Walter Klein began his career in advertising as a staff member at The Charlotte Observer in 1946, following his service in World War II. Soon thereafter, Klein founded Walter J. Klein Co., which became one of the state's largest full-service advertising agencies. They soon passed all other Carolina agencies with $1 million in annual billings and then they switched entirely to TV production and distribution.
Under Klein's direction, the company excelled at commercial production for some of America's most prominent industries and organizations during a pivotal time for broadcast media. They offered companies millions of dollars in free television time and just a one-time production fee. This was an unusual approach; competitors doubted their approach, but the Walter J. Klein Company, Ltd. became extremely successful. They completed over 1000 films for large national corporations and won many awards.
The company produced the first commercial that was shown in Charlotte, broadcast of WBTV the night before the station officially signed on. Klein remained an influential figure in the worlds of advertising, public relations and filmmaking for the duration of his career.
In 1999, Klein donated a film and videotape archive worth an estimated twenty-five million dollars to the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
Walter J. Klein was inducted into the North Carolina Advertising Hall of Fame by the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in 2007.
|1935: The first television contract signed in the Carolinas|
|Walter Klein (2nd from left) at Cine Golden Eagle Awards in New York|
|President Eisenhower's only visit to Charlotte. Photo taken from a documentary by the Kleins.|
|1964: Chef Bernard Collot in Paris for "Le Petit Bedon" (The Little Tummy)|
|IQ Shipboard Convention. Walter Klein and his wife are standing 2nd and 3rd from right.|
|Harry Golden. Harry Golden was a Jewish-American writer and newspaper publisher.|
His films were produced at the Klein Studios.
|New York City Award Ceremonies. Walter Klein is far left, his wife beside him, and his son, Robert third from left.|
Klein Films were awarded 200 honors over the years.
|Governor Kerr Scott and his staff at the entrance to the Klein building during the filming of campaign films|
|The Panamanian and US officials of the Interamerican Highway, subject of "Interamerican Surpriseway." |
They posed for this film seated across the key point on the highway, a bridge outside Panama City.