Sunday, December 3, 2017

the Rocking Chair : Hollywood

the Rocking Chair : Hollywood: �� You may find this hard to believe, but in 1922 the morals of the movie industry were considered highly questionable after several risqu...


You may find this hard to believe, but in 1922 the morals of the movie industry were considered highly questionable after several risqué films and a number of widespread scandals including murder and rape. At that time the public and many religious, civic, and political organizations were exerting so much pressure for decency laws, that 37 states were complying by introducing almost one hundred censoring bills. 

In hope of rehabilitating Hollywood’s image, and rather than face a mishmash of censoring, the Motion Picture Production Code, popularly known as the Hays code, was created and spelled out what was acceptable and what was unacceptable content for movies meant for U.S. audiences. 

For more than thirty years Hollywood adhered to these rules, and the producers had to cut many scenes before getting a stamp of approval to release their film, but by the '40sthe Production Code was already weakening.

      As American culture began to change and television arrived on the scene with no restrictions, the Production Code gradually lost its strength until finally in 1968 it was abandoned, and was replaced by the MPAA rating system. 

Pre-code: "Don'ts" and "Be Carefuls", as proposed in 1927.*
The Code enumerated a number of key points known as the "Don'ts" and "Be Carefuls":
Resolved, That those things which are included in the following list shall not appear in pictures produced by the members of this Association, irrespective of the manner in which they are treated:

         1.   Pointed profanity – by either title or lip – this includes the words "God", "Lord", "Jesus", "Christ"    (unless they be used reverently in connection with proper religious ceremonies), "hell", "damn", "Gawd", and every other profane and vulgar expression however it may be spelled;
          2.    Any licentious or suggestive nudity – in fact, or in silhouette; and any lecherous or licentious notice thereof by other characters in the picture;
         3.    The illegal traffic in drugs;
         4.    Any inference of sex perversion;
         5.    White slavery;
         6.    Miscegenation (sex relationships between the white and black races;
        7.     Sex hygiene and venereal diseases;
        8.     Scenes of actual childbirth – in fact, or in silhouette;
        9.     Children's sex organs;
       10.    Ridicule of the clergy;
       11.    Willful offense to any nation, race or creed;

And be it further resolved, That special care be exercised in the manner in which the following subjects are    
 treated to the end that vulgarity and suggestiveness may be eliminated and that good taste may be emphasized;

       1.     The use of the flag;
       2.     International relations (avoiding picturizing in an unfavorable light another country's religion, history,  
               institutions, prominent people, and citizenry);
      3.     Arson;
      4.     The use of firearms;
      5.     Theft, robbery, safe-cracking, and dynamiting of trains, mines, buildings, etc. (having in mind the effect   
              which a too-detailed description of these may have upon the moron);
      6.     Brutality and possible gruesomeness;
      7.     Technique of committing murder by whatever method;
      8.     Methods of smuggling;
      9.     Third-degree methods;
     10.    Actual hangings or electrocutions as legal punishment for crime;
     11.    Sympathy for criminals;
     12.    Attitude toward public characters and institutions;
     13.    Sedition; 
     14     Apparent cruelty to children and animals;
     15    Branding of people or animals;
     16    The sale of women, or of a woman selling her virtue;
     17.   Rape or attempted rape;
     18.    First-night scenes;
    19.   Man and woman in bed together;
    20    Deliberate seduction of girls;
    21    The institution of marriage;
    22.    Surgical operations;
    23.   The use of drugs;
    24.   Titles or scenes having to do with law enforcement or law-enforcing officers;
    25.   Excessive or lustful kissing, particularly when one character or the other is a "heavy".

*from Wikipedia
That's quite an impressive list.  Would present-day viewers choose even one or two out of this list for the entertainment world to follow today? 

I would, but then, I'm old.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Back on the Farm and sun-ripened tomatoes

    I read a remark last week about farmers being unable to find tomato pickers even at $150 a day. Of course, that brought memories of my childhood, when a farmhand was fortunate if he got $1.00 a day.
   That also brought memories of having a dish of ripe tomatoes twice a day, and at that time, didn't realize how fortunate I was to be raised on a farm.
     Those were the years of the Great Depression, and my dad had to switch from being a cotton farmer to a truck farmer. In fact, he had to leave his cotton crop, unpicked, in the field, because the selling price wouldn't pay for the cost of having it picked.
     Today's generation may find the term "truck farming" a bit puzzling, but it's an old term from the 1800s referring to carrying fresh vegetables to market. In those early years through the 30s,"trucking" was done with wagons  although lots of Model T Fords were adapted to hauling.
      You young folks gotta remember that life existed before pickup trucks and cell phones—.or Walmart or Home Depot. Dad raised his own tomato plants...hundreds of them. I know because I was the one who dropped them in the hole that one of my parents  dug for each plant. And since rain often does not come at the most convenient time, those same plants had to be watered by hand.
     The earliest crop of tomatoes brought the highest prices, so my dad built a framed bed that he could cover with a roll back canvas cover to protect the young plants from a freeze. There was no running water...the only power on most farms was human energy and four-legged horse we pumped water, and used a syrup bucket with holes punched in the bottom to water the plants.
     There was a risk attached to trying for an early crop—Texas weather! Hail or a late spring freeze. There was little a farmer could do to protect a field of young plants from hail, but there were many times we covered the plants with paper tents from old Saturday Post magazines. Row after row of plants spaced four feet apart, all needing to be covered with paper tents.
     That trusty magazine came into use again when the tomatoes were ready for market. The pages were separated and used to line the bushel baskets so the tomatoes would be protected from damage from the rough basket and its tiny staples.
     Our house had a long south front porch, and that was where we sorted and packed the tomatoes  for hauling to market. Ripe tomatoes were set aside to be packed in baskets for local sales—one day of shipping and they would haveturned  to a juicy mush. Scared tomatoes were not packed for sale. Those were commonly called "cat-faced." I never saw one that resembled a cat in any way, but I suppose someone did at some time.
    Tomatoes were not tumbled into baskets and carried to market. They were packed in rings, starting with the ones with just a blush of pink, and gradually getting riper as the basket was filled. Beautiful things! Something to dream of, nowadays, as we visit the produce section of our supermarkets.

      If you've never picked tomatoes, you may not know that contact with the vines turns your hands a dirty-looking green. And I'll bet you don't know thar the best way to remove it is by sqeezing a tomato into a pulp and rubbing it all over your hands like soap.

The good ole days.



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Treasures and Trash

Remember this? It was first produced in 1934 as a three-pc. set of a pitcher, bowl and a mug. With a small amount of money—10¢ or 15¢ and the required number of box tops, hundreds of little girls  ate a lot of cereal trying to save enough boxtops or coupons to get this Shirley Temple pitcher. Today, they appear in antique stores priced at $25 to $75. But beware of reproductions.

Another boxtops offer was this little microscope. It was well made and did a fair job of magnifying. In my adult years a local nurse gave me a couple of slides to go with it. Today it sits on one of my nurse daughter's shelves.

A small telescope was another boxtops offer, but after forty years and several moves, it went away, somewhere, somehow. I wish I remembered. 

In the Depression Years, nothing was wasted or thrown away, because it might be useful at another time. That has formed the habits of a lifetime—saving things like this tiny oil can. Never used for seventy years, it has found its niche in a display of old things.

Unexpected things appear when cleaning a garage—like this bottle of bluing. 

 A bottle of 'bluing' was part of each washday in most households back in good old days of lye soap and wash pots. Enough of the concentrated blue liquid was added to the last tub of rinse water to tint it light blue. This light blue water was supposed to counteract the gradual yellowing of white cottons. At least that was what I was told. As a child, I was in charge of rinsing the laundry through the two tubs of rinse water. For those not familiar with the system, each piece was swished around in the water and all the water wrung out before repeating the process in the next tub. Tiresome and boring—but enlivened by swarms of biting flies that were attracted to wet skin.

Mrs. Stewart's bluing has been around since 1883  and can still be purchased either online or in several other locations, including Ace hardware stores. Besides brightening white fabrics, it was used in various other ways such as brightening a pet's hair( and the ladies, also), and dyeing Easter eggs. I remember adding bluing to the salt crystal 'gardens' we made as school projects.

Another oldie found in our garage clutter was this reminder of days gone by.

Remember ink bottles and learning to write with a fountain pen and ink? Remember those ink-stained fingers?  Fountain pens were filled with ink by opening a little lever which compressed a rubber bladder inside the pen. Releasing the lever caused ink to be drawn into the bladder. I vaguely remember the first words written after filling, always had an excess of ink. Pressing down too hard on the writing point also caused an ink blot and also often bent the fine writing point (which was replaceable).

Oh, we kids of the '30s had it hard. Not only did we have to walk to school (uphill and in the snow), we had to learn to write cursive with a fountain pin that sometimes had a bent tip.

More garage clutter another time. There's things out there that I can't identify. Maybe you can.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Poor Little Bucky

Poor little Bucky. He suffers terrible anxiety when a rainstorm…even a mild, non- threatening one with little or no thunder detectable to human ears…approaches. He whines pitifully, and runs through the house extremely agitated.  And he trembles constantly. 

From what I have reconstructed of his history, he was badly abused, causing the loss of one eye, and had either managed to run away, or had been dumped to die He was found by a roadside having apparently been hiding from predators along a nearby creek during a series of rainstorms that had flooded the area.  He was in a terrible condition…muddy, with hundreds of thorns and stickers embedded under his little belly…and with that damaged eye. And he was just a puppy. 

I hold him…pet him, and sometimes brush his hair…until he calms down and goes to sleep. Tonight, I could do nothing to stop his shaking. I held him in my lap. Didn’t work. I try reclining to give him more room to find a comfortable position. He wasn’t interested in comfort. He paced back and forth from one chair arm to the other…and there I was, pinned down, and being tromped on by eleven and a half pounds on four paws. 

So I put him back on the floor, and he finally settled down to sleep by my feet.

Does he have horrible memories, or is he supper sensitive to the approaching rainstorm.

I wish he could tell me.