The Quick 10: 9 Movies and Shows Affected by the Hays Code

igoriss/iStock via Getty Images
igoriss/iStock via Getty Images

It was this day in 1930 that the Motion Picture Production Code (AKA the Hays Code) went into effect, imposing a set of strict guidelines on Hollywood that are laughable today ("Revenge shall not be justified," "The use of liquor when not required by the plot will not be shown," "Obscenity in word, gesture, reference, song joke or by suggestion is forbidden"). We may not realize it, but most movies from 1930 to the mid-"˜60s had to make concessions for this code "“ here are nine you may recognize, and one that managed to sneak by the censors.

1. It Happened One Night. This Oscar-winner was one of the first to really adhere to the code and was richly rewarded for it. The code prohibited basically even the smallest hint of lust or passion ("Excessive and lustful kissing, lustful embraces, suggestive postures and gestures, are not to be shown," and "[Scenes of Passion] should not be introduced when not essential to the plot"). So when the script called for Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert to be stuck in a motel room together, they did it in the most chaste way possible: a blanket was hung between the two beds in the room and Claudette wore a set of pajamas that covered everything but her face. When Clark Gable gave her a "lesson" on how a man undresses, she freaked out. The movie became the first to hit the Oscar Grand Slam "“ it won Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Director and Best Screenplay.

2. The Outlaw. This movie was kept out of theaters simply because the advertising featuring Jane Russell's cleavage was too racy. Director Howard Hughes threw an absolute fit and ended up cutting a total of 30 seconds from the movie that featured too much décolletage. The movie hit theaters for about seven days in 1943, two years after filming was complete. The Hays office decided it was still too risqué and the movie was yanked, not receiving a full release until 1946. It was such a controversial film by then that it was a massive success.

3. Anything featuring Betty Boop. Pre-Hays Code, Betty was a flapper who liked short skirts and low necklines. Post Hays-Code, Betty wore skirts to the knee, ditched the garter belt in favor of leg-covering stockings, and favored practically prudish necklines.
4. Casablanca. Joseph I. Breen, the head of the Production Code Administration, personally objected to any reference in Casablanca about Rick and Ilsa having possibly slept together in Paris. Although they still managed to get the point across, the original version was not so subtle.

5. I Love Lucy. It's pretty hard to have a pregnant main character without ever uttering the word, but Lucy managed to do it to appease the Hays people. They usually used the word "expecting." Lucy and Ricky maintained separate beds on the show for the same reason, which makes you wonder how they found themselves "expecting" in the first place.

6. Anything with Fatty Arbuckle. Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle was involved in a scandal involving the suspicious death of a young starlet not long before the Code was implemented. In fact, this was part of the reason for the Code "“ some felt Hollywood was getting out of hand with the sex, drugs and drinking (sound familiar?) and that morals needed to be re-instilled. One of Will Hays' first acts was to ban Fatty from the movie industry entirely. Hays recanted later the same year but the damage was already done "“ Arbuckle's career never returned to the heights it had reached before his scandal and blacklisting.

7. Gone With the Wind. Ever wondered why the childbirth scene in GWTW is so tiptoed around? Now you know. The Hays Code very specifically said, "Scenes of actual child birth, in fact or in silhouette, are never to be presented." So I guess the fact that the birth was even shown in shadow was a pretty big deal. Also a big deal? That famous line, "Frankly Scarlett, I don't give a damn." It was quite the accomplishment to get that one tiny four-letter word past the Production Code Administration. It was kept in because the swearing stayed true to the original novel.

8. Monkey Business. Groucho Marx was pretty good at innuendo "“ so good, in fact, that he barely had to say anything at all to upset the Production Code Administration. There's a line in Monkey Business that should have gone, "I know, you're a misunderstood woman who's been getting nothing but dirty breaks. Well, we can clean and tighten your breaks, polish your frame and oil your joints, but you have to stay in the garage all night." The Hays Office felt this was all too much and made them chop the references to polishing the frame and oiling the joints.

9. The Bad Seed. In book about a little girl with an evil mind, the girl's mother kills herself and attempts to kill her daughter at the end. The daughter survives to (presumably) kill another day. In the movie version, however, the mom survives and the girl is killed by a bolt of lightning. This is because the Hays Code forbade the glamorization of crime or making it seem as if a life a crime paid "“ so the good mother dying and the evil daughter surviving was a big no-no. Apparently the Hays Office was willing to overlook a curse word in the name of staying true to a novel, but not murder.

10. The Gang's All Here. Sometimes the things the Production Office would overlook were pretty baffling. This film is a perfect example. Although Groucho Marx was forbidden from making references to "frames" and "oil," it was perfectly acceptable for Carmen Miranda and a bunch of scantily-clad ladies to do the "banana dance" suggestively around a bunch of five-foot-tall bananas. Talk about innuendo! The movie was even banned oversea but the Hays Office let it slide. Hmm. Giant bananas at 3:40, if you don't want to wait:

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14 Retro Gifts for Millennials

Ravi Palwe, Unsplash
Ravi Palwe, Unsplash

Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996, which means the pop culture they grew up with is officially retro. No matter what generation you belong to, consider these gifts when shopping for the Millennials in your life this holiday season.

1. Reptar Funko Pop!; $29

Amazon

This vinyl Reptar figurine from Funko is as cool as anything you’d find in the rugrats’ toy box. The monster dinosaur has been redesigned in classic Pop! style, making it a perfect desk or shelf accessory for the grown-up Nickelodeon fan. It also glows in the dark, which should appeal to anyone’s inner child.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Dragon Ball Z Slippers; $20

Hot Topic

You don’t need to change out of your pajamas to feel like a Super Saiyan. These slippers are emblazoned with the same kanji Goku wears on his gi in Dragon Ball Z: one for training under King Kai and one for training with Master Roshi. And with a soft sherpa lining, the footwear feels as good as it looks.

Buy it: Hot Topic

3. The Pokémon Cookbook; $15

Hop Topic

What do you eat after a long day of training and catching Pokémon? Any dish in The Pokémon Cookbook is a great option. This book features more than 35 recipes inspired by creatures from the Pokémon franchise, including Poké Ball sushi rolls and mashed Meowth potatoes.

Buy it: Hot Topic

4. Lisa Frank Activity Book; $5

Urban Outfitters

Millennials will never be too old for Lisa Frank, especially when the artist’s playful designs come in a relaxing activity book. Watercolor brings the rainbow characters in this collection to life. Just gather some painting supplies and put on a podcast for a relaxing, nostalgia-fueled afternoon.

Buy it: Urban Outfitters

5. Shoebox Tape Recorder with USB; $28

Amazon

The days of recording mix tapes don’t have to be over. This device looks and functions just like tape recorders from the pre-smartphone era. And with a USB port as well as a line-in jack and built-in mic, users can easily import their digital music collection onto retro cassette tapes.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Days of the Week Scrunchie Set; $12

Urban Outfitters

Millennials can be upset that a trend from their youth is old enough to be cool again, or they can embrace it. This scrunchie set is for anyone happy to see the return of the hair accessory. The soft knit ponytail holders come in a set of five—one for each day of the school (or work) week.

Buy it: Urban Outfitters

7. D&D Graphic T-shirt; $38-$48

80s Tees

The perfect gift for the Dungeon Master in your life, this graphic tee is modeled after the cover of the classic Dungeons & Dragons rule book. It’s available in sizes small through 3XL.

Buy it: 80s Tees

8. Chuck E. Cheese T-shirt; $36-$58

80s Tees

Few Millennials survived childhood without experiencing at least one birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. This retro T-shirt sports the brand’s original name: Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre. It may be the next-best gift for a Chuck E. Cheese fan behind a decommissioned animatronic.

Buy it: 80s Tees

9. The Nightmare Before Christmas Picnic Blanket Bag; $40

Shop Disney

Fans of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas will recognize the iconic scene on the front of this messenger bag. Unfold it and the bag becomes a blanket fit for a moonlit picnic among the pumpkins. The bottom side is waterproof and the top layer is made of soft fleece.

Buy it: Shop Disney

10. Toy Story Alien Socks; $15

Shop Disney

You don’t need to be skilled at the claw machine to take home a pair of these socks. Decorated with the aliens from Toy Story, they’re made from soft-knit fabric and are big enough to fit adult feet.

Buy it: Shop Disney

11. Goosebumps Board Game; $24

Amazon

Fans that read every book in R.L. Stine’s series growing up can now play the Goosebumps board game. In this game, based on the Goosebumps movie, players take on the role of their favorite monster from the series and race to the typewriter at the end of the trail of manuscripts.

Buy it: Amazon

12. Tamagotchi Mini; $19

Amazon

If you know someone who killed their Tamagotchi in the '90s, give them another chance to show off their digital pet-care skills. This Tamagotchi is a smaller, simplified version of the original game. It doubles as a keychain, so owners have no excuse to forget to feed their pet.

Buy it: Amazon

13. SNES Classic; $275

Amazon

The SNES Classic is much easier to find now than when it first came out, and it's still just as entertaining for retro video game fans. This mini console comes preloaded with 21 Nintendo games, including Super Mario Kart and Street Fighter II.

Buy it: Amazon

14. Planters Cheez Balls; $24

Amazon

Planters revived its Cheez Balls in 2018 after pulling them from shelves nearly a decade earlier. To Millennials unaware of that fact, this gift could be their dream come true. The throwback snack even comes in the classic canister fans remember.

Buy it: Amazon

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10 Great Gifts for Teens

Fjallraven/Polaroid
Fjallraven/Polaroid

If it’s been a few years since you were a teenager, you might be feeling at a loss when it comes to finding the perfect gift for the teen in your life. But you don’t have to worry—we’ve culled the internet to figure out what’s cool these days, and we found 10 items to suit any teen (and any price point).

1. Fjällräven Kånken Mini Classic Backpack for Everyday; $70

Fjällräven/Amazon

Fjällräven’s Kånken backpack was originally introduced in 1978 as an affordable and comfortable bag for Swedish schoolchildren, but it recently took off as a trend among American high schoolers and college students. With 43 different color options, chances are you’ll be able to find the perfect trendy backpack for the teen in your life.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Hydro Flask Standard-Mouth Water Bottle; $30–$35

Hydro Flask/Amazon

Hydro Flasks aren’t only trendy, they’re sturdy and environmentally friendly. Plus, they keep hot drinks warm and icy drinks cool for an absurdly long amount of time. The standard-mouth water bottle is currently available on Amazon in 17 different colors, but the brand also offers tumbler cups and coffee mugs depending on your niece/nephew/cousin/friend/child’s preference.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Polaroid Originals OneStep+ Bluetooth-Connected Instant Film Camera; $140

Polaroid Originals/Amazon

Teens can kick it back old school with this Polaroid camera that hides some surprisingly contemporary features. Using a special app, users can fine-tune their camera settings to suit their personal tastes. Plus, this camera makes it possible to capture two scenes in a single frame, so it's that much easier to create uniquely artsy Polaroid pics.

Buy it: Amazon

4. 4th-Generation Echo Dot with Clock; $60

Amazon

Tech-wise, the fourth-generation Echo Dot is almost identical to its third-generation predecessor. But the updated spherical design seems poised to make the Echo Dot a worthy contender for traditional alarm clocks—the speaker face shows the time and it even includes a tap-to-snooze function for drowsy sleepers.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Bubble Tea Kit; $38

Uncommon Goods

Part of the reason bubble tea is so popular is that it’s customizable—and what could be more customizable than making it yourself? This kit, made by an Atlanta-based couple, comes with two reusable straws and enough supplies to make up to eight servings.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

6. Mixtape Card Game; $20

Uncommon Goods

This party game challenges players to find the perfect songs to suit specific prompts. Some cards might prompt players to use Spotify or Youtube to search for the songs with the best guitar solos, while other cards call for participants to play their “favorite slow dance love jam from junior high.” This game is sure to be a hit at any high school sleepover or house party—or, in true 2020 style, at any digital hangout or Zoom meeting.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

7. Giant Flour Tortilla Throw Blanket; $18-$35

Mermaker/Amazon

This goofy double-sided blanket turns any human into a giant-size burrito, and it comes in four different sizes to suit any height. One reviewer even went so far as to say that “once you wrap yourself in it, you will be convinced that you are a burrito.”

Buy it: Amazon

8. The Cup of Destiny; $22

Shelter Harbor Press/Amazon

Here’s a prediction: Your hunt for the perfect gift is almost over. This kit is ideal for the teenager who is fascinated by the supernatural and loves exploring new ideas. Included, you’ll find a 96-page illustrated instruction book along with a cup and a saucer marked with patterns and symbols.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Wreck This Journal: Now in Color; $9

Penguin Books/Amazon

This journal is not intended to be pretty. It’s made for messiness and exploration and a little bit of chaos. Artistic-minded teens will love filling out pages that prompt them to catalog various stains or poke holes through the paper. Reviewers say it’s not only a source of creative inspiration, though—it’s also a stress reliever. And considering that the middle-school and high-school years aren’t exactly known for being relaxing, this journal could be a welcome reprieve from the daily pressure of managing homework and a social life.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Therapy Dough; $15

Uncommon Goods

Some teens focus better and relax more easily when they have something to fidget with. If the teen in your life fits that description, this therapy dough may be the perfect gift for them. Each 4.5-ounce container is infused with essential oils like lavender, eucalyptus, orange, or pine, making relaxation smell delicious (and all natural!).

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

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