It'yj 0- 0 --, I
FLORIDA CURRICULUM LABORATORY
COLLEGE OF EDUCATION U, OF FLA, AND
STATE DEPT. OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION
P. K. YONGE SCHOOL GAINESVII FLA.
RACHEL ELIZABETH GREGG
F rmier Superintendent of the
De-'Orr.:n School, and
As .~-rini Pr.:,lessor of Education
Floridca s'le College for Women
COLLEGE OF EDUCATION
Lin~ierriiy of Florida
Alice Miller Mitchell
The University of Chicrigo Precs
~____~_~__ ~~_ ~__ ___~ ~_~
(.',L Ri'- T Hi ) iil THF ([T i% F-F iTV -r c li'....
ALL ri,i.IiT- r.E-ER. iL. i rOI Li'nL[. r. C.ut. ir i* .'
.:... ,ILD i,.% Di b F ENa, L "'i[rT ar ', ilfnl'
: *.*: i Lin 1 U
This study was made possible
by a grant from Wieboldt
PAUL M. MITCHELL
Let'I our (ari.,l ratll,'r be those who are gifted to
,li., rn ih, Irn, alure of the I a,, tifl anldgrace-
('il: thii' 'ill 1,:r !jit. 'h dwellinthe landof health,
m, il fI uir ll,t.i a itu lound, and receive the good
ii n rylh. ,,: 1t. ,,ll in,, auty, the effulgence of fair
wor!k'..>. lh/ll l. do itIo the eye and ear, like a
health',-gritii bre-tcct from a purer region, and
ite.,l'/N i dro a lth. oulfrom earliest years into
iknl..~t' .~ad nt.' piathy with the beauty of reason.
FO RE WORD
It i Iliicult to an)ppre, iate the tfact that in (100
imovie were comnimercially unknown. To atternpt to re-
create in tile inriiainiation a world in which there are no
motion-picture "pil:i.es'" is almo-:st as difficult as to re-
'reate the e ei-t..-nee of the people o ttihe old Stocne Age.
Tle nov\ie mv ie e\ery\vwhere: in the city anl thie country,
in tlie Orient ,ndl the Oco:.lent. in thlie two hli-i sphlerjes.
Somie 'y thyli are to iiii itich ith .us: but collemti ely we
m- eemi to lind tlhiei almost ais essential fin] certainly as
iijiliitliio ;i the newspaper or the iilkn;in.
IOne hundreds million Ameri i i rir ii are nIppo[le to lha e
attell l ed the: movie in 19 ,2S. Thi, rin- nael i\ niient lih;
sominethiung of the portent of an irreii4tilde tide wellin;i '
ui.p andi over an into tlhe dark c ;\erin- aind galleries of
a rocky ocean shore. recedinL' only to renew' the surite
again andl again. But with this iil':erence: eaci humiitn
iiuit of this \'ast movie tide is >wept out fromni the ark
'cvern just a little different than when it was swept in.
All America. iniieedJ all the miiJdern world. is thuli
ceaselessly plaeml upon ly tI'he ehh and flow of sight i and
s-oiind. No one cani fail to be deeply impressed by tilhe
imimen-e .)c\ter of thils inet\ W\arir.k in the modern
state. helping mp to form and imoldl anld lrenghlie theli
interests, opinions. and arnbition of the voting mass -.
What actually the mnovmies are doing to the taste, be-
liefs. desires, prejudice., and values of the American
people Ihs been nimoingL tile liveliest subjects of con-
troversy now for many years. Critics allege not merely
that the movies have ruined the present and future of
the legitimate stage but that their substituted influence
has been pernicious. Overemphasis of false values, ex-
aggeration and caricature of life, destruction of taste
and morality, downright and utter banality, are only a
sample of the charges hurled against the movies and
their makers. On the other hand, the immense educa-
tional and artistic value of many films, the stimulation
of ambition and widening of horizons by the revelation
of other and better modes of life, the richer compensa-
tions of vicarious experience, are set out by the friends
of the cinema.
At two points the potential influence of the movies is
universally granted to be of especial importance: their
effect on the relations of one people to another; and their
effect upon children. Professor Gaus in his work, Great
Britain, a Study in Civic Loyalty, is only one of the most
recent commentators speaking the alarm felt by states-
men of other countries concerning the influence of Amer-
ican films on their respective national, or colonial, cul-
tures. Back of the natural opposition of foreign cinema
producers lies a real and understandable concern of
thoughtful men and women over the impact of American
culture as portrayed in the films upon other and dif-
ferent cultures; and, on the other hand, no one who has
lived in Great Britain can fail to remember, often with
misgivings, the many queries as to whether American
civilization is really like its movie version.
But for us the problem of the child and the movie is
at least more immediate. What are the movies doing to
the next generation, which is now being molded by a
thl.ousand influences into the particular collective bundle
.f desires, emotions, understandings, prejudices, hopes,
:and fears which will dominate our public and private
life in the years to come?
Obvionuly the movies are not the sole, or even the
prepon lerant, influence which is shaping these childish
riindl- into the mature citizen of the morrow; obviously,
to.o. tihe movies are an important influence. The movie
r\p)erirIne of the ten thousand children recorded in
this study makes this clear beyond peradventure of
It is at this point that the movies have been most
-everely criticized by persons anxious for the future.
In varying degrees they have been charged with the
responsilbility for failure in the school, for maladjust-
ment in the home, for juvenile delinquency, and for
major crime. The critics have been earnest and sincere
men ;mnd women; but the evidence on which their con-
clusions rest has too often been far from adequate.
Discussion of the influence of the movie is in fact
just emerging from the arena of charge and counter-
charge, of attack and defense, into the field of dispas-
sio:nate and scientific inquiry. The truth will only grad-
ually emerge as tested evidence is accumulated in the
hands ot competent investigators over a considerable
periodI i.f time.
Tlie present study is one of the first of such investi-
gati,rns. II is an impartial, objective, scientific inquiry;
scientific not. merely in the sense of being scholarly and
scrupul,.t-lsly free from bias, but also in the sense of em-
plowing a scientific method. restricting conclusions to
those generalizations which the evidence supports.
To secure such evilncr.e, with the aid of the Wiecboldt
Foundation. the movie experience of some ten thousand
children was discovered. This small army fall' into lire-
grouiip,. one taken from the public school: and rpresrinlt-
ing ain uni-elrtt-td sa nipie for control purpoSes_; oneI taken
froll i u tlitilliln housing juqvlli ei anl ient. ni ,
taken from Boy Sc-uts andl Girl Scout-, a gr'-oup which
enjoys intelligent adult le:ilh-rhip.. The tu'l t .J in its es-
seCce. is a coinl pri-i n of thl- m\ine experience of t lese
Mrs. Mitchiell sets- foirtli e\iden'ce on the fre:.,uncy of
-itlteunda ite. oin line otif aittciJlance. ,ion moxie coipain-
ionl. -oin the hbsis of choice of uio iec. andl on the relative
pill f other forms iof recreation a:itong each oif the s-
groips. It is uo part. :of tlhe ForeiwordI to restate her cin-
clusions. but it may he saiMd here that .IilTerentials ,f
striking siguificance dIe\el.opeptl.
This stludi Jdoevs i.t ia eet all tle anxieties of the-
m.lclerf parent lp .rplefId l.,y the modern lmovieO Tli
auth.,r 'rt in,. such ambitious plans for herself. In this
unit of a long time scientific study of motion pictures.
one step .ly i has I. een taken: to deterImitne the ntmovie
experience of a statistically valid sample of three groups
of children. The render "will lind. therefore, a quantita-
tire analysis of .e element of a coipldex of proIblemls.
not a wide ranging survey of the whole problem.
To some readers hi,' Freword may dcstrov interest
in the study Iby insisnti" 'n it- Sc ific and quantita-
tive charader. If there I.,,e -;nch. let them be reassured.
The Mlaiitor lha dealt with her materials with unusual
skill and I;a wovenl her figures into a dtory of ;.h-orbing
interest. Shle Iha.L never forgotten thAil ,lie is leadingg with
oy, anil girl.; a.1i the twelve-ye.ar- ,il Io(vy who
piliiieIl. "'lMoie, make iny lheaachelie '.nual~e I chew gum
So hlir! wh"Ten I get exciteN." is only ione of a haot of
fascinating youngster-' wlo lend reality aiid vividness
to this e xpe'erineiint.
Such sti.lies are of firt-rate importance, for while
keeping co(.ol. t with reality, they deal with it by mleth-
oil- \\lichli not only yield reullt- that can be te-ted. but
,il(o -et (.'c trovery ailoiing it- .v I.,,y ly eliminating ir-
relevancie- andl proiliiing fact for judgment of hlie SiL,-
nific,irt i- ne,. To .ill \who are intere-ted in tlihe movies
or in children or in the modern world-and this in-
Aludes a large audiene-t iis st i-idy is bound to prove of
LI: NARDn D. 'WHITE
i.i ERMITV I C- lil" a -
Everl:ybdy is talking about the movies, about what
is wrong with them. what is right with them; whether
tlhe'y are miorail or iiiinioral. There are many who say
they are thec one and just as many who say they are the
other, andii in bet.tcen there are those who say they are
both and those whn.. say they are neither. And there is
always mulch talking and a very great deal of walking
u)p aInd down tihe platform.
These arc all -,rown folk.
Tlicy are talking about movies, especially about
children, anii,. \ i lu es.
I listened a Ijlg time and then slipped away and
went iln search .of the children to ask them what they
thought ab out it all-a bout children and movies.
And this book tells you what the children told me
about Iio -' ies.
There nar- mantiy ti:. whom I am indebted for assist-
ane in the making of this study. Acknowledgment is
ld-e Miss Mary E. McDowell who waved the magic
wa.nd f or the sezar eh to begin, and the Wieboldt Founda-
tion who lii anred tlie quest.
I ain especially indebted to Professor Leonard D.
White. of thel Univ'ersity of Chicago, whose inspiration
and encouragement made possible the undertaking of
this research an]d \nhos.e constant interest and wise coun-
sel from time to time were of inestimable value; to
Professor T. V. Smith. olf the Ulnivierity ,of Chii. ig(,.
who read both the mniaii scriptt :ind t he prlloof ;inId \hlis
many helpful sugg,>stiona greatly improvted thet work. I
also am indebted to Pr(ofl'e,(ir Smith for .iLg'.est;in the_
verses used at the bIegin ii, i, f (.Ii;.pters ii ;anI \ i.
Especial acknvlwc lgmiieiit i dIle to P.,lil M1. Mit,-lihell
who served in the cal,;:tcily o.f "Jcitid coinliel" tlhron'-li-
out the course of tlih resea;rcl ;Inp l tihe preparat;'i.i oif tllt.
manuscript. To hiim also is dJi thlie crei.lit for the tmi:kirig
of the charts and the preparing of tHie tatles.
Among others wlih contributed to[ this !tJi.ludy a;nd to
whom I owe a debt otf ,r.ititudIt :are Professor Errinet W.
Burgess, of the University of Chicazgo. a;in. Ferris F.
Laune, executive seor, ta: ry of the \VWiboldt Foiliidkt io:n :
the Chicago exe.iltivc- of, tihe B.y. Scouts of .\in:ricia
and of the Girl Sco(ut-: llie t.cilit masters and the- troop)
captains; the superintcitndnt.u a i I t,.achers oI the cor-
rectional schools: .iIn.l the Ipri!cilm-ls .andl t-eachers of
the public schools tilize-d for tlhe research.
And last but foremosuit do I thank the c:hIdr,-n. th,.
10,052 children Aot lwhom and .lor whlioi this lidyly w\as
A. M. IM.
September 11, 199'
LI-T oir ILLI.'TRATi~ -r
Li'T or T. ILLL.
PART I. INTRODUCTION
I. THE. MN..IE.
II. FIELD OF INQUIHi AND MIELHO,-DL
. . 6
P.\RT II THE MOVIE EXPERIENCE
OF THE CIIY CHILD)
TlilT (CHILD I (or-. I,.- THE A10. iE .L. .
Tr I Ir. t, I -:ii . . .
FOil TIl[: P .lI *irF \[ I'i _N .
Tur ('HILI (I'H :-- IIl- M t . .
Tl -i: N.EiLII- H-IHO-lD M110 iL
PART III THE CIIILD'S CONTACT WITH
IHE MOVIE IN RELATION
IX. 1'fiE N:
X. Mo,vi, I
.XIII. D1 LIN..i
i B3.\c: \I:D
,E N- [>rl ,;r
iENT-.', H MOi I1v.,
XIV **\Vr \\\vT I. F.
. . 147
S . 154
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
I-', T PAGE
I 1B:n ic A\IIENDANCE OF 10,052 CHILDREN . . 20
II. MIforIO-PICTURE THEATERS WITHIN RADIUS OF ONE
MllLE :if SCHOOL . . . . 24
III. (,:,ir.\x.l.s:, OF MOVIE ATTENDANCE OF BOY SCOUTS
AND DELINQUENT BOYS .. . . .26
IV. COMPARISON OF TIME OF DAY OF MOVIE ATTENDANCE
OF TIE THREE GROUPS .... . . 32
V. COMPARISON OF TIME OF MOVIE ATTENDANCE OF BOY
SCOUTS AND DELINQUENT BOYS . . . 33
VI. COMPARISON OF TIME OF MOVIE ATTENDANCE OF GIRL
S_:,oi' i N[. D)cELT:T.Q ENT GIRLS . . . 34
\II. C(:MP RIri: Or A.\TTENDANCE AT LOOP MOVIE THEA-
rElj .NL' N1Fl-.ilf.,t.:HilOOD MOVIE THEATERS FOR BOY
S-:, i.'r .k-\D L.) LLN. l.iENT BOYS . . . 70
\'[IIC.(_:,iip.\nior; ,:r .TTr'NDANCE AT LOOP MOVIE THEA-
rIfi .LN Nr. Il.-I:.li)OOD MOVIE THEATERS FOR GIRL
S..OUTi ..1'\ I)DELL\_L',ENT GIRLS . . . 71
I[ (C.:',IP.ril O: r I'Fl. EIRENCE FOR MOVIES OR FOOTBALL
rF:i r TIr. F:ulTr, Gr.r,i'p OF BOYS . . . 79
N (CO:'I'.I,.IiN '.IF PRLI ERENCE FOR MOVIES OR BASEBALL
'rFt TIE F,,.'i' Gil.:'iurs OF BoYS . . . 80
XI. C'lt C~\ IS':'N Or PI.EFErRENCE FOR MOVIES OR BASEBALL
I.i. III Foi:.; ( r l.irj OF GIRLS . . ... 82
XII. C(..ll' RI l .;':* I'lihEERENCE FOR MOVIES OR HIKING
r:ii Sr-oi-Sir kNi' I D LINQUENTS. . . 83
xxii LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
XIII. COMPARISON OF PREFERENCE FOR M.I:EIC- :, H[i;iNO
FOR PUBLIC-SCHOOL GROUP. S
XIV. COMPARISON OF PREFERENCE FOR Ml: .iE- r': P.nrilE
FOR DELINQUENTS AND SCOUTS. S5
XV. COMPARISON OF PREFERENCE FOR M.'.\ iE i)u l'itTIE_
FOR THE PUBLIC-SCHOOL GROUP b
LIST OF TABLES
7i L PAGE
-.-I N \I.-i, r. 'IF Ti!m[ \\ EEK CIH LIhEN .\TTEN [, MA '-
li -. hl A('L \ iN .1 SE;; 154
II. Nv.iirrr. r TI',r F-. k r. i; r )i \....i: N U'B...\V AT-
j rF T.'r Mi iBY rF. rinI C i-i' iE,. I i,.QN.iL S'. ii,'L. 154
% --III N'ii.r PLr' or Timr r <. \\ I NK Ihi -ii. .Si''i, '% I,
GF, \rIE.-.. i.'.' i. I't .'.i .\A ri.M M1,.. IE-. In YB-LX 155
IV Nrntrr orr '1 r \\ i; "ii.u r, r.rv. .\i ir\r M ..\ -
ici r: .Sr i'F,- rrI I1.II -.
V. Nui'rER *:r TIME i \\ WLLK CIiUi.iRrN ArirNr., M.,\-
iE'-. BY SrcilED iiT'P MI: .S': i .i.-. \% r S.E 156
I. NiiBERn OiF ri i:' \V::K .EN t EN IL|.r Dri.r,:-..i r \ .
IND Sc,,i i .\TFF.'NFr M .iilE-.. n Sr . 156
\..-\1I. TIME or DAY ('ii ti.ERLr .\ rrrN r,' MIo ,i -.,. rtv Ci.-.\
\N) S:?: 157
\III. ,MOvIE .\TTEND.ANCE or CnHIELDR' B Dr )iV r \\'K.
cv (IL .1- .N L, Si x 158
-.-IX Lr ru o:,r TIMF Clli.r,.rN .SitF.'r IN M .iif. 'IHE.\-
rtiH. hI ('i. -.- 'Ni SE 159
X 1\ 1 N I FF '. F'. PERi .Ni \IT-F o (Ciii.r Fi N Afrif.'.FiIN,
M .l il 'liHF \TrE ITH Si .. IFILI' 1'F rt-.?-.i. BI'
\NLI SEX 159
XI S.ullf'.l ., M 'NFvY [Ii BDY dHIILUtLN F,.,. A. ,ll-
'ION TO MRI:. TliE \TER-. Bl CLA.\- .LAN .Sr 160
XII. r ELC'iEDE .- l.NIrNT SPENT PER \VEEb: DY CHILDr.LN
roR AD MI ,N TO LIE HELTEF.-. DY CLA- A\ '. D
XIII AIrTlopD ['-.ED BY' CHILDREN IN ._SELE'cTING : O I,,IE
TilHEY ATTEND, Y CL..\ .N[, SEX 161
xxiv LIST OF TABLES
TABLE F -jE
---XIV. NUMBER AND PERCENTAGE OF CHILDREN ATTENDING
SPECIFIED TYPES OF MOVIE THEATERS, BY CLASS AN D
SEX . . . . If .-
'XV. PREFERENCE FOR ATTENDING MOVIES OR FOR PLAY-
ING FOOTBALL EXPRESSED BY BOYS, BY CLASS. IC'.
"- XVI. PREFERENCE FOR ATTENDING MOVIES OR FOR PLAY-
ING BASEBALL EXPRESSED BY BOYS, BY CLASS . 163
XVII. PREFERENCE FOR ATTENDING MOVIES OR FOR PLAY-
ING BASEBALL EXPRESSED BY GIRLS, BY CLASS . 163
XVIII. PREFERENCE FOR ATTENDING MOVIES OR FOR HIKING
EXPRESSED BY CHILDREN, BY CLASS AND SEX .164
XIX. PREFERENCE FOR ATTENDING MOVIES OR FOR AT-
TENDING A PARTY EXPRESSED BY CHILDREN, BY CLASS
AND SEX . ........... 165
XX. PREFERENCE FOR ATTENDING MOVIES OR FOR AUTO-
RIDING EXPRESSED BY CHILDREN, BY CLASS AND SEX 166
XXI. PREFERENCE FOR ATTENDING MOVIES OR FOR READ-
ING EXPRESSED BY CHILDREN, BY CLASS AND SEX 167
XXII. SPECIFIED TYPES OF MOVIES NAMED BY CHILDREN
FOR FIRST CHOICE, BY CLASS AND SEX . . 167
XXIII. SPECIFIED TYPES OF MOVIES NAMED BY CHILDREN
FOR SECOND CHOICE, BY CLASS AND SEX . 168
XXIV. SPECIFIED TYPES OF MOVIES NAMED BY CHILDREN
FOR THIRD CHOICE, BY CLASS AND SEX . . 168
XXV. SPECIFIED SCENES IN MOVIES THAT PRODUCE
THRILLS AS NAMED BY CHILDREN, BY CLASS AND SEX. 169
.....\ tale which: h.:ldeth children from
I,'h :,.d 1,il init, I'row the chimney corner.
--SIR PHILIP SIDNEY
A.s old a mani is lo\P f'or the story. As far back as
the beginning of human experiences the story began, for
it has always been man's nature to relate his experiences.
Eons I.,dfore record- cmine into being there were tales of
thie lhappcflin'_s of the day. Story-telling began when
imagi nation wa. ,.'ivn man.
.\l l:n fn1 thr.ou':h the ages as have come hope and
fu.ar. pleasure aind. pain, conquest and loss, have come
ali(i acco:unt-s of tl ;se by the spoken word, by picture,
liy writing, and I.,y icsture.
Bef,-,r tihe written word, symbols scratched on
stones. ;i. .ai, l instrels told the stories of the time.
Then caine thle alali;bet, and tales were recorded in
writin... L. ter tlise were enacted and drama was born.
All IIec .use rI:nn i. a dtory-making, story-loving animal.
A-. each nrew met hod of story-telling came about, the
old rwas mit d.isc-Lrdcd but continued in its own way to
Lratify thes' story-wisli of man. Then as if by the wave of
a magic wind. ;-:. quiiickly did it happen, all of these
iiithiods combined into one, making the greatest story-
tellhr :,of all time. thi.' movie. The picture, the written
word. acting. and now, with the latest triumph, the
spoken wo,rd-all tlhse instruments of story-telling are
CHILDREN AND MOVIES
blended, poured into a great mold and turned out for
the use of the human family to constitute the inmot
powerful narrator of tales the world has yet known.
The movie is the story-book of the age. BoumI inl a
silver screen, teeming from cover to cover with tails 4f
romance and adventure, achievement and failure. coin-
edy and tragedy, flashing from its pages love and hate,
shudders and thrills, laughter and tears, it is man's day-
dream for the moment come true. Here the story in its
most realistic form passes before his very eyes, the mov-
ing, breathing images of his own experiences or of ex-
periences he wishes he might have or fears he might have.
The whole world sits and turns the pages of this huge
story-book. It goes into the most remote corners of the
earth and remains popular on Broadway. Movies made
in America alone are sent into seventy countries, and
the titles are translated into thirty-seven different
languages.1 The same pictures that are laughed at and
wept over amid the rush of hurried cities are eagerly
awaited in the little one-street villages.
The universal popularity of this "best seller" is leg-
end. Various estimations have been made as to the
number of people who attend the movies. Some au-
thorities in the motion-picture industry fix the attend-
ance in the United States at 100,000,000 a week.' Ap-
proximately $2,000,000 are spent daily in this country
to see movies.3
Every experience known to man is woven into the
stories that are spread upon the screen. Every emotion
1 The Film Daily Year Book (1927), p. 9.
2 Ibid. (1929), p. c. Ibid.
of which man is capable is played to by this mighty
inrratilr. These stories are told in language so vivid as
to engage and so clear as to impress the simplest minds.
"Adolph Zukor, head of the largest film producing, dis-
tributing and exhibiting organization in the world,"
says a writer in the Annals of the American Academy of
Political and Social Science for November, 1926, "has
publicly found that the average movie-goer intelligence
is that of a fourteen-year-old child."'
Children are the most enthusiastic story-lovers, and
now the most enchanting story-book in the world has
been placed before them. Herein they discover for the
first time those fascinating tales reserved hitherto for
grownups but which are now made clear to them. Those
engaged in creating, binding, and selling this great book
frankly state that the tales contained therein are made
for adult entertainment. Every method by which the
stories are advertised, the reviews of the plots, the bill-
boards, and the posters, tell of the mature nature of
the present-day film.
The fact that the movie as a rule is adult in theme
and yet is depicted in a manner which is intelligible to
immature minds has caused it to be questioned as an
institution for children. The present research was under-
taken to determine whether or not the motion picture
is as important a factor in the life of the average child
as is commonly thought. It is a study of the child's con-
tact with the little everyday movie and the relation of
this contact to other interests in his life. Itis an inquiry
into the movie experience of the city child.
FIELD OF INQUIRY .ND METHOD
T hu art Iof ilna _uri n.llt ,. 1lil1 J.I, 1. a\, itli thi, ,.tT,-,'I .:f ai i-
pearan i' aiin *l, .'' ir~ i h tl. Irit n. ...rii fain t.-ac.h rthle sou;n at last
to tind r:-st in th- trutl.
Thli materiall for thel pr.,c.ese-nt r-eserrch was fulrislIed
by 111J.Ii' (Cii:iagu chli.lrn repre.'nting thr- groups:
average ip l.,li-scinhx'ol childjr-ii. jiuv,-nil- dliillents,.
and .1 spFue.ii -.rui.p .of ch.ildrenl who have a (e,.rttiln de-
gri, of or.;ainiz,.d l.oadl'?rship in their live. ;. the a lh .-J
Sco'iuts andI thi- GirlJScouts.---
Dat;a were gatliererrl for tlih, nio..It part front i children
by i-m.ii of wvrittt- ii uizz,- w lic. wveri' givcli in ti-:
cla ro.m i- rllr r ,gU ,r il ti r ll ilid under the su.per-
visioni ,f tle t-.icth-r. Furthl r niforima.iion wa.s obttil ed
through personral interviews in selected ci.'ses. .\AI.
group discussions were held aind parents aind tr.acer.
weie consu.ilted relative to particular poi,,it. Thle 'rait-
er part of the material, ihoiwve\r. was fiirnishrild Iy thl
chihliren in the form ."f writteii qni/z,--.
Ttlino:.t care ev:ls e-xri:i to: f'oriiula th lie cljes-
tionm. .le-arl y Oilid to ie t thll Und.ier ,.mondiitionms iulmlt
favorable- fIr a;euraey inl .'nIw'-r Writtieln question
were: i '-d rather tlian oral (IIIe'. Ord ral.It llti llri.' i- nrt
only distracting to til-h hild hut it introfdlice a; person;lI
element which miglit cau.i, him ti, coi ,r hlii .llI\weirs .iy
What lie thinki- tie illrilnirr \il-ht- hI t,_o Sty an]d might
FIELD OF INQUIRY AND METHOD
intrferere with his Ieiiin prerfecctly frank. Children. a. ;i
rill-. ,ar' very c':.,lrni dlatin ill tl- milatter of giving
tI n answers which tlhe think are wanted. Pree.anitioin
"\ere therefore tken to secure conditions that w.,d
firing aliont tie highest il, gr.--t' of franknness andil ionti-'t
in thle aniisn,-rs. Printed lqu stin? lt ions re simply hianidl.-el
the child l y hil teacher, antd he wzna left undisturbl)e to
trite the alnsitclr th llic iet e cold. T i T n\vestigator
rel laiined ini tie lackliviinkru except in cases ni. were tli.
teac-ler reqhl .tedil liher l resencit?. .A coreflil cihtk-up ft.l-
To_ iln/iiiz i \\tret giv\'eIn to tihe children.' For c.in-
\enien> -' ioe a1 terined i Quiz A and the other Quiz 1B.
T le qile.ti.ill' f.or l.>t!i quiiz/zes were |printedl O:i legail-
size ;ipe.r. lea\inl.' spai.'e 'cl.ii' i T after e (hl q
tlih child to \ rite his auiver-. Thliese qiestionis were
forniulated in si.c.h Inllnner that tlhy could l.e an-
swcor ld iy olne or tto w.lrds, iand great c.tire, wal taken
tat Ohriat n.o cle nt A sii uLstion lrecep init' then. For in-
stance, in trying to determin tilhe kind of pictures that
attracts the child minst. no list of notion pictures \"a
filrnishlei him as has heen done in other studie-s of this
nature here ch lil ren were a-ked to i lieck tile io loie'
they liked bIest. This limits the child in hin ani.\ner, and
it in al.,i iignestive. The naniing of the type- of pictiire-
that hold thle greatest attraction for him w\as in the
present study left to tihe child.
For the sake of accuracy. the samnie qui.ietion was
asked in more than one nway. To illustrate. the bhild
was not only asked what kind of niovies he liked best,
I Appendx I rpr' 11-L1
CHILDREN AND MOVIES
but he was requested to describe the type, to: namle the
things he most enjoyed seeing in the pictures, and to
give the titles of his favorite movies. A comparri-ozn of
the answers to these four inquiries bearing on the snime
subject gave a very good idea of just what kind ot pic-
tures made the greatest appeal to the individual child.
Another example of this insistence on accuracy may
be noted in the inquiry into the frequency of attendance.
The child was asked how often he attended the movies;
how many times a week he attended; how many times
he went to the motion-picture theater the week of the
quiz, the week before the quiz, and the week before that.
In both quizzes the child was asked to give his name
and address. This was done to weed out duplications
and to check the accuracy of the answers in so far as
possible with the teacher or the parent and also to per-
mit of a personal interview if desired. It was made clear
to the child, however, that the giving of his name and
address was purely optional. Children, as a rule, do not
object to giving their names in such cases. On the other
hand, they are usually proud to do so. There were less
than a dozen out of the 10,052 who failed to place their
names on the papers.
Quiz A was the shorter of the two quizzes and was
the first to be given to the children. It was composed of
questions bearing directly on the child's movie experi-
ence and furnished the data upon which is based Part
II of this book. It sought to determine how often the
child attended the movies and with whom he usually
attended: parents, companions, or alone. It inquired
into the time of day of the attendance, the most popular
FIELD OF INQUIRY AND METHOD
day of the we-ek for movies, and the length of time usu-
ally spent in the theater. Questions bearing on the type
:of theaters most frequently patronized, how the child
obtained the necessary money for admission, and how he
selected the movie he wished to see were also asked.
Answers to these inquiries gave a picture of the child's
contact with the movie, the nature of his experience
with it, and the extent to which it enters his life.
Quiz A was answered in one school period and thus
did not give the children the opportunity of talking over
the questions between classes or at recess. They were
unaware that another movie quiz was to be submitted
to them. In so far as possible, the second quiz, Quiz B,
was given to the same class under the supervision of the
same teacher who gave Quiz A. In order to make this
possible it was often necessary to wait until the next day
to give Quiz B.
Quiz B furnished data upon which is based Part III
of this book. It dealt with the relation of the child's
movie experience to other interests in his life. It in-
quired into the place the movie holds with respect to
other int,-rests of the child, as outdoor sports, reading,
and play. In this quiz. questions were asked regarding
the chill's lik,-s and dislikes in movies, the scenes that
made the grlt.atest appeal, what things he liked best to
see in the pitiiires andll v hy.' These answers gave a pic-
ture of v ha t the movie means to the child in the light of
his ever la.y life.
SF tlher -*iie i.:.rin -'re .-:.:.nti;ned in Quiz B, such as inquiries regarding
L6h- -..hilj' fa ...rite ati.-l.ir's .i actresses. These are of minor importance and
d.., ii.,t bEr -.re.: 11,' ..n lithe ,l;l.l' movie experience but furnish interesting
i.a tr nal.
CHILDREN AND MOVIES
At the end of Quiz B the childd was asked to write a
short compos, ition about a orioie li had sien. to tell
whether or not lie likely it with reasons. to inaie the
characters he mint amiired, and to tell why lie admired
then. These co positions gave tlIe child tie o.pportu-
nity of addinii ally information that inighti not have been
elicited Iy the qj"' stions.
The same quizzes wr-e given to all of tile children in
the three .-ro upsu nameidi aol,,.'e. In the case of tlhe de-
linquent children tlhe q etil l .,lis \\ere worded a little
differently. Becaitse these d.lelinquents were in the cus-
tody of institlutionls of' correction where movie attend-
ance is re'.'illlted ly the authorities,. it ws simply made
clear to. tlh.mn tl.it the\ cre .to give information based
on their contact with the movies before heingl (oin-
mitted to these_ corre:'tion;il chl:ools.
Thi:- three groups of children utiliedl for tli, re-
search are thle public-school ,child. the ,- t.'oilu, andl thle de-
linquent. The pulblic-l,.hool lcild wIIa selected in order
to obtain ai sallNle ofl the average child an:l his eolntln't
with the lile.,vies. For col[p.irioill with this ~ roup a
study ia.s Ilimde .of thle novie experiences of tile: court
who lias organized c'onstruct.'ive lehi.lership in his life
and of the delinquent whose life is so unadjiuted is to.
come in conliict w ith the l .. The sco..t w\s lhioseii for
the purowse of deteriiiiniig whether or not the movie
is as well deihni an experience ili the life of a child who
has definitely directed interested s alone other lines of rec-
reation as it is in tihe life of tlhce a;ovir:,e '.'ity child \who
has no. such i.idance. And the delinquent 'grlu.p wjs
selected to ascertain if childrenn wl linot only de not
FIELD OF INQUIRY AND METHOD
have constructive leadership but h.ive negative f.ctors
making tor maladjusted lives lha:e\ thie same relationship
to the movies as Jo te scouts t hle sv t erage publlic-
Owinz- to t!.: '.ct t tli:t thcre could be overlIapping of
the-,.'- rroup.s i:.ll scoui.t are school children :.iltliouu h
.i11 school chlillrcn .ire not scouts andi the deliniq! uci nts
may lie four.nd in either or liboth of these groupil, the
sc,:,uts were studied separately and si an isol!,ted group.
while only t hose school clil ren who .irre not scouts were
counted in the school riroup. The delin(.qiicnt group w1as
cormnposed of juvenile delin.lquents corninitted to institu-
tions of correction by court procedure.
The rpublic-school -group wais compose of 4.S01
clhilren representing nlan y classes iand typ,,s of neigh-
bo)rhIods. Eight public schools wr'e utilized for thi.i
investigation. Four of these were grade sc'hooll s an I fIour
were hiigih schools.' thus furnishing two lIelinite a-e
groups. the younger school elili or the clilil with grade-
school experience. andl the A.'ller -Ihool child or thlie child
witl higih-chlal, l experience. In the case of the -raIde
shelools. howev.er. only the hlst four gra.les--the tifth.
sixth. seventh. andi eilitli-were stu.l;el. Children be-
low the lifth .-_r;ile were considered too young to write
anllswers til tle ,luiZZe- with .silllfiient naccti.lrcy.
The sc.oult group. rereisents bI:oth the Boy Sco'utsl ;ind
the Girl Scouts. Thes e o the were e sl m e aes ;as the
pulilic-school children .ind were drawn from all parts of
the city. The l.lizzes for the Boy S:couts were given by
the scout masters and those for the Girl Scouts "ere
AppendJ I, p. 133.
CHILDREN AND MOVIES
given by the troop captains. The scouts in the t public
schools were instructed not to answer the quizzes if th y
had previously done so. There was an intensive cleck-
up to eliminate any duplications. Every neighborhood
in Chicago has one or more Boy Scout troops, and pra:c-
tically every troop is represented in this study. T'lihere
were 3,833 scouts who answered the quizzes. :3.114 of
whom were Boy Scouts.
The group of delinquents consisted of 1,419 boy and
girl offenders who were committed to correctional in-
stitutions in and near Chicago. The institutions utilitz I
for this study are the Chicago Parental School for Boys,
a school for truants and incorrigibles between the ages
of seven and fourteen committed by the judge of the
Juvenile Court; the Chicago and Cook County School
for Boys, a school for delinquent boys between the ages
of ten and seventeen who are also committed through
the Juvenile Court; the St. Charles School for Boys, a
state institution for delinquent boys between the ages
of ten and seventeen committed by the courts; and the
State Training School for Girls, for delinquent girls be-
tween the ages of ten and eighteen, corresponding to the
St. Charles School. A few delinquents were also studied
at the Juvenile Detention Home, an institution where
children are held pending disposal of their cases by the
As in the case of the public-school group, the quizzes
were given to the delinquents in the classrooms of the
schools that are held at the several institutions. Also the
same ages and the same grades were studied. In addi-
FIELD OF INQUIRY AND METHOD 13
tion to: the written quizzes, personal interviews were
heldi in .lecled cases.
The written quizzes answered by the 10,052 children
furnished the material upon which is based the statisti-
cal analysis of this study. In the following pages these
statistics tell the story of the city child's movie expe-
rience and the relation of this experience to other
interests in his life.
THE MOVIE EXPERIENCE OF
THE CITY CHILD
The childhood shows the man
As morning shows the day.
THE CHILD GOES TO THE MOVIE
Ye are better than all the ballads
That ever were sung or said;
For ye are living poems,
And all the rest are dead.
"If it were not for the children, I should have to
close my theater as 85 per cent of my audience is made
up of them." Thus spoke a movie-theater manager in
a crowded neighborhood of Chicago. Other managers
have expressed similar opinions, though in terms more
To what extent movie audiences in a large city are
composed of children can only be approximated, as it
seems there are no data available on the number of half-
rate or children's tickets sold. Even if these statistics
could be had, they would be of little value in determin-
ing to what degree the average movie audience is made
up of children, for the half-rate admission fee applies
only to those under twelve years of age.
After watching a Saturday- or Sunday-afternoon
movie crowd pour out of a neighborhood theater, one
would be inclined to take more seriously the foregoing
statement of the manager. But it must be borne in
mind that Saturday and Sunday are especially con-
venient movie days for children and that there is a
greater juvenile attendance at this time than at any
other time of the week.
CHILDREN .ND MOVIES
Praitically all chi I rei- n of all classes go to the movies.
Thl frequienv with lhieh they ug is, iof course, deter-
mined by such factors a, home environment, parental
supervision, directed i nt':rests, and financ-e.B But they
go. Some attend uJnly occasionally and when ,,c.,on. r-
rpanii:l I.,v parents or ot her adult inImbers ,f the turinily.
A.\ Ig'r nIIIIl .ier attendi when and hown tly -lIooi-,c. But
tlhiy all co ;is a matter of course.
From their point of c iew ot the avera.Le child. it is now
his natural right to p;, to ti iiijvies. just ,as he ihas al-
ways' liookel uipoii play as his righitful inheritance. No
lon,,er is it a [pve'ial privilh.cz., for himi to FI. allo :di the
movie. It Ielo,,s to hini, and to be deprive-i of it is for
himi to fI'tl himself the victim 4f a great inijnsticc.
One, little fcllo\w at tlih .uiivenile Court in trying to
place the I:lamne for his ili.iijui-ncy omplainiiil of his
motlch r's inlitlcriiene to his A elfar.; and, listing hOr
slhortcomings, adIled in an .agirieved tone of voice,
"Andl doie tln't give inc .but twentty-ive ct-nts a week to
,.o to the movies." To his chiliihil tlhik "an, a grer'at
a lnistreatniient as the other things th.t lie hlial niiuimed.
in c'"in -ection with her incoimpetenty. Il.e wa, being
.lenied soicethine thal rightly bl-lonred to him.
That chilJdren as a lo.is pI itronizu, the movies is an
established tact. The extent to \hiihi they attend is an
irniportatnt factor in relation to their movie experience.
Of the Jj1..2 children stud.liedl there \,ere odnly 1v or
1.7 per ii.:nt ot them w\ho reported that they dlidi ,no go
to tli movies at all.' One little rile'-sliool boy of
twelve sighe. I with all the hopelessness becoming to one
I .pp. ,dJ. II, f.Lt..h 1, p 15-4.
TIIE CIIILD GOES TO THE MOVIE
uof sevenlyl misslpenrlt years. "Never ini all ni m lilf did I g,:
t. the moviess" Hii parent. lIecause iof their religions
beliefs had not permitled himn thii indlg'li'ence. In fact.
the majority of tihe 1I S lwho reportle I th;it they ilidl not
go to the moi\ ieo gave religioui, restric-tii.ns a the
Tli'hre w er two children. lhoia .ver. ,whlo said tiat
the.- dii inot attendd the lii. vies cause til.\- Jid not like
them. These two rank admi..ions were inia,.lJe dring a
grio ill) ,li 5C 1ion;i ai .l inil .li.itelvy c..it an aIllizei 5ji-
len,:e o\er the others present. It %,is l., yc nd their coum-
p[;nion' c,''oimprelien1ion that anyone did.l not like the
IInoVies. They w ere 4 C',:,ounilel unI.elievinll, ianJ dis-
iuste.lI. Finally, tlihe spoke.in aju of thel cr.od disiiJ issei'
tile matter with I. 'lurit fsetiire of thc liinn and. "Sonc-
thini r's th' iiatter wil y,:on-e ys." The aittl.ir was
eltled ;andI tlue litn--sion re.iumed with \v iii, --\ipiing
lane. lie' Iew H rlileret .u td coltemipt lnow and then at
the two who I hal hertletolre -Ceemillied' Ini ., ,iflt',erent from the
rest o lf "tile l.il ) llh.
The presc-ent researilli shows thaI t ri.i pler cent or
.i.014 of th li l.l.. childreii attend J lite movie at:i re.Iular
intervals.,' They g froin on11,e .1 mnointIl to e\ ell timliem a
w.vek. I solatedl ca se, es-peci-in llvy a lion) the ,lelinl'iucliLt
group. reported ai iii:Iy 1a- .il or ille I i0.'\i i. week.
explalinirn_ ttiat they \ten t twice on S: tiurdJay.v an'J Slln-
.lays. Several .lelin'.li.ient boys sLaid that hietore lthey
were comlinite'Jd to institutional they wouldJ speniJ 1in en-
Thcr.' w' r. L'i.i. ..r 7 per .:cei ..-r thle -:ildlrrn h0 .J inJ] noi r.:porl
1_- t- n l i the l.: l lht e T nI i _cl-
Ap p.?ndix II, Tubl, I, p 131
CHILDREN AND MOVIES
tire day going from one show to another. )One boy
stated that he "took in" four movies every Sunday ni
well as one every night of the week.
A high frequency rate of movie ;ittt-endriii.e :,as
found for the most part among the juvenile offernder_.
There were a few public-school children \\whl reported
MOVIE ATTENDANCE OF 10,052 CHILDREN
that they go to the movies "pretty nearly every night
and twice on Sunday," but less than one-half of 1 per
cent of the scouts showed a high frequency rate of
The majority of the children go to the movies on an
average of once or twice a week. Combining the three
groups studied there were 64.1 per cent of the entire
THE CHILD (GOES TO THE MOVIE
10.05Q2 chililn-rn who re-ported that they attend that
oftenn' A f-ew go les thlan once a week. A fourth of the
Girl Scouts reported that they do not attend the movies
more fre-riiqntly tli:it (Pnce or twice a month. Some
aittein, only i1 few tinilRs j year.2
If freqiivncy of attendance can be taken as an indi-
cation, it appears that boys care more for movies than
do girls. It was found that although the percentage of
boys who attend once or twice a week is approximately
equal to the percentage of girls who go that often, in the
matter of a higher frequency rate of attendance the
number of boys who attend from three to seven times a
week is double that of the girls. There were 15.5 per
cent of the boys who reported that they attend movies
three to seven times a week as compared with 8.1 per
cent of the girls who attend that often.3
Among the public-school children it was found that
early adolescents seek movies more frequently than do
the later adolescents. In the case of the delinquent
group, however, the opposite is true. The older the de-
linquent child, the more frequent a movie-goer he ap-
pears to be. This does not necessarily mean the older
in chronological years. It applies more specifically to
those who are older in delinquency experience. For
instance. tHi,: boys at the St. Charles School for Boys,
tl,: iintit-itiou to which are committed the more serious
offender; a nd the re-idivists, revealed that 52 per cent
of them attI-udcd ti'i- movies from three to seven times
a wn,:,k bi,-fore their commitment, while the boys from
the Parrnta.l School for Boys, who are for the most part
SIt.ld I,.l. 3 Ibid.
CHILDREN AND MOVIES
truants, reported that 41.5 per :cent attended the movies
from three t., even tip e le a, iv eek.'
Botlj -.if these pIr,-rcintagus ar- hIigli. The,- difference
in the ratio is not as gre:it as in the case of the grade-
school boys and tihe hizh- school loys. the former of
whom have a rate of tliree- to seeven- times -:a e\\e k att-
tendance. just iloiuhe that of tlie latter.: Tlie rati.i f.r
the girls of t lie two gro:upiS is practically the sa ne a s that
of the I.,oy.
The fa.-t tlhat cliildreii in ti,- lift. -ixth. seventh,
and eighth grades paitr,.mnize im.. ies iiore freq(:l.ently
than ldo th.. higi-shi-:h o-,ol pupils is- contra:lr, to, the popular r
belief that :older children attend mP ore often than do:
younger ones. It is only natural that the high-shool
pupil -Ih o' l. Io er fre'liienicy rate of attendance at the
movie theater. for lie ta- nia ny illore outside interests
that lill lhi after-,sclii.ol hour, than lia- the gr:ide-sclhnol
child. Fo.,r liimn there are club. hL dance, and ulhloor
sports. There is dl-ways someone. in a '.gr.'iitI oi hlilh-
school pupils "lito hai reached the legal age for driving
an autoiiilobile. alnd the exliilarating joy of spinning
along tlie gas,,line trail witli soiiei of thie crowd\" far
exceed- even tlie thrill of a riivie. later -hlapte r will
show that luto-riding i- tlie one -"spirt." and the only
one, that is unanimoulslv given preference over tlie
Tliere seems t- he ,nly a sli ht relay tion between[ the
proximity of thle movie theaters to thlie liie of tlihe
children .ndl the rate of juvenile attendl:;il:'e ;at tllhee
1 ApF.pn.1x II 11 l.? I p. 1i.5
2 AppF. -.r I I. T.i1le III. p. 15.
THE CHILD) GOES TO THE MOVIE
theaters. In ia neighiborhooil in whi.h there are fe
motion-picture lio.uses the att,:nliiance rate of the chil-
.Jren is pr;. ti( illy as high a that of children who live
in a community which is thli':kly spotted Il wilh motvi'
thi.att.er. Il a district that is m.or rid:|ntial than I lli-
ness it apple) r theai at chiil'rn patronize the nl,\ i., a
fre'q.iently as do chiiilrten \vho live in a corl nirmlnity that
is for thie ino.t pIart comnl racial. The pl','sliIt irearmlh
shions that c'lihilren seek the nmivie- regardless of .li--
tainec flI'ro their hioie.
The neighblorlh'o.l in m liic' i. located ,n'e (f tlihe high
schools se:l -.? t-l tor thi study. the C'lutnwlt IIi;gh
iovl\ ie: ll. IIni.t IJ*l,. lrljl ntll ;,i l1t til, p[)l)lsp fronll Hyde
Park I i;lh Sch,.lI.l, %hih is lo<: ;t>d in ; d.listri-t that is
(|i.i l-.'.oimni ,:qiir i .inaid \\%t..r. oll \'il '-ho-lo'Ues are ltlll,'r-
ili'1. 'Ihere .1i te 'lve tlihate,:rs ithlin at raliis of a
m ili: '_4 thi. l-,':1i.ol.
TIll: I.it.i in C.hart II -,howi that thltre i- only a slight
,.lilere,(ce in their rate 1 at ttendJance t thle c'lili lre f'roi
the-c two i.ch.o. l. whli: are lo:'at-il in dlil'erent-type
ieiLh'l.ltorl'hoois.' The pupils from C.tiulnl:t IIigjh Schi'.ol
rep.orteil that t,(.i. per cent atte:ln the mnovi-i. oin':' or
twice a week. hilhe the pupil'. from the IIyd.le Park High
School showedd that 70.;.5 per 'cent ateilid ai : fretu .llntly a ,s
.A (ollpaurtive ,tinly ,,f twEo .'ra.hlc schools that ar:.
lo:''ttedl in lliil.irhioIJs similar to tliose o:f the two
I \ppr!.Jil 11. TaIl..I,: V. p. 15..
CHILDREN AND MOVIES
high schools further illustrates the fact that the juveni Ie
attendance rate at movies is not influenced by the prox-
imity of the theaters to the children's homes.
The Wentworth Grade School like Calumet High
School is located in a residential neighborhood. Within
a radius of a mile of this school there are eight m,,\ ie-
houses. Contrasted with this community is a district
A denotes theater
60% of children attend movies
once or twice a week
70% of children attend movies
once or twice a week
MOTION-PICTURE THEATERS WITHIN RADIUS OF ONE MILE OF SCHOOLS
in which is located the John Fiske Grade School. This
neighborhood corresponds to that of the Hyde Park
High School. Within a radius of a mile of the Fiske
School there are thirteen movie theaters; yet the at-
tendance rate of the children who live in this district is
not much higher than that of the children who live in
the community surrounding the Wentworth School.
THE CHILD GOES TO THE MOVIE
A ,.l.III.arisl.in of the attendance rate for these two
s_.ln.i.l- i sillnm Iby the following excerpt from Table
Attend Movie Once or
Twice a Week
John Fiske Grade School ............... 75.6
Wentworth Grade School ............. 63.8
John Fiske Grade School ............... 72.2
Wentworth Grade School.............. 60.8
The most outstanding factor which apparently in-
fluences the frequency of juvenile attendance at the
movies is the degree to which some organized recrea-
tional interest enters into the life of the child. Home
environment and parental supervision play important
parts in determining the extent of his contact with the
movies. But more influential than these is a definite
interest that has been consciously directed into other
fields of recreation. Left to themselves the children
apparently turn to the movies for entertainment. With
some guidance toward other outlets such as is offered by
the Boy Scouts and similar organizations, interests are
placed elsewhere and attendance at the movies is low-
This is illustrated by a comparative study of the
Boy Scouts and the delinquent boys. The Boy Scouts
constitute the group which offers definite organized
interests, while the delinquents are of the class which
is for the most part left to seek unguided its own recrea-
I Appendix II. Table V, p. 156.
CHILDREN .\NI) MOVIES
Delinquent buys attend the Ilmoie; Imlore frequently
than do Boy Scouts.' For tlis stiiiuy Ioy Scouts were
drawn from all over the city. In tie matter of cotmlpar-
10 1/ -------------\-----------
Less than I i.iJ .1 .ed r.
1 a week a.-I -. k -
COMPARISO' .M1OI 'jE ,\TTEN.D',":*. ,:, lB:01 C :I:l.TS 4'.D
L>LL'.Q(.ri.E T B,5 .
ing their rate of attendance with that of delinquent
boys, however, special ritten1ti.rn n~ gin tii. t, ho-e
troops that are located in neighborliooi.. l wliceh yield
I Appendix II, Table VI. p. 13t
TIE CHILD GOES TO THE MOVIE
the gre:-ate-lt in umlbr tif dlelliniients. There was no
;ippre< i;ille difference in the rate of attendance of the
.-ullnt- froml these n,.iLIl.,-orlhon.Il- as compared with the
si.,-,it from in their pa rts of thle .ity. Chart III is based
,on the ligiires as give.-n Ib the scoull group as a whole.
Although there are more scouts than delinquents
attending the movies once or twice a week, there is a
greater number of delinquents who go from three to four
times a week than there are scouts who attend as fre-
quently as this. Chart III shows that 69.4 per cent of
the scouts go to the movies once or twice a week while
48.9 per cent of the delinquents attend this number of
times. But there are 27.2 per cent of the delinquents
who go three or four times a week while only 6.9 per
cent of the scouts attend that often. And again there
are 20.4 per cent of the delinquents who attend the
movies from five to seven times a week while only 0.4
per cent of the scouts go so frequently. For less than
one attendance a week, the delinquents show 1.6 per
cent while the scouts show that 14.2 do not attend
oftener than that.
Of the delinquent boys studied there were very few
who did not attend the movies regularly before their
c romm itmlent to co.'rrectio:lnal schools. Of the 1,040 there
were only 7, \who lidl not go at all. Of the 3,114 Boy
Scouts it xwas fI'ond that 43 ilo not patronize the movies
at anl\' time.
As in the case of the delinquent boys and the Boy
Scoutlts so also for the delinquent girls and the Girl
ScouI-ts.' Before commitment by the court the delin-
CHILDREN AND MOVIES
quent girls patronized the movies more frequently than
do other girls of the same age. The delinquent girls did
not attend, however, as often as did the delinquent
It was found that while 28.7 per cent of the delin-
quent girls patronized the movies on an average of three
or four times a week, only 2.6 per cent of the Girl Scouts
attend that often. And while 9.7 per cent of the delin-
quent girls went to the movies from five to seven times
a week, only 0.1 per cent of the Girl Scouts reported this
The extent to which a child is exposed to the movies
is in direct proportion to certain factors that enter his
life. Delinquent children attend the movies more fre-
quently than do other children. Scouts go to the movies
less frequently than do other children but they go regu-
larly. The only difference between the movie attend-
ance of a child who has directed interests in his life and
the child whose recreation is left to his own guidance
is in degree.
The majority of children come in contact with the
movie once or twice a week. Any institution that
touches the life of a child with this persistent regularity
becomes of high importance to his welfare.
THE MOVIE HOUR
An' all us other children, when the
supper things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an'
has the mostcst fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at
Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-ins 'at gits you
-JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY
The old-fashioned story hour is giving way to the
modern movie hour, a bit reluctantly, a bit relieved.
The former after-dinner cry of "Mother, tell us a story"
is growing faint amid the din of "Mother, may we go to
The extent to which the child is exposed to the
movies is no more important a factor in his movie ex-
perience than is the time at which the exposure takes
The movie hour, like the story hour, comes to most
chilI:dren in the evening.
It is the general opinion that children usually pat-
rniz,: the movie theaters in the afternoon. For a long
tim,: maitinces have been regarded as belonging pri-
marily to them. The managers of the theaters would
CHILDREN AND MOVIES
like to feel that this is true. They put forth every- effort
to encourage afternoon attendance for children ias their
adult patronage objects to an overconsciousness of juve-
nile appreciation at the evening performance.
The children, however, have another vie"v ,n tlht
subject. Even though the matin6e is the same as the
evening program, to them the show at night has added
attractions. The magnetism of the sparkling atmos-
phere that permeates the approach to the theater, the
electric signals flashing out the call of the screen, the
soft, alluring lights in the lobby enhancing anticipation-
all lend enchantment to the evening attendance.
The present investigation reveals that children at-
tend movies more frequently at night than they do in
the afternoon. In a later chapter it is shown that the
majority of children are not accompanied to the theater
by their parents or older relatives, but that they attend
with companions of their own age. It is not an uncom-
mon sight to see little clusters of children emerge from
a movie-house late at night and scurry down the
It was found that of the total 10,052 children studied,
43.2 per cent attend the movies in the evening exclu-
sively and 25.4 per cent go both afternoon and evening.
There were 29.2 per cent who reported attendance for
the afternoon only. The others gave no special time
for going to the movies.1
In the public-school group the older children are
more inclined to go to the movies at night than are the
younger ones. High-school pupils reported a higher
L Appendix II, Table VII, p. 157.
TIHE MOVIE IIOUR
even inc attI.ndilaunce than did gir:l e-sch:.oo:l childrlrn as is
shown by the tollohwing dl ta firoiii Tillle VII-'
\r. .. ..,l .or. L -...".....
r ..- "r! rJ". r.-
tl l,;h--,h,:,,.Il hF ,5 . i.; ., .2 .
Grade-school boys ....... 37.9 45.6 14.0
High-school girls.......... 20.8 45.5 30.9
Grade-school girls......... 38.7 38.6 18.5
High-school pupils are dismissed from school later
in the afternoon than are the grade-school children and,
therefore, there is' not as much time to attend a show
before dinner as there is in the case of the children in
the lower grades. There are also various kinds of inter-
ests, as organizations, meetings, and clubs, which hold
the attention of high-school pupils directly after school
hours and wit]hicl do not c.'ome. as i rule. into the ex-
perience ol the grnade-sc.hoo1l children. IHigh-scli:ho:,l Ipu-
pils are :of the datingt'" .age. and movie dates as well as
:other dates are nichli more interesting in the evening
Boy Scouts do not show a marked preference for any
particular time of day for going to the movies.: There
is little ditferenee in their rate of attendance fi,,r tlie
afternoon and the evenin, performances. Twi.-e as
inany Girl Scouts. however. go to the movie; in the
afterinoion as go at night. Also it is shown later in this
chapter that Girl Scouts restrict their lmoie-goin;' al-
1 In... : I .i
CHILDREN AND MOVIES
most entirely to the week-end. Compared with public-
school girls who are not scouts only half as many Girl
Scouts attend the movie in the evening as do public-
Evening Afternoon and
attendance only evening attendance
NOTE.-Percentage not reported is too small
See Table VII, p. 157.
for graphic presentation.
COMPARISON OF TIME OF DAY OF MOVIE ATTENDANCE OF
THE THREE GROUPS
school girls, and only one-third as many as delinquent
Delinquents attend the movies more frequently in
THE MOVIE HOUR
the evening than do children in either of the other two
groups. Sixty per cent of the delinquent boys before
commitment to institutions attended the movies exclu-
sively at night, and 16.1 per cent attended both after-
noon and evening.' There were 55.5 per cent of the girl of-
PSlout - --t
Monday Tudy Wedesdy Thursday Friday Surday Sunday
COMPARISON OF TIME OF MOmVIE ATTENDANCE OF BoY SCOUTS
AND DELINQUENT BOYS
fenders who went to movies exclusively in the evening
before their commitment, and 32.7 per cent who at-
tended both afternoon and evening.
The less there is of parental control, favorable home
conditions, and directed interests in a child's life, the
more he heeds the lure of the night call and ventures out
CHILDREN AND MOVIES
on to the bright street t serkiing hiii .w in armun.? ent.
The gang is there a.Inl t ,d : tH,,)i i just acro,- the way.
On the other han.lI. tl- imonr tih-re i, of proper i iper-
vision, wholesome en\ir.inr nerint. and glided recreation
in a child's life, the more likely Ie: is to at tend tHle IP.viC;
0 "-------- -'
Monday Tur-6iy I* T r r, :a1 1
COMPARISON OF TI.E orF MI.:. IE \T TE '.L*.N.. G. Rr 4.-t.)ITT"i
,.o [ rLibQi.E' '. I .
at such times as will interfere lea-t with imniprtaiit
factors in his well-plannietl routine. as bhome study.
sufficient sleep, and outdoor recreation.
Saturday and SuJnday.s arc I lie ui, ., popular movie
days for children.
Of the entire 10.032 children studied t6,.4p per :ent
THE MOVIE HOUR
,)f tlihemii .: t t, lt liii ovies -o:me time during the week-
endl.' TIlivy atllelid eitlii.r on i,,, turday or Sunday and
eitller inl tie i'tnrlooni or in the evening. Eleven per
cent of them reported that they go on any (lay or have
no special day of attendance. Some of these very likely
attend on Saturday or Sunday, thus raising the week-
end attendance rate.
The following data show the concentration of movie
attendance at the week-end for the three groups:2
Delinquent group......... 57.6 44.5
Public-school group........ 58.1 50.9
Scout group.............. 72.7 65.2
At the little neighborhood theaters managers make
a special effort to attract children to the movies on
week-ends. For purposes of this discussion Friday is
not counted in the week-end, as Saturday and Sunday
are generally regarded as the logical days for children at
the movies. The Friday evening attendance will be
dealt with later in the chapter. Saturday especially is
looked upon as children's day. This is usually the day
on which are shown the serials, those films which come
in chapters, each of which breaks off tantalizingly at
some hair-raising and goose-fleshing point, as when huge
iron doors with spikes gradually close in on the hero who
remains peacefully oblivious to his impending danger,
wiith every ,child in tlie audience shrieking at him to
"loo:,k out." until thl last 100 feet of film when he be-
Appcui.Ju II, 1TLI: VI. II, 1. 158. 2 Ibid.
CHILDREN AND MOVIES
gins to sense his inevitable fate and makes a ie~ I'crate
jump to safety which is interrupted in midair Iy "-Con-
tinued at this theatre next Saturday." Or it m.y lie
that the heroine is left in an equally awkward and iIn-
comfortable position for the next six days-for ins.la ncIe.
hanging by her blond hair over a vat of boiling uoil. with
her hair beginning to slip-or is it the hook?
These pictures on the instalment plan meet with an
enthusiastic demonstration on children's day at the
movies as also do the westerns and other thrillers that
are especially prolific on Saturdays. Programs consist-
ing of "Double Features" are usually shown during the
week-end. This is always an added attraction for the
children as on these occasions they see two features or
main pictures instead of the customary one.
As far as the attendance of juveniles and the efforts
of managers to attract them to the theater on Saturday
and Sunday are concerned, the week-end might be called
movie-time for children. The majority of the pictures
exhibited on these days, however, are adult in theme, as
they are throughout the week. Although there is a con-
centration of juvenile attendance on Saturday after-
noon, not even then are the pictures, as a rule, primarily
The motion picture is the only art that attempts to
appeal to all ages by the same standard of intelligence.
Books, plays, pictures, and even music are created
especially for children. The movie is administered to
juveniles in adult doses.
At some of the neighborhood theaters special mati-
n6es are given for children. This does not mean that
THE MOVIE HOUR
the pictures are especially adapted to juveniles. The
fact that a horse or a dog is the main character in a film
does not signify that the movie is necessarily a children's
movie. So far motion pictures for juveniles are not being
produced. Of course there are some films that are quite
appropriate for children, but in the sense that books are
being written and published primarily for the juvenile
public movies are not.
There has been, however, an attempt made to arrange
programs for children's matin6es but these have proved
unsuccessful, for they did not accomplish the purpose
for which they were planned, namely, to give children
These movies were not originally created for children.
They were made at first for adults and then later re-
edited presumedly to suit juvenile minds. The length
of time, however, which elapsed between the creating
of them for adults and the re-creating of them for chil-
dren was so long that the pictures became quite old
fashioned. Children are as discriminating as grown folks
when it comes to wanting their movies to be of the latest
edition. Who wants to see Marguerite Clark demurring
about with her ankles draped in merchandise when just
around the corner Clara Bow with a splash of "It" is
jazzing up? Surely not the papas. And no more so do
Although the Saturday and Sunday movies seem to
belong to the children as far as attendance is concerned,
there is not an audience during the entire week that
does not have its quota of children. The degree of ju-
venile patronage during the week varies with the three
CHILDREN AND MOVIES
groups. \\'ith tli.- pIiilic-'sl 4 ".I proiip .111i t0i4 *'cn.ut
group their. is in li ci l l ifalliiin'-itT of atteni Iri ance :t tli.
movies I.giniiuig %\itli Mo lnda.y and r-\extndiniq. to tHie
week-eml. On Fridiay tlh-re is .an riliinpt ri-e in tlihe- t-
tendanite r;tt fL' ;r Iighl -.i, ';ho:,l i) 1[il., lIUt for gr.,i..-
school ciildrcn the increase lots not take place uitil
Saturday. Friil.iy iii-igt is late rniglhti fo-r iigh-school
pupils, ind tlher i i. ii illy ai go:oId date picture- ni for
The: f.:llo, in ex.ce.',:-rpt from Tial:il VIII shows thie
rate of atteni';inre'e thlroulihout the, w,.ek for tie '2 race-
school childrenn and f.,r the Iigih-t.hilI pupil-:
Grade h.:.:l 5 .. 1 i ; 7
IIigh s.. l....1 ** ; -* .. I \; I .:i :I :, ; 21 3
G rade I .....1 ; I. 4 ; : : :' .2 :.
High .. I ;2 1 s 2. 55 1.. I I
The ikli ui n i I' li' a I igl .r ritc of atteinl.iane on
week days thaiIn lo Ihr.1 othi-r cli.lren.-' For I.oth tih, ile-
linquent i.:, s aind the -'.i'liinqeint girls thn:-r is :li in-
crease in *itlenriince' on Moii.Iy- .-ind \\Ved nesii lai v; ithll
a decreac-e: in ti,. rate on FrilIday l'lhe i. .ilinq tent girls
show a .I.'.ci..l.lY lowv'-ered rate of .il teni.laine .-.n Suinlay'
as coni)preil. v. il thi (Il:'linr],lrult lioy-s:
I Ibid. I I.:.' t...
TIlE MOVIE HOUR
Delinquent boys ....... 7.8 4.1 6.0 2.1 2.4 28.1 29.5 15.8
Delinquentboys........ 7.8 4.1 6.0 2.1 2.4 28.1 29.5 15.8
Delinquent girls........ 11.8 6.7 16.6 3.7 2.1 37.3 7.2 11.3
On whatever day it occurs the movie hour varies in
length for the three groups in question. The average
program lasts one hour and forty-five minutes. It usu-
ally consists of a news reel, a short comedy, and a
feature picture besides the advertisements of the "Com-
Children pay for one performance but in many cases
they stay for several. Sometimes the following admoni-
tion is flashed on the screen: "Jimmie Jones, your
mother phoned for you to come home to supper. You
have been in the show since lunch time." The practice
of the children staying in a theater all afternoon or all
evening has become so widespread that the managers
have had to devolve ways in which to meet the problem.
In some of the neighborhood theaters ushers turn those
children out who have been in the house long enough
to witness an entire program. The children evade this
either by hiding under the seats or else by changing
from one side of the theater to the other at the end of
each performance. In this way of course they change
ushers. Some managers issue late checks that permit a
child to stay for the next show if he comes in late. Many
children purposely seek admission to the theater after
CHILDREN AND MOVIES
the program has started in order to obtain a late check
so that they can see at least a show and a half.
The length of the movie hour, however, is in direct
proportion to the degree to which other interests engage
the child. Here again the delinquents are the greatest
indulgers and the scouts the least. The public-school
group of non-scouts comes in between. This is shown by
the following data from Table IX:1
Stay in the Stay in the
Movie for Two Movie for More
Shows than Two Shows
Delinquent boys.......... 30.5 13.9
Public-school boys......... 10.2 1.9
Boy Scouts............... 13.8 1.4
The scores for the girls in the three groups is prac-
tically the same as that for the boys. The delinquent
girls show that a larger number remain in the movie for
two and three performances than for one. This is not
Stay in the Stay in the
Movie for Two Movie for More
Shows than Two Shows
Delinquent girls........... 44.3 12.9
Public-school girls......... 15.3 2.0
Girl Scouts ............. 12.1 1.0
true of the other groups. Fifty-six per cent of the de-
linquent girls stay for more than one program.
There are some children who stay in the theater pro-
tracted lengths of time for reasons other than to see the
I Appendix II, Table IX, p. 159.
TIE MOVIE HOUR 41
picture aiinii. A few tf the delinquents reported that
they remain in the Tsh:,w after they have seen the pro-
grain through Ibec:aue "it is warm there and there is no
other plac-e to '-.~o except home." Many said that it is "a
Lgreat plI:ice in wlhic t:, have a hot date" and that it
otherss aluot a good possibilities for privacy as does
These cases, which are familiar to social workers and
Juvenile Court workers, are out of the sphere of this
study. Conditions that might ensue from children sit-
ting in darkened movie-houses over long periods of time
unsupervised by grown-ups are not dealt with in this
book, as the present research is confined to the contact
of the child with the motion picture itself and the re-
lation of this contact to other factors in his life.
WHO TAKES THE CHILD TO THE MOVIE?
There's not one here but it would follow me,
For all your bleating.
-JOSEPHINE IRESTON PEABODY, The Piper
Out of apartment buildings and homes, down the
streets gleefully dancing and skipping, the children
follow an imaginary Pied Piper away to a magic hollow
where placed in rows, little shoes to little shoes, they
sit entranced by the tales that are so bewitchingly laid
before them. Behind there is no village of Hamelin gone
frantic because the children have disappeared. Every-
one knows that they are at the movies and will come
Children usually attend the motion-picture theaters
in groups and unaccompanied by adults. Just as they
best enjoy playing with each other so they gather about
them companions near their own age with whom to wit-
ness a movie. Pleasure is always enhanced if experi-
enced jointly. This is especially true of children.
On the way to the theater the child's anticipation of
the movie to come is doubled if he walks beside some
one of the "crowd" who with him speculates on what
the film will be about and who shares with him mem-
ories of other pictures seen. Entering a movie theater
children as a rule seek the front seats. There they find
other children and are closer to the screen. The fact
that they cannot see the pictures so well at close range
WHO TAKES THE CHILD TO THE MOVIE? 43
does not occur to them. Their one thought is to be as
near the field of action as possible, and so they have
formed the habit of congregating in the front rows much
to the consternation of the theater managers, who,
realizing the strength there is in numbers, are constantly
trying to calm expressed appreciations in consideration
of the other patronage.
Sitting beside each other unhampered by adult ad-
monitions, the children's movie pleasure is increased
many fold. They laugh with each other, they shudder
together. They shriek and yell in unison at the high
peaks of the thrills. Then the enjoyment of the movie
is prolonged if the picture can be talked over afterward
as the children tumble out of the theater and scamper
home, pushing and romping, calling to mind outstanding
points in the picture with, "Didja see that skinny guy
trying to git that other feller?" "Man! I was scared."
"Whataja know 'bout it. . .," and thus on down the
street they go, chattering over what they have just seen,
with little snatches of mimickings punctuating their
narrations and exaggerated gestures emphasizing the
points they are recalling. What delicious freedom to be
out with the crowd with no grown-ups to subdue un-
The present research found that children not only
prefer to attend the movies unaccompanied by adults
but that the largest number of them actually go either
with companions their own age or alone.
In every one of the groups utilized for this study the
majority of the children reported that they are not
accompanied to the motion-picture theater by their
CHILDREN AND MOVIES
parents. This is significant in view .f thi f;i,t tliit ill a
former chaptlri it wxas pointed ioult tliit thir majority of
the children tiiliei go the nivir- in tihe evening.
The follow ilig datat f lori Tal.l:. X -Ihi.w whit icen.r'iitag,:'
of the children in thli_ sc\v 'ral groups .itteni tle- t m.ition-
picture thliater witihou t hl-inetit of par,,its.'
.\, I,', .j i-l _j I Iii.., I f_ .J
I'" Itrl i. .. I 'i-i. ,
B yo S.,uULj ................ I".
Iigh-school boys.......... 22.6 75.7
Grade-school boys......... 20.1 76.8
Delinquent girls........... 23.9 75.3
Girl Scouts............... 44.9 53.8
High-school girls.......... 35.0 62.2
Grade-school girls......... 31.9 63.3
Approximately three-fourths of the children in aIl-
most every one of the groups studied do not go to the
movies with their parents. In the case of the (Girl
Scouts, however, almost 50 per cent of them are acconi-
panied by their mothers and fathers. Of those children
who do not attend with their parents, there are about 10
per cent in each of the groups, except in the case o.,f
the high-school boys, who are accompanied by oldMer
brothers and sisters, as is shown in the complete table.'
This raises the score of those accompanied by adults
about ten points, but even then the score for attending
without adults is approximately 60 per cent.
1 Appendix II, Table X, p. 159.
WIIO TAKES THE CHILD TO THE MOVIE? 45
Thli majority of the children in every one of the
gromll ip e.x'eijt thlit of the Girl Scouts attend the movies
I\\t il conipai ion.ri near their own age. Almost 50 per cent
..i the-~ children reported that they go with their
Irir-n.ls. while tihe Girl Scouts show that 35 per cent
attend with companions near their own age. This is due
to the fact that a large number of Girl Scouts attend
with their parents.
It is generally thought that older children are more
inclined to go to the movies with their friends than are
the younger ones, who, it might seem, would be more
likely to be taken by their parents. But the present
study found that almost as many of the younger chil-
dren attend the movies with companions their own age
as do the older children.'
Attend with Friends
Grade-school boys................... 44.3
High-school boys .................... 54.0
Grade-school girls................... 38.5
High-school girls. ................... 49.2
Juvenile delinquents are usually thought of in terms
of gangs, and so it is not surprising to find that almost
50 per cent of the delinquent boys utilized for this re-
search reported that before commitment they always
itttended the movies with their friends. It is interesting
to,: note that there is only a slightly smaller number of
Bo:y Scout; than delinquent boys who go to the movies
with fcipliiouanion; their own age, and only a slightly
higher number of Boy Scouts than delinquent boys who
CHILDREN AND MOVIES
go with their parents, while the score for attending alone
is practically the same for both groups.1
Attend Movies Attend Movies Attend Movies
with Friends with Parents Alone
% % %
Boy Scouts .................. 40.6 25.6 21.7
Delinquent boys.............. 47.0 17.6 21.5
The comparison of the Girl Scouts and the delin-
quent girls is more striking:
Attend Movies Attend Movies Attend Movies
with Friends with Parents Alone
% % %
Girl Scouts................... 34.9 44.9 8.2
Delinquent girls.............. 48.7 23.9 13.7
Boys go alone to the movies more often than do
girls. The data show that 20.2 per cent of the boys
studied attend the motion-picture theaters unaccom-
panied by anyone, while only 6 per cent of the girls go
alone.2 The Boy Scouts and the delinquent boys show
the highest scores for attending the movies unaccom-
panied. Almost a fourth of the boys in each of these
groups reported that they do not go with anyone. The
high-school girls show the lowest score, reporting only
2.9 per cent for attending unaccompanied.
The greatest number of the children of both sexes in
the three groups, however, attend the motion-picture
theater with their companions. Just as they go in little
groups to the playgrounds for their games, so they seek
1 Ibid. 2 Ibid.
WIH0 TAKES THE CHILD TO THE MOVIE? 47
the movies in the company of others near their age. On
the playground children are playing with children. In
the movie they are sitting intently watching a very
grown-up, sophisticated, and beloved companion play
for them. Parents are usually careful that their children
do not associate with older children for fear that "they
will learn things they should not," and so they send them
to the movies, which are adult and sophisticated in
theme. They send them alone or with little friends but
they do not take them. The movie is always near by,
and the children do not have to go far from home to
How far from "home" they go is a matter for further
FOR THE PRICE OF MISSIONIN
W hen 6ir-t rIl\ n ;. L.. fIiir I t....k.
Few perne r 1 pur:.. h'a I:
And lorin I u:e.1 t.:, Jtaii.l and. I.j..k
At thing- I c..iull rn.t t. iy.
--.A. E. HOiUSEMAN
"Which would you prefer, a lollypop or a movie?"
The answer is almost invariably, "Why can't we
have both?" But if it comes to a "showdown," as the
children say, where an actual choice has to be made, the
movie wins every time. Many mothers proudly state
that children now spend their pennies for an afternoon
movie rather than for "all-day suckers," as the mothers
did when they were children.
There has been no scientific investigation made as to
whether or not the candy stores have suffered any
marked loss because of the popularity of the movies.
But present indications point to the fact that the chew-
ing-gum business has increased, judging by certain
rhythmic movements discerned across a darkened au-
dience of juvenile profiles. One little boy of twelve said,
"Movies make my head ache 'cause I chew gum so hard
when I get excited."
Whether or not children prefer to spend their pen-
nies for a show rather than for confections cannot be de-
termined by any better source than the children them-
selves. They declare that they would rather go to a
FOR TIHE PRICE OF ADMISSION
ri, mii,\ti tl; to edt. Their feelings in this matter, how-
Seve\'r. aire iilinleric.ed Ib the time of day the question is
It i- replortel. by s..iiue school-teachers that many
<.hil'I-ii inr.ake a pr.-ictice of saving out pennies from
tlihir liinc'hi mron.y .-very day in order finally to accumu-
late the price of admission to a "picture show." One of
these children explained, "A couple pennies a day off
your lunch money ain't missed if you eat slow and then
you can go to de show on Saturday."
In some cases children have been known to go entire-
ly without their lunch in order that the money that
would have been spent for food might be used for a
Children will work to earn money to go to the movies
when no other incentive can induce them to do so. They
work for their parents or they work for other people,
running errands or doing little odd jobs. Often they earn
the total price of admission on one job. Frequently, how-
ever, they must accumulate a movie fund, penny by
Some children have a regular allowance, a portion of
which is set aside for motion-picture entertainment.
But most of them secure money for admission to the
movies by simply having their parents give it to them, as
a matter of course and with little ceremony. However,
the dc.gre o:f Iereimo:ny varies with cases.
A few t 'lilIirern o:ltain the price of admission to the
iiotion-pictiirct tlinalters illegitimately. In crowded dis-
tricts ;ndI in l.p(.r neighborhoods, children are some-
tinmes scni beLgiing on the streets for money to go to the
CHILDREN AND MOVIES
movies. Some of these ber olltri-hit for thlie whlle co.st
of a ticket while others ask to:r a penny here and a penny
there from passers-by to help make iup the total price.
On a Saturday o r a Sunrday afternoonn vii ile pi;i 'ii'j
through the near \vicinity of a moltion-picture theater in
some sections of Chictiiago. it i niot an iuncolnmon experi-
ence to be approached by a child holding up a begrimed
little palm on which lie three or four pennies, and have
him plead for "just one more so I kin go to de show."
In a few cases children admit stealing money in order
that they may attend the movies. From some mothers
comes tearful information that their children take money
from the traditional sugar bowl or its modern equivalent
for the purpose of attending a motion-picture theater
when they "would not think of doing such a thing for
any other purpose."
Children are known to employ all manner of means
to gain admission to the movies. A few come in conflict
with the law because of some of these means. Not only
are begging and stealing sometimes resorted to if money
is not forthcoming from any other source, but there
have been cases where prostitution has been practiced in
order to obtain funds for movie tickets. A policewoman
tells of two little girls, twelve and thirteen years of age,
who prostituted themselves for fifteen and twenty cents
each that they might have the price of admission to tihe
The present research shows that the majority of t he
10,052 children studied obtain money for movie enter-
tainment in a legitimate manner.' A comparative fet
'Appendix II, Table XI, p. 160.
FOR THE PRICE OF ADMISSION
reported illegitimate means of procuring the admission
fee. It is probable that if the children did not secure the
money in a legal way they would not admit it. The few
cases reported gave reasonable indications that the
children were telling the truth, for the majority of these
were alleged delinquents with records that were in ac-
cord with their statements to this effect.
The majority of the boys in each of the three groups
reported that they earn the money they spend on motion
pictures while the greatest number of girls in two of the
groups gave their parents as the chief source of funds for
the movies. For the third group of girls, that of delin-
quents, the score for earning the money was slightly
higher than for parents giving it.
Almost one-half of the Boy Scouts earn their money
for admission to the movies either by working for their
parents or by working for other people. There were
more than a fourth who reported that they had the
money given to them by their mothers and fathers for
good behavior, good school reports, or simply because
they had been able to persuade their parents that it was
their natural heritage. The others had no particular
source from which they obtained funds to be spent at
motion-picture theaters. Some of these earned it or had
it given to them by their parents or by other relatives,
and some were usually taken by friends.
The delinquent boys reported a higher score for earn-
ing their movie money than did the Boy Scouts. The
following excerpt from Table XI shows what percent-
age of the money spent on movies by the delinquent
boys was earned and what percentage was given to them
CHILDREN AND MOVIES
by their parents as compared with the score, for tle
Movie Money Movie 1 .
Earned from a'..i, m
Boy Scouts .................. 44.5 29 4 i
Delinquent boys.............. 55.5 22.10 v.3
It is to be expected that the score for the delinquent
boys for earning their movie money would be higher
than the score for their parents giving it to them. The
majority of the delinquents are from homes where pen-
nies are made to stretch over the bare necessities, and
if there is any money spent for the extras of life it must
be earned by the individual for that purpose.
Almost half of the Girl Scouts are given money for
the movies by their parents, while only a fourth earn
it.2 This is just opposite from the case of the Boy Scouts
While the score for the Girl Scouts for earning their
movie money is lower than that of the delinquent girls,
it is twice as high as the score for the public-school girls
who are not scouts.
Movie Money Earned
Delinquent girls. ................... 37.2
Girl Scouts......................... 23 .6
Public-school girls. ................... 12.2
There is very little difference in the way in which
older children and younger children obtain their ad-
mission fee to the movies. The high-school boys show a
slightly higher score for earning the money than do the
1 Ibid. I Ibid.
FOR THE PRICE OF MISSIONIN
gri(de-s-.hool boys. This is also the case of the high-
school girls and the grade-school girls. But there is a
great difference in the percentage of high-school boys
who earn their movie money and high-school girls who
work for the price of admission. The same is true for
grade-school boys and grade-school girls, as is seen by
the following data:'
Movie Money Movie Money Movie Mney
Earned from Parents Sources
% % %
High-school boys.............. 47.4 29.7 20.3
High-school girls.............. 12.8 63.2 18.0
Grade-schoolboys............. 44.5 31.2 21.7
Grade-school girls............. 10.3 63.5 21.2
From whatever source the children obtain money
for admission to the motion-picture theaters, the great-
est number of them spend between twenty-five and fifty v
cents a week for the movies.2 Because there was so much
opportunity for inaccuracy to creep into the answers per-
taining to the amount of money expended for motion
pictures, special care was exercised to tabulate only
those reports which were consistent with the number of
times a week the particular child attended the movies,
and with the admission fee of the theater most frequent-
ly patronized by that child.
The data show that delinquents spend more for/
movie entertainment than do either of the other two
groups.3 This is consistent not only with their rate of
attendance, which is shown in chapter iii, but with the
SIbid. 2 Appendix II, Table XII, p. 160. 3 Ibid.
CHILDREN AND MOVIES
fact that a large number of juvenile delinquents attend
motion-picture houses in the downtown district and the
price of admission to Loop theaters is usually higher
than it is at the neighborhood theaters.
There were 24.4 per cent of the delinquent boys who
showed that before commitment to correctional schools
they spent more than a dollar a week on movies, while
36 per cent of delinquent girls reported this amount.
A comparison of the amounts of money spent for movies
by the scout group and the delinquent group is given in
the following excerpt from Table XII:
Under 50 Cents 50 Cents to $1.00 $1.00 and over
a Week for a Week for a Week for
Movies Movies Movies
% % %
Boy Scouts .................. 70.9 17.7 5.0
Delinquent boys.............. 43.0 25.0 24.4
Girl Scouts................... 71.9 16.0 2.3
Delinquent girls.............. 27.4 23.5 36.0
The high-school boys next to the delinquents re-
ported the largest amount of money spent a week on
movies.' The older the child the more he spends for mo-
tion pictures. First, if he is over twelve years of age and
enough over that he cannot even "pass for twelve," he
must purchase an adult ticket; and, second, the older
the boy the more likely is he to attend the large and ex-
pensive movie houses, especially if he has a date.
Girls do not spend as much money for the movies as
do boys. Only one-half as many high-school girls as
high-school boys spend a dollar or more a week.2 Girls
1 Ibid. 2 Ibid.
FOR THE PRICE OF ADMISSION 55
of high-school age are frequently escorted to the motion-
pictiire theater, which may account for the higher rate
gi\ven li tihe high-school boys.
A.ltIihi'ugh grade-school children attend the movies
more frequently than do high-school pupils, they do not
spend as much money as do the older children. They
usually buy half-rate tickets and go to the medium-sized
and small neighborhood theaters where the admission
fees are low. More than 40 per cent of these younger
children pay from five to twenty-five cents a week for
movies, while only 4 per cent of the high-school pupils
spend under twenty-five cents a week.
The amount spent by children for motion-picture
entertainment is not a significant factor in their movie
experience. The extent of a child's contact with the
movies cannot be measured by the price he pays for this
contact, for admission fees vary according to the type
of theater patronized and the age of the child.
The degree of effort, however, made by children to
obtain the necessary price of admission to the theater is
an important factor in their movie experience. "What
price movies?" asked of a child will bring the immediate
and unhesitating answer, "Any price!" One small girl
said, speaking as her grandmother would of her morning
coffee, "I must have my movies." Children will have
their movies. They feel that they are their natural right,
as are ice-cream cones, roller skates, and the "funnies."
If the necessary funds for admission are not contributed
by the parents, the children get them elsewhere, for they
will not be denied this enchanting world of make-believe,
which is real for an evening and can be had for a dime!
THE CHILD CHOOSES HIS MOVIE
Heigh-o! The cheery-oh!
The farmer in the dell.
Just as the little "farmer in the dell" stands in a
circle of marching, singing children and points his finger
at the one he chooses for his partner, so do little chil-
dren stand within the huge glittering circle of movies
revolving around them with coaxing flickerings of
"Choose me! Choose me!"
To the children the selecting of a movie is like play-
ing any other game where a choice must be expressed.
The choosing of a movie is, however, more complicated
than the pointing of a finger at one's favorite playmate,
for there are so many favorite movies and potentially
Every year approximately 2,500 motion pictures are
made in this country.' Of these about 775 are feature
pictures. With this large number of movies passing in
review, there must be many and attractive ways of per-
suading the public that each picture is better than the
other. Moreover, great effort and much money are ex-
pended in advertising the movies. In the United States
$67,000,000 are spent annually for motion-picture ad-
The movie is ever before us calling out its wares.
What it has to offer for entertainment is proclaimed by
1 The Film Daily Year Book (1928), p. 3. 2 Ibid.
THE CHILD CHOOSES HIS MOVIE
many alluring "ige-nts" that bc'cknn nu here anidl leckon
us tlhret t: thel "best slho\ in to:\ n.-" 'There are 13.1111n
daily ii-:v spla-Ip r. A 41 in ,-L.gazin-es in this ,?Cuntry tlhat
carry news of the movies.' Attractively decorated bill-
boards patrolling the streets, electrical signs trickling
up and down in front of the theaters, colorful posters
framed in the lobbies of the movie-houses, depicting
scenes which are being shown within and sometimes
those which are not-each of these in its own way
sends out the call to movies.
Further notice of what one might miss is given on
the screen itself by what are known as "trailers."
These are portions of films which are exhibited during
the regular program and consist of snatches of scenes
taken from prospective pictures which are to be shown
at the particular theater in the near future. They are
labeled "Coming Attractions" and give just bits, usual-
ly the choice bits, of the movies that are to come. Even
these bits are nipped off right at the highest peak of
anticipation and only a visit to the coming show will
completely satisfy that feeling of "suspension." Often
these scenelets are of such a nature that they fail to
appear in the complete pictures, having succumbed
somewhere along the way to the program proper.
In their quest for a movie the children turn to these
various forms of. motion-picture advertising, which
serve in loco parents toward helping them choose the
pictures they wish to see. Only 1.6 per cent, or 155 of ,
the 10,052 children studied, have their movies selected
for them by their parents. There are 78.3 per cent, or
CHILDREN AND MOVIES
7,883, who choose for themselves the films they- wi-hi to
see.' For these there is no guide to help find tie pitlnri'
that is most suited to their several ages and umii-rsltainl-
ings. And so, left to themselves, they glance along the
swiftly passing line of movies and point their fingers at
the one that offers the greatest possibilities for enter-
A large number of children select their movies by aid
of the daily newspaper. With most children "the play's
the thing," and it is for the story of the prospective film
that they turn to the "movie write-up" in the current
newspapers and then and there decide to go or not to go.
The greatest number of the children in every one of
the groups studied except in the case of the Boy Scouts
and the case of the delinquent boys gave the newspaper
as their chief means of selecting the movies they attend.2
The Boy Scouts feel that there is something in a name,
and most of them choose the picture they wish to see
by its title while most of the delinquent boys roam about
from theater lobby to theater lobby and study "de ads
in front" to find the "pitchure wid de biggest kick."
A movie cannot be judged by the title it bears.
There must be something, however, that appeals to the
children in the surprise that comes upon finding the
picture quite different from what its name would imply,
for nearly a fifth of the entire group select their movies
by the titles only.3
'There were 1,846 of the children who did not answer the question
pertaining to the method of selecting movies as is shown by Table XIII,
2 Appendix II, Table XIII, p. 161.
THE CHILD CHOOSES HIS MOVIE
Actors and actresses are by no means ignored by the
children in their search for a movie. There are a great
many players on the screen who attract a juvenile au-
dience no matter what the story or the title of the pic-
ture. These movie stars have become as real and as
loved as other friends in the life of a child. Often he
prefers to see his "favorite" in action rather than to
view even a more interesting film where r6les are taken
by other actors.
Apparently only a few children are influenced in
their choice of a movie by what others who have seen
the picture have to say about it. Some do, however,
depend upon recommendations made by friends. Others
say that they do not choose their movies at all but "just
go to the first one that comes along" or that "it doesn't
make any difference what the show is just so it's a
movie." Many of the younger boys reported that they
choose their movies "by flipping a coin."
Children in the several groups studied vary in their
methods of selecting movies according to their ages and
their class.' Thirty-one per cent of the delinquent boys
reported that before they were committed to correc-
tional schools they would find the movies they wished to
see by visiting all of the motion-picture theaters in the
neighborhood and examining the posters in the lobbies.
The Boy Scouts do not as a rule wander from lobby to
lobby looking for their movie. Neither do the Girl
Scouts, but it will be seen by the following data that
the delinquent girls, like the delinquent boys, are prone
to roam around this new art gallery, scrutinizing the
CHILDREN AND MOVIES
still pictures, which are ilelnt reprr'-rent:ll.ivei of th,-e nai-
tive ones on the screen irlsidhe. Girlr inclined thva.rdn
delinquency are more often o.n the stre.-ts and loiter
about theater entrances nmoi': fri.,.lv th.n Id. girls \i ho
have some definite organized interest in tlieir li\k-., a
have the Girl Scouts.
Select Movies by
Posters in Lobbies
Boy Scouts......................... 10.4
Delinquent boys.................... 31.0
Girl Scouts......................... 4.6
Delinquent girls. .................... 23.9
The younger children, like the delinquent children,
also favor the pictures in the lobbies as a means of
choosing their movies. Although the highest score for
the children of grade-school age and those of high-school
years is for choosing the movie by means of the news-
paper, the second highest score in the case of the young-
er children is for the posters in the lobbies, while for
older ones it is for the title. This is shown by the follow-
ing excerpt taken from Table XIII:
Poster in Lobby Newspapers Titles
% % %
High school ................ 7.4 25.1 18.8
Gradeschool............... 18.8 19.8 16.2
High school................ 5.2 25.0 21.7
Grade school............... 17.1 24.4 11.8
It appears that high-school pupils are more appreci-
ative of actors and actresses than are the young children.
TIHE CHILD CHOOSES HIS MOVIE Cl
Thley show a higher score for this means of selecting a
movie than do any of the other groups. It is also inter-
esting to note that what friends say about a picture in-
fluences the high-school boys and girls in their choice
of a film more than it does younger children. The high-
school pupils are at that age of "follow the leader."
What one does the others want to do. What one ex-
periences the others want to experience. If the latest
picture has been seen by some of the crowd it must be
seen by the entire crowd. They all keep up with each
other. What a friend has to say regarding a certain
film bears weight with the others.
Movies Selected Movies Selected
for Favorite upon Recom
Actors mendation of
4 High school............. 13.6 10.1
SGrade school............ 6 2 2.4
Boy Scouts............. 8.3 6.6
Delinquent boys........ 5.0 3.5
High school............. 16.6 7.5
Grade school............ 8.0 2.1
Girl Scouts............. 10.8 7.4
Delinquent girls......... 10.2 4.8
Younger children are apparently not greatly in-
fluenced in making their movie choices by what some-
one else has to say about a particular picture. The
foregoing table shows that only 2 per cent of the grade-
school boys and only 2 per cent of the grade-school girls
choose their movies from among those recommended
by friends. It is also seen from the foregoing data that
62 CHILDREN AND MOVIES
girls are more inclined to have favorite movie ,t :lr I than
are the boys.
The delinquent girls and the Girl Scouls show little
difference in their methods of selecting nlivies ev\'pt
in one instance. The score for using the mel h u.r.l post-
ers in the theater lobbies is much higher for the delin-
quent girls than it is for the Girl Scouts. There were
24 per cent of the delinquent girls who reported that
before being committed to correctional schools they
chose their movies by going from theater to theater and
examining the still pictures in the lobbies, while only
5 per cent of the Girl Scouts reported that they resort
to this method. The following excerpt from Table XIII
shows how slightly the Girl Scouts differ except in this
one instance from the delinquent girls in their methods
of choosing movies:
Girl Scouts Delinquent Girls
Posters in lobby........... 4.6 23.9
Newspapers .............. 24.1 25.5
"Coming Attractions"..... 3.8 4.3
Titles.................... 18.8 10.6
Actors................... 10.8 10.2
Recommendation of friends. 7.4 4.8
Both the Girl Scouts and the delinquent girls use
the newspaper more than any other method for select-
ing their movies. Only a few girls in either of these
groups choose the movie they wish to see by the Com-
ing Attractions" that are exhibited during a program.
This method is not popular with any of the groups.
Perhaps the titles of these prospective films are flashed
THE CHILD CHOOSES HIS MOVIE
too quickly for the children to fix them in their minds,
or it might be that they are too interested in the bits
of scenes that are quickly passing before them to note
the dates of these future exhibitions.
It is seen that most of the children choose their own
movies with no more guidance than is offered by the
foregoing methods. As was pointed out at the begin-
ning of the chapter, only 1.6 per cent, or 155 of the
10,052 children studied, have their movies selected for
them by their parents. Of these 155 children, 61 are
Girl Scouts and 42 are Boy Scouts. The others are
scattered among the public-school children with the ex-
ception of 6 delinquent children. These 155 children
whose parents supervise their movie contacts also show
a low rate of attendance at the theaters. Sixty-nine of
them go to the movies not more than two or three times
a month, while 61 of them go once a week. The re-
maining 25 attend twice a week.
From the data gathered by this research it appears
that many parents sublet the selecting of their children's
movies to the various methods of motion-picture ad-
vertising that exist for commercial ends solely.
Much effort and time are spent on recommending
the proper books for children. Public libraries and book-
stores regularly issue lists of books especially suited to
juvenile tastes. "Book Week for Children" is observed
once a year. During this time children's reading is en-
couraged and parents are newly stimulated to give at-
tention to the important matter of selecting the right
literature for their children. School-teachers do not con-
fine their encouragement of juvenile reading to one
CHILDREN AND MOVIES
week, but thro-ug'liout thei school year thi-y aire c,(ostarit-
ly urging their pupil to bu-omce .aclU i inted wi ii ith ;Lern-
ture suitable for their va riois ages anil iindrrst:nings.
But every wcetk is movie we\\-k for the children ais ':lr
as attendance is concerrin d aid altoliiigh movies touc'hI
the life of the acra;-':i child mionre frclequeintly tl iia do
books, there is no concerted t ffTrt in:ldc- by schools or
libraries to recoiin.end the ipriper films for children.
Perhaps this is due to the L';act th at tHiere are so f-rw ro-
tion pictures that rnigt l I.me reconi meitdt1 fo:r ju\'enilh.s.
If parents were generally inclined to select thi- inmlovies
their children see, they would find it difficult, for movies
are not being made especially for children, as are books,
and those adult films which might be suitable for chil-
dren are not generally classified and advertised as such.
Titles give little or no assistance in the task of selecting
a motion picture. They are often misleading. That
movie which because of its name might lead a parent
to think that it was an entertaining and enlightening
picture about animals and just the thing for the children
to see not infrequently turns out to be a sophisticated
drama dealing with one or more of life's complexities.
Nor can all parents witness a film before allowing their
children to see it. Daytime life is too hurried, and in the
evening where would the children stay while their par-
ents went out to find a movie for them?
There is no doubt that mothers and fathers need as
much assistance in the matter of finding the proper
movies for their children as the children need to have,
them found. Various film committees representing or-
ganizations interested in child welfare classify current
THE CHILD CHOOSES HIS MOVIE 65
motion pictures according to their suitability to the
different ages of children and issue lists of recommended
films that help those parents into whose hands they fall.
But there is no widespread effort made to guide chil-
dren generally to the appropriate movie as there is in the
case of books, nor will there be until there is a wide-
spread demand for the production of motion pictures
especially for children.
THE NEIGHBORHOOD MOVIE
I sought on earth a garden of delight,
-S.A N T.A\A A
There is a movie just around the corner from almost
Scattered throughout the world are 57,341 motion-
picture theaters, nearly one-half of which are located in
the United States.' The 20,500 theaters in this country
where moving pictures are exhibited have a total seating
capacity of about 18,500,000 and receive approximately
$800,000,000 a year in admissions.2
Practically every neighborhood in any large city can
.boast at least one motion-picture theater and in many
cases more than one.
In Chicago, the setting for the present study, 384,449
people may sit down at one time to view a movie as the
382 motion-picture theaters in this city have this total
seating capacity.3 Since there is an average of four per-
formances a day at these theaters, 1,537,796 people, or
approximately one-half of the entire population of
Chicago, might attend a movie in the cour_- of a day.
What percentage of these theaters are filled to capacity
at each performance is not known. It has been esti-
I The Film Daily Year Book (1929), p. g.
2 Ibid, p. c.
3 Illinois Theatrical Directory (1929).
TIHE NEIGHBORHOOD MOVIE
mated that the very large so-called "first-run" motion-
picture houses in cities fill their seats as many as eight-
een times a week.'
The motion-picture theaters in a city are usually di-
vided into two classes. There are those which are lo-
cated in the business section and those which are in the
residential district, commonly known as the "neighbor-
hood movies." The motion-picture houses that are in
the down-town business section of Chicago are called
the "Loop movies," because of the special name which
is applied to that part of the city.
There are about twenty-four theaters in the Loop
which are devoted exclusively to the exhibition of mo-
tion pictures, and there are at least twelve other the-
aters and halls which sometimes show movies but which
are not entirely given over to them.2 The other 358 mo-
tion-picture houses 'of Chicago are scattered in the nu-
merous neighborhoods of which this city is composed.
The Loop movie theaters are of two classes: the very
large palatial ones with seating capacities ranging from
one thousand to over four thousand and the very small
ones accommodating only a few hundred patrons at a
The large theaters naturally have the first-run pic-
tures of very highest type from the point of view of
production and are, therefore, the most enticing of all
movie-houses. So large is the patronage of these the-
aters that they can afford to exhibit the same film for a
SThe Film Daily Year Book (1927), p. 7.
2 These theaters, which are not exclusively movie theaters, are not
counted in the total number given above.
CHILDREN AND MOVIES
week or more at a time accorling to thel popul.arity of
After their filns have had their run in the Loop, they
are taken to the ,i eigh'l'btrhool theaters n here thiey are
show n itn tl i t ienitiecal form in "lich they were e\hilite'l
in the Jo'nIlo'.ln lhoiuses. Practically all i..f tia, better
',lass of neighiliorhio.i.r i theaters eventually run the im-
portant pictireS that vere oariginall ,ih\v.f-n in the LaoopI
Thiie -inji Lop I i oo o\ ie- lioII Sa on somile ocaaasions run
the ljitures that have een i exhiil.ited at the l.ire the-
aters, but more often Ihey show a rlitYerit type of ilin
entirely. TIhese are iisua lly the il :.aper pictures, espe-
a.iallyv from the point of view of prodtia.tion.
T'he neighliorlhoodI theaters are of three cla-isses: the
very la rge motion-picture liouse. wviiidh corresponds in
seatirg ,a pa.:itv and el.al:boraten:.ss of nppointmeirts to
the movie palaces in the Loop: the smaller theater of
le:ss .archite':tural r:indJur, but which:l exhibits the mine
type of pitur-h that is shliown at the better theaters in
the Loop and in the larIie neighiiorlioo,.l ito ie-house i ;
an tl ery s l he althlieater, which h i? similar to the small
Loop m,-vie in the natter of te;ating capacity andi the
type of films that are e-hiiliteI.
The last two :l:aiss5e of theaterr.-thle medium-sizeii .l
aini tihe rna ;ll nieighblorhtood. theaters-are of .pe'ial sig-
niii:'ean-e, fo.,r this study. These are the movie-houses
that are the most lreq>eiietly patraonii, ed by children.
It is iiatural tliat ahillren -11O il,1i. aS ai r aul-:. attend
neigtiborlood mo.io ii-pi tur te t ,h-at.rn rather than those
that are loRA.Wt in the dlownton business -ertion. Pa-
THE NEIGH ORHOOD MOVIE
r i-nt;l cin-tiz- t is [u cll Ioi rI a,--Jliy itl.iine-d.i it' Hi, child
is to attend some nearby place. Many mothers and
fathers will permit their children to go to a neighborhood
theater unaccompanied by older members of the family
when they would not allow them to go unescorted to the
Loop motion-picture houses. The neighborhood theater
is more accessible. It is within walking distance of al-
most every home. The matter of carfare is therefore not
an important item in considering the economic aspect of
attending movies. Also the price of admission at the
neighborhood movie is usually lower than is that of the
The extent, however, to which children attend neigh-
borhood movies in preference to the movies that are ex-
hibited in the downtown business section of the city is
determined by the degree in which their lives are well
ordered. The present research found that children com-
ing from good environments and those that are under
the influence of some definite organized leadership are
less prone to wander a great distance from their homes
in search of movies than are children of unordered or dis-
ordered lives. Children who are left unhindered to roam
the city streets usually find added zest in roaming far
for their movie entertainment.
The data show that the scout groups remain in their
own neighborhoods for their movies.' Only 3.3 per cent
of the Boy Scouts attend the motion-picture theaters
that are located in the Loop district, while 25.3 per cent
of the delinquent boys reported that before being com-
mitted to schools of correction they patronized the mov-
Appendix II, Table XIV, p. 162.
CHILDREN AND MOVIES
ies in the downtown business section. Therm- i *:\l-n a
greater difference between the Girl Scouts and ti,: de-
linquent girls in the matter of attending neighborhood
movies or Loop movies. Only 4.3 per cent of the Girl
Scouts go to movie theaters that are located in the main
business section of the city, while 32.7 per cent of the
SLoop theater Neighborhood No
attendance theater attendance report
Boy Scouts Delinquent boys
COMPARISON OF ATTENDANCE AT LOOP MOVIE THEATERS AND
NEIGHBORHOOD MOVIE THEATERS FOR BOY SCOUTS AND
delinquent girls reported that they attended the down-
town movies exclusively before their commitment.
The public-school group of non-scouts like the scout
group patronizes the neighborhood motion-picture the-
aters almost exclusively.' Even for the older school
children there is a negligible attendance at the Loop
houses. Only 4.4 per cent of the high-school boys and 5
THE NEIGHBORHOOD MOVIE
per cent of the grade-school boys go to the downtown
district for their movies, and only 4.6 per cent of the
high-school girls and 2.4 per cent of the grade-school
girls reported attendance at the Loop theaters.
It is apparent from the foregoing data that juvenile
attendance at movies is concentrated at the neighbor-
Loop theater Neighborhood
attendance theater attendance No report
Girl Scouts Delinquent girls
COMPARISON OF ATTENDANCE AT Loo MOVIE THEATERS AND
NEIGHBORHOOD MOVIE THEATERS FOR GIRL SCOUTS AND
hood theaters. Although the delinquents show a higher
rate of attendance at the Loop motion-picture houses
than do either the scout group or the public-school
group, there is still a much higher attendance of delin-
quents at neighborhood movies than there is at the
downtown theaters. Of the entire group of 10,052 chil-
dren utilized for this study, there were 69.2 per cent of
CHILDREN A\ND A MO\'IES
them who reported that the y attend tie neighborhood
motion-pic ire theaters almost exclusively.'
The little nimorie around the, corner Ihs becomrte one
of lithe mn'.t iimportaiit institiitiois in tlihe ieighbiurhoud.
It is a refu,-.e for that proverbial tired bI.iiness iinan
who is i:,it so fulirriled with c.res of the office as lie is
uttoe'iated ithl propiu'quitry o the family. It ik a verili-
Ible escape for the housewife w ho. passively i l'iiierge'.I in
dlrat. realities., find- it briel ei..f in living in filmn dreams
that iii-.ht have c'.'rne true.
S,.nicetiines the neighlibor!ho.dl nmo\ie serves ais a day-
niurery \where uiirrieA' mothiers drp their snrmall ones
while they riii to. I lie .ressnaker r or to he Jdentist. feel-
ing at ease in lie thought t tlhat e yu.ng.sters. held by a
fascination stronger thliin locked doors, will r-niiaiii in,-
ta:t until thllir retrlln. It l:ec'ollics a necessary ainex It
tlie tlaily li\ling-rooiil su.id!ienly gro"n craillped wlien
thle 'l-tinil aze breaks out. Old men find in it on ,iinler-
sl:iindin.l "'l iiii ney corner."
But I joi t inmlort:.,int of'.ll. the iieibI'l orhlio.d movie is
a iev.' iidoiur p!aymr,..nild to hli]i chld llren of all classes
a.l all a.-.:s warm. e-ltre beside each other they sit
tiid play iD tlioi..lit. They t-,oine as a rule during the
ee.iiini' hlors and tlhey c.ime aidrc,.onptaiiied tby their
The neighborhood niovie has become a sort of siper-
nursemaid and play director combiniid for the juvenile
citizenry of the community. For grown-ups it is asconi-
monplace and necessary as the family bakery shop.
THE CHILD'S CONTACT WITH THE MOVIE IN
RELATION TO OTHER INTERESTS
For truly it is to be noted that children's
plays are not sports and should be deemed their
most serious occupations.-MONTAIGNE.