Note: This is the original announcement, but it is not complete. Please click here for the official announcement of the blogathon, which includes banners and the roster. Comment on either article to express your desire to participate. Thank you!
Today is Thursday, and it is the week I would normally write a Breening Thursday article. However, this week I have something else in store. Instead of breening a film, I am officially announcing my first blogathon, “The Great Breening Fest.” It is going to take place October 13-15 of 2017. We do not have banners yet, but we hope to have some simply grand ones by next week. Until then, please scroll down to see the topic, details, and rules of this event.
Topic: This blogathon is centered around October 14, which is Joseph Ignatius Breen’s 129th birthday! Anyone who has read my articles knows about his work. For the benefit of all others, let me explain who he was. He was the head of the Production Code Administration from 1934 to 1954. He was the enforcer of the Motion Picture Production Code. He was America’s moral guardian for two decades. He was the man who gave us the marvelously clean films which we love during the Golden Era. In fact, I think he was the man who gave us the Golden Era. This blogathon is being held to celebrate his life and his work.
Details: There are three types of articles you may write for this blogathon. You may breen an existing pre-Code or Shurlock era film, you may write about an idea you have that could be or could have been a Code film, or you may write an article about Mr. Breen himself.
I am using some specific, unusual terminology, so let me be more specific. In the PCA’s glory years under Mr. Breen, Variety magazine made breen a verb which described Joe Breen’s unique process of Code-enforcing self-regulation. I have demonstrated the process of breening in my biweekly Breening Thursday articles, in which I have explained how pre-Code or Shurlock era films could have been changed to be Breen films. I want you to do the same. You don’t have to be as specific as I am. You can be more general. You may go through line by line, as I do, or you may simply discuss the plot and outline. The film you choose to breen, however, is important. Although one could breen some films from any time period, I am limiting this to films made during the classic days. I am allowing pre-Code films, Shurlock era films, and Disney films through 1970. Pre-Code, in this instance, does not just mean a talkie between 1930 and 1934. I mean any film released before July 15 of 1934, including silent films. Shurlock era means any film which was made between 1955 and 1968, when Geoffrey Shurlock, Mr. Breen’s former assistant, was the head of the Production Code Administration. I am not allowing any films released after the changed to the MPAA rating system except ones released by Disney. I am allowing Disney films through 1970, but this date is flexible. I may also allow Disney films made in the actual ’70s, since Disney was still trying to make family films. I will allow cartoons from the specified years.
The second category is describing a Code film which could have been made. This can be done many ways. You may describe an original idea you have for a Code film, or you may explain how an existing work could be a good Code film. With both, you may be quite general and only write the general outline of the story, or you may be very specific and write a detailed synopsis with a cast list and year. The idea from an existing work could be taken from a novel, a short story, a poem, a play, an opera, a ballet, a legend, a myth, or a real historical event. You could even describe a remake of a pre-Code or an original of a post-Code film. It doesn’t matter if your idea has already been made into a movie. If you have a different approach, I want you to write about it. This category basically includes any idea of which you can think that would make a good Code film. Of course, many literary works will need some revisions or alterations to be suitable Code films. As the annals of Hollywood history will tell you, many books and plays had to be changed before they hit the Silver Screen under Mr. Breen’s watch. You can imagine your proposed film being made during the Breen era, 1934-54, or any other time. You can write about an idea that would be a brilliant film from 2017 with modern actors as long as Mr. Breen would have approved of it. Modern films can also be up to the Code standard.
The third category is writing about Mr. Breen himself. There are so many blogathons and articles praising the great actors, directors, and filmmakers, but almost no one takes the trouble to acknowledge and honor Joseph Breen, who contributed to more films than anyone in film history. For this category, you can write a tribute to Joe Breen. It can be a general tribute to his work, or it can be more specific, such as how he shaped a particular picture or genre. You can also focus on more personal elements of his life. I would be thrilled if anyone had an anecdote to recount about him. I am always looking for more information about Mr. Breen’s family and home life. You can recount anything you know about him, his wife, his children, his grandchildren, his friends, or anyone else who had anything to do with him. I also would appreciate the inclusion of photographs and links to more information and to videos. In a more general topic, you could describe how a film was great or iconic because of the Code.
- To participate, you must be a follower of PEPS. If you are not already a follower, please click that darling little button that says Follow. We appreciate your support.
- Leave a comment expressing your desire to participate. If you know about what topic you want to write, please tell me. If not, you can simply join now and decide your topic later.
- Promote the blogathon on your column and on social media. By the way, we appreciate likes on our Facebook page. If you want to support PEPS on Twitter and Google Plus, look up Promise Pope; she is our director of social media.
- We appreciate signatures on our MoveOn petition to bring back the Code. You will find the link to the petition in the sidebar.
Let us have no duplicates in the breening part. After all, one film can only be breened so much. In every other department, there are no limitations. If you have any questions, please ask me in a comment, and I will be glad to answer them. If you would like to participate but do not have a column, you can email your article to me, and I will post it on my site. If you need to refer to the Code to help with your breening, here are the links to two of my articles which contain different versions of the Code: https://wordpress.com/post/pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/15 and https://wordpress.com/post/pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/27. Also, here is the link to the digital collection of the Production Code Administration’s files: http://digitalcollections.oscars.org/cdm/search/collection/p15759coll30. Every film is not included, but it is a good resource for learning about Mr. Breen’s style and standards.
For the first and second category, I ask that you post the article and send me the link by October 1. This will make it easier for me, since we will need to review every one of these articles before the blogathon. However, if you finish your article late, you will still be allowed to participate. You may post articles from the third category any time before or during the blogathon. We look forward to having lots of excellent authors joining our “Great Breening Fest.” We think it will be grand fun!
Follow us to bring back the Code and save the arts in America, and join the “Great Breening Fest!”