Record #752

Record Type:
Mr Will H. Hays, President, MPPDA
MPPDA (Board of Directors)
Reel 9
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Influence of screen - psychological research
see 09-0001 to 09-0414 for typescript of Short : A Generation of Motion Pictures

Payne Fund Studies -- MPPDA has known of them and been fighting them for three years. cont. -- admissions that some conclusions are "probably correct" and that interest groups have a right to be concerned. This version is probably Hays' text at the meeting. -- during which he says : "Entertainment is a service, not a commodity'


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Long Description:

Another version of this -- probably the one delivered by Hays -- omits the cost of their research programme, and adds that the "preliminary report" they prevented publication of was in galley proof -- must be Short's A GENERATION OF MOTION PICTURES, and that the Payne Fund attempted to get its conclusions attached to President's Conference on Child Welfare 1930-31. "The head of the division of that conference which had to do with the child during leisure hours was James E. West, head of the Boy Scouts, and the chairman of the sub-division that had to do with the child and motion pictures was Lee Hamner, head of the Russell Sage Foundation, who for years has been the chairman of our Executive committee on public relations. ... It is a fact and should be noted that some of the conclusions reached in these so-called scientific investigations are probably correct. Some of the attacks cannot be successfully defended. Some of the suggestions are useful to us. It will not be our purpose to negative, of course, any of these. It will be our purpose to defend the industry against the unfair conclusions and to devise means to take such advantage as possible from the fair recommendations and have ourselves hurt as little as possible by the unfair ones. We may take an affirmative and advanced action, heading off the more or less malignant and harmful effects of the unfair comments. We do not forget that we are engaged in an amusement business and our purpose is to provide suitable entertainment for all classes of people, and we shall allow no interest or movement or drive by special interests against us to divert the public attention from that basic fact. Nevertheless, the very nature of our business and the magnitude of its appeal lay upon us a responsibility unavoidable so conduct that mass entertainment business as that it does not offend moral, religious or social sensibilities. Entertainment is a service, not a commodity. In the treatment of crime on the screen, the legal and judicial community of the nation are within their rights and their powers to criticise improper treatment of the theme from the standpoint of law enforcement. On the basis of moral, ethical and religious considerations, we cannot avoid the fact that the church justly has an important voice in all moral, ethical and religious problems. When we treat of sex and social problems, it is inevitable that social service groups, parents' organizations and women's' clubs should be vitally interested. The motion picture is, indeed, everybody's business. We cannot if we would maintain the position that our own responsibility is to the general public and not to special groups.

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