The Production Code Administration and the Handmade Furniture Company

FurnitureThe Production Code Administration, which served as a self-regulation board for Hollywood from 1934 to 1954, was like the board of review at a handmade furniture company. Such a furniture company has a rule book defining the company’s code of standards, such as durability, sturdiness, and pureness of materials, just as Hollywood had the Motion Picture Production Code, which defined the industry’s rules regarding forbidden content, such as violence, prurience, and obscenity. Hollywood had the Production Code Administration, which was carefully manged and overseen by Joseph Breen, to enforce its code of ethics, just as a furniture company has a board of review, which is overseen by a chosen director, to enforce its code of ethics. Each piece of furniture is unique, so the design for every piece must be submitted to the board before it is built to ensure that it complies with the company’s standards; similarly, before a film was made, the synopsis and script had to be approved by the PCA. The furniture board suggests changes before and after the piece is built, just as the PCA suggested alterations before and after a movie was filmed. If the furniture makers do not heed the warnings and suggestions of the board of review, the piece of furniture will not receive the seal of approval which is mandatory for sale; if the filmmakers ignored the PCA’s required cuts and alterations, the proposed film would not receive the seal of approval which was mandatory for release and distribution. The Production Code Administration was censorship no more than the furniture company’s board of review is; it was simply a private industry’s means for insuring that all its products maintained a standard for wholesomeness to which no one could object.

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