CC Video: 1966 Ford Sales Training Film — With Interesting Music

Copies of this 25-minute film, imaginatively entitled Love Thy Customer, were presumably sent to Ford dealerships across America around the summer of 1966. It worth watching, if only is a ’60s Californian timepiece. Not only was it (most likely) shot there by “Parthenon Pictures” (whoever they were), but this doubtless distinguished company managed to find an unexpected local band to play the near-constant background music.

The Doors — yes THE Doors — were just one of several dozen semi-professional Los Angeles blues/rock groups. They did not have a recording contract, but since February 1966, they were the house band at a West Hollywood joint. Sometime in early May, the Doors went into a small recording studio in LA and played a live backing set while watching the film on a small screen. The performance was improvised in the typical Doors way, albeit without vocals: Jim Morrison percussion and what sounds like a kazoo. This was therefore the groups’ first studio recording: their legendary first album (released in January 1967) was recorded over six days in late August 1966 — four months after the Ford job.

The film itself is, as these things often are, pretty cringeworthy. The acting, the stereotyping, the cheapness of it all is made worse by that voice-over’s inane blather. And that gratuitous passing dig at Studebaker was, especially by 1966, rather cruel. At least, there’s the background music — and it really does sound like the Doors and some nice Fords.