Pre-Code vs. Pro-Code: New Stories and New Stances on the Era Before Censorship
This illustrated presentation will offer two viewpoints on the “pre-Code” era (1930 to 1934), when Hollywood ignored the lax Production Code, releasing films that dealt with adult themes. Mark A. Vieira says: “These saucy, cynical films were an honest expression of the times, advancing the art of film.” Tiffany Brannan says: “Pre-Code films were exercises in sensationalism, warping impressionable young minds solely to boost box office.”
Mark A. Vieira is a photographer and historian. His fine-art books on Hollywood’s Golden Age specialize in genres, photography, and careers. He has written about film noir, George Hurrell, Greta Garbo, and Irving Thalberg. He has authored two books on the pre-Code era. Sin in Soft Focus was published in 1999. Forbidden Hollywood was published on April 2, 2019, and is in its second printing.
Tiffany Brannan is an operatic soprano, travel writer, ballet writer, and film historian. As co-founder of the Pure Entertainment Preservation Society (PEPS), she is working to replace the MPAA Ratings System with the Motion Picture Production Code of 1934. She and her colleagues are raising the public awareness of the Code’s value and are providing new information about its co-author and administrator, the late Joseph I. Breen.
In the Mark Taper Auditorium at the Los Angeles Central Library.
Book sales and signing to follow the presentation.
The Story of the Code Through Classical Song At Hollywood and Western!
At 3 PM on July 15, the Code is returning to its first home, 5504 Hollywood Boulevard!
This address is the location of the Hollywood and Western Building, which was constructed in 1928 by Louis B. Mayer for the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA). On July 15, 1934, an amendment was put in place which made a Seal of Approval from the Production Code Administration (PCA) necessary for the release of every American movie. That Sunday was the beginning of the Code era, the Golden Era of Hollywood. The PCA was located on the fourth floor of the Hollywood and Western Building. In that beautiful art deco building, seven men toiled tirelessly to make sure that all movies were “reasonably acceptable to reasonable people.”
The corner room overlooking Western Avenue was the office of the head Production Code administrator, Joseph I. Breen, the very spirit of the Code and its only real champion. This room was the heart of the Code’s enforcement until 1950, when the PCA moved to new offices. However, the Code’s finest days were in the Hollywood and Western Building.
On July 15, we are celebrating the 84th anniversary of the beginning of the Code era with a concert in Joseph Breen’s office! As it was in 1934, July 15 is going to be on Sunday this year. At this concert, we are going to perform our essential program, “The Story of the Code Through Classical Song,” about which you can read on our program page. This exclusive, intimate concert will be the launching point of our performing. The concert begins at 3 PM and will be a little over an hour long with singing, speaking, and accompanying slides. Afterwards, there will be a small reception with some refreshments. There are only fifty seats available, so be sure to buy a ticket today!