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Reforming HollywoodHow American Protestants Fought for Freedom at the Movies$
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William D. Romanowski

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195387841

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195387841.001.0001

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On the Trail of the Serpent

On the Trail of the Serpent

Will Hays and the Protestant Crusade

(p.62) 4 On the Trail of the Serpent
Reforming Hollywood

William D. Romanowski

Oxford University Press

This chapter uncovers contentious dealings between the Hays organization and the Church and Drama Association, which served as the Federal Council of Churches’ liaison with the film industry. These events upended relations between the Hays Office and the Federal Council and also exposed the industry to a new line of attack. Determined to end the major studios’ ironclad control over the movies, some Protestants targeted distribution practices known as “block booking” and “blind selling” as a way to improve the cinema without resorting to censorship at the point of production. It proved to be a pivotal moment, not just in Protestant-Hollywood relations, but in the course of movie regulation. Severing cooperation between the Federal Council and the MPPDA opened the industry to the Protestants’ gravest fear, Catholic takeover.

Keywords:   Hays organization, Church and Drama Association, block booking, blind selling, Protestant-Hollywood relations, MPPDA

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