RARA-AVIS: Re: Hays, the fifties

Mario Taboada (matrxtech@sprintmail.com)
Wed, 29 Jul 1998 02:55:33 +0000 I find it very revealing that in David Halberstam's voluminous
socio-historical tract _The Fifties_ there is neither mention of the
brilliant generation of original paperback writers, including such
best-selling ones as Spillane, Goodis, Prather, and MacDonald, nor of
the strict censorship system exemplified in the film industry by the
Hays code and on television by unspoken and unnamed but even stronger
restrictions on what could be said and shown. His coverage of the beats
is also close to nonexistent. Evidently, Mr. Halberstam _loved_ the
fifties (of rosy Doris Day Hollywood).

If you ever see Halberstam's book at a yard sale for a quarter, save
yourself a quarter unless you need kindling.

Back to the hardboiled theme, I find it interesting that there was so
much less thematic censorship by the paperback publishing houses than
there was in the visual media and radio. Given the enormous circulation
of Gold Medals and other paperback imprints, one can hardly say that
only a tiny minority read them. Yet they largely escaped the censorship


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