"The March of Time" newsreels debuted in movie theaters.
Louis de Rochemont, the director of short films for Fox Movietone News, first pitched the idea of "pictorial journalism" to Roy Larsen, President of TIME Magazine. The goal was to create a short news film each month which depicted stories similar to those found in TIME or LIFE Magazines. Each short was crafted as a story, with a beginning, middle, and end to allow audiences to better understand and feel as if they were actually where the news was taking place. Each storyline was further elucidated by narrator Westbrook Van Voohris, ending the tale with his signature line, "Time marches on!" This structure differed greatly from other newsreels of the time, which were typically low-budget and created without journalistic staff.
In its first year, "The March of Time" covered international issues like the worldwide impact of the Great Depression, the re-arming of Germany, and the Nazi persecution of Jews. The series also covered national news in labor, politics, the arts, and science, as well as profiling controversial American figures like Huey Long and Father Charles Coughlin.
"The March of Time" came to an end in August of 1951 due to increasing production costs and competition with television. However, the techniques Louis de Rochemont developed for the program became standard practice in the compilation documentaries we see today, like History Channel series and public affairs programming.