Hays Inspired

As the first president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association of America (MPPDA), Will Hays was famed for his enforcement of the so-called Hays Code (which established strict guidelines regarding the moral content of films).

"Hays [a former Postmaster General] was reluctant at first to leave Washington, and he has left a touching account of how and why he finally decided to accept the MPPDA job. Shortly after talking to the movie people and just before Christmas, he went home to Indiana to think things over. On Christmas morning, as he was at breakfast, he overheard his little boy Bill and Bill's two cousins Charles and John arguing in the next room. 'I'm going to be Bill Hart,' said Bill, Jr. 'No, you're not,' said Charles, 'I am.' 'Neither of you is,' said john, the eldest, 'I am.' Hays put down his newspaper and thought: 'Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou has perfected praise.' For the first time, he recalled, he realized that movie stars like William S. Hart were real, close, and important to his son and nephews, and that movies were important to millions of other children, and to grown-ups as well. With this sudden insight he stood up and in the shadow of the Christmas tree silently repeated the vow of St. Paul: 'And this I do.'"

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