On Oct 30, 2012, at 5:08 AM, Jonathan Walley wrote:

….In essence, it "internalized" federal, state, and local
censorship laws into a sort of corporate policy aimed at producing
films that would NOT be censored by external authorities once they
were released in theaters (although this still did sometimes happen).

Jonathan's point could be extended a bit if you also looked at the Code as a 
marketing tool and a kind of dictionary of reactionary politics.  Many who talk 
about the Code have never actually read the whole thing. (There are different 
iterations, going back to the 1920s, but the 1934 one is usually thought of.)   
If you do go to the source you find admonitions to not portray police as 
dishonest or corrupt or violent.  Even more obviously, to please the prejudices 
dominant in the Southern states in particular there were explicit warnings 
about any kind of interracial romance being portrayed in film.  This has a 
particular resonance for a fair number of the New American Cinema films of the 
late 1950s-early 1960s which do show heterosexual racial mixing.

It might seem incredible to many younger folks today, but as an example of 
racial anxiety in that era: in 1956 the well known successful African American 
singer and musician Nat King Cole began to host his own TV show on NBC.  The 
crooner performed with white singers, but was prohibited from even shaking 
hands with female guests on the show.  The show was never able to find a 
national sponsor and was dropped after a year.


Chuck Kleinhans




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