Saturday, April 04, 2009

How a Murder Should Be Advertised, by Will Rogers

Bad news= Attractive News
Good news= No News

One always wants to publish what is going on in the world. An opening of a new factory would be a great benefit to the community or even a new school. This is what most newspapers in the 1920’s and the 1930’s wanted to write about. But this type of coverage in the press is not what catches the peoples eye. The death of a well-known mobster, the mass killings of a serial killer and priests caught in scandals are all topics that kept the American people interested in the press back then and even today.
Will Rogers wrote an article called ”How a Murder should be Advertised” in 1927. In his article, he explains how Chicago criminal news was getting more press than Detroit criminal news. Detroit has had twice as many crimes than Chicago but Detroit citizens were more interested what was going on in Chicago and Detroit papers were wondering why.
Detroit was known as the “car making” state and published a lot about the production of their cars in the press. But this type of press was very boring. Not only that but if you put all your crimes into one paper, the crimes are more like numbers and statistics…you lose the interest in it . If you want your papers to fly off the racks of the newsstands, focus solely on the crime that is going on within the state and choose the pick of the litter.
Rogers explains how to write an exciting paper and how to choose the murder stories that gets put into the press. Again, it is not about the quantity of murders stories that you have in the press but the quality. He states how crimes about women in the press being the killer often fails as a good read. Only because if the case goes to trial, it is often either too drawn out or dropped and people lose interest. Also, if you put an important figure that has been involved in a crime that is also well known into the press, the people will latch onto the story for the duration of the investigation/ trial(Like the notorious Al Capone trial). This should make the paper very popular and raise the amount of advertising and profit on the paper.

He also suggests choosing a murder/crime story that is also easy to follow. If a paper writes too many crime stories all together or writes about a crime story that has too many components, it will be too complicated for the people to read or understand it.
Pictures of the murders also give the murder story a different element. This gives a graphic element to the viewer on how serious the crime was. Also, it will make the people want to see more of it. Rogers states how tabloids will help the press by taking the pictures from the story and writing about it again in their papers. All of this helps the publicity of the paper.
Crime back then and even today is the highlight of every paper and every news story published. It is okay to have some of the good news in the paper but if you want your paper to be popular and profitable, select your crime stories wisely. In order to make a paper successful, according to Will Rodgers, “ …quit yapping about your production and start talking about your destruction.”

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Filming for Entertainment

Film industry was growing and there was enormous profit made from this industry. It displayed the class and ethnic characters of many people. Film had to realize that America was a racist country and they had to realize the backfire it might create such as the movie called "Birth of a Nation". This movie displayed the Ku Klux Klan as the heroes of the movie by fighting the blacks. They depicted blacks of being stupid and imbeciles. They also exhibited mulatto blacks to be a dangerous rival because he was smart and beastly. Blacks did not take this movie very lightly. Early movies took a lot of backfire not only by racism but by the morals of people's lives. Other movies displayed gangsters killing and shooting each other and the gangster lives at the end. He gets away free and does not go to jail or get any penalty. Parents and others did not like how the gangster was being praised and was looked at as great hero. Films in the early ages had to watch what they put out because it could cause an uproar with the American society

The Nickelodeon's

Movies were thought to be a demeaning term to call it, instead Americans dubbed them photoplays. Eventually as the theater's began charging a Nickel for their movies shown, these theaters were dubbed "Nickelodeon's".

It took only a year for hundreds of Nickelodeon theaters to emerge. In 1907 there were over 2,500 theaters, making this a very successful business.

The Motion Picture

The development of the motion picture provided a creative outlet to display popular culture as well as educational information. The motion picture arrived on the scene in 1907. The Nickelodeon theaters that arouse led to millions upon millions of people, particularly the younger generation, to flock to these theaters to engage in the art of film. The motion picture was a very successful tool in informing the public. Public service announcements advocated important issues such as women's right to vote, and child labor. The most significant fact regarding the motion picture might quite possibly be the fact that it is just as significant today if not more since its illustrious start in the early 1900's.

Love-making in movie theatres; it wasn't just our generation

As I read Czitrom's piece "Early Motion Pictures", I got a good laugh when I read about the darkness of the nickelodeon theatres. This is because I didn't expect to read the following line: "Jane Addams observed that 'the very darkness of the theatre is an added attraction to many young people, for whom the space is filled with the glamour of love-making'"(p.190). I thought this idea of "hooking up" in movie theatres was something that was only started by more recent generations and modern society. I would have never thought that even way back during the time of the first movie theatres that young people would be out making love in the dark. I just found this to be funny becuase it seems as if our modern society and generations are always bashed for doing "unclassy" things such as this, but in a sense, we're no different then the generations of the past.

Censorship and Diversity on the Screen

In 1907 many older Americans were in a panic over the effects of the new immigration, women's roles changing, or the fears of "race suicide". Much of the film audience was foreign born so many of the films were foreign made. They thought that the films would further push the foreigners into a stronger position, and furthermore they thought that the children that saw these films would emulate what they saw heading themselves to a life of crime and delinquency.

In 1908 Mayor George B. McClellan, Jr., closed over 600 Nickelodeons (theater's), making them reapply for their licenses with new rules that would keep them from opening on Sunday and from showing films that were considered to "degrade or to injure the morals of the community".

Early Motion Pictures

In the media world television, film, and pictures go together, so ofcourse action and steady changing pictures on a screen will attract the audience eye. So in the early world of film those things were very big and exciting to the people. This started to blossom in the year of 1907. By 1912 the article says that nickelodean theaters were attracting large audiences in the cities and towns of America. It mostly attracted the younger generation though which is understandable. Its sort of weird to read how people reacted to seeing pictures and action in a film because when i was born alll of this was old news. We had color on television, ation, and pictures. Thats jus to show you how the times have really changed. It changed for the better and im very pleased with that.

"The movies low status beginning were of particular important because of the deepening divide between high culture and popular entertainment at the turn of the century" (Starr 297)

Starr creates and easier way of promoting history.The rise of "Nickelodens" impacted the media in many ways. Withnin weeks millions and millions of people have been to these nickelodens. This was the rise of a major buisness in the early 1900's. These entrepreneurs have created entertainement for the people because of this nicklelodens became a very welathy industry for people to go into.

Motion Pictures to make Good Citizens.....

The motion picture is now established and is being used by all types of groups such as the board of health, and other civic bodies to show citizens how to act and keep themselves well. Some motion pictures are there to help promote civil reforms, to abolish child labor, to contract prison labor and also to elect candidates to office. The Motion picture was starting to put in great use. 
For example, one major use the motion picture was used for was  the beginning works of "Votes for Women". This was a film produced by the Reliance Studio. Dr. Anna Howard Shaw and Jane Addams came to New York to be in this film to support their sisters and the suffragists.
On the other hand, Civic Bodies are approaching Motion picture from another angle. The civic bodies are having motion pictures made on their own initiative and they are giving their audience free shows and are advertising them a great deal. The motion picture has helped with evidence for crimes in many cases. For example, in Los Angeles a man who is a motion picture camera man managed to film a riot in front a federal building on June 25, and he caught evidence on film which caused fines for the rioters. 
One other major help from motion pictures was enlightening us to new information on health. Health films were introduced to help us understand what exactly was going on either in prisons, in factories or other jobs concerning child labor, and also food and how it was being handled in a clean manner. 
As you can see, we can thank motion pictures because they have helped us gather more information, enlightened us on facts that were not known to the citizens, health, and has helped us solve crimes. 

Labels: ,


"Up to this point, motion-picture exhibitors had relied on vaudeville theaters and other existing venues, but the surging popular demand for the movies created the basis of a new down-market exhibition space. In June 1095, an entrepreneur in Pittsburgh set up a cheap storefront theater for the showing films and called it the "Nickelodeon". Within a year the, hundreds of nickelodeons had sprouted across the country, and by the beginning of 1907, there were 2,500, according to the new entertainment paper Variety" (Starr, 303).

Nickelodeons were little store all across the country that showed films for a nickel. This was given the name by Harry Davis and John P. Harris in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in June 1905. Upper and middle-class people did not frequent go to these shows. It was more for the working lower class. This was the begining of the film buissnes.

" Captivating Moving Picture Sensations", Providing us with a need for Censorship as Early as 1912..

In the 21st century today, we take it for granted that we can hop in the car and drive to our local theater to see the newest movie filled with lots of action and thrilling scenes. Many people do not think however about how this fascination with movies actually started, and why people are so hooked on the idea of action, violence and other exciting images flashing across a giant screen. In the article " Captivating Moving Picture Sensation", it describes early fascination with action packed images, although they differ greatly from the movies of today. It also describes the idea of the first types of censorship for the new motion picture movement.
When you go into any movie theater today, you will always see a rating on each movie that is advertised. Most of the current ratings, ( PG, PG-13, R, etc) are based on content, language and of course racy and inappropriate pictures. Surprisingly this need for racy movies started as early as the early 1900's. According to the article the first " code of movie censorship" was established in 1908, in order to protect the large audience from racy, suggestive and negatively influential images and content. Even though the movies of the early 1900's were nothing as racy as the movies we imagine and see today, the " sometimes racy shadows on the wall concerned middle class moralists and social critics". These images stimulated the minds of the audience, especially the large number of young people frequently in the audiences.
The ongoing battle of " too much TV" for the younger generation that we hear so much about today also was originated around this time. The complaint of parents and teachers alike in current times is the impressions of violent video games and movies that hold the attention and get absorbed faster in the minds of the younger generation faster than the words in a textbook or a lecture from a teacher. Some educators of this time even went to the extreme of trying to mix the motion picture craze into the educational system in hopes of attracting the minds of the students better and to harness their attention spans. Now here is something to think about next time you decide to fall asleep in class while watching a movie!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Immigrants and Early Film

The early film industry opened up many new avenues for recently arrived immigrants. Many came from countries such as France that already had its own established film industry and brought with them both the expertise and the initiative to start up their own companies. Where as some immigrant groups such as Jews had problems  breaking into more established trades, the movie industry provided an opportunity to own their own movie theaters and production companies. The films that were produced were often marketed to the masses with topics and admission prices that appealed to them. This helped to further grow the new industry, with it eventually turning into the cornerstone of what would be known as American entertainment for decades to come. For the immigrant masses, which more often than not were poor, the many theaters and nickelodeons that sprang up provided a distraction from what could otherwise be a tough existence. It also helped to plant the seeds in the minds of millions of what the "American Dream" could be.

Chapter 9 is a great piece of information for the mere fact that its the history of the biggest part of entertainment today. Weather heading to the movies or watching television in your home, all this knowledge dates back to where it all started. Film and movie has become such an important part of not only American culture, but entertainment for people all over the world. Chapter 9 discusses how and who were really attracted to the film scene during the late 1800's. "The movies did not start out with low-status patronage everywhere. In Europe, they originally attracted a more middle-class audience and early exhibitions of "High Class" motion pictures were common in America as well."(Starr p.297) Americans at this time felt that this was the new "culture" because it was such a new important source of entertainment. The film scene also made its way into color diversity which basically set the tone for our most famous actors today. Dating back to early 1900's the average price of a ticket was $1.00 which at that time was alot of money. I find this chapter very interesting because as time goes in new technology brings forth where we are today in terms of movies and film. Hopefully we go more in depth with this topic becuase its one that really grabs my interest.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Drawing the Color Line 1910"

Reading the article titled "Drawing the Color Line" opened my eyes extremely. The scenario that I read opened my eyes because I never thought about the idea of being black, paying the same money to see a movie as a white person and being treated or seated differently because of my God-given skin color. The first issue I had was how theaters were built; many of the theaters were built with balconies with their own entrances for white people. This was an outrage to me because I felt if the same money was being payed that the benefits should also be equal.

The next issue that surfaced for me was how many theater owners wanted to create a separation in the theater by hanging a curtain down the middle of the aisle. The hanging of the curtain was to prevent whites from feeling like they were sharing leisure experiences with blacks and to continue the ways of segregation. As time went on the ideas continued to grow and new ideas came about. Soon after changes also came around due to the growth of communication it changed alot of segregated ways and due to the growth of changes blacks and all people if different race, ethnic backgrounds, and gender all enjoy the same luxuries of life.



"Action was a big attraction in the early world of film. Audiences, men, women, and children maintained a steady stare of fascination at the changing figures on the scene. The basis of this fascination was the sensation of the moving picture. The movies began with the spectacle of images that caused a sensation and went on to tell a story. By 1912 , nickelodeon theaters were attracting large audiences in the cities and towns of America. Young people especially flocked to see this new sensation of moving pictures. This attraction of impressionable minds to the sometimes racy shadows on the wall concerned middle class moralist and social critics. By 1908, the first code of movie censorship was already in place to safe guard the public from dubious morality of this amusement."
The early motion pictures that were being shown at these nickelodeon theaters had an immediate impact on society. The idea of moving pictures was never heard of until now, and it swept the nation. The modern educators worried about the negative impact this could have on the upcoming generation. The youngsters were giving the movie industry their full blown attention, more than they did at school. Documentary reality captured by the "all comprehending camera" might expose the conflicts of American civilization as never before: "sensational images revealing harsh social realities." Early motion pictures had an immediate impact on society. I feel like these were the beginning stages of media unification in America. Everybody got to see the realities of the world together, and can than place their judgment on whats going on. Early films tapped into the imagination of people and finally gave them a realistic image of different situations in going on around the world.