'Tupperware!' the Movie

Documentary Travels to the Heart of 1950s American Culture

Earl Silas Tupper, inventor of Tupperware, holds one of his original designs.

Earl Silas Tupper, inventor of Tupperware, holds one of his original designs. Tupperware Corporation hide caption

itoggle caption Tupperware Corporation
Tupperware for the Christmas 2003 season.

Tupperware for the Christmas 2003 season. Tupperware Corporation hide caption

itoggle caption Tupperware Corporation

Just after World War II, Tupperware was invented. Earl Tupper, a reclusive but ambitious inventor looking for a discovery that would change American life, created the unspillable, plastic containers with their revolutionary air-tight, waterproof seals.

But his product was not an instant hit, and sales were small. It seemed his invention was stale. But then Tupper met Brownie Wise. She was a divorced woman from rural Georgia, with no more than an eighth grade education. Not exactly the ideal 1950s woman. But Wise came up with a sales strategy that would ignite the Tupperware empire: women throwing parties at their homes to sell Tupperware.

Tupperware!, a documentary airing Feb. 9 on PBS' American Experience, tells the story of Wise and Tupperware. NPR's Melissa Block, host of All Things Considered, talks with the film's director, Laurie Kahn-Leavitt.

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