February 8, 1922 TOPEKA CAPITAL

Adolph Zukor says that the Hollywood movie colony is no worse, morally, than the stock exchange colony on Wall Street. We have always suspected as much.

February 9, 1922 INDIANAPOLIS NEWS
The persistent claim of Los Angeles that it is different from the rest of the world is now conceded.

February 12, 1922 NEW ORLEANS STATES
It seems that California would be perfectly happy if she could find a way to get rid of the Hollywood colony of movie stars without losing, at the same time, the money they spend.

February 13, 1922 BOSTON HERALD
And fast earning the name of Follywood.

February 14, 1922 BOSTON TRANSCRIPT
If Hollywood wants a new name, what about Whollybad?
(all above from Taylorology, v. 4)

The Taylor murder handily occured right after the Fatty Arbuckle scandal - Arbuckle, a famous film comedian, was accused of murdering a starlet in extremely sordid circumstances. (The instrument of the alleged crime was a Coke bottle.) Public uneasiness over Hollywood immorality soared to Biblical proportions. The Memphis Commercial Appeal wrote:

Time was, as is recorded in Holy Writ, when two cities of the Palestinian plains not so far from the Dead Sea so offended the Creator by their vices and concupiscences that He rained down fire and brimstone and destroyed them in their sins. Some modern cities, and among them this movie community of mimic life, dare also to tempt the wrath of the Supreme Being.
They may have no such calamitous visitation as is recorded in Genesis, but they are at least bringing about the contempt of decent-minded people and by so doing are destroying the golden opportunity that is theirs. Besides, the guilty members of this colony, each and every one of them, are feasting themselves solely upon Dead Sea fruit.

(Taylorology, v. 87)

Even the more secular of journalists were disgusted and found the Taylor case to be the last straw. From the New York Daily News:

The murder is the climax of a series of revolting divorce cases, dope parties and other nasty affairs. From Hollywood, center of the motion picture business, come many stories of orgies. Too many stars of the screen have been paraded before the public in a mantle of vice.
(Taylorology, v. 87)

Many editorials treated reform, from the inside at least, as an inevitable result of the murder case. Some prophesized a public revolt against the movies and noted that moviegoers were already beginning to reject "innocent" heroes and heroines - in the newspapers'opinion, because they were unable to accept virtue in actors and actresses that they knew to be gigolos, dope fiends, and harlots off screen. A strain of 'lost innocence"pervades these editorials. Some castigate moviewatchers for putting too much faith in their idols, and urge a return to the ideal of the familiar, such as this editorial from the Idaho Statesman:

We have idolized them too much, heaped favors too high upon them, given them too high a status in our modern life. It may be about time to readjust ourselves and give them, in our minds, their proper and lower place. The girl with the wind-blown hair and glowing cheeks one meets at the corner grocery, buying a yeast cake for her mother, may be better in soul and of more real use to the world than any of these actresses. The genial lad who wraps up our collars at the store may be as interesting, as likeable, as morally sound and as successful in the end as any director who, megaphone to mouth, has bellowed, "Action! Camera!"
(Taylorology, v. 87)

The outrage over Hollywood impropriety spilled over into the legislative arena. Cries for censorship in Massachussetts ended with a bill calling for severe censorship of film. 22 other states had bills in the same vein pending.

Public opinion did not go unheard by the government. In order to stop censorship 1922 was the year of the voluntary "annexation" of Hollywood. Will Hays was hired by the major movie companies in order to provide a measure of propriety to their business. A former chairman of the Republican National Committee, (The Will Hays Papers) Hays was an important member of the Harding Administration and was very well-connected politcally (the reason that the studios hired him). He became president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, otherwise known as the "Hays Office." Hays and his MPPDA were able to defeat the state censorship bills - but Hollywood paid a price. Will Hays now had veto power over any movie that did not meet his standards.

Artistic freedom or not, the public - or the organs that said they stood for the public - were relieved that Hays was cleaning up the Hollywood establishment. Photoplay offered this hymn to Hays:

You have just accepted a position which makes you the representative head of the motion picture art and industry. You are the ideal man to occupy that position. Your traits of character and your proven ability, sanity, directness and fearlessness qualify you for this great responsibility.
(Taylorology, v. 86)

The magazine itself promised to do its turn:

PHOTOPLAY, for its part, will refuse to print any personality story about any motion-picture star, who is notoriously immoral, or whose actions are such as to reflect unfavorably on the industry.
(Taylorology, v. 86)

A Boston Herald article stated the revenge that ordinary Americans would have on the misbehaving Left Coast Dwellers:

The American marines, who are now in complete possession of Movieland, report no further casualties. A drastic curfew law has been put in force and all the inhabitants of Movieland are required to be in their houses by 7 o'clock in the evening... Whether or not these will be permitted to be shot in the future rests on Will Hays, the new governor-general of Movieland, who has not yet arrived. Movieland is fast becoming Americanized, and its annexation can be looked for in the near future.
(Taylorology, v. 7)

If "Americanization" meant going to bed at seven, pure women, and manly Nordic men, then perhaps Hays never truly was able to - or wanted to - impose "American" culture on Hollywood.