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New Book Details 'Industrial Musicals'

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A golden age of American musicals spanned the 1950s through the 1980s, but you won't know any of the songs. Now, a new book looks at the unique genre of Industrial Musicals. NY1's Stephanie Simon filed the following report.

They're big splashy Broadway-style musicals, sometimes written by the biggest names in the business, occasionally starring well-known celebrities. However, they were never meant to be seen by the general public.

They're industrial musicals, musicals created by companies like Kellogg's, Purina, McDonald's and many others to generate enthusiasm among their workforce.

But now, Steve Young and Sport Murphy are bringing this musical oddity to the masses in their new book "Everything's Coming Up Profits: The Golden Age of Industrial Musicals."

"It's just this freakish combination of mine that seems like a peppy Broadway show tune, except it's all about the features of a new calculator," Young says. "It just is such an odd juxtaposition, a disconnect that we just love it."

Young, a longtime writer for David Letterman, first learned of this musical curiosity while working on a bit for The Late Show called Dave's Record Collection.

"I started coming back with these very mysterious corporate record albums. I had no idea what they were," he says. "I was just struck by the bizarre nature of, 'This shouldn't be a musical, but it is, and it's really good.'"

Young has since appeared on the Letterman show to promote the book.

Fans of industrial musicals say that sometimes they're great because they're so great, and sometimes they're great because they're so bad. Murphy loves it so much, he wants to bring it back.

"I'd like to do a Broadway house that just rotated these shows and just bring the old ones back, and then maybe every year, we premiere a new one. Maybe go opera with it," he says.

Considering the genre, that doesn't even seem strange.

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