On July 9, Sally Silverscreen of 18 Cinema Lane nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award! I put a lot of time into writing my articles, so it is so nice to be recognized. Sally is a true friend, and I would like to thank her for the kind acknowledgement. I highly recommend that my readers look at her website. She writes very concise but clever reviews of films from all eras and genres, following a neat layout which she has developed. As a writer who thinks that three-thousand words is a “short article,” I admire her ability to write such compact and concise reviews. During #CleanMovieMonth85 and #AMonthWithoutTheCode, she was our most active participant, publishing thirteen guest articles during the two months! I really appreciate her desire to jump in and learn more about the Code by watching and reviewing many different films with a new perspective. Thank you, Sally! You are one of our best blogging friends and most devoted participants.
If you want to participate in something which Sally is doing, join her first blogathon! It is called Siskel and Ebert at the Blogathon, a very clever title, and it is running September 20-24. It is dedicated to the famous film-reviewing duo from Chicago, but the possible topics are very broad. I encourage you to participate, as I am going to!
In recognition of Sally’s award nomination for me in July, I am now going to complete my duties associated with it. Firstly, I am republishing the rules.
- Thank the person who nominated you and feature a link to their blog in your award post.
- Post the award banner somewhere on your blog.
- Share the reason why you started your blog.
- Share two pieces of advice that could benefit new bloggers.
- Nominate a maximum of fifteen other bloggers.
- Tell your nominees about your award post so they can participate!
I have done the first two. In relation to the second, I am thinking of adding a gallery for the awards I have received on my sidebar. Now, for the third requirement, I will explain why I started my blog.
All my life, I have watched and loved old movies. It was a love shared by me with my parents. Most of these films were from the 1940s, 50s, and early 60s. For many years, I wasn’t extremely aware of dates, but I knew that the films we watched were within the years I quoted. The only “modern” films which we watched were some Disney Renaissance cartoons, Disney Tinkerbell cartoons, and some Barbie movies. The live action films from the 1970s or beyond which we watched could be counted on one hand. I knew that movies from the past were different from modern films, and I believed them to be better. Like the rest of my family, I held that these movies were better simply because society was better. We acknowledged the decline in film decency in the late 1950s and 60s, and that’s why we didn’t watch many films made after that. Over the years, we watched a few 1930s films which we had gotten as part of film collections. As I became a little older, I developed a theory as to why these films were “darker” or more risque. I believed that this trend was some strange leftover from the 1920s which was eventually cured by World War II in the 1940s, much as the Great Depression was cured. However, a deeper study eventually showed me that the reality of the situation was more complex but more encouraging than my theory.
The first actor for whom I developed a special preference was Jack Lemmon. It was in April of 2014 that I first appreciated his talent in The Wackiest Ship in the Army from 1960, and the rest is history! Rebekah also developed a fondness for him, and we soon had watched most of the movies he made before 1966, a cutoff year we chose partly by accident and partly to maintain his youth in our minds. However, no matter how much you like an actor, he can lose his sparkle if you only watch twenty or so films with him. Thus, it was a happy chance that we soon discovered a new actor. I mustn’t get ahead of myself, though. While still a wholehearted admirer of Jack Lemmon, I researched his film list on Wikipedia. I saw that he made a musical in 1956 with June Allyson called You Can’t Run Away from It. One of the things I first admired about him was his musical talent, so I was eager to see this obscure film. I was interested when I saw that the movie was a remake of a 1934 screwball comedy called It Happened One Night. As I mentioned before, I hadn’t seen many 1930s movies up to this point, and I was unaware of the dates of most of the movies from this time which I liked. I was curious when I read that the original was one of the last pre-Code films, since I had never heard the term before. I began to do a little research. I remember reading the Don’ts and Be Carefuls of 1927 on Wikipedia and being impressed by the moral guidelines they provided. It occurred to me that, quite simply, the Code must be the reason why movies from the 40s are so much cleaner than movies from the early 30s or late 50s. I kept that in my mind, but I didn’t give it too much thought at the time.
In late winter or early spring of 2016, we watched Holiday from 1938. It was a DVD which had been in our collection for many years, but I had never seen it, and my mother, who had bought it years ago, had no recollection of it’s story. The cast, Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, sounded excellent, and the premise on the case sounded fascinating. We watched it, and I was most taken by the tippling brother, Ned. I had never seen or heard of the actor playing the role, Lew Ayres, but I found I liked him because the role and the performance reminded me of Jack Lemmon. I was very curious about this actor, so I did some research on him. A few months later, I watched one of his Dr. Kildare films, Dr. Kildare’s Strange Case, for free on Prime Video, and the fascination increased. Rebekah soon grew to share the interest. Lew Ayres had a very definite “early” period of his career, which is from his debut in The Kiss in 1929, MGM’s last silent film, to Fingers at the Window, the last film he made before going to war in 1942. Thus, the majority of the films he made during this early period were from the 1930s. As we became interested in Mr. Ayres, we also became interested in the 1930s, which brought us back to the Code. As we expanded our knowledge of Lew Ayres films, we studied 1930s cinema more and began to do serious research about the Code. The more we learned, the more we realized that we agreed with everything about the Code and the era of decent entertainment which it produced. Most of the writing exercises which Rebekah wrote in a writing course on which I helped her that summer were centers on the Code and 1930s films. This research and writing culminated in a research paper on the Code’s influence on America, which we wrote in September. This essay was the basis of our new movement.
On October 17, 2016, Rebekah and I founded the Pure Entertainment Preservation Society, an organization dedicated to preserving and restarting traditional and decent arts in America and throughout the world. We started a WordPress blog to write about these ideas, spread our thoughts, and share our research. Our first post was the research paper, which was the foundation of our whole Clean Movie Movement. Although we still agree completely with the concept of the essay, it is interesting for me to note how our views have changed since that first writing. Firstly, we refer to Code-enforcement as censorship and to PCA members as censors! I cringe just seeing those words in my own writing. Since then, our studied have enlightened us, so we now know that the Code was not censorship, a word which was despised by self-regulators, as they preferred to be called. Secondly, we refer to Joseph Breen as just Breen, which I now consider disrespectful. Instead, we always refer to him by his first and last name or by the more respectful Mr. Breen. Next, we posted the text of the Code. After a few months of vague concept articles and very few views, I began to realize that articles about individual films are a lot more successful. The blog really took off when I started participating in blogathons in April of 2017. Since then, my followers, views, participation, and enjoyment have greatly increased. We’re approaching our three year anniversary, and I have really enjoyed the experience!
Now it’s time for the fourth step in this process, and I will try to make it briefer than the third! My first piece of advice to a new blogger is to develop a strong identity for your website and your writing. I don’t think a blog should just be your random thoughts with no point of view. You should have a purpose, a slant, and an identity. Who are you, what do you write, and why do you write it? If readers can quickly answer these questions after looking at your blog, they are likely to return to see more of your content. If you develop an identity, you can find a community of like-minded bloggers quite easily. Once I decided that I was a film blogger, particularly about classic films, I found great success in the film blogging community. I was so much more successful than when I just wrote randomly about “the cause” of pure arts. Now that I have a large audience, I can intersperse my film reviews with more specific “cause-related” topics.
Secondly, I think that you should develop some formula for your writing. It can be very effective to create a standard layout for some, most, or all of your articles. As I mentioned earlier, Sally Silverscreen has a very effective design for her film reviews. I think it can also be very beneficial to have numerous layouts for different series which you create on your blog. Weekly articles themed for each day can be effective, similar to hashtags on social media such as #ThrowbackThursday and #WednesdayWisdom. Your readers are likely to come to your website on those particular days just to see if you have published the new entry in the series yet. Also, having fixed series with a definite style gives you both a schedule for regular publication and a formula to follow. Regular posting will lead to higher views!
Finally, it is time to nominate fifteen other bloggers for this award. As well as for participation in this award, I would like to invite these bloggers to participate in a blogathon which Rebekah and I are hosting later in September, The Phantom of the Opera Blogathon. We want this blogathon to be a great success, so we hope you will join!
- Ruth of Silver Screenings
- Rob of MovieRob
- Katherine of In the Vintage Kitchen
- Paddy Lee of Caftan Woman
- MovieCritic of Movies Meet Their Match
- Steve of Movie Movie Blog Blog II
- Crystal Kalyana of In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood
- Paul S of Pfeiffer Pfilms and Meg Movies
- Megan Chappie of The Pen and the Cross
- Belinda O of Classic for a Reason
- Alex of Anybody Got a Match?
- Gill Jacob of Real Weegie Midget
- Jenni of Portraits by Jenni
- Eva Schon of Coffee, Classics, and Craziness
- Eric Binford of Diary of a Movie Maniac
I look forward to reconnecting with these great writers and to seeing their response articles, whenever they are able to publish them.
Speaking of Ruth of Silver Screenings, I would like to take this opportunity to officially thank her for nominating me for a different award on August 9. She paid tribute to PEPS by including us with four other bloggers who remind her of great literary figures. We are honored to have been compared to Lucy M. Montgomery, the great Canadian authoress who brought us favorites like the Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon series. Thank you! We will try to live up to this ideal.
Thank you, everyone!
Follow us to bring back the Code and save the arts in America!
Only the Code can make the sun rise on a new day of pure entertainment!