Record #1161

Date:
01/12/1937
Record Type:
Memo
From/By:
Mr Charles C. Pettijohn, General Counsel, MPPDA
Reel:
Reel 11
Frame Start:
11-1938
Frame End:
11-1945
Legacy ID:
1171
Legacy Year:
1937
Legacy Index:
Production Code
Comments:
EDITORIAL COMMENT: This is an undated memo by, or amended by, Pettijohn or Harmon. It also talks about ""Bootleg films"" - i.e sex hygiene pictures

The problem of films made for advertising, or for promotion of causes such as public health. They compete unfairly because they can be offered to exhibitors for free. Should they be subject to PCA regulation? If not, they might become more salacious -- and more popular -- than entertainment films. Not dated or named but has been amended by hand- by Pettijohn?

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Long Description:

It notes that The River has been shown in Fox West Coast and B&K theatres, despite not having a seal, and that Paramount plan to distribute it nationally. "Certainly it is true that historically our Production Code Administration was established and has functioned on the basis of rendering normal service to the producers and the distributors of motion pictures designed for entertainment. I think that perhaps the decision as to whether or not we should use the Production Code Administration for servicing a particular picture or a certain type of picture should depend upon whether such picture or type of picture is designed primarily for entertainment. A picture may be entertaining in spite of the fact that it advertises a commodity or is produced as propaganda, but its primary purpose is to sell a commodity or aid a Cause, and the entertainment aspect thereof is definitely secondary. For the Production Code Administration to service a picture, that picture must be primarily for entertainment and any other objective must be secondary. If we accept this distinction as valid, then we should only use the Production Code Administration, as we are using it now, for servicing pictures primarily designed for entertainment. "If, on the other hand, pictures primarily designed to advertise a product or promote a Cause are not bound by the standards of decency adopted by the organized industry, it is obvious that such films can quickly do a great amount of harm to the theatre and to the industry generally because of the inclusion in such films of sequences containing objectionable matter which we ourselves would not approve. For example, I have no doubt that there will soon be plenty of advertising films dealing with lingerie, stockings, corsets, etc. I brought down this morning an advertisement from the New York Herald Tribune of December 12 dealing with ladies corsets of lace, etc., which we would not permit in the advertising of one of our pictures at all. I can visualize the time when there may be plenty of advertising films offered for showing in theatres which some of the theatres would not only be glad to get for nothing, but which they might pay for the right to use because of the sensational manner in which certain articles were advertised therein far beyond anything which we would allow under our Production Code." Proposes doing this through the Advertising Advisory Council rather than the Production Code Administration, making sure that all such films conform to their advertising standards. "By this method we would filter out all the nudity, all the obscenity, and any other objectionable element which we would not permit in our own advertising or in our pictures. In this fashion, we can keep out of all the advertising that gets on the screen anything objectionable from the standpoint of the industry's own code of decency."

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