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Schools, Media, and Popular Culture:

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on 26 March 2015

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Transcript of Schools, Media, and Popular Culture:

Educators and the Movies
" I believe that one reason why it is hard to interest some children in school today is that their minds have been filled and their imaginations thrilled with too vivid motion pictures, and when these children come to school, they are disappointed because the teacher can not make the subject as interesting as a motion-picture show."
--Peter Olesen, Superintendent of Schools from Minnesota
The Production Code: Movies as Educators
Censorship of Movies as a Form of Public Education
Should mass media in the 20th Century be controlled to avoid negative influences on audiences or to teach audiences moral and political lessons?

Government censorship:
The government is obligated to maintain social order and remove objectionable material. Films were edited after production was completed to meet local and state censorship regulations.

The content of films should be controlled by the producers to teach social lessons.
Commercial Radio vs. Educators
The Challenge: 1934 Thomas Rishworth Vs.local PTA
St. Paul Minnesota
Jell-O switched to radio version of Wizard of OZ
National Council of Women, Mrs. Harol V. Milligan
1935 CBS self censorship code=Superman, the
Lone Ranger, and Tom Mix
NBC 1939 released censorship code

Controlling the Influence of Comic Books
1940-150 comic book titles
earning $20 Million
1950-300 comic book
titles earning $41 Million
1950-1953- Over 650 titles
earning $90 Million
1945- Senate subcommittee on
juvenile delinquency opened
hearings on comic books
New York City hearings of the Senate subcommittee on juvenile delinquency introduced comic books to illustrate possible harmful effects on children "Bottoms Up" from Story Comics
1948- Adopted a self-censorship code
Children as Consumers vs. Exploitation
• Advertising through magazines
• Advertising Competitions as Propaganda
“Remember, the more you believe it the
easier it will be to write and the better
the advertisement.”
• Cartoon figures used to attract children and
marketed as dolls

Schools, Media, and Popular Culture:
Influencing the Minds of Children and Teenagers

The Teenage Market (1940s – 50s)
Children and Youth from the 1950s to the 1970s +
Marketed movies using additional Disney merchandise
The Mickey Mouse Club
First infomercials
Civic Consumerism an important role of democratic citizens
"Teenager" coined by marketers
Focus on image & popularity
Asquith, K. (2014). Join the club: Food advertising, 1930s children's popular culture, and brand socialization.
Popular Communication, 12
, 17-31. doi 10.1080/15405702.2013.869334
Spring, J. (2014). Schools, media, and popular culture. In The American school: A global context (pp. 327-357). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
1950s- Protected Childhood
1960s- "Youthquake"
1970s- Helping children be prepared (rather than protected)
MPPDA formed to counter the demands for increased government censorship of movies.

Will Hays, president of MPPDA
"Right is right and wrong is wrong, and men know right from wrong. The corrections can be made, real evil can and must be kept out the highest standards of art, taste, and morals can be achieved, and it is primarily the duty of the producers to do it."
Considered movie houses as a major competition for the control of children's minds

Benefited from financial support from movie industry
Development of classroom movies
Movie appreciation courses
Payne Fund Study
Results on Youth Movie Attendance
disrupted sleep patterns
heightened emotional feelings
influenced social attitudes
caused day-dreaming
taught love-making
flooded minds with ideas and facts
poor grades
linked to delinquency
Movie Industry
Welcomed a connection to education
Education was another argument against government censorship
Established movie appreciation courses in high schools
developed study guides
Other Benefits:
increased movie attendance = $$$ profit
free publicity in movie appreciation courses
good public relations
National Council of Teachers of English
Advocated movie attendance as part of general education
Motivating students to attend more movies
Increased reading of screen plays
MPPDA widely distributed movie study guides
Movies became an extension of the school and guided learning experiences
1930 Movie Code: Three Principles "Hays' Code"
1) " No picture shall be produced which will lower the moral standard of those who see it...."
2) "Correct standards of life, subject only to the requirements of drama and entertainment shall be presented."
3)"Law natural or human, shall not be ridiculed..."
(Spring, 2011, p. 336)
1968: A New Movie Rating System

( G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17)
The above 5 ratings are determined by a board of 13 members who are a part of the Classification and Rating Administration in Los Angeles.
Movie Censorship Time Line

1915- The U.S. Supreme Court declares state censorship of movies constitutional.
1922- The Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA) is formed. (1945- MPAA) They hire William Hays as their first president. His salary was $150,000.
1930- Production Code ( Hay's Code )
1934- Hay's committee in the MPPDA is renamed the Production Code Administration. (Only films with their approval could be shown in a major studio)
1921-1936: 202 licenses given to educational organizations by the government.
1937: 38 licenses given to educational organizations.
The Debates
1. 20% of commercial radio should be dedicated to educational programs
(Spring, 2011. p. 328)
(Spring, 2011, p. 331)
2. Negative cultural values were being promoted in radio advertising
3. Money making and commercial use of radio would inhibit social progress.
Federal Radio Education Committee created
Creating the Superhero for Children's Radio
Full transcript