"THIS Industry must have toward that sacred thing, the mind of a child, toward that clean virgin thing, the unmarked slate, the same responsibility, the same care about the impressions made upon it that the best clergyman or the most inspired teacher of youth would have."
Surely, a lofty ideal for motion pictures!
Those words were uttered before the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce by the head of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors, Inc., Mr. Will H. Hays.
Now, the present writer is willing to believe that Mr. Hays meant what he said at the time he said it. Slates, however, if we are to use Mr. Hays' figure, sooner or later get written upon. Just what it is that is written, how it is written, and whether it can ever be wiped off --these are of the agitating questions upon which data can be found in the Payne Fund investigation.
We have already been told, in the impressive figures of Dr. Dale, that of the national weekly audience thirty- seven per cent is made up of minors,--28,000,000 of them, of whom 11,000,000 are thirteen years of age or younger--very much one would say, in the category of unmarked slates. The writing upon them, judging from Dr. Dale's analysis of 1500 motion pictures, ap-