westinghouse dealers, used at a big seasonal introduction of this new refrigerator line, which offers change-able decorator panels for the front. Moreover, as a “mood piece” filmed in an au-courant fashion reflecting the zeitgeist of the country, the film is groovy to the max, but in a sort of disturbing way…

Popular accent colors for kitchens in 1968

First, for the purpose of readers looking for advice on what was popular in 1968 kitchens, let’s capture the colors that Westinghouse was promoting. The decorator panels were available in:

  • Supreme Walnut
  • Rattan
  • Catawba Cherry — Note, Early American, still popular in 1968!
  • Astro-Glo Bronze
  • Surftex Black

Oh, and there was lots and lots of blonde hair color going on, too, it seems.

campbell soup refrigerator panel and dress 1968

make your own custom dishwasher panel
Kathy shows us how to make your own custom dishwasher panel. Click photo to get to story.

In addition, homemakers could make their own panels. The parts of the film meant to generate ideas are the best. Hey: Remember our recent story about Kathy, who made her own dishwasher panel from an enlargement of her grandmother’s Betty Crocker cookbook? Such a great way to add vintage pizzazz — inexpensively and creatively. Tip: Don’t do the twist while using scissors.

Back to the film — 1968 a very bad year

I used to work in the car business, and these kinds of films were commonly created to set the scene for the new product lines being introduced to the dealers. The purpose was to get them all psyched up to sell.

But, oh my: 1968. In contrast to the let’s party mood (although there is a seamy darkness) of this film, the year 1968 was one of the most tragic and divisive (help, I am not a historian, not even sure what words to use) in America’s political history. Martin Luther King was assassinated. Robert F. Kennedy, assassinated. The Vietnam War was under way, with the Mai Lai massacre, Tet offensive, draft dodging and more dividing the country. Richard Nixon was elected president. Hmmm, unemployment was 3.3 percent. Yikes. I am not an expert on film history, but I took a class in college and this Westinghouse video makes me recall the 1966 film Blowup by Michaelangelo Antonioni. Films like this — which are considered “ephemera” and were not really meant to endure — are so interesting. Thank you, Jackie and Todd, for this discovery.

  1. A Mairz says:

    I am just now watching “Classic Kitchen Films” on Prime and this Westinghouse segment is included, along with other short films for all kinds of other kitchen component manufacturers. IT IS THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN! ? (I couldn’t wait to google “Astro-glo bronze” because I am covering that fridge and landed here. Now I can’t wait to explore.)

    I cannot recommendation this highly enough.

    1. Lainie says:

      I too was watching the kitchen classics on prime! Had to Google this fridge and came across this article. New project for the fridge inspiration

  2. S says:

    Just watched this film on Turner Classic Movies! “Match Your Mood” was on at 2:45 am. I could tell it was a late 60’s film from the music & clothes. When I saw the Campbell soup cans decorating the fridge, I looked it up & found this article. Fun little film!

  3. Brenda says:

    I am so glad you have seen this video! I saw this courtesy of Turner Movie Classics a couple of months ago. I would love this for my current refrigerator.

  4. Heidi E. says:

    I have no idea what all that wandering around in the woods in the beginning was about ( besides, like others, thinking the music made it sound like she was going to get attacked by some horror), but is that a glitter-coated fridge at the end there? I am sorely tempted to try such a thing somehow…

  5. Miss Wynonna says:

    Gentlemen, Thank you for choosing Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce…..

    LOL Really WOW……..As a child of the 60’s I can swear I NEVER saw a Red, White and Blue fridge until the bicentennial rolled around……..and I only ever saw one fridge that was custom like this video and it was covered in wallpaper to match the wall and set into a nook…

  6. Sandy says:

    The style may not have been what the well dressed counterculture type was wearing, but then again they weren’t buying high end appliances, either. Their parents, however …. The movie The Graduate dates from 1967, and those people pushing the future of plastics would feel right at home in that outfit.

    I can see what you mean about Blow Up. Definite similarities in music and style.

  7. mary says:

    Okay…your refrigerator is the largest blank canvas in the room. I like the Warhol Tomato Soup and the stamps…the possibilities are endless…sure beat 40,000 magnets.

  8. Johnny 5 says:

    This was GREAT!!! This film clip just absolutely got my Saturday morning off to a uplifting, energetic, humorous start!

    As corny as it is, I like the out of the box thinking and imagination that went into designing and presenting this design concept!

    Maybe it’s me just getting older but it appears as though the general population (except for folks like us who frequent this site!) just doesn’t “get into” updating and revamping their living spaces like folks did back in the day. We’re so caught up working and making money to pay the bills that we don’t have time to really enjoy and experiment wth our living spaces? Different times………

    Thanks for posting this groovy clip!

  9. Scott says:

    What an great find. I have an overwhleming urge to go decorate my refrigerator right this minute.

    If you find yourself hankering for more of the same, look for “67 The Start of Something BIG” film for the 1967 Oldsmobiles, also produced by Jam Handy. That one will also have you up on your feet and dancing too.

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