American Experience: Tupperware!
Airs Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV
Monday, February 13, 2012
In the 1950s, American women discovered they could earn thousands — even millions — of dollars from bowls that burped. “Tupperware ladies” fanned out across the nation’s living rooms, selling efficiency and convenience to their friends and neighbors through home parties. Bowl by bowl, they built an empire that now spans the globe.
This documentary, narrated by Kathy Bates, reveals the secret behind Tupperware’s success: the women of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds who discovered they could move up in the world without leaving the house. "Tupperware!" charts the origins of the small plastics company that unpredictably became a cultural phenomenon.
It all began with the unlikely partnership of Earl Silas Tupper, a reclusive small-town inventor, and Brownie Wise, a self-taught marketing whiz. At a time when women, who had been celebrated for working in factories during World War II, were being pushed back to the kitchen, Wise showed them how to defy the limitations they faced by starting up their own businesses -- based in their kitchens.
In "Tupperware!," archival footage of Tupperware parties, annual Tupperware Jubilees, and home movies is interwoven with the thoughtful, often humorous recollections of Tupperware salespeople and executives who experienced firsthand the company's meteoric rise.