Last Monday, I sent a letter describing the Pure Entertainment Preservation Society’s goals to each of the seven major motion picture studios in Hollywood. On the following Friday, I called the studios in Hollywood. It is easy to reach the secretaries of the heads of the company; all you have to know is someone’s name to reach him. I left a message with the secretaries, and they promised to give their employers the message. I called again on Monday and Tuesday, each time leaving a message with the assistants and trying to impress them with the importance of my information. Several of these assistants promised me that their employers would call me when they had a chance, but no one has called me so far. I am going to call them all again on Monday and send the letters again, but we need more than a lone Public Relations Manager to make an impact.
Hollywood filmmakers may make grand proclamations about making clean family films, but they are really only interested in making money. If filmmakers can be convinced that Americans want truly clean entertainment, they must change their policies. It is not enough for us to try to make a difference; you must do something. If you want clean entertainment, don’t wait for someone else to do something; do something yourself!
The time is ripe for change in Hollywood. Numerous organizations and individuals are aware of the fact that there needs to be clean entertainment for the whole family; many of them have even acknowledged the huge increase in profits which this would mean for the industry. In response to this, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has started a new service for providing “Clean Version” films to families. On several film-renting organizations such as iTunes, VUDU, and FandangoNOW, viewers can select popular films which have been changed so that they are “clean.” Although at first this seems like a good idea, it really is censorship, which is costly, generally ineffective, and often destructive to the films themselves; frequently, cuts which remove improper elements hack at the movie’s actual plot. Censorship was difficult to use effectively in the pre-Code years, when swearing in films was rare and immoral content was often subtle by modern standards. Now, almost every film contains profanity, vulgarity, or at least comedie de toilette even if its general content is appropriate. On the other hand, I want to state that I think this is a step in the right direction; in fact, I am thrilled that a major studio in Hollywood is finally making an attempt at making “clean” entertainment, whether or not it works.
Unfortunately, many of the directors and actors who participated in the films which are now being presented in “clean” forms are furious. They are responding on social media with vulgarity and crude anger. This is not surprising, since filmmakers have always hated censorship which changes their art after it has been made and released. In a way, I can’t blame them for disliking this. As a writer, I would not like having my work changed by someone else, either. That is the main problem with Sony’s idea. It is a step in the right direction, but it is misguided and likely to be less than truly effective. Many individuals and organizations want clean entertainment, but no one seems to know how to practically and effectively achieve it.
We know how, and now you do, too. It is your duty to spread the word. It is nothing new. It is a wonderful idea which was abandoned because poor leadership allowed it to decay and become ineffective. If concerned organizations continue squabbling and pleading with Hollywood over single films and concepts, the goal of truly clean entertainment will never be achieved. Once films are made, it is too late to fix them. That sentence is the reason why censorship failed. It is also the reason why the Code was adopted by Hollywood. Hollywood knew that any other form of regulation would be censorship, which would butcher their films or force costly modifications. The Code is a law book which explains how films can and cannot be made. Filmmakers are giving this book to guide them as they prepare ideas and scripts. They get more than a law book, however. They get someone to tell them where they have erred and how they can fix the problems. For this job, they are not given a policeman or a judge; they are given a concerned, considerate friend. Yes, Joseph Breen, as the head of the Production Code Administration, was the filmmakers’ best friend. The NPCA would be the same with modern filmmakers.
If you believe that films should be clean, I implore you to help PEPS. Please support us by promoting the website on social media, signing our petition, and following us. This is not a personal goal; it is a goal for everyone. It is a goal for the children of today and tomorrow. The world is in an atrocious state. If it continues in its downward spiral, there will be no scrap of respectability left for my generation’s children. Do you want your children or future children to live in a world which is perhaps twice as bad as the world today? You cannot afford to wait; you need to act now. Press this and promote it any way you can. Send it to your friends. I firmly believe that the Code is Hollywood’s only hope.
For the good of the studios, the industry, and the whole nation, Hollywood desperately needs to know the wonderful hope the Code promises for the future. The movie industry is facing a dismal future. Several companies have faced bankruptcy in recent years. Companies appear to be making more money than ever, but the earnings are deceptive, since they are spending mind-boggling figures to make these pictures. The Code offers the promise of whole families seeing every film made. I want Hollywood studios to think about that. Every one would be able to see their top films. What is the good of spending $120,000,000 on a picture which only people over thirteen are likely to attend? Think of the huge profits which they could make if everyone attended these expensive films!
I am doing my best to reach the studios, speak to people in charge, and schedule appointments with these executives, but it is very difficult. It is easy to get to the secretaries of the presidents of Hollywood studios, but it is so hard to talk with the people in charge. PEPS has no credibility now since it is only represented by a lone person who persistently sends letters and pesters the secretaries with telephone calls. We need numerous people to contact the studios to make an impact. I want the seven major studios to be flooded with emails, letters, and telephone calls from people who want them to contact PEPS and readopt the Code. How can they refuse? We are the people who control Hollywood, since we, the audience, are the customers. In addition, I am going to make a very important request which may be difficult for some people: stop attending modern films. You can watch old films as much as you like, but don’t patronize modern films by seeing them in theaters, on the internet, or on DVD. Hit Hollywood in the pocket book!
Below is a list of the important names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the seven major studios. Please use them this Monday!
MGM – Jonathan Glickman and Gary Barber 245 North Beverly Drive Beverly Drive, CA 90210 310-449-3000
Universal Pictures – Jimmy Horowitz and Peter Cramer 100 Universal Plaza Universal City, CA 91608 818-777-1000
Warner Bros. Pictures – Kevin Tsujihara and Bill Draper 4000 Warner Blvd. Burbank, CA 91522 818-954-6000
Paramount Pictures – Marc Evans and Randall Baumberger 5555 Melrose Ave. Hollywood, CA 90038 323-956-5000
Fox Pictures – Stacey Snyder 10201 W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90067 310-369-1000
Sony Pictures – Tony Vincinquerra and Tom Rothman 10202 W. Washington Blvd. Culver City, CA 90232 310-244-4000
Walt Disney Pictures – Sean Bailey and John Lott 500 S. Buena Vista Street Burbank, CA 91251 818-560-1000
Petition sites are flooded with petitions asking people to save animals, the earth, and the environment. I am asking you to help in our goals to save people, civilization, and our nation’s human environment. If you want change, don’t just complain about the problems to people who have no power. Complain to the people who can make real changes!
In this next week, film lovers, let’s spare a little time which would be used for discussing brilliant films which were made long ago. Let’s use that time to make a difference for films which are being made today. If you love the Golden Era of Hollywood, I hope that you will share my desire for bringing it back. Please help PEPS any way you can. Before you leave, don’t forget to like this, follow the column, and click the link on the right side of the page to sign our petition. After that, spread the good news about the Code to all your friends and acquaintances. Finally, tell Hollywood that we want pure entertainment!
Follow us to bring back the Code and save the arts in America!