Today in History: March 31

The Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA)—now called the Motion Picture Association of America—agreed to abide by “A Code to Govern the Making of Motion and Talking Pictures” on this date in 1930. Until it was replaced in 1968, this code, better known as the “Hays Code,” after Will Hays, the President of the MPPDA, guided what could not be depicted on popularly distributed films.

Among the 11 “Don’ts” and 25 “Be Carefuls,” the Code forbade profanity, depictions of sex, “ridicule of the clergy,” any depiction of romance between people of two different races, drug use, detailed depictions of crimes like safe-cracking—because some might view these scenes as how-to instructions, and “excessive or lustful kissing, particularly when one character or the other is a (villain).”

Also, “Scenes of actual childbirth, in fact or in silhouette, are never to be presented.”

Without prior approval, films were not released. The current ratings system replaced the Code.

* * * *
Selena was murdered 21 years ago today.

* * * *
Joseph Haydn was born in 1732 on this date. Octavio Paz was born on this date in 1914. Richard Kiley was born on this date in 1922. Cesar Chavez was born in 1927 on this date. Liz Claiborne was born 87 years ago today.

* * * *
Gordie Howe, “Mr. Hockey,” is 88 today. John Jakes is 84. Shirley Jones is 82. Richard Chamberlain is 82 as well. Herb Alpert is 81 today. Marge Piercy is 80. Representative Barney Frank is 76. Christopher Walken is 73 today. That is sufficient reason to share this (“That goat does not care”):

Gabe Kaplan is 71 today. Vice President Al Gore is 68. Rhea Perlman is 68. Angus Young is 61. Tony Cox is 58. Ewan McGregor is 45 today.

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  1. loisajay · March 31, 2016

    When I was growing up, the Catholic newspaper we subscribed to used to list all the movies that were out, by rating. Surprising the list of X-rated movies that we Catholics were forbidden to see–and kind of hilarious, actually. I think the rating went from like family movie to x-rated…..amazing. My parents were really not into going to the movie theatre, but my friends and I still liked to see what the ‘bad’ movies were.


  2. MyLovingWife · March 31, 2016

    And the Eiffel Tower was completed 127 years ago. In 1889 ready for the World Fair. Happy birthday to the Iron Lady.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. cottagecaretakersyahoocom · October 25, 2016

    You chose the perfect event to start your article about notable events which occurred on March 31. The Code was the Declaration of Independence for Hollywood, since it freed the film industry from the prurience and risqueity which had plagued the early years. Please look at my essay and articles about the Code.

    Liked by 1 person

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