Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

Rapeutationists and DIRA zombies are preconditioned for violent behavior by cinema and video game violence.

Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

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Mr. BEASER. William Gaines.

The CHAIRMAN. Will you come forward, Mr. Gaines?

Will you be sworn?

Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you will give to this subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate, will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Mr. GAINES. I do.


The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed in your own manner.

Mr. GAINES. Gentlemen, I would like to make a short statement. I am here as an individual publisher.

Mr. HANNOCH. Will you give your name and address, for the record?

Mr. GAINES. My name is William Gaines. My business address is 225 Lafayette Street, New York City. I am a publisher of the Entertaining Comics Group.

I am a graduate of the school of education of New York University. I have the qualifications to teach in secondary schools, high schools.

What then am I doing before this committee? I am a comic-book publisher. My group is known as EC, Entertaining Comics.

I am here as a voluntary witness. I asked for and was given this chance to be heard.

Two decades ago my late father was instrumental in starting the comic magazine industry. He edited the first few issues of the first modern comic magazine, Famous Funnies. My father was proud of the industry he helped found. He was bringing enjoyment to millions of people.

The heritage he left is the vast comic-book industry which employs thousands of writers, artists, engravers, and printers.

It has weaned hundreds of thousands of children from pictures to the printed word. It has stirred their imagination, given them an outlet for their problems and frustrations, but most important, given them millions of hours of entertainment.

My father before me was proud of the comics he published. My father saw in the comic book a vast field of visual education. He was a pioneer.

Sometimes he was ahead of his time. He published Picture Stories from Science, Picture Stories from World History, and Picture Stories from American History.

He published Picture Stories from the Bible.

I would like to offer these in evidence.

The CHAIRMAN. They will be received for the subcommittee's permanent files. Let that be exhibit No. 11.

(The documents referred to were marked "Exhibit No. 11,", and are on file with the subcommittee)

Mr. GAINES. Since 1942 we have sold more than 5 million copies of Picture Stories from the Bible, in the United States. It is widely used by churches and schools to make religion more real and vivid.

Picture Stories from the Bible is published throughout the world in dozens of translations. But it is nothing more nor nothing less than a comic magazine.

I publish comic magazines in addition to picture stories from the Bible. For example, I publish horror comics. I was the first publisher in these United States to publish horror comics. I am responsible, I started them.

Some may not like them. That is a matter of personal taste. It would be just as difficult to explain the harmless thrill of a horror story to a Dr. Wertham as it would be to explain the sublimity of love to a frigid old maid.

My father was proud of the comics he published, and I am proud of the comics I publish. We use the best writers, the finest artists; we spare nothing to make each magazine, each story, each page, a work of art.

As evidence of this, I might point out that we have the highest sales in individual distribution. I don't mean highest sales in comparison to comics of another type. I mean highest sales in comparison to other horror comics. The magazine is one of the few remaining ─ the comic magazine is one of the few remaining pleasures that a person may buy for a dime today. Pleasure is what we sell, entertainment, reading enjoyment. Entertaining reading has never harmed anyone. Men of good will, free men should be very grateful for one sentence in the statement made by Federal Judge John M. Woolsey when he lifted the ban on Ulysses. Judge Woolsey said:

It is only with the normal person that the law is concerned.

May I repeat, he said, "It is only with the normal person that the law is concerned." Our American children are for the most part normal children. They are bright children, but those who want to prohibit comic magazines seem to see dirty, sneaky, perverted monsters who use the comics as a blueprint for action.

Perverted little monsters are few and far between. They don't read comics. The chances are most of them are in schools for retarded children.

What are we afraid of? Are we afraid of our own children? Do we forget that they are citizens, too, and entitled to select what to read or do? We think our children are so evil, simple minded, that it takes a story of murder to set them to murder, a story of robbery to set them to robbery?

Jimmy Walker once remarked that he never knew a girl to be ruined by a book. Nobody has ever been ruined by a comic.

As has already been pointed out by previous testimony, a little healthy, normal child has never been made worse for reading comic magazines.

The basic personality of a child is established before he reaches the age of comic-book reading. I don't believe anything that has ever been written can make a child overaggressive or delinquent.

The roots of such characteristics are much deeper. The truth is that delinquency is the product of real environment, in which the child lives and not of the fiction he reads.

There are many problems that reach our children today. They are tied up with insecurity. No pill can cure them. No law will legislate them out of being. The problems are economic and social and they are complex.

Our people need understanding; they need to have affection, decent homes, decent food.

Do the comics encourage delinquency? Dr. David Abrahamsen has written:

Comic books do not lead into crime, although they have been widely blamed for it. I find comic books many times helpful for children in that through them they can get rid of many of their aggressions and harmful fantasies. I can never remember having seen one boy or girl who has committed a crime or who became neurotic or psychotic because he or she read comic books.

The CHAIRMAN. Senator Kefauver.

Senator KEFAUVER. Is that Dr. David Abrahamsen?

Mr. GAINES. That is right, sir. I can give you the source on that, if you like. I will give it to you later.

The CHAIRMAN. You can supply that later.

(The source is as follows:)

Abrahamsen, Dr. David, Who Are the Guilty, New York: Rinehart & Co., Inc., page 279.

Mr. GAINES. I would like to discuss, if you bear with me a moment more, something which Dr. Wertham provoked me into. Dr. Wertham, I am happy to say, I have just caught in a half-truth, and I am very indignant about it. He said there is a magazine now on the stands preaching racial intolerance. The magazine he is referring to is my magazine. What he said, as much as he said, was true. There do appear in this magazine such materials as "Spik," "Dirty Mexican," but Dr. Wertham did not tell you what the plot of the story was.

This is one of a series of stories designed to show the evils of race prejudice and mob violence, in this case against Mexican Catholics.

Previous stories in this same magazine have dealt with antisemitism, and anti-Negro feelings, evils of dope addiction and development of juvenile delinquents.

This is one of the most brilliantly written stories that I have ever had the pleasure to publish. I was very proud of it, and to find it being used in such a nefarious way made me quite angry.

I am sure Dr. Wertham can read, and he must have read the story, to have counted what he said he counted.

I would like to read one more thing to you.

Senator Hennings asked Dr. Peck a question. I will be perfectly frank with you, I have forgotten what he asked him, but this is the answer because I made a notation as he went along.

No one has to read a comic book to read horror stories.

Anyone, any child, any adult, can find, much more extreme descriptions of violence in the daily newspaper. You can find plenty of examples in today's newspaper. In today's edition of the Daily News, which more people will have access to than they will to any comic magazine, there are headline stories like this:

Finds he has killed wife with gun.

Man in Texas woke up to find he had killed his wife with gun. She had bullet in head and he had a revolver in his hand.

The next one:

Cop pleads in cocktail poisoning.

Twenty-year-old youth helps poison the mother and father of a friend.

Court orders young hanging. Man who killed his wife will be hung in June for his almost-perfect murder.

Let us look at today's edition of the Herald Tribune.

On the front page a criminal describes how another criminal told him about a murder he had done. In the same paper the story of a man whose ex-wife beat him on the head with a claw hammer and slashed him with a butcher knife.

In the same paper, story of a lawyer who killed himself.

In another, a story of that man who shot his wife while having a nightmare.

Another, a story of a gang who collected an arsenal of guns and knives. These are very many stories of violence and crime in the Herald Tribune today.

I am not saying it is wrong, but when you attack comics, when you talk about banning them as they do in some cities, you are only a step away from banning crimes in the newspapers.

Here is something interesting which I think most of us don't know. Crime news is being made in some places. The United Nations UNESCO report, which I believe is the only place that it is printed, shows that crime news is not permitted to appear in newspapers in Russia or Communist China, or other Communist-held territories.

We print our crime news. We don't think that the crime news or any news should be banned because it is bad for children.

Once you start to censor you must censor everything. You must censor comic books, radio, television, and newspapers.

Then you must censor what people may say. Then you will have turned this country into Spain or Russia.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Gaines, let me ask you one thing with reference to Dr. Wertham's testimony.

You used the pages of your comic book to send across a message, in this case it was against racial prejudice; is that it?

Mr. GAINES. That is right.

Mr. BEASER. You think, therefore, you can get across a message to the kids through the medium of your magazine that would lessen racial prejudice; is that it?

Mr. GAINES. By specific effort and spelling it out very carefully so that the point won't be missed by any of the readers, and I regret to admit that it still is missed by some readers, as well as Dr. Wertham ─ we have, I think, achieved some degree of success in combating anti-Semitism, anti-Negro feeling, and so forth.

Mr. BEASER. Yet why do you say you cannot at the same time and in the same manner use the pages of your magazine to get a message which would affect children adversely, that is, to have an effect upon their doing these deeds of violence or sadism, whatever is depicted?

Mr. GAINES. Because no message is being given to them. In other words, when we write a story with a message, it is deliberately written in such a way that the message, as I say, is spelled out carefully in the captions. The preaching, if you want to call it, is spelled out carefully in the captions, plus the fact that our readers by this time know that in each issue of shock suspense stories, the second of the stories will be this type of story.

Mr. BEASER. A message can be gotten across without spelling out in that detail. For example, take this case that was presented this morning of the child who is in a foster home who became a werewolf, and foster parents─

Mr. GAINES. That was one of our stories.

Mr. BEASER. A child who killed her mother. Do you think that would have any effect at all on a child who is in a foster placement, who is with foster parents, who has fears? Do you not think that child in reading the story would have some of the normal fears which a child has, some of the normal desires tightened, increased?

Mr. GAINES. I honestly can say I don't think so. No message has been spelled out there. We were not trying to prove anything with that story. None of the captions said anything like "If you are unhappy with your step mother, shoot her."

Mr. BEASER. No, but here you have a child who is in a foster home who has been treated very well, who has fears and doubts about the foster parent. The child would normally identify herself in this case with a child in a similar situation and there a child in a similar situation turns out to have foster parents who became werewolves.

Do you not think that would increase the child's anxiety?

Mr. GAINES. Most foster children, I am sure, are not in homes such as were described in those stories. Those were pretty miserable homes.

Mr. HANNOCH. You mean the houses that had vampires in them, those were not nice homes?

Mr. GAINES. Yes.

Mr. HANNOCH. Do you know any place where there is any such thing?

Mr. GAINES. As vampires?


Mr. GAINES. No, sir; this is fantasy. The point I am trying to make is that I am sure no foster children are kept locked up in their room for months on end except in those rare cases that you hear about where there is something wrong with the parents such as the foster child in one of these stories was, and on the other hand, I am sure that no foster child finds himself with a drunken father and a mother who is having an affair with someone else.

Mr. BEASER. Yet you do hear of the fact that an awful lot of delinquency comes from homes that are broken. You hear of drunkenness in those same homes.

Do you not think those children who read those comics identify themselves with the poor home situation, with maybe the drunken father or mother who is going out, and identify themselves and see themselves portrayed there?

Mr. GAINES. It has been my experience in writing these stories for the last 6 or 7 years that whenever we have tested them out on kids, or teen-agers, or adults, no one ever associates himself with someone who is going to be put upon. They always associate themselves with the one who is doing the putting upon.

The CHAIRMAN. You do test them out on children, do you?

Mr. GAINES. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. How do you do that?

Senator HENNINGS. Is that one of your series, the pictures of the two in the electric chair, the little girl down in the corner?


Mr. GAINES. Yes.

Senator HENNINGS. As we understood from what we heard of that story, the little girl is not being put upon there, is she? She is triumphant apparently, that is insofar as we heard the relation of the story this morning.

Mr. GAINES. If I may explain, the readers does not know that until the last panel, which is one of the things we try to do in our stories, is have an O. Henry ending for each story.

Senator HENNINGS. I understood you to use the phrase "put upon," and that there was no reader identification ─ with one who was put upon, but the converse.

Mr. GAINES. That is right, sir.

Senator HENNINGS. Now, in that one, what would be your judgment or conclusion as to the identification of the reader with that little girl who has, to use the phrase, framed her mother and shot her father?

Mr. GAINES. In that story, if you read it from the beginning, because you can't pull things out of context─

Senator HENNINGS. That is right, you cannot do that.

Mr. GAINES. You will see that a child leads a miserable life in the 6 or 7 pages. It is only on the last page she emerges triumphant.

Senator HENNINGS. As a result of murder and perjury, she emerges as triumphant?

Mr. GAINES. That is right.

Mr. HANNOCH. Is that the O. Henry finish?

Mr. GAINES. Yes.

Mr. HANNOCH. In other words, everybody reading that would think this girl would go to jail. So the O. Henry finish changes that, makes her a wonderful looking girl?

Mr. GAINES. No one knows she did it until the last panel.

Mr. HANNOCH. You think it does them a lot of good to read these things?

Mr. GAINES. I don't think it does them a bit of good, but I don't think it does them a bit of harm, either.

The CHAIRMAN. What would be your procedure to test the story out on a child or children?

Mr. GAINES. I give them the story to read and I ask them if they enjoyed it, and if they guessed the ending. If they said they enjoyed it and didn't guess the ending, I figure it is a good story, entertaining.

The CHAIRMAN. What children do you use to make these tests with?

Mr. GAINES. Friends, relatives.

Senator HENNINGS. Do you have any children of your own, Mr. Gaines?

Mr. GAINES. No, sir.

Senator HENNINGS. Do you use any of the children of your own family, any nieces, nephews?

Mr. GAINES. My family has no children, but if they had, I would use them.

The CHAIRMAN. You do test them out on children of your friends, do you?

Mr. GAINES. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Gaines, in your using tests, I don't think you are using it in the same way that we are here. You are not trying to test the effect on the child, you are trying to test the readability and whether it would sell?

Mr. GAINES. Certainly.

Mr. BEASER. That is a different kind of test than the possible effect on the child. Then you have not conducted any tests as to the effects of these upon children?

Mr. GAINES. No, sir.

Mr. BEASER. Were you here this morning when Dr. Peck testified?

Mr. GAINES. I was.

Mr. BEASER. Did you listen to his testimony as to the possible effect of these comics upon an emotionally maladjusted child?

Mr. GAINES. I heard it.

Mr. BEASER. You disagree with it?

Mr. GAINES. I disagree with it.

Frankly, I could have brought many, many quotes from psychiatrists and child-welfare experts and so forth pleading the cause of the comic magazine. I did not do so because I figured this would all be covered thoroughly before I got here. And it would just end up in a big melee of pitting experts against experts.

Mr. BEASER. Let me get the limits as far as what you put into your magazine. Is the sole test of what you would put into your magazine whether it sells? Is there any limit you can think of that you would not put in a magazine because you thought a child should not see or read about it?

Mr. GAINES. No, I wouldn't say that there is any limit for the reason you outlined. My only limits are bounds of good taste, what I consider good taste.

Mr. BEASER. Then you think a child cannot in any way, in any way, shape, or manner, be hurt by anything that a child reads or sees?

Mr. GAINES. I don't believe so.

Mr. BEASER. There would be no limit actually to what you put in the magazines?

Mr. GAINES. Only within the bounds of good taste.

Mr. BEASER. Your own good taste and salability?

Mr. GAINES. Yes.

Senator KEFAUVER. Here is your May 22 issue. This seems to be a man with a bloody ax holding a woman's head up which has been severed from her body. Do you think that is in good taste?


Mr. GAINES. Yes, sir; I do, for the cover of a horror comic. A cover in bad taste, for example, might be defined as holding the head a little higher so that the neck could be seen dripping blood from it and moving the body over a little further so that the neck of the body could be seen to be bloody.

Senator KEFAUVER. You have blood coming out of her mouth.

Mr. GAINES. A little.

Senator KEFAUVER. Here is blood on the ax. I think most adults are shocked by that.

The CHAIRMAN. Here is another one I want to show him.

Senator KEFAUVER. This is the July one. It seems to be a man with a woman in a boat and he is choking her to death here with a crowbar. Is that in good taste?


Mr. GAINES. I think so.

Mr. HANNOCH. How could it be worse?

Senator HENNINGS. Mr. Chairman, if counsel will bear with me, I don't think it is really the function of our committee to argue with this gentleman. I believe that he has given us about the sum and substance of his philosophy, but I would like to ask you one question, Sir.

The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed.

Senator HENNINGS. You have indicated by what ─ I hope you will forgive me if I suggest ─ seems to be a bit of self-righteousness, that your motivation was bringing "enjoyment" ─ is that the word you used?

Mr. GAINES. Yes, sir.

Senator HENNINGS. To the readers of these publications. You do not mean to disassociate the profit motive entirely, do you?

Mr. GAINES. Certainly not.

Senator HENNINGS. Without asking you to delineate as between the two, we might say there is a combination of both, is there not?

Mr. GAINES. No question about it.

Senator HENNINGS. Is there anything else that you would like to say to us with respect to your business and the matters that we are inquiring into here?

Mr. GAINES. I don't believe so.

Senator KEFAUVER. I would like to ask 1 or 2 questions.

The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed, Senator.

Senator KEFAUVER. Mr. Gaines, I had heard that your father really did not have horror and crime comics. When he had the business he printed things that were really funny, and stories of the Bible, but you are the one that started out this crime and horror business.

Mr. GAINES. I did not start crime; I started horror.

Senator KEFAUVER. Who started crime?

Mr. GAINES. I really don't know.

Senator KEFAUVER. Anyway, you are the one who, after you took over your father's business in 1947, you started this sort of thing here. This is the May edition of Horror.


Mr. GAINES. I started what we call our new-trend magazines in 1950.

Senator KEFAUVER. How many of these things do you sell a month, Mr. Gaines?

Mr. GAINES. It varies. We have an advertising guaranty of 1,500,000 a month for our entire group.

Senator KEFAUVER. That is for all the Entertaining Comics, of which Shock is one of them? How do you distribute these, Mr. Gaines?

Mr. GAINES. I have a national distributor. There are roughly 10 individual national distributors which handle roughly half of the magazines. The other half is handled by American News.

The 1 of the 10 that I have is Leader News Co.

Senator KEFAUVER. That is a distributor. Then do they sell to wholesalers?

Mr. GAINES. They in turn sell to seven-hundred-odd wholesalers around the country.

Senator KEFAUVER. The wholesalers then pass it out to the retailers, the drug stores, and newsstands; is that right?

Mr. GAINES. That is right.

Senator KEFAUVER. They are all sold on a consignment basis?

Mr. GAINES. They are all returnable.

Senator KEFAUVER. So your magazines along with what other wholesaler may be handling, are taken in a package to the retailer and left there and he is supposed to put them on his stand and sell them?

Mr. GAINES. Yes.

Senator KEFAUVER. And if he does not sell them, or does not display them, then he is liable to get another retailer?

Mr. GAINES. No, we cover every retailer as far as I know.

Senator KEFAUVER. You don't like things to be put back and resold. You would like them to be sold.

Mr. GAINES. I would prefer it. Comics are so crowded today, I think there are some 500 titles, that it is impossible for any retailer to give all 500 different places.

Senator KEFAUVER. I notice in this edition of May 14 the one in which you have the greasy Mexican the first page has apparently two shootings going on at the same time here, then on the next page is an advertisement for young people to send a dollar in and get the Panic for the next 8 issues. Is that not right?

Mr. GAINES. That is right.

Senator KEFAUVER. This says the editors of Panic, 225 Lafayette Street. That is you?

Mr. GAINES. That is right.

Senator KEFAUVER. Then the attraction here is "I dreamed I went to a fraternity smoker in my Panic magazine," you have dice on the floor and cigarettes, somebody getting beer out, somebody laying on his back taking a drink, Do you think that is all right?

Mr. GAINES. This is an advertisement for one of my lampoon magazines. This is a lampoon of the Maiden-Form brassiere ad, I dreamed I went to so-and-so in my Maiden-Form brassiere, which has appeared in the last 6 years in national family magazines showing girls leaping through the air in brassieres and panties.

We simply lampoon by saying "I dreamed I went to a panic smoker in my Panic magazine."

Senator KEFAUVER. I mean, do you like to portray a fraternity smoker like that?

Mr. GAINES. This is a lampoon magazine. We make fun of things.

The CHAIRMAN. You think that is in good taste?

Mr. GAINES. Yes, sir.

Senator KEFAUVER. I have looked through these stories. Every one of them seems to end with murder, practically. I have looked through this one where they have the greasy Mexican and the Puerto Rican business. I can't find any moral of better race relations in it, but I think that ought to be filed so that we can study it and see and take into consideration what Mr. Gaines has said.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Gaines, you have no objection to having this made a part of our permanent files, have you?

Mr. GAINES. No, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Then, without objection, it will be so ordered. Let it be exhibit No. 12.

(The magazine referred to was marked "Exhibit No. 12," and is on file with the subcommittee.)

Senator KEFAUVER. Is Mr. Gaines a member of the association that we talked about here this morning?

Mr. GAINES. No longer. I was a member for about 2 or 3 years and I resigned about 2 or 3 years ago.

Senator KEFAUVER. How did you happen to resign, Mr. Gaines?

Mr. GAINES. Principally for financial reasons.

Senator KEFAUVER. It only has $15,000 a year for the whole operation?

Mr. GAINES. At that time my share would have been $2,000. At that time, also, about 10 percent of the publishers were represented. I was a charter member of the association. I stuck with it for 2 or 3 years.

The theory was that we were going to get all the publishers into it and then the burden of financial─

Senator KEFAUVER. Did you have any argument about censorship, about this gentleman, Mr. Schultz, who was here, not liking the kind of things you were publishing?

Mr. GAINES. No, sir. Mr. Schultz and I frequently had disagreements which we would iron out and I would make the changes he required until I decided to resign.

The CHAIRMAN. Did you have any part, Mr. Gaines, in preparing that code?

Mr. GAINES. No, the code was prepared by, I believe, the first board of directors of the association. I was on the board of directors later on, but not at first.

The CHAIRMAN. Did you subscribe to the code?

Mr. GAINES. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Did you think that publishing a magazine like this for example would still be within the code?

Mr. GAINES. No, sir.

Senator KEFAUVER. You admit none of this would come within that code?

Mr. GAINES. Certain portions of the code I have retained. Certain portions of the code I have not retained. I don't agree with the code in all points.

Senator KEFAUVER. The code that you have here, none of your stories would come in that code. You could not print any of these if you compiled with the full code we read here this morning.

Mr. GAINES. I would have to study the story and study the code to answer that.

Senator KEFAUVER. How much is your monthly income from all your corporations with this thing, Mr. Gaines?

Mr. GAINES. You mean by that, my salary?

Senator KEFAUVER. No. How much do you take in a month from your publications?

Mr. GAINES. I wouldn't know monthly. We figure it annually.

Senator KEFAUVER. Let us say gross.

Mr. GAINES. Gross, I don't know.

Senator KEFAUVER. What is your best estimate annually?

Mr. GAINES. I would say about $80,000 a month gross.

Senator KEFAUVER How many books did you say you printed a month?

Mr. GAINES. A million and a half guaranteed sale. We print about two, two and a half million.

Senator KEFAUVER. How much net do you make a month out of it, that is, the corporations?

Mr. GAINES. Last year it came to about $4,000 a month.

Senator KEFAUVER. Do you have several corporations, Mr. Gaines?

Mr. GAINES. Yes, sir.

Senator KEFAUVER. How many corporations do you have?

Mr. GAINES. I have five.

Senator KEFAUVER. Why do you have five corporations?

Mr. GAINES. Well, I don't really know. I inherited stock in five corporations which were formed by my father before his death. In those days he started a corporation, I believe, for every magazine. I have not adhered to that.

I have just kept the original five and published about two magazines in each corporation.

Senator KEFAUVER. Do you not think the trouble might have been if one magazine got in trouble that corporation would not adversely affect the others?

Mr. GAINES. Oh, hardly.

Senator KEFAUVER. You did get one magazine banned by the attorney general of Massachusetts, did you not?

Mr. GAINES. The attorney general of Massachusetts reneged and claims he has not banned it. I still don't know what the story was.

Senator KEFAUVER. Anyway, he said he was going to prosecute you if you sent that magazine over there any more.

Mr. GAINES. He thereafter, I understand, said ─ he never said he would prosecute.

Senator KEFAUVER. That is the word you got though, that he was going to prosecute you?

Mr. GAINES. Yes.

Senator KEFAUVER. When was that?

Mr. GAINES. Just before Christmas.

Senator KEFAUVER. Which magazine was that?

Mr. GAINES. That was for Panic No. 1.

Senator KEEAUVER. Just one other question. There is some association that goes over these things. Do you make any contribution to the memberships of any associations?


Senator KEFAUVER. Any committee that supervises the industry?

Mr. GAINES. No. There is no such committee or organization aside from the Association of Comic Magazine Publishers.

Senator KEFAUVER. You said you had a guaranteed sale of a million and a half per month.

Mr. GAINES. We guarantee the advertisers that much.

Senator KEFAUVER. So that you do have some interest in seeing that the distributor and wholesaler and retailer get your magazines out because you guarantee the advertisers a million and a half sales a month?

Mr. GAINES. I have a very definite interest. Unfortunately, I don't have a thing to do with it.

Senator KEFAUVER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. HANNOCH. Could I ask one or two questions?

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Hannoch.

Mr. HANNOCH. What is this organization that you maintain called the Fan and Addict Club for 25 cents a member?

Mr. GAINES. Simply a comic fan club.

Mr. HANNOCH. You advertise the children should join the club?

Mr. GAINES. Yes.

Mr. HANNOCH. What do they do? Do they pay dues?


Mr. HANNOCH. What do they send 25 cents in for?

Mr. GAINES. They get an arm patch, an antique bronze pin, a 7 by 11 certificate and a pocket card, the cost of which to me is 26 cents without mailing.

Mr. HANNOCH. After you get a list of all these kids and their families and addresses, what do you do with the list?

Mr. GAINES. I get out what we call fan and addict club bulletins. The last bulletin was principally made up of names and addresses of members who had back issues they wanted to trade with other members.

Mr. HANNOCH. Did anybody buy that list from you and use it?

Mr. GAINES. No, sir; I have never sold it.

Mr. HANNOCH. Do you know anything about this sheet called, "Are you a Red dupe?"

Mr. GAINES. Yes, sir I wrote it.

Mr. HANNOCH. How has it been distributed?

Mr. GAINES. It has not been distributed. It is going to be the inside front cover ad on five of my comic magazines which are forth-coming.

Mr. HANNOCH. And it is going to be an advertisement?

Mr. GAINES. Not an advertisement. It is an editorial.

Mr. HANNOCH. Do other magazines have copies of this to be used for the same purpose?

Mr. GAINES. No, Sir.

Mr. HANNOCH. You haven't made this available to the magazines as yet?

Mr. GAINES. No, sir; and I don't intend to.

Mr. HANNOCH. You believe the things that you say in this ad that you wrote?

Mr. GAINES. Yes, sir.

Mr. HANNOCH. That anybody who is anxious to destroy comics are Communists?

Mr. GAINES. I don't believe it says that.

Mr. HANNOCH. The group most anxious to destroy comics are the Communists?

Mr. GAINES. True, but not anybody, just the group most anxious.

The CHAIRMAN. Are there any other questions?


Mr. BEASER. I have some questions.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Beaser.

Mr. BEASER. Just to settle the point which came up before, Mr. Gaines, who is it that gets the idea for this, for one of your stories, you, your editor, the artist, the writer? Where does it come from?

Mr. GAINES. Principally from my editors and myself.

Mr. BEASER. Not from the artists?


Mr. BEASER. He just does what he is told?

Mr. GAINES. He just followed the story and illustrates it.

Mr. BEASER. He is told what to do and how to illustrate it?

Mr. GAINES. No, our artists are superior artists. They don't have to be given detailed descriptions.

Mr. BEASER. He has to be told what it is?

Mr. GAINES. It is lettered in before he draws it.

Mr. BEASER. He knows the story pretty much, so he knows what he can fit in?

Mr. GAINES. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. You said that you had a circulation of 5 million Bible storybooks.

Mr. GAINES. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. How many years is this?

Mr. GAINES. Twelve years, since 1942.

Mr. BEASER. In other words, in little over 3½ months you sell more of your crime and horror than, you sell of the Bible stories?

Mr. GAINES. Quite a bit more.

Mr. BEASER. They seem to go better?

Mr. GAINES. This is a 65-cent book. The crime-and-horror book is a 10-cent book. There is a difference.

Mr. BEASER. No further questions, Mr. Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Gaines.

Mr. GAINES. Thank you, sir.
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

Postby admin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 9:35 pm

The CHAIRMAN. Will counsel call the next witness?

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Walt Kelly.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Kelly, do you have some associates?

Mr. KELLY. I have, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you want them to come up and sit with you?

Mr. KELLY. I think I would enjoy the company.

The CHAIRMAN. Fine. We would enjoy having them up here. I will swear you all at one time.

Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you will give to this subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate, will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Mr. KELLY. I do.

Mr. CANIFF. I do.

Mr. MUSIAL. I do.


Mr. HANNOCH. Will you give your name, sir?

Mr. KELLY. Walt Kelly, 2 Fifth Avenue, artist, drawer of Pogo, New York City.

Mr. BEASER. Have you a title, Mr. Kelly, in the association?

Mr. KELLY. I am the president of the National Cartoonists Society. I forgot about that. I just took office last night.

Mr. CANIFF. Milton Caniff, New York City, N. Y. I draw Steve Canyon for Chicago Sun-Times Syndicate, and King Features, Syndicate.

Mr. MUSIAL. Joseph Musial. I am educational director for the King Features Syndicate. I am director for King Features Syndicate and educational director for the Cartoonist Society.

I live in Manhasset, Long Island, N. Y.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, gentlemen, you may be seated.

Mr. Counsel?

Mr. BEASER. You have a set method that you want to proceed in?

Mr. KELLY. We thought we would do a little commercial work here and show you some of the ways we proceed in our business.

However, before we get into that, I just want to take a moment to acquaint you in some degree at least with my own experience and I think it might be of use or value if the other gentleman would give you somewhat of their background.

The CHAIRMAN. I am sure it would be very helpful.

Mr. KELLY. I have been in the newspaper business and animated cartoons and cartooning generally since about 13 years of age. I regret to say that constitutes about 28 years now.

I got into the comic-book business at one time back in 1940 or 1941 and had some experience with its early days as before the 1947 debacle of so many crime magazines and so on.

In those days there was even then a taste on the part of children for things which are a little more rugged than what I drew. So that I was faced with the problem of putting into book form, into comic form, comic-book form, things which I desired to make popular, such as an American fairy story or American folklore type of stories.

I found after a while that this was not particularly acceptable.

The CHAIRMAN. Would you raise your voice just a little.

Mr. KELLY. I decided I would help clean up the comic-book business at one time, by introducing new features, such as folklore stories and thinks having to do with little boys and little animals in red and blue pants and that sort of thing.

So when my comic book folded, the one I started doing that with, I realized there was more to it than met the eye.

Perhaps this was the wrong medium for my particular efforts. Since then I have been in the strip business, the comic-strip business which is distinguished from the comic books.

We have found in our business that our techniques are very effective for bringing about certain moral lessons and giving information and making education more widespread.

Despite the testimony given before, I would say right offhand that cartoonists are not forced by editors or publishers to draw any certain way. If they don't want to draw the way the publisher or editor wants them to, they can get out of that business.

We have about 300 members of our society, each one of whom is very proud of the traditions and I think small nobility of our craft. We would hesitate, any one of us, to draw anything we would not bring into our home.

Not only hesitate, I don't think any one of us would do it. That is about all I have to say in that regard.

I would like very much to give one statement. May I do that now?

The CHAIRMAN. You may.

Mr. KELLY. This group here endorses a particular statement by the National Cartoonists Society. That statement is this:

The National Cartoonists Society views as unwarranted any additional legislative action that is intended to censor printed material. The society believes in local option. We believe that offensive material of any nature can be weeded from the mass of worthwhile publications by the exercise of existing city, State, and Federal laws.

Further, we believe that the National Cartoonists Society Constitutes a leadership in the cartoon field which has previously established popular trends. We therefore will restrict any action we take to continually improving our own material and thus influencing the coattail riders who follow any successful idea.

We believe good material outsells bad. We believe people, even juveniles, are fundamentally decent. We believe, as parents and as onetime children ourselves that most young people are instinctively attracted to that which is wholesome.

Our belief in this sound commercial theory is only in addition to our belief in free expression and the noble traditions of our profession. Our history abounds in stalwarts of pen and pencil who have fought for freedom for others. For ourselves as artists and free Americans we too cherish freedom and the resultant growth of ideas. We cannot submit to the curb, the fence, or the intimidating word. The United States of America must remain a land where the Government follow the man.

Mr. BEASER. You are not saying that it is not possible to put into comics, crime comics and horror comics, what we have been talking about, things that might have some harmful effect?

Mr. KELLY. I think it is even entirely possible, sir. I think it is the duty of the creator of the material to see that that sort of thing does not get in there.

The creator, apart from the producer or the publisher, is personally responsible for his work.

I somewhat question the good doctor's statement before when he said in response to your question, sir, that perhaps the originators of this material might be under scrutiny, should be, as to their psychiatric situation.

We in the cartoon business sort of cherish the idea that we are all sort of screwball. We resent the implication that any man putting out that kind of stuff is not a screwball. That is another thing we fight for.

Senator HENNINGS. I would like to say to Mr. Kelly that I think your statement is admirable. I am a frustrated cartoonist myself. I wanted to be one when I was a boy and I got off the track. I have noticed the chairman of our committee doing a good deal of sketching during some of the hearings, he is really a very fine artist.

Without asking you to be invidious or to pass upon any thing ad hominem here with respect to any other publication, is it your opinion that there are being circulated and calculated to appeal to children in their formative years, their immature years, and from your understanding of the profession ─ and I call it one because it is; your strip is clean and enlightening as is Mr. Caniff's; the very best in the business do you not deplore, do you gentlemen not deplore some of these things that you see purveyed to the children and in a sense pandering to the taste, or do you think those things will right themselves? Do you think sooner or later that the harm, if such exists, is outweighed by a good many other things?

Mr. KELLY. I think basically that is our position; yes, sir.

Senator HENNINGS. You realize, of course, the great danger of censorship?

Mr. KELLY. I realize, too, sir, the great danger of the magazines in question.

Senator HENNINGS. So it is a rough problem; is it not?

Mr. KELLY. We are put in a rather unpleasant position . We don't like to be put in a position to defend what we will defend to the last breath.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Caniff do you feel the same way?

Mr. CANIFF. Yes, sir; but if I may, I would like to point out here because it has not been done, we first of all represent the newspaper strip as contrasted with the comic book. It is a fact, of course, as you all well know, that the newspaper strip is not only censored by each editor who buys it, precensors it, which is his right, but by the syndicates own editors, who are many, and highly critical, and then this censorship includes the readers themselves, who are in a position to take the editor to task for printing your material and they are quick to respond.

So we are never in doubt as to our status. There will never be any question after the fact. You almost know by the time it hits the street whether or not your material is acceptable to the reader.

So we are in this white-hot fight of public judgment, which is as it should be.

For instance, Walt's strip runs in 400 newspapers. Mine in 350. Blondie in 1,300 out of the 1,500 dailies. That means we have a daily circulation of 55 or 75 million. So that we are in front of the pack all the time and highly vulnerable, as a result.

I bring this in here because I think it is germane on this principle alone, that we also have comic books publishing our material so that we are in this field as well.

It is pointed toward perhaps a little audience in the simple sense that we hope to sell to the daily audience that reads the 10-cent book.

But we are in effect as responsible as well. Insofar as deploring individual books, that is a matter of individual taste. Some books I like which you wouldn't like. I can't say blanketly, for instance, that I dislike all crime comics or I think they are bad. I think they are only good or bad as they affect you, the individual, and by the same token the individual reader of any age group affected relatively rather than as a group and cannot be condemned I believe, as a group.

The CHAIRMAN. That is a very fine statement.

Mr. CANIFF. Thank you very much.

Would you like to add anything, Mr. Musial?

Mr. MUSIAL. I am supposed to be educational director. I can see I have to give my job over to Mr. Caniff. He presented my thoughts better than I could.

I would like to say, I think cartoons are of a sort and instead of making a speech at this particular time I brought in an editorial drawing which I made, which I think germane to the situation. I would like to place this on the board, With your permission.

The CHAIRMAN. Would you please do that.

Mr. KELLY. Mr. Chairman, we would appreciate very much showing you a few of the things that we have been doing, one of which is a series of talks that I personally have been giving before journalism students, newspaper groups, luncheon clubs, and other respectable bodies and people in search of some sort of education, trying to point out what is the basis of the philosophical workings of the comic strip.

I think I can use my own strip as an example, and you can see what thought goes into what we do and how we do it.

[Demonstrating.] In the first place, in every one of our strips we have a central character around whom we base most of our plotting and action.

In my case it happens to be a character who is supposed to look like a possum, in effect; he is a possum by trade, but he doesn't really work at it because actually he happens to be related to most of the people that read comic strips.

Now, he looks a little bit like a monster. This little character actually looks a little bit like a monster.

On the other hand, he is supposed to be a possum and he has this turned-up, dirty nose and a rather innocent expression on his face which is indicative of a little boys because we usually have more readers that are little boys than are Possums.

With this innocent, sweet character are a number of rather disreputable characters. The reason I bring up most of these is that each one represents a certain facet of one man's personality, unfortunately mine.

Here is an alligator who at one time worked as a political expert for Pogo. Pogo ran for the Presidency of the United States, and, of course, didn't make it. Now, he, we thought, would make an excellent political type because he has a sort of thick alligator skin and some say a head to match, and so on. He is the sort of character that stands around street corners and smokes cigars.

Along with that character are several other unfortunate people who got into the swamp. One is a dog who is very proud of being a dog. Of course, those of you who have been dogs in your time understand his position in that.

Senator KEFAUVER. You are not talking about a doghouse now?

Mr. KELLY. No, I am staying away from that. This particular dog is the kind of dog who feels that he knows all the answers and has a great deal of respect for his own judgment and we all know people like that.

One other character who is probably pertinent to the kind of work I try to do is a little character known as the porcupine. Now, this character is a very grumpy sort of character. He looks like most of us do when we get up in the morning. He has generally a sort of sour-faced kind of philosophy it is a long time after lunch and I am drawing these from the side, so they may have a sort of lean to them.

He is very sour about everything but he says, "You never should take life very seriously because it ain't permanent" These are the sources of things that go into comic strips.

When I talk before journalism people I try to tell them these are various facets of one man's personality, mine, yours, that everyone has in him the ability to be all of the cruel, unkind, unpleasant, wonderful and pitiful people that exist in the world.

That is my message to young journalism students, because they are search of the truth. They sometimes fight it and sometimes are able to report on it.

For myself, I have never received any intimidation nor have I been dropped by editor or publisher for anything I wanted to say.

All I have ever been dropped for is because I was lousy.

This character here, for example, is known as the deacon. He is one of those busybodies who assumes that everything he has to say is of such importance that I have to letter his script in a gothic type, which is sometimes readable and sometimes not. I assure you when you can't read it it is not because I am hiding anything; it is because I can't letter very well.

That man is willing to prescribe for everyone and whatever he believes in very firmly, having borrowed it from someone else. He is out to do you good whether it kills you or not. That is not his concern.

Then every cartoonist being somewhat dishonest ─ cartoonists are very much like people ─ we sometimes introduce into our strips things which we hope will be cute and will get the ladies to write in and say "Ah." This is a little puppy dog who shows up every once in a while, and the ladies do write in and think he is very cute.

I won't continue with this because we will run out of paper. Milt won't have any room.

But I would like to just say that in delivering a serious lecture, one which involves trying to make these young people feel that it is possible in our newspapers as they exist today to express themselves, that we still have a great heritage of freedom in our press, one which we want to keep, one which if you are good enough you can make daily use of.

Young people are somewhat intimidated before they become actual journalists so that they are a little frightened. They think that publishers and editors are going to bring great pressure to bear on them; they are not going to be able to say what they would like to say, so a word coming from a silly cartoonist on the outside, a man who has grown at least to the point where he can buy his own cigars, they are refreshed by this sort of experience.

We find as cartoonists that using our simple techniques of making drawings and making statements that the two somehow become entwined, the people are willing to listen because we are making pictures largely, but willing to listen also because we do have, I believe, a great tradition of trying to express the truth in a decent and sometimes, we hope, humorous way.

We believe that this is the way of America. We think it will continue.

I am sure you gentlemen are as much concerned with it as I. I know that is why we are here.

The CHAIRMAN. Speaking as one member of the committee, Mr. Kelly, I can say that you cartoonists do make a great contribution to this country.

Mr. KELLY. Thank you, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. I am sure my colleagues will agree with that statement.

Mr. KELLY. I would like to add one thing to probably clear up what I was doing here. It probably escaped a lot of us. It escaped me.

I was trying to show here the different facets of personality. It is my belief that each one of us contains all these horrible things which we sometimes see in crime books, not in any enlarged form, but way back in there are things. That is why I try to bring out and Milt tries to bring out and 300 other cartoonists in our society try to bring out other things which are much better than that. We believe as people read comic strips they will get to realize that all other people are very much like ourselves and that they will be rather patient and understanding in trying to judge their fellow men.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Kelly. That is a fine presentation.

Mr. CANIFF. Mr. Chairman, I would like to follow with this: As you can see, we are attempting not to debate with Dr. Wertham, whose opinion we value very highly, but rather to make this point, that the newspaper comic strip does two things, and we think this is extremely important.

First, it is to entertain, as you saw in the case of Walt's presentation, just the presentation is entertaining, aside from his message.

Second, the public servant aspect of this thing which we want to put on the record, because the horrible stuff is much more fascinating than the good stuff, but I think you agree with us that the good stuff should be on the record, too.

Many of these are simply incidents in or daily lives, because we spend almost as much time doing the public service kind of thing as our regular strips; in fact, it becomes an enormous problem.

In this instance you will see, for instance, Mr. Musial here with Governor Dewey during a New York State Department of Health mental hygiene campaign to which he gave a great amount of time, and other artists involved in the society as well.

This is Dagwood Splits the Atom, which was prepared with the scientific views of Leslie Grove, General Dunning, and so forth.

This has to do with the bond sale during the war, the use of the comic strips.

This is a bulletin, rather a booklet, which was prepared for boys who are sent to Warwick School, to the New York State Reformatory.

This is to tell them not how to get in the reformatory, but how to get out of it on the assumption they have read comic books.

This is to show if they conduct themselves properly they will get paroled back to their parents.

This obviously is to get kids to brush their teeth, using Dennis the Menace; of course he is not a menace; the title is apocryphal. These are simply incidents of the same thing.

All the people know the Disney comics. The widest selling comic book in the whole country and in Canada is Donald Duck. It outsells every magazine on the stand; that includes Life, the Saturday Evening Post.

As a matter of fact, the Dell comic books constitute 30 percent of the comic books published. They think it is too much that they even dropped Dick Tracy because it was a crime comic.

These pictures with General Dunning, General Eisenhower, President Truman had to do with the bond campaigns in which we participated. This is in this case Steve Canyon's Air Power. It so happens, speaking of people condoning comic books or endorsing them, this is endorsed by General Doolittle.

The CHAIRMAN. I might add it is endorsed by the junior Senator from New Jersey, too.

Mr. CANIFF. Thank you, Senator. I hope just for the simple business of letting you know how the other half live, shall we say, that we do some good with the very medium which is fighting for its life, if you will, and we think very highly of the industry as such, because of its enormous potential.

Thank you.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Caniff.

Are there any questions, Senator Kefauver?

Senator KEFAUVER. I wondered, Mr. Kelly and Mr. Caniff, how do you feel you can get at this sort of thing? I know you don't think this is a good influence, some of these horror comics that you see and none of us like. How do you get at a situation like this?

Mr. KELLY. I don't know. I have no idea, sir. My personal philosophy on such a thing would be that we must educate people to not like that sort of thing or to at least not produce it.

How we can do that, I don't know. It does seems to me that this is a manifestation of a particularly bad world situation at this time, that these are not in themselves the originators of juvenile delinquency so much as juvenile delinquency is there and sometimes these are the juvenile delinquents' handbooks.

I would be frightened at doing anything about it, sir.

Senator KEFAUVER. Who are the men drawing these cartoons? Are they members of your society?

Mr. KELLY. If they are, and doing it under assumed names, and in very bad style ─ they are not very good drawings actually ─ when a man is admitted to our society we don't just assume he can draw.

Senator KEFAUVER. As a member of your society, is there a code that he is not supposed to draw obscene and horror stuff of this kind?

Mr. KELLY. Yes, sir; our statement of things that we believe in encompasses anything that a decent man would be proud to sign his name to.

The CHAIRMAN. You have an established code, Mr. Kelly?

Mr. KELLY. We have, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. I wonder if we could have a copy of that.

Mr. KELLY. I will be delighted to send it to you.

The CHAIRMAN. That will be filed with the subcommittee's permanent file. Let it be exhibit No. 13.

(The document referred to was marked "Exhibit No. 13," and is on file with the subcommittee.)

Senator KEFAUVER. In substance what is your code?

Mr. KELLY. In substance our code is that if any man chooses to take advantage of his position, a unique position, where he has learned to draw and so influence other people, if he wants to take advantage of that to spread indecency or obscenity or in any way prove himself to be an objectionable citizen we don't have room for him in the society.

Senator KEFAUVER. Now, this picture here of the woman with her head cut off seems to be by Johnny Craig. Do you know him?

Mr. KELLY. I don't know him, sir.

Senator KEFAUVER. Do you think these may be assumed names?

Mr. KELLY. I would doubt it. There are so many markets for our work that it takes a man who is interested in that sort of thing to pick up the job, I would say. None of our members need the work.

Senator KEFAUVER. None of your members do things of this kind?

Mr. KELLY. I haven't examined all their work, and I can't truthfully swear they don't, but I will be surprised and we will take action if they do.

Senator KEFAUVER. What would you do if you found they did?

Mr. KELLY. They would violate our code.

Senator KEFAUVER. What would you do about it?

Mr. KELLY. I don't know. Maybe invite them outside.

Senator KEFAUVER. This one seems to be by Geans.

Mr. KELLY. There was an astronomer - not, it couldn't be him.

Senator KEFAUVER. Here is another one by Jack Davis.

Mr. KELLY. We don't know them, really.

Senator KEFAUVER. I think we all commend you gentlemen on having an organization of this kind in which you do promote ethical procedure and try to get your members to only paint wholesome pictures and ideas.

Mr. KELLY. Thank you.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Musial had something he wanted to add.

Mr. MUSIAL. I wanted to present all the Senators with a copy of that drawing which interprets my feeling about what can be done. When the Senator asked about what we can do, I think the important thing that can be done and must be done and the only thing that can be done, is that once the American public is aware of the things that this committee is aware of, if we can get that over to the American people, then under our kind of democracy I think action will follow in a certain direction which will guarantee results.

I hate to say this, but I suggest that the committee solicit our services.

The CHAIRMAN. We do that.

Mr. MUSIAL. Here is a story in the New York Times of last Saturday. We have already contributed a book. I would like that included in the record, if I may.

The CHAIRMAN. It will be included. Let it be exhibit No. 14.

(The information referred to was marked "Exhibit No. 14," and reads as follows:)


[From the New York Times, April 17, 1954]



(By Murray Illson)

Comic books, often accused of causing juvenile delinquency, also can be used to help cure it, in the opinion of A. Alfred Cohen, Superintendent of the State Training School for Boys at Warwick, N. Y.

Mr. Cohen was in the city yesterday with a batch of comic books that had been printed by youths committed to the institution. The books have been endorsed by John Warren Hill, presiding justice of the domestic relations court. He called them "a very helpful and constructive step."

Justice Hill has been concerned with the increase of juvenile delinquency over the years, and has made many speeches trying to get people aroused enough to do something about it.


The comic books that Mr. Cohen had were all alike. He presented one for inspection. It was drawn by Charles Biro, chairman of the child welfare committee of the National Cartoonists Society, which has taken a special interest in the Warwick State Training School. The book's 8 pages, printed in color, told the story of the school.

Mr. Cohen explained that the purpose of the book was to allay the fears of boys who were being committed to the school, which is in Orange County, 55 miles from New York. Probation officers in the city's children's courts, which are part of the domestic relations' court, give the books to boys who are being sent to Warwick for rehabilitation.

Warwick, Mr. Cohen noted, is 1 of the States 2 institutions for delinquent boys. Consisting of 40 buildings and 800 acres, it now has 476 boys between the ages of 12 and 16. Ninety-nine percent of them are from New York. Sixty youngsters are in the city's detention center at Youth House, awaiting placement at Warwick.

"We get the boys who are judged by the courts to be seriously delinquent," Mr. Cohen explained. "We maintain a clinic serviced by a psychiatrist, a psychologist and Caseworkers who decide when a boy is ready to be sent home. The superintendent, however, has the final decision. The average stay for younger boys is about 14 months; for the older boys it's about 11 months."

Mr. Cohen said that when he went to Warwick 9 years ago the school was getting "the gang-type youngster" who was characterized by loyalty to a gang but who was, for the most part, "normal" In that he did not have serious emotional disturbances.


The type now going to Warwick was described by Mr. Cohen as the "lone wolf, who is very disturbed, very suspicious, can't form relationships with people, feels the world is against him, has never known the meaning of love, and has only experienced failure." He went on to say:

"Many of these kids literally have never had a hot meal before they came to Warwick, never had a full night's sleep and have known only real conflict in the home. The amazing thing is that they behave as well as they do.

"I have never met a youngster among the 8,000 who have passed through Warwick in the time I have been there who hadn't been beaten physically by experts ─ drunken parents, psychotic parents, or sadistic relatives. We know from first hand that the woodshed doesn't work."

Warwick, Mr. Cohen said, is "an open institution" that does not believe in confinement. It offers boys an academic education, vocational training in farming, and various recreational activities.

Comparatively recently, five boys at the institution were admitted to the local high school, Mr. Cohen said. All completed their courses. One went on to take a premedical course, and another won a college scholarship.

Mr. MUSIAL. I got a big kick out of it, the New York Times printing comics.

If any of the press want this it is available.

Again, like the Chinese who say 1 picture is worth 10,000 words, I would like to add this to it, 1 comic artist supplies more cheer than 10,000 doctors.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Musial.

Does counsel have any further witnesses?

Mr. BEASER. No further witnesses.

The CHAIRMAN. The subcommittee will stand in recess until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.

(Thereupon, at 4: 30 p. m., a recess was taken, to reconvene at 10 a. m., Thursday, April 22, 1954.)
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

Postby admin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 9:49 pm



(Comic Books)




New York, N. Y.

The subcommittee met at 10 a. m., pursuant to recess, in room 110, United States courthouse, New York, N. Y., Senator Robert C. Hendrickson (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Present: Senators Hendrickson, Kefauver, and Hennings.

Also present: Herbert J. Hannoch, counsel; Herbert Wilson Beaser, associate chief counsel, and Richard Clendenen, staff director.

The CHAIRMAN. The morning session of the subcommittee will be in order.

Counsel, will you proceed to call the first witness of the morning.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Gunnar Dybwad.

The CHAIRMAN. Good morning. Will you be sworn?

Do you Swear that the evidence you are about to give before this subcommittee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Mr. DYBWAD. I will.

The CHAIRMAN. You may be seated.


Mr. BEASER. Mr. Dybwad, will you state, for the record, your full name, address, occupation, and position you hold?

Mr. DYBWAD. My name is Gunnar Dybwad. I am executive director of the Child Study Association of America, located at 132 East 74th Street, here in New York City.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you have a prepared statement, Mr. Dybwad?

Mr. DYBWAD. I am the executive director of the Child Study Association of America, a parent education organization which was established in 1888.

All this time our organization has worked to help parents gain a better understanding of their children and of their role and function as parents.

Our interest has been, and still is, the strengthening of family living in this country. While we have, of course, a deep interest in all children, our function has been to work with the average family, and we have left the field of delinquency, mental deficiency, and mental illness in children to the organizations devoted to those particular problems.

Therefore, when I appear here today upon invitation by your committee counsel, to report on the viewpoint of our association on the subject of comics, I must emphasize that our concern has not been with the relation of comic books to delinquency in general.

Rather, out of our longstanding work in the field of children's reading, our children's book committee has given attention to the concern of individual parents with the comics reading of their own children ─ to allow or prohibit them, how to guide their choices, problem of management, et cetera.

This, naturally, has been our area of interest, since we are not an agency organized for sociological and psychological research, nor a pressure group organized for social action and reform.

In offering guidance to parents, the absence of any definitive studies of the effects of comics reading on children's emotions and/or behavior has been a serious handicap to us as to everyone dealing with this problem.

We have, therefore, depended upon the judgment of individuals whose experience and professional standing should make their opinions significant.

As you know, these opinions have differed widely. In this area, therefore, as in other areas of child psychology and education, we have found our function to be that of sorting out what seems to us the most authoritative and useful advice from responsible and reputable sources, and of making this available to parents for their guidance.

Against this background, I would like to state briefly what we actually have done in this field. Our activity began in 1937 when the educational consultant to our children's book committee, in a book about children's reading, discussed comic-strip reading referring to the Sunday color supplements.

Mr. BEASER. Who is that?

Mr. DYBWAD. Miss Josette Frank. Her background is an expert in children's reading She recently celebrated her 30th anniversary with us as an educational consultant. She is an educator.

Mr. BEASER. Not a psychologist?

Mr. DYBWAD. No; Miss Frank, not Dr. Frank, as a result of this discussion a few years later, one of the large publishers of comics magazines invited this staff member to scrutinize its comics magazines and make suggestions for improving and safeguarding them for children's reading.

Subsequently, she was retained by this publisher as an educational consultant.

I would like to say parenthetically, Miss Frank is only part time on our staff.

She was asked along with other people from the educational and psychiatric fields, to help work out and maintain a code of practices for the guidance of their editors. This was in 1941.

In 1943 the Child Study Association set about making a survey of all comic magazines, through its children's book committee, in order to be better able to guide parents who sought our advice in this connection.

Our original intention was to offer some selected listing of suitable magazines in various categories. But because of the fluid nature of the medium, the changes from month to month in any one magazine, or in the titles or in the publishing houses themselves, this proved impracticable.

It was therefore decided to list categories, and criteria for judging, which in be useful to parents in guiding their children's selections. So far as I know, ours was the first agency to concern itself whole subject, and we surely found ourselves groping in an uncharted field.

I should like to place this survey in evidence here, quoting from it now, only that part which relates to the subject of your inquiry, crime comics.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, sir. Without objection, this document will be made a part of our permanent files, the entire document. It will be exhibit No. 15.

(The document referred to was marked “Exhibit No. 15,” and is on file with the subcommittee)

Mr. DYBWAD. I might say this study was divided into two parts, an analysis of content and according content evaluations. On crime and detective comics this was said in 1943:

Stories featuring crime, G-men, and police run through many of the magazines as a rule the crimes are on a grandiose scale involving elaborate plotting such as bank robberies, hijacking, smuggling, gang wars, sabotage, and, currently, black market racketeering. The inevitable pattern is that the criminals are killed or brought to justice and the law emerges triumphant. Crime does not pay in the comics. Modern methods of crime detection are played up in some stories. A few are mystery stories, but rarely of the detective type depending rather on speed and gunplay than on unraveling the mystery. Police and G-men are usually (but not always) represented as being on the job and competent.

Comment and evaluation:

Children are fascinated by tales of wrongdoing and evil. The avenging of wrongs and the punishment of evildoers is a child's own fantasy pattern and such themes run through much of their literature as well as their play. The modern setting of these stories, however has given rise to a fear that they may “give children ideas” of things to do. The motivation toward unsocial acts lies much deeper than any casual contact with ideas on a printed page. Nevertheless, lest children already on the verge of unsocial behavior may find here a blueprint for action, petty crimes, such as pocket picking, shoplifting, et cetera, should be omitted. From the point of view of sound ethics, children are best served if crime is made unattractive and unsuccessful. The child reader is likely to be less burdened when crimes remain entirely in the adult world - committed neither by children nor against children. Such crimes as the kidnapping of a child, for example, are definitely threatening to young readers.

Mr. BEASER. I got lost. You seem to say that there is no competent evidence that what appears in the crime comics has any effect upon the child and yet you seem to say also that children should be kept away from these crime comics which serves as a blueprint for a child who is maladjusted.

Mr. DYBWAD. First of all, Mr. Counsel, I emphasize this was 1943. I each time very carefully document the year in which the statement has been made.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Dybwad, you were talking about the strip comics, were you not?

Mr. DYBWAD. No, in 1943 by that time there were comic books.

The CHAIRMAN. Your discussion started out about the strip comics.

Mr. DYBWAD. In 1937 it was primarily strip comics. In 1943 we already had the beginnings of a comic industry. You will see as I unravel this how we very much come later to the point which you have in mind, Mr. Counsel, if I may proceed for the moment, and I will be glad to answer more specifically then your questions.

In 1944, the Child Study Association conducted a meeting which it announced as Looking at the Comics: An appraisal of the many aspects of children's comics reading. To this meeting were invited educators, parents, and specialists in many fields relating to children, comics writer, artists, and industry representatives. This meeting highlighted the controversial aspects of this increasingly popular entertainment medium for children and stimulated further critical thinking.

In 1948 our quarterly magazine, Child Study, published a symposium of psychiatric opinion dealing largely with the question of aggression and fear stimulated by comics reading, radio, and movies.

This article, entitled "Chills and Thrills in Radio, Movies, and Comics" brought out quite sharply the strong differences of opinion among prominent experts as to the effects of these mass media.

May I quote briefly from this symposium, which I also wish to offer in evidence, emphasizing that it represents opinion gathered more than 6 years ago.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, sir.

Again, without objection, this document will be made a part of our permanent records. Let that be exhibit No. 16.

(The document referred to was marked "Exhibit No. 16," and is on file with the subcommittee.)

Mr. DYBWAD. I quote very briefly this paragraph:

All those interviewed were agreed on one point: that radio programs, movies, and comics do not in themselves create fears, but for certain children and under various conditions, do precipitate or stimulate anxieties lying beneath the surface ready to be awakened. There was agreement, too, that children differ in their fear reactions to various fictional situations. It was on questions of the harmfulness, harmlessness, or positive value of these experiences for children that the greatest divergence of opinion developed.

Over and over again the experts stressed the need for careful, large scale research studies before definitive conclusions could be reached.

Later that year, 1948, the then director of our association, Mrs. Sidonie Matsner Gruenberg, wrote an article for the magazine, Woman's Day, which I also wish to place in evidence and from which I would like to quote briefly.

The CHAIRMAN. That document will be made a part of our permanent records. Let it be exhibit No. 17.

(The document referred to was marked "Exhibit No. 17," and is on file with the subcommittee.)

Mr. DYBWAD. Here are a few paragraphs of interest to your committee:

Like almost any new form, the comics books begin harshly and awkwardly. They must have time to improve and refine their skills and even more time to enlist serious and responsible artists and writers. Since their inception they have improved in the drawing and writing and printing, and also in the variety and quality of their content. But if the ceiling seems to have been raised for some of the comics, the floor has also been lowered in others. Many of the promoters use the easiest appeals to reach the largest numbers, and children are the chief victims, as with all catch-penny undertakings. And numerous producers have taken advantage of the interest in comics developed through their use by the Army for educational purposes during the war. Many of these abominable and irresponsible creations bluntly exploit crime, violence, brutality, and sexy stuff, for a readymade market of men and older boys. On the stands, these are as accessible to children as the familiar comics addressed to them.

We can no more separate the child's reading of comics from the setting in which he lives than we can separate the child from schools or newspapers or athletics or neighborhoods. The parent's task becomes that of managing, not the comics as a problem by itself, but the growth and development of the child.

We have, to protect children against excessive addiction and against the most objectionable samples; and we have to guide them toward more discriminating selections. This is especially difficult because the very same violence and crudities and shrillness that we most dislike and fear in the comics assault our children through the movies and the radio as well.

We cannot fight what is objectionable in the comics (or in other commercial means of entertainment or information) by calling for more censorship or more police guards.

An association of comics book publishers is being formed to promote a code (something that a few of the larger publishers had already undertaken) to guide in maintaining standards. Time will tell how sincere or how effective this effort will be. But we need a wider and a more active and more intelligent interest on the part of parents for making their community a good place for all children to live in.

In a followup of its 1943 comics survey, our children's book committee examined in 1949, 213 magazines and found, along with some welcome changes in some categories, the following, quoted from a report I also wish to place in evidence.

The CHAIRMAN. Again, Mr. Dybwad, this will be made a part of our permanent files. Let that report be exhibit No. 18.

(The document referred to was marked "Exhibit No. 18," and is on file with the subcommittee.)

Mr. DYBWAD (reading):

The most regrettable change since the early survey has been the increased number of these magazines dealing with "real" crime, and those featuring sexually suggestive and sadistic pictures. These are presumably not addressed to children, are, perhaps, not even attractive to many of them.

Nevertheless, they are available at 10 cents for young people to purchase, and are prominently displayed on newsstands. Some of these are about as uncouth and savage pictures and stories as can be found anywhere. Any kind of decent self-censorship on the part of their publishers and handlers would have ruled them off time stands long ago, along with their counterparts in sexy candid picture periodicals.

This is the end of that particular quote from that survey which deals more pointedly with your interest.

Mr. BEASER. You made a statement in 1949 that these are presumably not addressed to children, perhaps not even attractive to many of them.

Mr. DYBWAD. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. Is that quite in line with your 1943 findings in which you seem to indicate that some children who may be emotionally maladjusted may be attracted to these violent comics?

Mr. DYBWAD. Yes, but I think there is quite a difference between the violence, the aggressiveness which you, after all, find in our famous old stories about the Indian wars and so on, and that type of stuff of which have some examples here from which some children ─ now, I said some ─ seem to shy away because certainly we know there are lots of children who buy comics, large numbers of children, and who, although they are available for the same dime at the same place, very often don't select these comics, but the others.

So this is all we said. We neither said that the publishers might indirectly hope that the children buy them, nor that children will not buy them, but a large number will not buy them.

Nevertheless, the danger exists that there are many children who will buy them and one cannot simply say these are comic books for children and, therefore no concern to us in children’s literature.

Mr. BEASER. In your study did you also examine advertisements in these publications to see whether they were addressed to children or adults?

Mr. DYBWAD. At the various points we have talked about this. Again I must remind you that this was a study published in 1949, and I think this point Mrs. Gruenberg made in 1948 of the bottom falling down more and more, I think is an observation we all have made.

The crime and horror comics of 1949 were not quite as, they are in 1943 and 1954.

Mr. BEASER. It is getting worse you mean?

Mr. DYBWAD. It is getting worse steadily.

Mr. Chairman, in view of your committee’s special concern with the effect of the sadistic and obscene crime and horror comic books which have made their appearance in recent years, I have quoted from published statements of our association to indicate to you that we lost no time in alerting the community to the problems created by these publications.

As a matter of fact, no other organization that I know of gave as much thought, time, and effort, during those early years, to a critical review of the comics as did the Child Study Association of America.

I would like to depart here a moment from my prepared statement to point out that these two studies to which I have referred, are now obviously outdated in many respects. We would not have made the study in 1949 had we not thought that this 1943 study, should be brought up to date and neither study has been listed or sold by us for several years.

In making this statement I am making the statement because a good deal of misinformation has recently been circulated with regard to these studies. We have not used them lately.

Mr. BEASER. In other words, your 1943 studies are now being quoted in support of your horror comics in 1954?

Mr. DYBWAD. They also have been quoted by some people as material we circulate today and most unfortunately in a recent article so described and that is a completely false and untrue statement.

We are not circulating these and have not for several years. They have not even been listed on our publications list.

Mr. BEASER. Your association's position is quite different in 1954.

Mr. DYBWAD. With regard to crime comics; yes, sir.

I am addressing myself to the particular interest at your committee and not to comics in general.

I have shown that as early as 1949 we presented our opinion, publicly and repeatedly, that the problems of the comics called for sociological and physicological research and for concerted community action. As I have pointed out to you; neither one was our function, and it is regrettable that no effective action has been forthcoming from other quarters.

In conclusion, may I quote from a book brought out by the Child Study Association in published by the Viking Press. A chapter on New Arts of Communication includes the following statement which seems to me very pertinent to your inquiry here:

Not only as individual parents, for our own boys and girls, but as a community, to, we have a responsibility concerning everything that reaches children. Private conscience and public responsibility must be invoked to check the excesses in which all of these media have indulged. The willingness of some of the producers of television and radio programs, movies, and comics to exploit morbid interest in horror and violence bespeaks greater concern for profit than for children.

The community has a right to expect that communications of all kinds shall be governed by public interest rather than by survey ratings or circulation figures. “Public” includes children. Not all programs or movies or comics can be geared to the young. But to pile up horror and violence in programs or movies deliberately timed to catch the children’s eyes and ears suggests a flagrant disregard fro their welfare. The combined resources of an informed community can be drawn upon for standards and criteria as to what is and what is not suitable for young listeners and readers. The combined skills of the industries and specialists in communication might well be focused on more creative achievements for children.

Comic books are of many kinds and varieties. Ever since 1916, the Child Study Association of America has consistently evaluated children's books and magazines, published book lists for parents and prepared anthologies of children's stories which have become hallmarks of good children's reading.

Our work in this field has won universal recognition and has contributed not only to the marked increase in children's reading, evidenced by library and book sale figures, but also has helped to achieve the increasingly high quality of today’s books for children.

Similarly our association has tried to assist in promoting higher standards in comic-book literature. Obviously much remains to be desired.

If out of this committee's deliberations there will come new and positive suggestions as to how this aim can better be furthered, a real contribution will have been made to the well-being of our children.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Dybwad. You did, at the outset, mention something of the Child Study Association of America, but for the record would you give us a little more information about this organization its history, when it was organized, what its internal structure is, and so on?

Mr. DYBWAD. It is an organization which goes back to 1888. It has functioned under several names, Federation of Child Study, Society for the Study of Child Nature. Its present name and incorporation took effect in the District of Columbia in 1924.

Since that time we have operated under that name. We are an organization which is governed by a board of directors of outstanding citizens. We have an advisory board of prominent men in the field of education, psychiatry, sociology, social work, and related fields concerned with the well being of children.

Our activities are many. Children's reading is only one of them. We have been concerned with the publication of books and pamphlets and articles for children and since you asked the question, I can present to you a list in which such publications are made available to the public.

The CHAIRMAN. This document will become apart of the record, Mr. Dybwad. Let it be exhibit No. 19.

(The document referred to was marked "Exhibit No. 19," and is on file with the subcommittee)

Mr. DYBWAD. Since the earliest years of our organization we have specialized in parent discussion groups, in groups of parents coming together for the discussion of problems of child development for the purpose of achieving a greater competence as parents.

We have worked with mass media. The Child Study Association had the first radio program in the field of parent education. We've been consultants to radio, TV and to other organizations in these fields.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you have an annual budget?

Mr. DYBWAD. We have an annual budget, a rather small annual budget for a national organization, and there is no secret about it. Our annual budget is about $125,000, sir which comes from contributions, from foundations.

We have a membership, we have a quarterly magazine, Child Study, which goes across the country into many foreign countries. We have had through the decades, consistently high relations, international as well as national.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you work very closely with the Children's Bureau?

Mr. DYBWAD. Well, we have had consistent contact with the Children's Bureau through the years. We have had contact with them in several fields, most lately with their public health nursing department because they are interested in working with us and we with them, in terms of improving the skills of public health nursing.

The CHAIRMAN. The reason I ask is that we find that they have certain budget needs that somebody has to meet some day and probably the Congress will have to meet those needs.

Do you know anything of that problem?

Mr. DYBWAD. Yes, sir. I have been, in public welfare for along time. Perhaps the most notable thing which binds the Children's Bureau and us together is mutual poverty, Mr. Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN. That is quite likely a common occasion.

All right, counsel?

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Dybwad, you were formerly the child welfare director in the State of Michigan?

Mr. DYBWAD. Yes, sir.

Mr. BEASER. Do you have a background in social work?

Mr. DYBWAD. I do, sir, and law.

Mr. BEASER. As a person with a background in child-welfare work, what is your opinion of the material, crime, and horror comics? What is your opinion of their effect upon children?

Mr. DYBWAD. Now, I want to speak slowly and deliberately so that we carefully segregate the various categories.

If you refer to much of what you just now removed from your exhibits, I would like to talk there on two levels.

The one is the individual effect of a comic book on a given child's reading.

The other is the cumulative effect in a community where this type of literature in effect becomes the only literature readily available to children where this type of literature is displayed on every street corner and characterizes the climate of the community.

I think there is no question that this is a symptom, this kind of comic-book distribution in certain sections of our city, and, of course, I am aware not only from New York, but from the Middle West that there are certain stores which feature these and that these certain stores are usually found in areas which are already depressed and typical of many other socially inappropriate matters as the third and fourth grade saloons and all the other establishments which go with vice and crime.

Mr. BEASER. And in the high delinquency areas, too?

Mr. DYBWAD. In the high-delinquency area we find these crime comics and they have, cumulatively, a very bad effect.

Now, I come secondly to the effect of these crime comics on individual children. There I am in a more difficult position to make specific statements because as one who has had clinical contact I was associated for many years with the psychiatrist for the New York State Training School for Boys at Warwick. I was clinical director of the State training school in Michigan, and previously I worked in reformatories where you have the older adolescent group, both in New Jersey and the State of Indiana and/or sometime here in New York State.

I have had contact with literally thousands of young delinquents. Clinically, I cannot offer, sir, a single instance which has come to my attention which, should I say, happened to come to my attention, in which we were able to link a given offense with the reading of that particular individual of a given comic book. I know such statements been made from time to time. I don't dispute them. I have never seen them clinically documented.

I have only seen wild statements without any kind of clinical evidence.

I would say, however, that I am well aware that there are certain boys who have been attracted to these comics along with many, many undesirable habits. They also were addicted to very heavy smoking, they were drinking in the very early teens, they had very aggressive sexual impulses which they acted out, so I would say, of course, I am aware, not from my present activities, but you went back to my professional task, in those years, of the fact that these comics were part and parcel of the life of a child delinquent.

I wouldn't deny that there might be such a connection, Mr. Counsel. I only say so far I have not seen the clinical evidence.

I think we should hope that, for instance, a person like Dr. Peck or others in a position to make such studies would give very serious thoughts to a clinical evaluation of this.

Mr. BEASER. Dr. Peck testified yesterday. If you were running the training school in Michigan, would you as director permit some of these horror and crime comics to be circulated among the boys?


Mr. BEASER. Why?

Mr. DYBWAD. For this reason, sir, when you deal with other people's children you have particular responsibility to exercise much greater care than if you deal with your own child. When you run a training school you must try to meet a common denominator of most parents, and therefore, regardless of the fact that perhaps some of these parents would not have objected, others would, and therefore, as a matter of public policy when you are dealing in a public institution, this type of comic book was not allowed.

Now, that has nothing to do, sir, with the fact that we had or had not evidence that they were harmful. When you run a training school, you take certain precautionary measures regardless as to whether you have proof that anything is definitely harmful. This was a policy of our educational group and I assure you in both institutions this type of comics was not allowed.

However, comic books were allowed.

The CHAIRMAN. When you found them they were removed promptly.

Mr. DYBWAD. They were removed-promptly which, of course, was difficult, Mr. Chairman, because I think we might as well say here that this was not just the literary fare of our children; but also of those who took care of the children. Therefore, to what extent there was an exchange of comics between the people in charge of the children and the children themselves, you can speculate yourself.

Therefore, also, it was difficult to effect a distinct policy. In general, our staff had the mandate to remove undesirable comics. The cottage father in cottage A might employ quite different standards from the cottage father in cottage C.

We had no list of comics. As you know from the problem your committee faces, you can't list them, every month there are some new ones. But there was definitely the policy, since there was serious question about these comics, and I think nobody has raised the question that there is a question about these comics, that they should be kept from children.

Mr. BEASER. The question is the extent of the effect upon delinquency of these crime and horror comics.

Mr. DYBWAD. That is right.

Mr. BEASER. And also the emotional upsetting of children.

Mr. DYBWAD. That is right.

Mr. BEASER. We had, yesterday, exhibited a crime comic in which a child was placed in a foster home. To make it brief, the foster parents turned out to be werewolves and the child turned out to be a werewolf and everybody eats everybody.

As a child-welfare worker, what effect does that have on a child about to be placed in a foster home?

Mr. DYBWAD. Of course, this kind of comic book which, by the way, relates very closely to a very famous comic strip in the newspapers which for a long time was exceedingly harmful, just as harmful as crime comics, by its sadistic distortion of the social-work profession and you know what I am referring to ─ this kind of thing is exceedingly damaging because you are dealing there with a specific type of child, a child who typically has been deprived of the most essential care in the early years, a child who is particularly insecure and sensitive in terms of the one thing he doesn't have, a home.

And, therefore, any kind of phantasy which suggests that a home he might go into might have such, factors is patently terrible, and I must say that a person who prints such a thing must have sadistic tendencies themselves, which are quite unusual, because that is not stupidity.

This is purposeful sadism.

Senator KEFAUVER. Mr. Chairman, may I ask a question?

The CHAIRMAN. Yes indeed Senator Kefauver.

Senator KEFAUVER. Mr. Dybwad, what is your salary as director?

Mr. DYBWAD. $10,000, sir.

Senator KEFAUVER. Of the Child Study Association of America?

Mr. DYBWAD. Yes.

Senator KEFAUVER. How long have you been in this position?

Mr. DYBWAD. Two and a half years. Most of the things I have reported, practically all took place before I was with the association.

Senator KEFAUVER: You are also a lawyer, you say?

Mr. DYBWAD. I had legal training. I specialized in the field of criminology and penology.

Senator KEFAUVER: You do not have any cases for clients?

Mr. DYBWAD. No, sir; I am not a practicing lawyer. I am not admitted, to the bar.

Senator KEFAUVER. You do not accept any retainers from anyone?

Mr. DYBWAD. No, sir.

Senator KEFAUVER. So your $10,000 is your own professional salary?

Mr. DYBWAD. In New York University, where I am teaching in the evening, is giving what they refer to as compensation.

Senator KEFAUVER. I think I understand what you mean.

Do you have children?

Mr. DYBWAD. Yes, sir; two children beyond the comic-book age.

Senator KEFAUVER. You were talking about the care you take with other people's children. Do you allow your children to read this kind of comics?

Mr. DYBWAD. Very interestingly they have not read them. They have not read that kind of comic. In other words, while I think it is exceedingly dangerous to generalize from one's own family, nevertheless if you want a case in point, while my children read comics in large quantities they never bought, exchanged, brought home, had hidden in their rooms or otherwise in their possession, this type of crime comic. Whether that reflects on their mother's high ethical standards, I do not know, but this is the fact.

Senator KEFAUVER. Mr. Dybwad, there is something I find a little difficult to understand. You have gotten out various and sundry reports. Here is a report by Miss Josette Frank back in 1949 quite favorable to comics generally.

Mr. DYBWAD. In general, yes.

Senator KEFAUVER. And here is one by Josette Frank back in 1948 quite favorable to comics?

Mr. DYBWAD. That is right.

Senator KEFAUVER. Here is one by Mrs. Gruenberg. This was reported in Woman's Day in 1948, quite favorable to comics.

Mr. DYBWAD. Yes.

Senator KEFAUVER. This is the one that the comics industry, Gaines and the people who publish these horrible comics, which undoubtedly do very much harm ─ these are articles that they always quote in support of their position. We also had reports back in 1941, 1942, and 1943; I have forgotten the dates, all quite favorable to comics.

Mr. DYBWAD. Yes.

Senator KEFAUVER. If you want to really be fair about the matter and follow up your testimony here today as to the kind of comics that we are investigating here, the playing baseball with heads, violent murder, cutting off people's heads with an ax, why not get out a report about these instead of just the favorable ones?

Mr. DYBWAD. We have, sir.

Senator KEFAUVER. I have not seen it.

Mr. DYBWAD. I think the point I quoted─

Senator KEFAUVER. What report are you referring to?

Mr. DYBWAD. In 1949 when I said some of these were "as uncouth and savage pictures * * * ."

Senator KEFAUVER. Is that from Miss Frank's report?

Mr. DYBWAD. A survey in 1949 in which she participated.

The CHAIRMAN. The Chair might say to the Senator from Tennessee that Mr. Dybwad put about 3 or 4 reports in the record this morning.

Senator KEFAUVER. They were all fairly favorable and I have read those you furnished here. Of course, you do say that some of the horrible ones are not good and then you go on to minimize and water it down and say, after all, it is not a very important matter.

What I am getting at is that Miss Frank has written several reports for you.

Mr. DYBWAD. That is right.

Senator KEFAUVER. Then, of course, Mrs. Gruenberg has written reports for you?

Mr. DYBWAD. That is right.

Senator KEFAUVER. Is she on your staff?

Mr. DYBWAD. No longer.

Senator KEFAUVER. Is Miss Thompson on your staff?


Senator KEFAUVER. Miss Frank is no longer on the staff?

Mr. DYBWAD. Oh yes; she is a part-time employee of our organization.

Senator KEFAUVER. Who heads up your staff? Who writes the reports?

Mr. DYBWAD. In this particular field this would be Miss Frank, because she is the educational associate of our children's book committee.

Senator KEFAUVER. Let us stay with this a minute. In other words, this supervising, reading comics and giving the position of the Child Study Association of America is to what effect they have upon children, that is in charge of Miss Frank; is that correct?

Mr. DYBWAD. Staffwise. However, if you will permit me, Mr. Chairman, I will have to point out one fact. Throughout the period we have worked with children's books, we have worked through a children's book committee. I pointed out before that Miss Frank is a staff consultant to that committee. This committee meets, every week.

In other words, it is not an inactive committee, it is a committee which meets every week at our headquarters, is the one which actually does the reviewing of books.

It is not so that Miss Frank reviews all books and then passes on her criteria to the committee. It is the other way.

Senator KEFAUVER. Here is one report, Looking at the Comics ─ 1949, by Josette Frank and Katie Hart, for the committee.

Mr. DYBWAD. That is right. In other words, that report was written by them and Katie Hart was a committee member. Miss Frank was the staff associate. In the first report you will find that the chairman of the committee is listed, and Miss Frank as educational associate.

Senator KEFAUVER. We all know in the actual working of the matter the committee comes in, the staff director who is giving it full time is actually the one who does the research and reading and has the principal hand in guiding and directing what is in the reports. Is that not true?

Mr. DYBWAD. Senator Kefauver, I wish─

Senator KEFAUVER. Try to tell me.

Mr. DYBWAD. I wish you could within 15 minutes go to 132 East 74th Street where you would meet 20 ladies of varying ages, social positions, professional background, and number of children, engaged, if not in physical, at least in verbal combat about the children's books they have read in the past week. This is an active committee and always has been which meets weekly, which has 20 to 30 active members, nevertheless, and 15 or 20 would be present at any one meeting.

Senator KEFAUVER. Anyway, Miss Frank is the head of the staff that handles the comics and places evaluation on them?

Mr. DYBWAD. That is right.
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

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Senator KEFAUVER. Who is Lauretta Bender, M. D.?

Mr. DYBWAD. She is a senior psychiatrist at Bellevue Hospital, which is one of the institutions. I think she is one of the most distinguished personages in the field of child psychiatry.

Senator KEFAUVER. She has something to do with this?

Mr. DYBWAD. She was one of many people whom we in those days asked for their opinion and Lauretta Bender is in this particular study, matched, for instance, by Dr. Alpert, who had a radically different point of view from Dr. Bender.

None of these people was connected─

Senator KEFAUVER. Well, we are beating around the bush about this. In the child-study format here you have, and let me read a little part of this which you put out to the children:

A discussion of children's fears: Child studies have suggested inquiry into the possible relation of movies, radio, comic thrillers to fear in childhood. Accordingly, the following psychiatric opinions have been gathered by Josette Frank and are presented here for the guidance of parents. Miss Frank is educational associate on the Child Study Association staff and consultant on children's books, radio, and comics.

Nathan W. Ackerman, M. D., psychiatrist, is director of the Child Development Center in New York City. Lauretta Bender, M. D., is the associate professor of psychiatry, New York University Medical School.

Then you go on with some other people. Now, it is strange to me how, if you are giving out directions to parents, how frankly your associate is taking the part of the comic-book industry. Why do you not say here that Josette Frank, in addition to being with Child Study Association, is also the consultant on the children's reading, or consultant on the editorial advisory board of Superman, D. C., National Comics, and is paid by the comics-book industry?

Mr. DYBWAD. Wait a minute, sir. Please don't say that she is paid by the comic-book industry. This is not so. She is paid by a particular comic-book publisher. I want to put this on the record very strenuously which is quite a difference.

When I work for the Schlitz Brewing Co., I don't work for the beverage industry. I work for one particular company and I may have my good reasons why I work for Schlitz and not for Ballantine.

Senator KEFAUVER. I know, but you are giving her credentials here. You are giving her good credentials, but you do not say to the parents that are reading this and want to be guided by her that she is also paid by a leading comic-book publisher. Why do you not give both sides of the picture?

Mr. DYBWAD. The assumption is that there are both sides to it. Miss Frank has also been a consultant to innumerable book publishers.

Senator KEFAUVER. Here is Mrs. Gruenberg. Mrs. Gruenberg writes a very, very favorable article in favor of comic books.

Mr. DYBWAD. She certainly does not.

Senator KEFAUVER. Reading it all in all, it is quite favorable. It minimizes the horrible-crime ones.

Mr. DYBWAD. It does not, sir.

Senator KEFAUVER. She is writing about Mickey Mouse and Little Abner.

Mr. DYBWAD. It does not. I think from what I put in the record, you could not by any means say ─ Mrs. Greenberg speaks here "many of those abominable and irresponsible creations bluntly exploit crime, violence, brutality, and sexy stuff."

If that is an endorsement of crime comics, sir, I don't know.

Senator KEFAUVER. But, sir, in the back in her conclusions there is no condemnation. It just says "we cannot fight what is objectionable in the comics ─ or in other commercial means of entertainment or information ─ by calling for more censorship or more police guards. An association of comics-book publishers is being formed to promote a code ─ something that a few of the larger publishers had already undertaken ─ to guide in maintaining standards. Time will tell how sincere or how effective this effort will be.”

The CHAIRMAN. What is the date of this, Senator?

Senator KEFAUVER. 1948.

But we need a wider and more intelligent interest on the part of parents for making their community a good place for all children to live in.

The paragraph preceding that is rather easy.

Now, Mrs. Gruenberg, has she not had some connection with comic books?

Mr. DYBWAD. She had a long time ago, several years ago, sir, as evidenced in the hearings of your own committee. I want to point out that these things have been a matter of public record for years and years.

Senator KEFAUVER. Why up here does she not list the "Director of Child Study Association when it also would be fair to give, parents notice that Mrs. Gruenberg was also on the pay of the comic-book industry?

Mr. DYBWAD. She was not on the pay of the comic-book industry, sir. That is not a correct statement.

Senator KEFAUVER. Of one of the publishers of comic books?

Mr. DYBWAD. Of one of the publishers of comic books.

Senator KEFAUVER. Here are two principal people you are using through a fine-sounding association which undoubtedly some good people are members of, feeling they can do some good. Two people you are using in the comic-book field who evaluate comic books, crime and horror books, turn out to be paid or to have been paid by publishers of comic books themselves. Is that not true?

Mr. DYBWAD. Yes, sir.

Senator KEFAUVER. Do you think that is a fair presentation.

Mr. DYBWAD. It is a perfectly fair presentation.

Senator KEFAUVER. If you think that is fair, then that is all I want to know about your association. I think it is traveling under false colors. I think you ought to at least give the fact that these people are paid or have been paid by comic- book publishers. I do not think it is a fair evaluation to leave to parents of children these rather favorable appraisals of horror and comic books written someone who has been paid by the publishers without you even divulging the fact. If you had stated it in here, then they would be on guard.

But according to all this literature they occupy some big position with a school and hospital and you conceal the fact that they were paid.

I would like, Mr. Chairman, at this point, to read the footnote on page 2.

The CHAIRMAN. The Senator from Tennessee proceed.

Senator KEFAUVER. From Dr. Wertham’s book, Seduction of the Innocent, it is footnote 4. I will read the preceding paragraph and then the footnote if I may:

The names of experts for the defense and of the institutions with which they are connected have been printed in millions of comic books and are full-page comic-book advertisements in the Saturday Evening Post and the Saturday Review at Literature and are statements of publishers or their spokesmen. The chairman of the section of the criminal law of the bar association commenting on the writer in the two special comic book issues of the Journal of Educational Psychology found it "disappointing" that in a purportedly objective study, experts do not make a complete disclosure of their interest. He mentions that when he wrote to one of the experts to-write about this, she did not respond.

Then the footnote is:

According to the Kefauver Senate Crime Committee (special committee to investigate organized crime in interstate commerce), the following persons, among others who are thought of as individual critics by the public have been or are employed by the comic book industry:

Dr. Jeanne A. Thompson acting director, Bureau of Child Guidance Board of Education, New York City; Sidonie Gruenberg, professor of education, New York University; Dr. Lauretta Bender, child psychiatrist in charge of the children's ward of Bellevue Hospital, New York City; Josette Frank, consultant on children's reading, Child Study Association of America.

The amount paid ranged from $300 a month over a period of many years. One expert, Professor Zorbaugh, served as research consultant in Puck, the comic weekly. One comic book publisher alone spent $750 a month on four children's experts who endorsed their products.

Dr. Bender is also on this list, I believe, is she not, as one of your people?

Mr. DYBWAD. That is right. She is one of the persons.

Senator KEFAUVER. Mr. Chairman, I just say under those circumstances, while I do not question the personal integrity of this witness, the opinion of the Child Study Association in the comic book field will have little weight with me.

The CHAIRMAN. In the light of the colloquy which has taken place between the Senator from Tennessee and Mr. Dybwad, I think it might be well, sir, if you would furnish for the record a list, a complete list of the membership of your organization. Could that be done?

Mr. DYBWAD. Goodness, sir, this would be quite a task. I think it could be accomplished.

The CHAIRMAN. You have a board of directors, too?

Mr. DYBWAD. We have a board of directors of citizens.

I think I am representing an organization which has worked for 65 years. I should have an opportunity now, Mr. Chairman, in all fairness, to defend not myself, but all the board of directors against the accusations and I am sorry to say the misconstructions.

The CHAIRMAN. I am sorry to say, Mr. Dybwad, there have been no accusations. The Senator has a right to observe.

Mr. DYBWAD. That is right, the observations which were made here. Again I emphasize I have no personal interest in the particular matters because I made a point to say that all this transpired before I came to the Child Study Association.

Senator HENNINGS. Mr. Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN. The Senator from Missouri.

Senator HENNINGS. Mr. Dybwad, how is your association supported?

The CHAIRMAN. That is in the record, sir.

Mr. DYBWAD. It is in the record. Memberships, contributions, foundation support, sale of literature, consultation fees from the book industry because not only have we served the comic books industry, we are serving constantly the book industry.

Like any university, we get fees for our services and we have never felt that there was anything untoward about this.

Senator HENNINGS. Mr. Dybwad, do any of the publishers of these books contribute to the support of your organization?

Mr. DYBWAD. Definitely. Publishers have contributed to the Child Study Association for years and years in varying amounts.

You will find the most distinguished publishing houses in this country over a period of 20 and 30 years have contributed.

Senator HENNINGS. Do a number of the publishers of the so called crime and horror comics contribute to the support of this organization?

Mr. DYBWAD. I think you would hardly find anyone of the crime comic book publishers listed.

Senator HENNINGS. You say hardly find.

Mr. DYBWAD. I can say this for the record, positively. I know of no one publisher who specializes in the particular comic books you have pointed out here as horror crime stories who under the name of his publishing firm contributes.

But, sir, you will not get me under oath to deny that somebody might contribute. I don't know what Mr. X─

Senator HENNINGS. I am not trying to get you under oath to deny anything you do not want to deny.

Mr. DYBWAD. I can make this definite statement, that not a single publishing house under its own name contributes.

I also can say to the best of my knowledge not a single individual connected with this industry contributes.

But I cannot possibly know whether one of these persons or his wife might not be a member. I have no such knowledge ─ a detailed record.

Senator HENNINGS. Then you are suggesting that possibly the wife─

Mr. DYBWAD. To the best of my knowledge, no relative of any one of these publishers, no friend, associate in any way, has, to my knowledge, which goes back to 2½ years, contributed in any way, shape, or fashion to the Child Study Association of America.

Senator HENNINGS. Mr. Chairman, have we a list or has there been requested a lit of contributors?

Mr. DYBWAD. I can give you an alphabetical list.

The CHAIRMAN. And the record of the board of directors.

Mr. DYBWAD. The board of directors.

Senator HENNINGS. And of the contributors?

Mr. DYBWAD. Of the contributors. You can have a complete list, and members, too, I mean, because in effect they might be the same. This is published information.

Senator HENNINGS. Do you not think it would be to your advantage, certainly, assuming that what you have told us to the best of your recollection is sustained by the facts, to have such a list and have that made a part of the hearing?

Mr. DYBWAD. The only difficulty is that we do not have such a list readily available, but it can be produced. The membership list I can produce immediately because naturally we have them on stencils.

(The documents referred to were received at a later date, marked "Exhibit No. 20," and are on file with the subcommittee)

Senator HENNINGS. You do not feel, then, sir, that your organization is what might be called a front for the publishers of these crime magazines?

Mr. DYBWAD. No more than fronts for Viking, Harpers, Whitman, Doubleday ─ name any one of the large publishers who have liberally contributed over decades ─ and I make this point ─ to us in the face of the fact that we are reviewing books of these very same publishers.

Therefore, there is no differentiation as between the publishers.

I want to go on record, for instance, here and gladly point out that some of these publishers gifts to us have been a considerable amount of money. This is, I think, the usual way in which organizations of this type are maintained and this is the reason why such organizations of a board of directors have lay people, leading citizens in a community, upon whose good name and reputation rests the reputation of the organization.

And for that reason I will be very pleased to submit this list.

Senator KEFAUVER. Actually, you know a lot of organizations get good names to be out in front for them.

Mr. DYBWAD. That is right, sir.

Senator KEFAUVER. They get committees of high-sounding names, but the important thing is, who back in the staff is doing the work and the research and preparing the reports and guiding the thing.

So my own observation is that in the field of comics the people you rely upon, three people, and the only ones here I have seen that you base your study on, are Mrs. Gruenberg, who has been in the pay of comic publications; Dr. Bender on the pay of the advisory board, and being paid by one; Miss Josette Frank, who is either being paid or has been paid by the comic books.

So as far as I can see, your comic book section of your child study group is certainly colored by the fact that these people are not working primarily for you. They are working for the comic book publishers.

So that I think you have perpetrated ─ well, I would go so far as to say that you have deceived the public in presenting these reports, coming from a high-sounding association, with undoubtedly a good name, and I am sure you do a lot of good work, by putting out advice to parents, when the principal direction and the writing is being done by people who are in the pay of the industry, or publishers themselves, particularly when you do not divulge that fact.

Parents have a right to look at this, and they say, "Well, here this person, Dr. Lauretta Bender, is professor of psychology at the New York University, and member of the advisory board of the children's Child Study Association," whatever she is.

The fairness to the public it ought to be "paid by the comics," the same is true of Josette Frank, the same is true of other persons.

Of course, you would not do that because then they would lose their nonpartisan approach to the matter.

I think this part of your study is a fraud and a deceit to the public and the public ought to know about it. 1

1. The Child Study Association of America, Inc., Issued a supplementary statement on the relations of the association to the comic-book -industry which included the following: "In 1944, Mrs. Sidonie M. Gruenberg, who was for 25 years-the director of the Child Study Association of America, acted with 2 other educators as consultant- to Fawcett Publications for a period of 10 months. These individuals met with writers and artists, helped to establish criteria and to see that these criteria were followed. In 1941 National Comic Publications asked the association to help them improve their publications and keep them safe for young readers. The board of directors gave this request serious consideration. It then agreed that Miss Josette Frank should accept the major responsibility for working for the publisher. As a part-time member of the association’s staff, the board felt that she should be free to make her own arrangements as to fee. The board also decided that the association, working through it’s total staff, and with the children’s book committee, should assume a supervisory relationship to this project. For tis service, the association has received $50 monthly.” An investigator for the subcommittee found that Fawcett Publications contributed about $1,500 to the Child Study Association of America, Inc., in 1943, 1944, and 1946, and National Comics contributed $2,5000 to the association between October 1947 and November 10, 1952.

The CHAIRMAN. The Chair would like to hear from you on that, Mr. Dybwad.

Mr. DYBWAD. There are two points. No. 1, Senator, you were in conversation perhaps and did not hear when I very deliberately pointed out, and I want to repeat this very carefully for the record, that these studies, as all our work on children's reading, are done by a committee. I pointed out very specifically that this is a committee which meets weekly ─

Senator KEFAUVER. Just one minute here, sir. Here is Woman's Day, September 1948, put out by the Child Study Association. You were so proud of it, sir, you brought it up here to be put in the record. This came from you, written by Sidonie Gruenberg and shows a couple of happy children reading I don't know what kind of crime books. That is no study by any committee.

Mr. DYBWAD. I am sorry this is not the study I referred to. I put in evidence 2 studies; 1 in 1943 and 1 in 1949. Those are the only studies I referred to here.

Senator KEFAUVER. Why do you not get out a, study for 1954, and talk about these books?

My conclusion is that you are not doing this for the reason, that your people, and perhaps your association, too, are being paid by the industry itself and that you do not want to criticize, very much, anyway, the crime book industry.

Now, I cannot see why, in view of the fact that these horror and crime comics have taken so much a turn for the bad, you would go on and let people quote what you said in 1949 and 1943. Why you do not go out and get another one and bring it to date and condemn, as you have slightly here, anyway, reluctantly perhaps, condemned this kind of horror comics.

The CHAIRMAN. The Senator from Tennessee has made his position in this matter emphatically clear.

I would like to hear from the witness now.

Mr. DYBWAD. It is a little difficult for me to have to go back repeatedly to my original statement. I pointed out before, sir, that our association by its avowed purposes is not a social action organization, is not an organization in the field of delinquency.

We have never in any other respect worked in this particular field. Therefore, it is entirely within keeping of our purpose that we have merely, as I have said in my statement, alerted, and I think if you will read over my statement, the combined statements, and they are very strong, they go back to early days when people had not yet popular articles. This was stated at a time when other people had not yet spoken ─ this is a fact I want emphasized ─ we had called attention to these things, but we are not the National Probation and Parole Association, we are not ─ the United States Children's Bureau, and you know the testimony which came to you as chairman of the previous committee from them.

We are not an agency working in the field of delinquency, never have; this is not our purpose.

Therefore, we called merely, as I pointed out in my statement, at several times for community action, but it was not our place to do so.

I said very specifically other organizations in this country, many of which I support with my own contributions because I have been in this field, are presumably working in this area. Therefore, when you raise a question, why have we not done something, I think the question might well be put, why has nobody else done anything.

At least we have very specifically and I emphasize very specifically strenuously, you can't say more than these things should be off the stands.

I think that makes it a very pointed thing. We didn't say they might be harmful, but that they should not even be around.

I think we have made our position clear, but we are not a social action group and particularly not a social delinquency group, but others are in this country an therefore, I must say that in all fairness the question should be put to the other organizations who were apprised by us of this situation.

This was the first point.

The second point which I must make is this: the particular comic book publisher for whom our staff associate is adviser, and which is one of the largest publishers of comic books, to my mind, does not particularly, by his products, play a role here in this committee.

For instance, when counsel talked about advertising matter, being aware of the fact that this had not played a particular role in these earlier studies I went through every single issue of the last issue of these things and I would like to find someone pointing out to me one advertisement which is of the nature which Mr. Beaser refers to.

Now, I personally don't think much of the Atlas strong boy, it is poor taste. There are some people who even feel there might be some question how good it is.

But in general these advertisements here seem to be the popsickle, the twin bicycle, and that is about all.

So, No. 1, in terms of advertisements in these books, and I repeat I went through every single one of the latest editions, this being a popular magazine, of course ─ the June and July editions is already there ─ there is not one advertisement which I found was in any way objectionable.

I went through these with great labor, I wouldn't read a comic strip in a newspaper, if you paid me for it. I have never read comics; I never understood why my children read comics, but dutifully appearing before your committee, I looked through these things.

Many of them are in poor taste, but unless you say, sir ─ and let us be very specific ─ that Gang Busters should be off the air because what ever broadcasting company produces this is working on the same cheap level as the crime publishers you are referring to, unless you say that Mr. District Attorney is a radio program which is so offensive that it should be off the air and with the endorsement of many of these programs, by the FBI, by Mr. Hoover, by the chiefs of police, unless you say that, I would say unless you see any connection in this investigation, which counsel assures me was an investigation of crime comics, with a particular publisher to whom our consultant has given service ─ as a matter of fact, repeating what I have said before, that comics to me are distasteful entertainment and that I indeed was very glad when the day came when comics were no longer regular fare in my house in competition with books, but now books alone seem to entertain my children ─ I would say with that proviso before that this is not something to my taste, that we can point not with pride, but with satisfaction, sir, to the job which has been done by that particular publisher ─ I don't care to name his name ─ if the committee wants it, all right ─ but that particular publisher is keeping these particular comic books on a distinctly higher level ─ and again I am careful, I say on a distinctly higher level ─ than any comic books to which your committee wants to address yourself.

Now, I can readily see that some people will indeed say, Gang Busters, along with comics, as well as radio programs, Mr. District Attorney, Mr. Hoover's FBI program, all are potentially distasteful.

I could sympathize as a grownup person with such a view, but that would be rather an extreme view and a kind of censorship which would be intolerable.

But I say as far as comic books go, I am content to stand on the record, and I want to make myself quite clear, bn the record, which shows that this particular publisher has exercised infinitely greater care with those publications.

There is a good reason for it because work is being done. I have in my files letters in which, for instance, our educational associate, Mr. Counsel, protested a certain advertisement, not the kind you meant ─ it wasn't an advertisement about guns ─ but, it was a question of good taste and our consultant wrote a fairly long letter to the company and said, "I wonder if we are not slipping in our code."

I don't think, Mr. Chairman, I need to present in evidence the particular code of that organization. You have it in your files, your counsel assured me.

The CHAIRMAN. Are you talking about the code that was promulgated in 1948?

Mr. DYBWAD. No. You see that is why I wanted in all fairness to insist on differentiating the industry from the individual publisher. This is a code, if the counsel does not have it, I certainly shall put it in evidence gladly here, a code for the educators of that particular group of publications. I have no hesitancy to let you see this.

The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, it will be received and incorporated in the record at this point. Let it be exhibit No. 21.

(The information referred to was marked "Exhibit No. 21," and reads as follows:)




1. Sex. ─ The inclusion of females in stories is specifically discouraged. Women, when used in plot structure, should be secondary in importance, and should be drawn realistically, without exaggeration of feminine physical qualities.

2. Language. ─ Expressions having reference to the Deity are forbidden. Heroes and other "good” persons must use basically good English, through some slang and other colloquialism may be judiciously employed. Poor grammar is used only by crooks and villains ─ and not always by them.

3. Bloodshed. ─ Characters ─ even villains ─ should never be shown bleeding. No character should be shown being stabbed or shot or otherwise assaulted so that the sanguinary result is visible. Acts of mayhem are specifically forbidden. The picturization of dead bodies is forbidden.

4. Torture. ─ The use of chains, whips, or other such devices is forbidden. Anything having a sexual or sadistic implication is forbidden.

5. Kidnaping. ─ The kidnaping of children is specifically forbidden. The kidnaping of women is discouraged, and must never have any sexual implication.

6. Killing. ─ Heroes should never kill a villain, regardless of the depth of the villainy. The villain, If he is to die, should do so as the result of his own evil machinations. A specific exception may be made in the case of duly constituted officers of the law. The use of lethal weapons by women ─ even villainous women ─ is discouraged.

7.Crime. ─ Crime should be depicted in all cases as sordid and unpleasant. Crime and criminals must never be glamorized. All stories must be written and depicted from the angle of the law ─ never the reverse. Justice must triumph in every case.

In general, the policy of Superman D─C Publications is to provide interesting, dramatic, and reasonably exciting entertainment without having recourse to such artificial devices as the use of exaggerated physical manifestations of sex, sexual situations, or situations in which violence is emphasized sadistically. Good people should be good, and bad people bad, without middle ground shading. Good people need not be "stuffy" to be good, but bad people should not be excused. Heroes should act within the law, and for the law.

Mr. DYBWAD. It is a publisher which lists our staff member as an associate. These people have come to us with questions.

Again I want to be careful not to advertise the company. I will say that within 6 months time they consulted us on a commercial proposition which was brought to them regarding the exploitation commercially of one of their comic figures with some commercial article and on advice of one of our consultants this project was dropped.

I can stand on this record, sir, and I will say this: if after this hearing today my board of directors would come to me and say, "Don't you think we should put before this employee the ultimatum to resign from that position?" I would say "No."

For this reason, sir: You hardly can say that it is deceiving the public when you allude to a fact which has been printed, now I don't know how many times, because this is not a secret arrangement. This is not a secret retainer some lawyer gets from a company which nobody knows about.

This is a matter which is printed in every one of these comic books so that any parent who sees Peter Pan today in his child's possession knows right there that Josette Frank is a consultant.

Now, I am not a mathematician. I can't imagine how many times it has been printed, but it seems to me quite a strange statement to say that this was done sort of behind the backs of the public.

Senator HENNINGS. At this point, may I ask one question on that point?

Do these consultants who take fees from the publishers turn the fees over to your association?

Mr. DYBWAD. No, sir; and I will tell you why not.

Senator HENNINGS. You do not know what the fees are?

Mr. DYBWAD. I don't know what the fees are. I will tell you this sir: No. 1, very important ─ Miss Frank is a half-time employee of the Child Study Association of America. She is working for us 2 1/2 days by hourly count, you see. So that she is not doing this work on our time.

It was merely felt that there should be no secret made that this was her regular employment.

No. 2: This goes back considerably in our records. I could not perhaps even produce the record, but only the record of board members. When this offer was made there was a discussion in our board of directors as to whether it was appropriate for our consultant to thus be engaged.

Now, that goes back to 1941. It was the opinion of our board of directors that if a comic publisher whose products they surveyed at that time, I mean the board of directors, which seemed to them as unobjectionable as comics can be to an intelligent, mentally alert person, it seemed to them when a comic publisher of repute, who tries to produce a good product, comes to an educational organization and does not ask for some front people, but asks for consultation on a continuing basis, it would certainly be most derelict on our part to say that because there are some poor comic publishers with which this man has nothing to do at all, we should refuse our services.

The association knew at the time that the services of our consultant would be made known in every comic book and they have been ever since.

At one point our consultant demanded that her name be removed from one of these books, and it was so removed until a complete revision of editorial policy of that particular magazine occurred.

The point I want to make also is that our consultant in addition on a regular basis worked with a radio program of that producer, of that particular comic-book producer, a merely to indicate that this is consultation which can be shown on the record to have been active and fruitful.

However. I want to emphasize again this is still an on-going process. I would be totally incapable of being an editor of this kind of publication because it goes against my grain and taste, but that is another matter.

I still say sir, that the magazines of this particular publisher have nothing to do whatever with the subject of your inquiry.

Mr. BEASER. You are talking about the National Comics Publication putting out Superman and so forth?

Mr. DYBWAD. Yes, sir.

Mr. BEASER. Do you know the ownership of National Comics Publication?

Mr. DYBWAD. I am not intimately acquainted with it. I know it is a company of several people.

Again my ignorance is due to the fact that this goes back so many years. It was at the time carefully gone into by our attorneys and by our people.

Mr. BEASER. Would you be surprised, Mr. Dybwad, to learn that one of the owners of the Superman group, National Comics, is listed in the certificate they must file, as F. Iger, and that her husband is publishing this stuff?

Mr. DYBWAD. I would be surprised, but for the fact that a few days ago this was intimated to me. Otherwise, I would be thoroughly surprised and this is a question─

Mr. BEASER. That is material issued by the American Comics Group, one of the owners being listed as Frederick H. Iger.

Mr. DYBWAD. I never heard of the man, completely unknown to me and as far as I have known, he has not been one of the people with whom we have had contact. I have absolutely no knowledge of that.

I again emphasize an investigation was made in 1941 whether at that time such a relationship existed. At that time one should have gone in this. Mind you, sir, crime comics were not in existence at that time and I think we must be very mindful of this, that the statements which we made earlier, particularly the first one, preceded by far the actual crime comic.

Even at that time we warned against a tendency, but this kind of stuff, as you know, sir, is new.

Now, whether we should have had a continual annual investigation by a detective agency of these people, that is a matter of conjecture. We never have had contact with this particular person.

I still say that this publisher here does not produce such stuff, save for the fact that you may object to a killing on Gang Busters or what not.

The CHAIRMAN. Are you sure that this publisher has, as you referred to him, no connection with any of these crime comics?

Mr. DYBWAD. I don't know why this would play a particular role as far as we are concerned. We are concerned, were concerned and are concerned─

The CHAIRMAN. It plays a role as far as this subcommittee is concerned.

Mr. DYBWAD. That is right. As far as we are concerned, here is a publisher who produces what would go, I think, with any objective examiner as one of the best groups of comics in this country relatively speaking.

Mr. BEASER. You can't talk of him, Mr. Dybwad, as him. That is owned by 6 or 7 stockholders. One of the stockholders is the wife of the same person who is putting out the crime and horror stuff that you see up there. There is a connection.

Those magazines may be clean. But the same owner, or the wife of the owner, is also putting out the other kind of material.

Mr. DYBWAD. Now, what do you think we should do about this matter, because you seem to imply this requires action. Should we therefore say we are no longer interested in helping this publisher to produce these things?

You see, we are bringing up a new fact I did not know. As far as we knew this was a comic publishing company which produced these magazines. Beyond that, behind it we didn't go.

I don't know whether you know, sir, when this particular woman married this particular man and began to publish that particular comic I think we are going a little bit afield as far as we are concerned.

However, this new fact I will call to the attention of our board of directors and I hope from the minutes of this committee I can get full evidence.

But this does not detract from the work we have done with this; publisher and from my statement that these comics seem to have very little connection with the inquiry of this committee.

I want to reiterate that the function of our organization also has relatively little to do with the inquiry of this committee as far as we are concerned. I would not have come to testify here unless I had the invitation of the counsel and I did so gladly because the particular problem of your committee, delinquency, not comics, but delinquency, is not the area in which we work and in which I am now working.

Professionally it was the area in which I have spent, sir, some 15 years, and, therefore, I have on a personal basis certain competence in the field.

Senator KEFAUVER. Mr. Chairman, just for the record, I see one other here. I mentioned Gruenberg and Dr. Bender, Josette Frank. I find one other here on your board that is also apparently receiving pay from the National Comics. That is Dr. S. Harcourt Peppard. He also is on your board; is that not true?


Senator KEFAUVER. You have him listed here as one of the people that you rely upon, Dr. S. Harcourt Peppard, M. D., as acting director, Bureau of Child Guidance, New York City Board of Education. He is listed on the front here as one of the authorities that apparently has something to do with these studies.

I thought the record ought to show that he is also, along with Dr. Bender and Dr. Frank, on the editorial advisory board of this comic publication.

Mr. DYBWAD. Mr. Chairman, may I point out that as we indicated here we went at the time to a number of people, of the very few people who in those days were concerned about comics.

Now, Dr. Peppard, who I think long since has died, was an employee of the city of New York. As far as I recall he has never been even on our advisory board. He was never on our board of directors. He happened to be an intelligent man who early saw comics as something to be concerned with. The problem of I want to point out that in this particular document the Senator from Tennessee has made reference to so many times here, they are all very prominently listed, just as prominently as anything else, some strong condemnation of comics, radio, and others, and I quote, for instance, here from Dr. Alpert who says:

Comics have a thrill, make aggression too easy- and too colorful and in that way threaten eruption of the child's own precariously, controlled aggressive impulse. Fear inevitably follows.

And so on.

In other words, in this compendium you will find just as prominently displayed very strong condemnation of comics, or, should I say, very strong feelings about the bad effects of comics as there were statements to the effect from some other people that there were no such effects.

I think it was a particular contribution again of our organization that it put out these statements and pointed out, and again I say in the spring of 1948 that there was considerable question about the comics and that future study would be indicated.

Mr. BEASER. You are concerned, though, that those statements are now being misused?

Mr. DYBWAD. Sir, by whom are they being misused? Nobody has told me they are being misused. You made reference to it in some conversation sometime ago. I would be most interested in hearing from this committee to what extent they are being misused.

The only use I have seen is in an undocumented comment, false statement, in the book of Mr. Wertham.

Mr. BEASER. You yourself said that the 1943 studies are being distributed now as though they were current.

Mr. DYBWAD. I, myself, said to the contrary.

Mr. BEASER. Not by you, but by others?

Mr. DYBWAD. I said that most carelessly Mr. Wertham in his book implied that they were being distributed.

Senator HENNINGS. And they are not being distributed?

Mr. DYBWAD. The have not, sir, and have not been for years.

So that Mr. Wertham who wrote this book takes stuff out of context. His entire book has not one documented reference of our material so that it is impossible for me to go through tens of thousands of pages to see where he picked this particular sentence.

In other words, he has presented an entirely unscientific study which is a mockery of research, said this was being circulated. Our studies have not been circulated because we are fully aware that they were made at a time when this material was not there.

However, I think, Mr. Chairman, we, and I speak with a straight face, should come in for some commendation that very early already, and in the strongest language we pointed at the dangers of these comics.

If you will read over the various statements which I have put into my particular remarks here, you will find that they add up to some very strong statements.

Senator HENNINGS. May I ask this, as a matter of information?

The CHAIRMAN. Senator Hennings.

Senator HENNINGS. If you felt strongly as you did in 1948 about what you felt to be the dangerous trend, the unhappy trend in the nature and character of these publications, why did you not do anything more recently now that that fear has been fulfilled?

Mr. DYBWAD. 1952 ─ that was the reason that I referred to that ─ we once more have pointed this up.

Again, remember, we are not a social-action bureau. We are not the Association children's bureau; we are not the National Probation and Parole. However, to be specific, may I, with your permission, read from a forthcoming book, which is published today, sir, it so happens, by Miss Josette Frank, which is published by Doubleday, a book on children's reading.

Miss Frank in this book ─ and I have to admit, Mr. Chairman, I don't have the page quotation. I shall be glad to document this. I only saw the galleys ─ Miss Frank has this to say:

Despite all that may be said for the validity of comics as a form of communication, one cannot dismiss lightly the other side of the picture. The most serious parental objections are not to their technique or to their art, but to their content. The apparitions to which this medium of comic lends itself are of coarse abhorrent to parents and probably not very attractive to numbers of children.

The fact is that irresponsible publishers have found it both easy and profitable to exploit the taste of a part of the reading public for horror and sex. For the most part experience and observation show that these are not the comics written and enjoyed by a large number of children. Still they are available on the newsstands along with the children's favorites and their lurid covets and uncouth promises of what may lie within may well lure the curious of whatever age.

There is no more excuse for licentious publishing in this field than any other and it is perhaps either more unconscionable here because it is more available than any other reading matter. The publishers have a responsibility and certain of them recognizing the excess to which this fluent medium has been subjected have set standards of their own in consultation with interested psychologists and educators. These standards not only have to do with content, but quality of printing and artwork and they establish both positive and negative guides, what is and what is not suitable for children.

Policy rules out bloody or bat figures, sadism and torture, and ridiculing of law-enforcement agencies. It sets certain standards for lettering and dialog.

This is a quotation by which certainly Miss Frank on April 22, 1954, once more goes on record through the auspices of Doubleday Co., one of the largest publishers, in a book which will certainly once more bring this message.

But, you see, Senator Hennings, who should follow up on this is now the question. What do Government agencies, what do private organizations, what do citizen organizations do who work in the field of social action? That is a question.

But we once more have stated, and I want to gladly submit that Miss Frank has so stated in this book which appears today as ─

Senator HENNINGS. What is the title of Miss Frank's book?

Mr. DYBWAD. "Our Children's Reading Today." Doubleday & Co. And this is not a commercial, Mr. Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN. When will that be on the market?

Mr. DYBWAD. Today. As of today it may be purchased.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Dybwad, in this testimony of yours which has been somewhat extended now, I gather that your main point was to draw a distinction between this type lying on the table before you there, that type of comic and the crime comic.

Mr. DYBWAD. That is right.

The CHAIRMAN. That is where you make your sharp distinction?

Mr. DYBWAD. And there is a. hard distinction to make, sir, because for instance, yesterday ─ and I had the privilege of listening to the proceedings over the radio ─ reference was made to a particular number of people getting killed in any one story; that kind of thing, of course, would easily happen in any kind of murder mystery or crime mystery.

Now, I still say that in this age of detective reading, in this age when the greatest of intellectual leaders in this country freely admit that for relaxation they read detective stories, there has to he a very difficult job done and that is, where are the limits of the legitimate matter, Mr. District Attorney, this is your FBI, Gang Buster shows, and this.

Now, I hope you won't send me home with the task of submitting criteria. Still, I would again emphasize, sir, not defensively, but feeling perfectly relaxed, that we have done a great deal in this field, that that was one of the very approaches which we started out with in our first study, to skip criteria because you could not say crime comics are bad, but we tried to set up what kind of crime comics are bad, what kind of fantastic adventures are bad, what kind of war stories are bad.

So we tried to set up these criteria, but believe me, sir, that is a pretty hard task.

I have, at times, after a particularly hard week, listened Friday nights to some of these FBI and mystery stories which seem to gather at that particular evening, and I have had my doubts at times.

Some of it seemed to be very good, and others a little bit more questionable.

But certainly a clear line cannot be drawn. But I would say that I fully agree with you that our viewpoint is that there is a new medium about, not just radio, not just TV, but comics.

Children today read comics, read them in tremendous numbers, millions of them who never get in trouble.

We also have in this very same medium some exceedingly poor, distasteful and I say, dangerous stuff. When I say dangerous, I merely rephrase what I have said before. I will come out quite bluntly here that you may say we hedged on one thing. If you feel that we should have recommended censorship, police censorship of these, indeed we did not do so purposely because we don not think this is a good American method in the first place, and we feel in the second place, with that kind of publisher censorship will never work because the fly-by-night man escapes censorship and the good publisher is hit by it.

But we have felt that community action should be forthcoming, civic action, action through the trade associations, and so on.

We still feel so today. We still hope that out of this committee's work some new avenues of approach will come which will put a definite stop to the publication and availability of these comics.

I will say further that that will be a distinct contribution, not just in general to children's welfare, but I would say more specifically that this would be a contribution to the broad approach to delinquency prevention.

That, I am certainly ready to say.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Dybwad, the Chair wishes to thank you. You will produce for the record, will you not, the list of your board of directors, the list of your membership, and the list of your contributors.

Mr. DYBWAD. That I certainly will.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

Postby admin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 9:53 pm

The next witness?

Mr. BEASER. Mr. William Friedman.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you will give before this subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate, will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?



Mr. BEASER. Mr. Friedman, will you state for the record your full name, address, and your profession?

Mr. FRIEDMAN. My name is William Friedman. I reside at 250 East 90th Street, in New York City. I am a lawyer by profession and, incidentally, interested in some comic magazines.
Mr. BEASER. Which comic magazines are you interested in? Are those the three, or do you publish others?

Mr. FRIEDMAN. Referring to the magazines which are on the board, I am interested in the company which controls Mysterious Adventures and Fight Against Crime.

Mr. BEASER. Have you anything to do with Beware?

Mr. FRIEDMAN. No, I have nothing to do with the magazine Beware.

Mr. BEASER. Have you anything to do with the magazine Dark Mysteries?

Mr. FRIEDMAN. Yes, but the magazine Dark Mysteries, I assist in the editing of the magazine.

Mr. BEASER. That is put out by─

Mr. FRIEDMAN. It is put out by a corporation known as Master Comics ─ that particular magazine is issued by a company known as Master Comics. I don't remember if I ever had any interest in Master Comics. At least I have no interest now.

Mr. BEASER. You have no interest now?

Mr. FRIEDMAN. That is right, sir, except as assisting in the editing of that magazine.

Mr. BEASER. That is right.

Mr. FRIEDMAN. I am not the editor of this magazine. It is edited by people which we retain, but that is not the important point.

Mr. BEASER. You are the publisher of this magazine?

Mr. FRIEDMAN. I am associated with the publisher and one of the people interested in the company as an officer of the company.

Mr. BEASER. Are you responsible for getting the magazine out?

Mr. FRIEDMAN. I accept responsibility in the sense that our corporation owns that. I don't think that there is anything wrong with the type of material which is presented on this board.

Now, this material is undoubtedly taken from a story with which at this moment I am not familiar. It is undoubtedly taken out of context in the story.

Mr. BEASER. This is the one, Mr. Friedman ─

Mr. FRIEDMAN. May I finish?

Mi. BEASER. Go ahead.

Mr. FRIEDMAN. This magazine is a magazine devoted to detective stories, crime stories, and as such these pictures and the pictures in those hooks show stories of crime and of detection.

Crime itself is not pretty. Detective work, police work, of itself is not delicate.

I heard testimony here yesterday concerning the fact that crime should not be shown in a revolting manner. Well, I disagree with that answer because I believe the more undesirable crime is shown, the more ugly crime is shown, the less attractive it is.

You can't show stories of detective work, you can't show stories of crime in a pretty state, or in a delicate state, because then I believe that it would be attractive. It would perhaps invite a susceptible mind.

Mr. BEASER. But must you show, Mr. Friedman, the knife coming out of a back of a bloody body, or a child drowning his stepmother in quicksand?

Mr. FRIEDMAN. Frankly, I am not familiar with that particular context, but that is the scene of the crime; you either hide the crime from public view or you show the scene of the crime. If you have crime stories ─ and I honestly do not know, and I say that because this investigative body, this honorable subcommittee of the Senate, is trying to arrive now at facts that perhaps I am also trying to arrive at because of what I have heard ─ have these crime stories any impact on juvenile delinquency?

The CHAIRMAN. That is the issue.

Mr. FRIEDMAN. That is the issue.

From what I have heard, because there is a question, I would also like to have that question answered.

But from the evidence that I have heard before this committee, from the very vociferous witnesses who appeared yesterday, the publisher of a book, from the evidence that I heard yesterday, he had 3,000 cases before him in a period of perhaps 5 to 6 years, and if I remember his evidence correctly, he could not point to a single instance in which he said that the particular juvenile was caused to become a delinquent because he read any particular kind of comic magazines.

Mr. BEASER. Were you here all day yesterday, Mr. Friedman?

Mr. FRIEDMAN. No, sir.

Mr. BEASER. Let me add one thing to your statement. As I recall Dr. Wertham's testimony, it related to the fact he could not find one single case that he could point to as having been caused by a crime comic, but he was testifying to the effect that it had a positive effect. But in the morning sir, we had Dr. Peck, of the Children's Court, here, who did testify that on an emotionally disturbed child these crime and horror comics would have an effect.

Mr. FRIEDMAN. Counselor, I think you will agree with me that every conceivable action taken ─ the time of day, the weather ─ has some sort of reaction, some sort of an impression on an emotionally disturbed child, and also on a normal child.

I also read the testimony, I believe, of your Mr. Clendenen. I am sorry I was not here to hear his testimony. He also asserted he could not find any particular juvenile that was led to delinquency by the comic books that he came in contact with.

I also heard the testimony, if I may, of the gentleman who was here this morning, and that gentleman in a period of his associations, years in contact with the comic books, and his study of thousands and thousands of children, in his association with Warwick, has never come in contact with one individual ─

Mr. BEASER. Are you not engaging in semantics, Mr. Friedman?

Mr. FRIEDMAN. I am not. I am trying to be honest in your answers.

Mr. BEASER. Are you not trying to say you can't point to a comic book which is a direct cause of a crime rather than talking about whether crime and horror comic books may be a contributing factor in the total scene, in the total action of a child?

Mr. FRIEDMAN. I did try to say before, and I am not a psychiatrist, that from what I have heard it appears to me that everything is a contributing factor to a child who is a delinquent, whether it is a rainy day, whether he has 5 cents in his pocket, or has not got 5 cents in his pocket, but I would like to come back to what I was mentioning before ─ this other witness who was here this morning also indicated there was no single incident.

Now, it seems to me, gentlemen, and I am honestly trying to find a conclusion, if these comics are, as a matter of fact, harming, if they cause delinquency, I would be the first one to discontinue them.

What are the facts that have been portrayed before me and before this committee that I can put my finger on to say that they do cause juvenile delinquency?

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Friedman, rather than review the testimony we have had, could I get back to the question of the manner in which you supervise the editorial production of this magazine. In other words, you are the one who tells the story writer the kind of story you want, or does that work vice versa, and what limits do you put upon what can appear in your magazine?

Mr. FRIEDMAN. The editor of this magazine had been engaged in comic book magazine editing business for many years.

Mr. BEASER. Who is that?

Mr. FRIEDMAN. That is Miss Ray. I trust her in the production of the magazine.

I will say from what I have heard in the testimony given yesterday while I was here, and today, that since there is a question that has arisen, as to the impact or nonimpact of certain types of stories of detection or police work and crime and of phantasy ─ and horror, I will say after hearing the testimony and hearing the good Senators say that they believe that a certain code might answer the problem, I will ask my editor to follow that code; not because I believe in censorship, but until ─

Mr. BEASER. Is it not true, Mr. Friedman, most of your material could not be published if you adhere to the code? You could not show pictures of a knife coming out of the back of a man, not under the code.

Mr. FRIEDMAN. I frankly do not know whether the code says that ─ I believe the code does say something about not showing the actual acts of commission of crime.

Mr. BEASER. That is right, sir.

Mr. FRIEDMAN. As I said, since there is a question that does arise, I will instruct my editor to attempt to adhere to the code, about which you spoke yesterday, a copy of which I haven't, and if you attempted to break it down I could not tell you what is in there and what is not in there, but if that is a more acceptable procedure, we will try to adhere.

Mr. BEASER. The only question I want to know is in the present preparation have you any general instructions which you give to your editor, Miss Ray, as to what should appear in this crime, horror, and terror magazine?

Mr. FRIEDMAN. Up to this time we have not given her any particular instructions.

Mr. BEASER. Have you had occasion to change any of the pictures or stories she has come back with to make them less crime, horror, and terror?

Mr. FRIEDMAN. We may have changed the pictures. I do not remember at this time whether we changed them for the purpose you state or for any other purpose.

Mr. BEASER. Do you recall whether you may have changed them to make them more horror, crime, and terror?

Mr. FRIEDMAN. I will say to you that we interfere so little in the work of our artists and script writers and editors that the changing that I might do is infinitesimal. The couple of books in which I am interested, perhaps I approach them from a legalistic attitude, meaning by that that I have done a great deal of work in the field of censorship. I have read the books written by Morris L. Ernst. I have read the book written by Mr. Hayes; I have read the book written by the professor at Harvard who did the basic work on the question of censorship.

I was interested in the famous Winters case which our Supreme Court had before them 3 or 4 times.

Mr. BEASER. None of them ever described crime, terror, and horror comic books?

Mr. FRIEDMAN. The Winters case was a crime-and-horror book.

Mr. BEASER. Comic book?

Mr. FRIEDMAN. I don't know how you can differentiate, Counsel, between the production or the envisionment of detection and crime work in a comic book as against another mass media.

One of your witnesses here yesterday ─ well, I won't go into that, but it so happened I happened to look at the same newspaper he looked at and I looked at last night's Telegram. I have last night's Telegram with me and by actual count there are 25 to 30 stories dealing with crime.

Mr. BEASER. That is the statement made by Mr. Gaines?

Mr. FRIEDMAN. It is not, counsel, because that is different newspaper.

Mr. BEASER. The same type.

Mr. FRIEDMAN. The point I am making is that we attempt to make perhaps, rightfully or wrongfully, I don't know, but attempting to make a whipping boy out of one particular field of mass ─ not the Senators here, because they have asserted they were trying to find what the honest fact is ─

Mr. BEASER. Let me ask you a question ─

Mr. FRIEDMAN. Let me finish, counselor. That a whipping boy is being made out of one particular facet of the means of information devoted to crime and horror and detection work as such.

But there are perhaps as many titles of so-called crime pulp magazines, as many titles also as so-called true crime detective magazines and they have been in existence for more than I can remember, for longer than I can remember. There are the movie depictions, there are the television depictions, and to make a particular whipping boy out of one facet of it and say that if these were removed from sight the others would have no impact or would not have the same impact, I am not honestly prepared to state, but I don't believe that we can make such a distinction.

Senator HENNINGS. Mr. Chairman; I thought I understood Mr. Friedman to say that he did not conceive this committee to have made a predetermination of this.

Mr. FRIEDMAN. That is right.

Senator HENNINGS. I just wanted to emphasize that again and make that abundantly clear. We are trying to find out.

I think this whole business is enormously complex. You being a lawyer will know what I mean when I talk about proximate cause, not as an expert or a psychiatrist, but as someone who has been a district attorney, I have spent a great many years in criminal courts on felony cases and matters of that kind.

I wonder to what extent this sort of thing, whether simply synonymous on a newsstand by a youngster or an older man or woman who may be upon the brink or verge of doing something or other of law violation, whether this may not be just enough seeing something lurid, seeing something suggestive.

So seeing something which has implications, I wonder if in some cases, this or a television show or moving picture or any of the media, might not be that straw that may lead to violation.

Mr. FRIEDMAN. Mr. Senator, I honestly am not qualified to state. I would conclude with those observations if I may, that it is: surprising to me that in attempting to seek a conclusionary fact, some say ─ our author of yesterday in his address in which, he confounded all comic books and in which he took Superman who has been a hero to our boys and took that famous story Tarzan, and took that very interesting publication ─ that is not a sexy publication, Wonderman ─ and takes Howdy Doody and lumps them all together and says they are all bad.

Why? With this tremendous so-called accumulation, Senator, of perhaps not 40 million a month, 20 million a month, there has not been one incident to which these people who are, interested in the subject can point and say this is a juvenile delinquent, caused by X medium in the comic book or television field.

I think it makes your work so exceedingly difficult. And makes our rehashing just as difficult.

Mr. BEASER. You realize, Mr. Friedman, of course, that the experts are also unable to point to a particular child and say that be is a juvenile delinquent just because of sadism or just because of this. The single causative factor is not what the experts are saying.

Mr. FRIEDMAN. As a good lawyer you would have to come to the conclusion that you have no facts before you upon which you can make a reaction or a conclusion that the cause or the assisting cause to juvenile delinquency is the medium you might be attacking at the moment. Your very witnesses before you all came to the conclusion that came to me. First, that there was no appreciable reaction on juvenile delinquency as far as they knew, including the author. They came to the second conclusion that there be some reaction, there might be some impact, but they didn't know.

Mr. BEASER. Let me clarify one thing, before you go. You mentioned, and Mr. Gaines yesterday seized upon the fact that in many newspapers there are stories of so many holdups, so many robberies. In any of those were the actual pictures of dead bodies shown with knives coming out of the body?

Mr. FRIEDMAN. Counselor, let me put it this way as far as the newspapers are concerned. We have the finest newspapers in the world. They enjoy freedom of the press as they should.

In our democratic countries they are uncensored, as they should be. I would say to you, Counselor, that if and when these newspapers are able to get the scene of an actual crime, a Valentine massacre, a drowning, come upon a dead body, that is the newspaper photographers ambition.

You know that as well as I. Is it right or wrong, Counselor, I don't know.

Mr. BEASER. I was trying to get the total impact, Mr. Friedman, from the total number you gave. That is all.

The CHAIRMAN. Does the Senator from Missouri have any questions?

Senator HENNINGS. No.

The CHAIRMAN. The Chair wishes to thank you for your appearance this morning. The subcommittee understands it is a problem. We do not know the answer to it. But it is a very difficult problem.

Mr. FRIEDMAN. Thank you, Senator.
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

Postby admin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 9:58 pm

Mr. BEASER. Dr. Loretta Bender.

The CHAIRMAN. Dr. Bender, will you be sworn, please.

Do you solemnly swear that the evidence you will give to this subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate, will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Dr. BENDER. I do.


The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, will you state your full name, address, and association, for the record, please?

Dr. BENDER. My full name is Dr. Lauretta Bender. I am an M. D. My New York City residential address is 140 West 16th Street. I have quite a number of associations.

The major ones are that I am a senior psychiatrist on the psychiatric division of Bellevue Hospital, a civil-service position in New York City, a position I have had since 1930, and since 1934 I have been in charge of the children's ward.

I am also a professor of clinical psychiatry in New York University Medical School. I am also on the training program of the Veterans Administration, which is associated with the New York University Medical School.

I am on the editorial board of the National Comic Companies as an adviser, on the advisory editorial board.

This spring I accepted an appointment as consultant in child psychiatry in the New Jersey Neuropsychiatric Institute. I think that covers the major ones.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.

Counsel, you may proceed to examine the doctor.

Mr. BEASER. Doctor, we are inquiring here into the possible effects of crime and horror comics on children, both normal and some who are emotionally disturbed.

Could you give us your opinion of the possible effects of this kind of reading material, crime and horror comics books, on say, the emotionally disturbed children, or normal child?

Dr. BENDER. In the field of the emotionally disturbed child, I have long been considered a professional expert. I consider myself such. My experience you have to realize is with children under the age of 12.

However, it is true that I have been working 20 years with these children. Many of them have now reached adolescence and adulthood.

In my early years in working at Bellevue Hospital when we were hard put to find techniques for exploring the child's emotional life, his mind, his ways of reacting, when the child was separated from the home and brought to us in the wards at Bellevue, I found the comics early one of the most valuable means of carrying on such examinations, and that was the beginning of my interest in the comic books.

So that my first scientific paper on the comics appeared I believe I gave it in 1940 before the National American Neuropsychiatric Association and it was published in 1941, before I had any connection whatever with the comic people.

Now, when you ask me as broad a question as to what is the possible effect of such horror comic books ─ and the gesture makes it also broader ─ upon the emotionally disturbed and the normal child, it is almost overwhelmingly a broad statement.

However, I have spent a great deal of time; I have written many articles. I too, have a book in press which has at least a chapter on this subject, otherwise deals with it, and in general it is my opinion that the comics, as I have known them and worked with them through these years and the kind of emotionally disturbed children that I have known and worked with, and my own three normal children show a remarkable capacity to select from the comics material they need and can use, a capacity which should not be underrated and it is one of the specific characteristics of the comics that this kind of a selection can be used on the comics where it cannot be used, for example, in a movie. It can be used in television and it can be used in radio, by the television so they can turn it off.

Mr. BEASER. What do you mean by selection. Selections of comics themselves, or selections out of the comics?

Dr. BENDER. Both. Children love to collect comics. I will also say that the less intelligent children and those who have the less reading capacity collect the most comics. It is the story that we used to tell in school that if we could sleep on that enormous tome conceivably we could get something out of it and pass our exams the next day.

In fact, I have frequently said I can make a diagnosis on a non reading child who is brought into my presence for the first time with comic books stored away in his blouse ─ boys don't like the word "blouse," excuse me, shirt ─ like the squirrel has nuts stored away in their cheeks ─ now, as to these, Mr. Clendenen brought them in to me the other day. I told him I hadn't seen any of these.

The children don't bring them on the ward at Bellevue. My children don't bring them at home.

And when I tried to look through some of them I thought they were unspeakably silly. The more an artist tries to show horror and the more details he puts into the picture, which most poor artists do, the sillier the thing becomes, and the children laugh at it.

The children also will frequently tell me ─ for instance, on television, I have to listen to it with my own children occasionally and I am aghast, "My God, how can you stand such things, children?"

They say, "Mom, don't you know it is only television, it is not real."

In my opinion it is the same thing about these comics.

Mr. BEASER. A child would not identify himself or herself with any one of the figures in there? For example, we had a picture yesterday and a story about a child who murdered her foster mother.

Dr. BENDER. Mr. Clendenen told me that story.

Mr. BEASER. In the final shot they showed the child getting away with the three murders. Do you think that a child would identify himself or herself with the little girl?


Mr. BEASER. Would the child identify?

Dr. BENDER. The child would only identify itself with such a child who had committed these 3 murders if there had been 3 murders in the child's family, for which people were looking suspiciously at this child.

In that case the child with horror would throw the comics out of the window.

Mr. BEASER. Would the child identify its mother ─ or its father, with the mother and father in the story comic?

Dr. BENDER. Not unless their mother and father were like that mother and father.

Mr. BEASER. Since delinquency does appear in broken homes as well as others, assuming this is a broken home and they depicted a broken home, would the child identify his own mother and father with the pictures in the comic book?

Dr. BENDER. If he would so identify himself, then it would be his tendency again to discard the comic book or go into a panic. I have seen children in panics, as I say, not over comics usually because they are easily rejected, but over movies. I have seen children brought to me in terrible panics, and interestingly enough most often the Walt Disney movies which do depict very disturbing mother figures.

The mothers are always killed or sent to the insane asylums in Walt Disney movies. They are among my experience for Frankenstein, the worst movies in the world for children who have had a problems of the loss of a parent.

I can speak of that within feeling because I have 3 children who lost their father when they when babies and I know the problem of exposing children to such problems as this.

It can throw them into the kind of anxiety which is distressing, but the children will leave if they can or they will not read the comics, they will reject it.

Mr. BEASER. We had another one of a child in a foster home whose foster parents turned out to be werewolves and he turned out to he a werewolf. What effect would that have on a child who is awaiting foster placement, or who has been in foster placement?

Dr. BENDER. Mr. Clendenen has told me about that, too, and, after all, he is a social worker who has dealt with the placement of foster children. I wondered, after all, at the kind of imagination, if I can apologize in advance, that would conceive of anyone giving such a comic to a such a child under such circumstances.

The chance of its happening, or course in infinitesimally small, and I think the child would only read it provided it was held down and the thing was read to it forcibly.

Even then, I think if he was a where near a wholesome child would laugh at the situation and probably after looking at the foster mother when he got in the place and finding she did not look like a werewolf, be might say, "Well, you are not even a werewolf after all," or something like that.

Mr. BEASER. But the child awaiting foster placement has a number of normal fears?

Dr. BENDER. Certainly.

Mr. BEASER. So that is fair game, practically, for such a child?

Dr. BENDER. That is true.

Mr. BEASER. Now, what about the effects of the crime and horror comics on a hostile child. Could he possibly find suggestions and also support for doing some of these things?

In other words, he sees it there and he is going to do it.

The CHAIRMAN. Did counsel use the word "hostile"?

Mr. BEASER. Hostile.

Dr. BENDER. You asked me could he?

Of course, he could, but I do not know of a single instance in which it has occurred. I would also say this, that a hostile child who is committing such crimes, even if he was one of those collecting crime books, collecting comic books of all types and carrying them around with him, does not usually take time out to go into, the library or to find a reading place to sit down and study these books.

It is conceivable, and I am sure of enough research work is done, sooner or later someone or other can find an incident in which a child can be got to say that he got the idea from such and such a comic book.

I would not doubt but that maybe 10 cases could be found in the United States.

But if you then said to the child, "Did you ever see such a thing on television or movies" or "Did you ever hear about it anywhere else, too?" ─ well, the situation obviously becomes less specific.

Mr. BEASER. We have heard this, and I do not know, at this point from what source: Would, you consider that excessive reading of crime and horror comics is symptomatic of emotional maladjustment? Does that indicate something might be wrong?

Dr. BENDER. Yes; I would say that.

Mr. BEASER. If you came on a child who is devouring this stuff day and night?

Dr. BENDER. Well, let me be even a bit ─ maybe I should not be as personal as this. As I saw, I had 3 children whose father was violently killed when the youngest one was a week old, in an automobile accident, not a gang war, and those 3 children have that problem. How can such things happen?

Most children don't have such problems. Mothers can, do the best they can to reassure such children.

The oldest boy cannot tolerate anything in the way of a story, even Peter Rabbit who, if you recall your Peter Rabbit, went into a garden where his father got into an accident at the hands of hoe of a farmer and had been put in a rabbit pie.

I had to take him screaming out of the puppet show on that picture.

He would leave the room if Jack and the Beanstalk was being read to other children. He would turn off the radio and he would reject any book or any comic that had any of these problems.

My second son, who was a little older and a different type of child, instead of rejecting it has tried to solve the problem, and he is not so much addicted to crime comics, he is not addicted to crime comics at all, as far as that is concerned, but he loves to watch for hours on end television radio, and movies which deal with these subjects.

I think for him it is an effort to find a solution of the mystery of life and death and how it can happen that a child's father can leave him even before the child knows the father.

For my daughter, who was a baby, just last year in school she spent the time writing for her teacher crime stories, murder stories, in which the bloody head of the person who had been attacked would lie on the lap of the beloved person, whoever it was, and an effort would be made to soothe it.

This worried her teacher very much and she came to me with this problem she said, "Is she reading too many crime comics?" I said; “As far as I know she doesn’t read them at all.” Not that I refuse them to her. She doesn't listen to television the second child does, and she doesn't go to the movies very often.
But I said, “It is her way of solving her problem.”

Now she has gotten that problem solved apparently. She has gone through this, and for her it is her solution.

Now, I can well imagine children, and I know plenty of disturbed children from homes where they have less support than my children do, because, after all, my children have not only had the support of myself, but of our very many friends, who on occasions of these various things and, after all, there are lots of children in the world whose fathers have been killed by gangsters or who don't know who their fathers are, and who live in a gangster's world and whose fathers are gangsters killing other people ─ I don't know that crime is quite as bad in the world as we try to make it out to be, and these children I am sure will be disturbed by such things.

If they have to be exposed to them, or are exposed to them, they should have a wise adult who can discuss the matters with them and talk it over with them.

Mr. BEASER. Many of them do not.

Dr. BENDER. Many of them do not.

Mr. BEASER. You are on the editorial advisory board of the Superman Comics?

Dr. BENDER. That is right.

Mr. BEASER. I gather you were in the courtroom today and heard discussion?

Dr. BENDER. I was.

By the way I am not in any way connected with the Child Study Association. That was implied and it was a mistake. It is merely that Josette Frank interviewed me for one of her articles.

Mr. BEASER. You were one of the resource persons?

Dr. BENDER. I was one of the resource persons from which she got expert testimony, let us say, and wrote the article.

It is true now, I am an editorial adviser of the Child Study Association. That is another one of my jobs that I do not even get a dollar a year for.

Mr. BEASER. What I cannot understand is that with all the listings of the associations you belong to must be pretty busy. How do you get time to read the comic books of the National Superman?

Dr. BENDER. I read the ones which look to me to be of some interest. I give the rest to the children at Bellevue and let them read them and tell me what they think about them. I give them to teachers, psychiatrists. I take them home to my children.

And if there is any question about one, and frequently there is for instance, about 2 years ago one of the psychiatrists wrote me in dismay saying that be, had picked up a comic his daughter brought him which a psychiatrist had been abused in his opinion and found my name on the advisory board and wondered how I could justify such a thing.

In this particular comic the storywriter had thought up a new form of what might be called shock treatment, in which a wife, who was jealous of her husband, had been exposed by the husband, at the advice of his psychiatrist, to actual situations which could be interpreted as indicating that the husband was wanting to do her harm.

But then it ended up with the husband explaining everything and the psychiatrist coming in and explaining everything and the wife and the husband reunited in, their mutual understanding and love, and the psychiatrist going home. He lived next door.

The husband played chess with him, or something.

Well, this didn't look very bad to me. I said I was not even sure it was not a good idea, it has some good ideas in it. Maybe if we actually did try to portray some of the delusions of patients and showed we could explain, that might be away of exposing disillusionary ideas.

I showed them to the children in the ward, because they do have disillusonary ideas. The children in the ward thought that was a good story and they thought it was a good idea, it was like the kind of treatment we were giving them, which I had not thought of, in that fashion. They certainly thought it was a good way to cure the sick woman.

Mr. BEASER. But you saw this after the comic book had been on the stands?

Dr. BENDER. That is right. I am not responsible in any way whatsoever with what is published.

Mr. BEASER. And your duties as a member of the editorial advisory board consist of what?

Dr: BENDER. My duties on the editorial advisory board are to be consulted by them whenever they choose to consult me and to give them advice about matters which many think are problems in just the terms that you are trying to deal with today, and in the beginning when I worked with them, I also helped them work out their first code.

Whenever they have asked for my advice I have always made an immediate study as carefully as I can, have given them my advice and, to my knowledge, it has always been followed.

Mr. BEASER. How often does the board meet?

Dr. BENDER. It meets very irregularly and in the last 6 months I think we have not met. As a matter of fact, we don’t function as a board usually. Now and then we do. We have, sometimes in the past, been called together, as a board, to take up certain questions.

The CHAIRMAN. Are the members polled?

For example, you have a problem come before you, submitted to you. Do they poll all the members on that problem?

Dr. BENDER. I gather they do, because Mr. Dybwad, just ahead of me, told you about a letter which the Child Study Association got and the advice that they had given in regard to this copyrighted article from one of the comics, and I am sure it is the same letter I got and I gave the same advice and I thought they were following my advice, but obviously, they were following all our advices.

The CHAIRMAN. Are the board members compensated?

Dr. BENDER. Yes. I received $150 a month.

Mr. BEASER. I suppose each one of the members received the same compensation?

Dr. BENDER. No. I understand some of them get more because they are expected to give more service than I do. It is understood I am a very busy person. It is understood that the amount of time that I can give to it should be minimal, but in terms of my professional experience.

So I understand that some get more.

I understand, on the other hand, some get less because they have come in more recently than I have. As a matter of fact, when I went on this advisory board, it was when the Superman and National Comics were separated into two parts, and Mr. Gaines, Sr., the father of the gentleman who testified yesterday had his series of comics including Wonder Woman, and the Biblical ones and historical ones and what not. He paid me $50 and the Superman series paid me $100.

Later on the group was united, so I have been paid $l50 by the one publication.

The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, could you give the subcommittee a typical case of the sort of problem which comes to the board members?

Dr. BENDER. Yes; very easily. As a matter of fact, I don't see any reason for not being more specific about this last inquiry.

This was a question that there were concerns who wanted to produce a Superman uniform for children, realistic, and copyrighted. The National Publishing Co. said they had this request for many, many years, coming through and they had always turned it down because they were afraid that children would be hurt under the circumstances; but again, it had come up so persistently that they now wanted my advice about it.

So I advised them that in my experience children throughout the ages, long before Superman existed, tried, to fly, and also it has been my specific experience, since I have been at Bellevue Hospital, that certain children with certain emotional problems are particularly preoccupied with the problem of flying, both fascinated by it, and fearful of it.

And we frequently have on our ward at Bellevue the problem of making Superman capes in occupational therapy and then the children wearing them and fighting over them and one thing or another ─ and only about 3 months ago we had such, what we call epidemic, and a number of children were hurt because they tried to fly off the top of radiators or off the top of bookcases or what not and got bumps.

The CHAIRMAN. You mean they would, put these suits on and try to fly?

Dr. BENDER. That is right.

The sheets form many purposes to these children. Part of it is that it probably gives them the feeling of the power to fly.

It also gives them the feeling of protection, almost as if they were invisible when they wore the Superman cape or as if, they had the magic power of Superman, so if they wore a Superman’s cape they would have these magic powers.

The CHAIRMAN. This does show the influence of comics, then?

Dr. BENDER. That is true. I am sure the comics influence.

As I say, I have found one of the best methods in my experience to examine children is to get them to tell me their favorite comic book and to relate it and then analyze their material.

In adult psychiatry, dreams are analyzed.

The CHAIRMAN. If Superman could have that influence, what sort of influence do you think that picture there, called "Crime SuspenStories" would have?

Dr. BENDER. I can tell you why. This would have nowhere near. Superman represents an instinctive problem that we are all born and grown up with, that we can fly ─ after all, we can fly now; we couldn't before ─ and that we can carry on all kinds of scientific investigations, that we can stop crime, which Superman does, and that we can have a good influence on the world, and that we can be protected by the powerful influences in the world which may be our own parents, or may be the authorities, or what not.

Mr. BEASER. It is your considered judgment, then, that Superman has been a good influence?

Dr. BENDER. A good influence.

There is another reason why Superman has had good influence. That is the years of continuity of the Superman character. The children know that Superman will always come out on the right side.

On that, I can give you another story about what they wanted to do. At the end of the Second World War we bad the problem of a certain number of soldiers coming home as amputees.

One of the script writers got the bright idea that we ought to prepare children for their fathers coming home as amputees by having one of the characters ─ I don’t think it was Superman ─ one of the others ─ have an accident and lose his leg. They wanted to know what I thought about that idea. I said I thought it was absolutely terrible because I felt that the children loved this character and, after all, how many children were going to have to face the question of an amputee father?

Certainly there are far better ways of preparing such children for such a father than to have to shock the whole comic reading children public.

So I disapproved of it.

The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, suppose you were on the advisory board for some of these magazines, what would you recommend?

I am talking about the magazines which appear on the board there.

Dr. BENDER. Let us put it this way: Suppose you said, "Why don't you go on one of these and see," and then I would go on it and I would see. I would expose children to these comics an see what the result was.

Now, if you want to ask me what I think the result would be I think it would be minimal. I think that many of the children would be bored with them, I think that many of the children would refuse to read them and the more sophisticated would say, "So what, I have seen stuff like that before."

Mr. BEASER. But you do not actually know, Doctor?

The CHAIRMAN. You are talking about normal children, though?

Dr. BENDER. There is no such thing as a normal child.

The CHAIRMAN. There is not?


The CHAIRMAN. That is your medical opinion?

Dr. BENDER. That is my medical opinion.

The CHAIRMAN. How about a child that is deficient?

Dr. BENDER. Mentally deficient?

The CHAIRMAN. I mean delinquent, or has delinquent tendencies.

Dr. BENDER. As I told you before, it certainly is conceivable that you can find a certain number of children who will be, or could be pushed 1 or 2 steps further.

The CHAIRMAN. By this sort of literature?

Dr. BENDER. By this sort of literature. Of course, it is a drop in the bucket as far as all the experiences in the world that the children are exposed to, and an awfully small drop and an awfully big bucket.

Mr. BEASER. Doctor, when Mr. Dybwad was talking he said something about dividing the subject into two phases. One, the fact that the association was concerned about was the fact that these crime and horror comics were creating a climate in which the child was living and growing up and to which the child was exposed.

Do you share Mr. Dybwad's fears in that respect?

Dr. BENDER. I don't think the comic books are creating the climate.

Mr. BEASER. Are they a part of the climate?

Dr. BENDER. I think they are a reaction to the climate.

Mr. BEASER. Now, let me ask you one final question, Doctor.

Would you say ─ I suppose you would ─ that your opinion on this subject is in no way in influenced by the fact that you are member of the Superman comics advisory board?

Dr. BENDER. Well, it is a fair question and I think you were a little bit hard on Mr. Dybwad in that regard this morning.

Actually, the amount of money I get, $150 a month, is what I can get for one lecture such as I gave yesterday. I was all day yesterday in another State attending a scientific conference at which I gave a lecture ─ and which I can give once a week without any trouble ─ and it certainly is a small part of my income.

I would say this: The act that I am in this position as far as the National Comics are concerned has two influences.

I think I have influenced the National Comics Publications to some extent, and I think my continuing presence on their editorial board may represent a continuing influence, not only on the national comics but conceivably all of the publications, to some extent.

I would say that I have been somewhat more interested in the comics. I am furnished with the comics as they come out regularly. The fact, I am furnished. with three copies of them.

And I have in recent years especially been particularly interested not only in this sort of thing, but extremely interesting new phenomena in the comics.

The comics actually, if you follow the history of the comics, and I wish Dr. Wertham could have done this, because he is a brilliant scientist, if he could only realize what could be done with them, they have gone through phases of understanding the problems that the world is being shaken by continuously.

And now, most amazingly, they have, become aware of the problems which most concern us psychiatrists, and me particularly, and that is something which is a technical phase, the concept of the body image and what can happen to it under different emotional circumstances.

These are psychological problems and the uncanny capacity for the script writers to delve down into their own unconscious and dig up these problems and depict them to me is an amazing phenomenon.

I only wish that I had the time from my various other duties to sit down and do a job ─ not with these, I confess they don't interest me much ─ but with the psychological phenomena that, have occurred in the comic books and in terms of what they might mean to developing children.

Now, there was one type of comic that I disapproved of very thoroughly. When the comics first came out, Superman at least, the publishers of Parent magazine got out a little comic called ─

The CHAIRMAN. It used to be Hairbreadth harry, in my day.

Dr. BENDER. Were they good?

The CHAIRMAN. Very good.

Dr. BENDER. The Parent magazine got out a comic called True Comics. They were really very bad. The reason they were bad in that they showed historical situations of, let us say, sailors being thrown off the boat because the boat had been bombarded by the Nazis and they were jumping in an ocean of flaming oil.

There was just no help for these people ─

Mr. BEASER. What was bad with that? We saw pictures like that yesterday in some of these.

Dr. BENDER. O. K., but they weren't put out by the Parent Magazine Publications. The parents didn't approve of that, but these were approved by parents.

Mr. BEASER. You would disapprove of that?

Dr. BENDER. I disapprove of that.

They said, "This is good because it is history. This is real," which is another reason why it is bad.

They also gave a picture of colonial days where the mother was being tommyhawked by the Indians, with a baby at her breast, and the baby was being dropped on the ground. Now, this was history.

Certainly it is history, but do our children today have to be exposed to such things?

This is not history. I see no excuse whatsoever for a parent magazine group or an approved group approving that sort of thing. It was quite contrary to the code which we eventually established for the comic people.

The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, the Chair has before it a typewritten document entitled "Editorial policy of Superman ─ DC Publications." I will send that down to you and ask you if that is the code you helped prepare.

Dr. BENDER. I have seen this lately. No this is not the one I helped prepare. The one I helped prepare is the one this effect. That no character in the comic with whom the children could identify themselves, or their own parents, their own family, or the country; or their own side, should be irretrievably damaged, killed, or mutilated, and neither should such a person with whom the child: could identify himself or anyone on his side irretrievably damage or injure anyone else regardless of whether they were an enemy, or not.

That is to say, they should not have to bear the guilt of feeling that they were responsible for this damage having happened.

The CHAIRMAN. In what year was this code prepared?

Dr. BENDER. That code was prepared in the middle forties.

The CHAIRMAN. Have you ever seen this code?

Dr. BENDER. I just saw that for the first time night before last.

The CHAIRMAN. That is the code under which this publication is operating, is it not?

Dr. BENDER. Yes. It involves more or less the things I say except they go to certain other things.

The CHAIRMAN. They are more specific?

Dr. BENDER. They are more specific. Some of these things I wouldn't be so specific about.

The CHAIRMAN. As I understand it, Counsel, that code has been made part of the record?

Mr. BEASER. Yes, sir.

(The code referred to was submitted earlier by Mr. Gunnar Dybwad and appears on p. 70 as "Exhibit No. 9.")

The CHAIRMAN. Does counsel have any further questions?

Mr. BEASER. Just one.

You mentioned burning flames. Look at this picture here. It shows as a final scene a man being burned. You would object to that being distributed to children, would you not? I gathered that from your last remarks.

Dr. BENDER. I would say this: I think I could distribute that to the children. I don't know who the man is. I don't think they know who he is, do they?

Mr. BEASER. Supposing it was a magazine which depicted him as the father of a child, a father figure?

Dr. BENDER. Then I would object to it. You see, I objected to this thing about the sailors because it was our sailors.

Mr. BEASER. You would also object maybe to the sight of a child's mother and father being electrocuted?

Dr. BENDER. Well, I object to seeing that under any circumstances, if you don't mind.

Mr. BEASER. I have no further questions.

The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, the subcommittee is very grateful to you for coming here this morning. We know how busy you are. I am glad we got several points in the record cleared up.

The committee will now recess until 2 o'clock.

(At 1 p. m., a recess was taken until 2 p. m., same day).
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

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The CHAIRMAN. The hearing will be in order.

Counsel, will you call, the first witness for the afternoon's session?

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Chairman, before proceeding to call the next witness I would like to introduce in the record, a letter received from the American Psychological Association at our request, commenting upon crime, horror comic books, signed by Carl H. Rush, Jr., executive assistant.

The CHAIRMAN. Counsel has examined the communication carefully?

Mr. BEASER. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. It relates directly to the problem before us?

Mr. BEASER. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Without objection the letter will be included made incorporated in the record at this point. Let that be exhibit No. 22.

(The letter referred to was marked "Exhibit No. 22," and reads as follows:)



Washington, D C., April 20, 1954.


Subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency,

United States Senate, Washington, D. C.

DEAR Mr. CLENDENEN: In response to your letter of March 23, I should like to address myself to the general problem under consideration by the subcommittee which you represent. I have examined the comic books you sent and, although my initial reaction was one of surprise and disgust, I shall attempt to give you my considered opinion of their potential impact upon the behavior of children with special reference to juvenile delinquency. At the outset I should point out that I have had no direct experience with research on this, topic and have arrived at the opinions contained herein only after careful examination of published research on the topic and a logical analysis of the problem. I should also add that my comments represent the personal opinions of an individual psychologist and not the consensus or official statement of the 12,000 members of the American Psychological Association.

At first glance it seems utterly impossible that these so-called comic books could serve any useful or functional purpose. They are lurid, splashy, sensational, and fantastic. Lessons to be learned, if any, are obscured by the noise and violence of action. The language is ungrammatical and crude, which, parenthetically, is true of a much broader class of such publications. In short, it is difficult to see why anyone would read such trash. Yet, there is abundant evidence to the contrary, people do read these books or at least we infer that they do from the circulation figure. There appears to be a strange sort of fascination about such materials; violence or threat of violence seems to pique the curiosity of humans. Furthermore, it is conceivable that this is a very general type of phenomenon that is observed in many different situations. People attending wild-west rodeos, racing events, daredevil shows, carnival exhibitions of freaks, and other such spectacles may be looking for a shock experience from which they derive a particular kind of transitory satisfaction. It is almost as if the human organism has a need for periodic vitalization through the vicarious experience of a potentially traumatic and indeed tragic event. But it is also possible that in all these things there are no lasting effects, no learning of any consequence; these are merely self-indulgences which excite for the moment and then are gone.

The fantasy life of an individual is probably facilitated by exposure to materials such as the horror comics. They provide a mechanism by means of which the person can escape from the pressures of reality which impinge upon him. But in this sense the comic books are in the same class with liquor, popular fiction, movies, fairy tales, newspapers, and other mass media. All of these things are used as escape mechanism, and it is only in the extreme that such practices are potentially dangerous. As for the gruesome and horror, we cannot condemn the comics in this respect without question the contents of children’s, stories and fairy tales of all sorts. A number of authors have pointed out the amount of terror and violence contained in the tales of Hans Christian Anderson, Grimm or even Walt Disney. There is a difference, however, in that these fairy stories are clearly fables and not reality, while the stories in the comic books are often placed in contemporary settings with real people. As one author has put it, the comic books differ in presenting their story in a very familiar world.

To return more directly to the issue at hand, I should like to present several general statements of opinion together with a brief discussion of each. A partial list of references is appended.

1. Although comic books have been the subject of many published articles in popular journals, there has been no incisive research on the topic. A few investigators have studied the relationships between comic book reading habits of children and other factors such as I. Q. school achievement, delinquency, etc. But these studies have been limited in scope and, in general, fall to provide us with insight into the dynamics of the problem. Hoult (16) for example, reports a study of 235 children aged 10 ─ 17 in which it was found that "delinquent and nondelinquent, read about the same number of 'harmless' comic books, but delinquents read many more 'questionable' or 'harmful' comics." Heisler (14) found no significant relationship between the reading of comic books and such factors as reading ability, achievement in english, vocabulary, intelligence, personality, or the size of the home library. Malter (17) analyzed the contents of 185 comic magazines and discovered that about one-third of all comic story pages is devoted to humor and an equal amount is devoted to crime. Strang (23) interviewed a sample of children in grades 1─12 and found no lasting detrimental effect of interest in comics upon reading habits. Many of the older adolescents felt that they had outgrown this type of material. In fact, comics often served as a transition stimulus to more mature reading.

From this brief summary of some studies in this topic area it can be seen that research has been concerned with segmental aspects of the problem. The approach is characteristically a correlational one which, of course, does not permit inferences as to cause and effect relationships. In part, the paucity of research on this topic is a function of methodological difficulties inherent in the subject matter. For, although the manifestations of juvenile delinquency appear suddenly and spontaneously, the determining or casual factors are of long standing. Clearly, juvenile delinquency is a developmental problem and because of this, truly incisive research can only be conducted on a longitudinal basis in which the subjects of the investigation are examined periodically over a span of several years. This type of research is beyond the means of individual investigators and requires some sort of institutional support.

Summing up this section, it seems apparent that research is sorely needed in this problem. If we are to understand the impact of the horror comics upon the behavior of normal and emotionally disturbed children, we must initiate a broad program of research and provide means for its support. It seems imperative, however, that this research be placed in a broad context, one in which the influence of comic books is but one aspect of a larger program which has as it objective the determination of the multiple causes of juvenile delinquency.

2. In view of the many factors which influence the behavior of children, it seems unlikely that any single factor such as the reading of comic books could be the major determinant of behavior. In this connection it is sometimes helpful to distinguish between predisposing and precipitating factors in considering the causes of behavior. In other words, there are a great number of experiences and relationships which influence the behavior of a child; his relations with his parents and siblings, the socioeconomic status of the family, housing conditions, membership in peer groups, school achievement, emotional adjustment. All of these forces, and many others, interact within the individual and presumably influence delinquent behavior. Placed alongside these influences, the comic books seem rather insignificant except as they might provide a trigger function for behavior. If all of the predisposing factors make a child "ready" for certain types of nonsocial actions, an idea derived from comic books may be the catalyst which provides impetus to the behavior. This, of course, is high speculation on which there is very little empirical evidence.

The more important issue, however, is that we should consider the question of comic books within the context of the child's total experience. To concentrate solely upon this fragment of his experience would seem unwise both in terms of the meaningfulness of the investigation, and in terms of the recommended actions stemming therefrom. In short, it is my opinion that there are many factors which influence juvenal delinquency and when compared with these other factors, the reading of comic books seems quite insignificant. I do not wish to discourage investigation on this topic but it would be my recommendation that such an investigation would be more fruitful if conducted as part of a much more extensive investigation of the basic problem.

3. It is conceivable that comic books, regardless of their content, may serve some useful function in the education of this Nation's young people by pointing out the limits of bad taste, improper conduct, and antisocial behavior. Without attempting to develop a philosophy of education, I should like to point out my reasons for such a statement. In the education of children we are faced with a decision as to method which falls somewhere between two extreme ends of a continuum. At the one end there is a Victorian point of view which would advocate the protection of children from all that is evil or bad on the assumption that by so doing we would be teaching only good things. At the other extreme is an educational process which exposes the child to reality, to all the things among which he must at some point in his life discriminate. Obviously it is possible to adopt a position of moderation, an educational method which falls somewhere between these two extremes.

We can draw upon the vast literature in the field of learning for evidence in this matter. When we teach animals or humans to discriminate colors, sounds, or other stimuli, we find that the subjects must first become familiar with the differential characteristics of the stimuli in a series. As this familiarity develops, discrimination becomes more successful when the subject recognizes a particular stimulus as different from others, and also, perhaps more importantly, in what ways they are different. This process might be called constituting the variable in the sense that each subject learns the properties of stimuli at certain positions along some continuum and can make discriminations among them. Obviously the examples of color and sound are simple ones, but we may generalize to more complex learning situations. As an example, suppose we were concerned with music or art appreciation. It would seem desirable to give students exposure to bad paintings or music as well as excellent ones so that each individual can set up his own standards of "goodness" and "poorness." If we show them only the works of masters they may be unable to discriminate properly because they have not identified the properties of various points on the continuum.

It is in this sense that comic books may be useful as horrible examples of grammar, literary taste, and conduct. If placed in the appropriate context, parents may be able to point out the more desirable extremes of these continua by contrast. This, of course, places a great deal of responsibility on parents and/or teachers, but if the underlying assumptions are valid, such difficulties should not deter us. Once again I must state that these are only opinions, but they do represent reasonable generalizations from the findings in experimental psychology. There is an obvious need for research to demonstrate the extent to which these generalizations are appropriate.

In conclusion, I wish to express regret that I have no more tangible assistance to give your subcommittee. I speak for all our 12,000 members when I say that we share your concern with the problem of juvenile delinquency. We stand ready both as citizens and as professional persons to provide any further assistance you might require.


CARL H. RUSH Jr., Ph. D.,

Executive Assistant.



(1) Averill, Lawrence A. Psychology of the Elementary school Child. Longman, 1950.

(2) Bakwin, Ruth M., M. D. The comics. J. Ped., May 1953, 42:638-685.

(3) Bender, L. and Lourie, R. S. The effects of comic books on the ideology of children. Am. J. Orthopsychiat., 1941, 11: 540.

(4) Brown, John Mason. The case against the comics. Sat. Rev. Lit., March 20, 1948.

(5) Butterworth, H. F. and Thompson, G. G. Factors related to age-grade and sex differences in children's preferences for comic books. J. Genet. Psycho., 1951, 78: 71─94.

(6) Cavanaugh, J. R. The comics war. J. Crim. Law Criminol., 1949, 40: 28─35.

(7) Denny, George V., Jr. What's Wrong With the Comics? New York Town Hall, Inc., 10 cents.

(8) Frank, J. Chills and thrills in radio, movies, and comics, some psychiatric opinions reported. Child Study, 1948, 25: 42.

(9) Frank, Josette. Comics, radio, movies, and children. Publ. Affairs Pamphl.,. 1949, No. 148, 32 pages.

(10) Frank, Josette, and Strauss, Mrs. H. G. Looking at the comics. Child Study Association, 20 cents.

(11) Frank, J. What Books for Children? New York: Doubleday, Doran & Co., page 70.

(12) Green, G. H. The psychological significance of some children's comic papers. Egypt. J. Psychol., 1947, 3 (2), 303─308 (15─20).

(13) Gruenberg, Sidonie M. Comics as a Social Force. Child Study Association, 10 cents.

(14) Heisler, Florence. A comparison of comic book and noncomic readers of the elementary school. J. Educ. Res., 1947, 40: 458─464.

(15) Heisler, Florence. A comparison between those elementary school children who attend moving pictures, read comic books, and listen to serial radio programs to an excess with those who indulge in these activities seldom or not at all. J. Educ. Res., 1948, 42: 182─190.

(16) Hoult, T. F. Comic books and juvenile delinquency. Sociol. Soc. Res., 1949, 33: 279─284.

(17) Malter, Morton S. The content of current comic magazines. Elem. Sch. J., 1952, 52: 505-510.

(18) Milton, J. Children and the comics. Childh. Educ., October 1939.

(19) Muhlen, Norbert. Comic books and other horrors, prepschool for totalitarian society? Commentary 1949, 6: 80─87.

(20) Reed, G. E. Comic book ideology in the preventative therapy of juvenile delinquency. J. Crim. Psychopath., 1944, 5: 779-786.

(21) Reich, Annie. The structure of the grotesque-comic sublimation. Bull. Meninger Clinic, 1949, 13: 16─171.

(22) Smith, Ruth Emily. Publishers improve comic books. Libr. 3., 1948, 73: 1649-1652.

(23) Strang, R. Why children read the comics. Elem. Sch. 3., 1942─43. 43: 336─342.

(24) Weaver, H. B. A scale for evaluating comic books. Childh. Educ., 1949, 26: 173-175.

(25) Wertham, Frederick, M. D. The comics ─ very funny. Sat. Rev. Lit., May 29, 1948.

(26) Wertham, F. et al. The Psychopathology of comic books ─ a symposium. Am. J. Psychotherapy, July 1948, 2: 472─400.

(27) Wigransky, David P. Cain before comics. Sat. Rev. Lit., July 24, 1948.

(28) Witty, Paul, and Bricker, Harry. Your Child and Radio, TV, Comics, and Movies. Chicago, SRA, 49 pages, 40 cents.

(29) Wolf, Katherine M., and Fiske, Marjorie. The children talk about comics. In Lazarsfeld, B. F., and Stanton, F. N. Communication Research: 1948─49, pages 3-50.

(30) Bibliography on the comics. J. Educ. Sociol., 1944, 18: 250─255.

(31) Are comic books a national hazard? Club and Educational Bureaus (Newsweek) February 1949.

(32) The influence of radio, motion pictures, and comics on children. New York State Committee on Mental Hygiene 10 cents.

(33) How do the comics affect your child? Northwestern University Reviewing Stand, August 14, 1949, volume 13, No. 6.

(34) Comics, Radio, Movies, and Children. Public Affairs Pamphlet No. 148. New York: Public Affairs Committee.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Chairman I have a statement prepared by Joseph J. Fiske, education director, Cartoonics, who has asked that his statement be made part of the record.

The CHAIRMAN. Is Mr. Fiske in the room? I saw him this morning.

Mr. BEASER. He has left, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. He is satisfied to have this included without presentation?

Mr. BEASER. Without presentation.

The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, this statement of Mr. Fiske will be incorporated in the record at the point, I might say for the record the Chair has read the statement of Mr. Fiske and it relates entirely to the subject under inquiry here.

(The statement referred to is as follows.)


It is a pleasure to come here today and appear before a United States Senate subcommittee that sits in the dignity and decorum so eloquently shown during its hearings held here yesterday.

The objectives of this subcommittee are being fulfilled, without fanfare or politics ─ without baiting or criticism of witnesses, and except for the glare of TV, one would imagine himself before a United States Supreme Court tribunal.

The seriousness displayed by the members does justice to the cause this subcommittee is serving so thoroughly and so intelligently but one cannot help but wonder why in the most important city in the world, at a time when juvenile delinquency is at its peak ─ so few parents, teachers, civic organizations, social workers, and many other groups claiming interest in this subject, all seemed conspicuous by their absence. Less than 50 individuals occupied seats in the hearing room and most of those were staff members or witnesses. Apparently the adults are the delinquents and the juveniles less so.

The most successful of the so-called comic books are those originating from the pornographic picture publishers, and it must be called that, accept that code of ethics which was printed by its own "code-authority" even that word is a misnomer as is also the name comic book.

A one-time owner and publisher of a St. Louis newspaper said: "The dictionary probably does not contain word more inappropriate than "comic" to describe such a page (or book) ."

After many years in the newspaper publishing field this expert could not rid himself of the confusion caused by what is known generally by "comics." His description of a comic page even in a newspaper, even before the forties, published under a lead editorial was as follows: Little "Smitty" did a humorous turn on yesterday's comic page, but the subjects of 10 other comics could have been listed as follows: first fight; domestic quarrel; torture; death; murder; arson; despair; deception; fright; theft.

This publisher's analysis of the comic page further said: "We are just one of hundreds of clients of the syndicates that sell comics, and the latter's attitude is that the rest of their customers are apparently satisfied ─ so they cannot be bothered with our lone complaint."

Unfortunately the public is never vocal and comic books, like newspapers, are manufactured for profit and should not be condemned per so. This is clearly proven by the various witnesses who have appeared here and in other cities too.

What is desirable and necessary is a change in public taste.

During the "spinach" era, teachers complained that, among other "comics," Pop-Eye the Sailor was ruining the spelling of every "reading" child. That profession never followed up and educators everywhere left the subject to be pondered over by psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, and pediatricians.

In the meantime, while all the various educational and social agencies sat idly by, some of the comic book industry subsidized child study agencies, groups, and even parents groups, filling the air with the rantings of those who sought the pot of gold.

The prevention of juvenile delinquency is far more important than fighting crime and horror newspapers and books, or on the air waves, and TV, too.

Give the adult public proper substitutes for this filth and trash and the comic book industry, now reduced by over 60 percent in sales, will soon eliminate itself. There will remain no profit in publishing smut, if the public is properly educated. Those who blame children for spending 50 cents to $1.50 at one buying session on comic books should blame those who give their children such allowances. In many cases some children work for such moneys and others have been known to steal in order to satisfy such an appetite.

Substitute clean comics, in good taste, with large type to aid in interesting reading, scripted in good English and proper grammar, and we will go a long way to eliminate juvenile waywardness. Keep children occupied, their minds active in athletics and in interesting education and we will have very little delinquency. In fact, I suspect most of it is even now a matter of adjectives only.

The CHAIRMAN. Now will you call your first witness?

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Monroe Froehlich.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Froehlich, will you be sworn? Do you swear the evidence you are about to give before this subcommittees will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?



The CHAIRMAN. Will you state your name, address, and association for the record, please?

Mr. FROEHLICH. My name is Monroe Froehlich, Jr. I am business manager of Magazine Management Co., 270 Park Avenue, New York City.

Mr. BEASER. Do you have a statement you wish to make?

Mr. FROEHLICH. I don't have any prepared statement I have made some notes on matters which I think are pertinent. I want to be sure I stay within the area of fact rather than opinion.

The CHAIRMAN. Would you prefer to make your presentation from the notes or would you prefer to have counsel examine you?

Mr. FROEHLICH. I don't think it makes any difference, Mr. Chairman, just so long as I can refer to my notes to properly answer the questions.

The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed in your own manner, Mr. Frohlich.

Mr. BEASER. Will you tell us a little bit about Magazine Management Co., what it is and how it operates in the crime-comic field or in its total operation? I wish you would give a picture and perspective.

Mr. FROEHLECH. Magazine Management Co. is a partnership which owns a number of publishing corporations. These corporations publish comic books in various fields of editorial content, as well as a fairly large number of conventional magazines in different fields. Along with that we publish paper-back novels, also in various fields of reading interest.

Mr. BEASER. These are some of the comic books that you publish on the board here; is that right?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Yes, sir, those are some of our titles. We have roughly 60 titles which are active.

Mr. BEASER. Sixty comic books that are active?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Yea, sir; published either on a bimonthly or monthly frequency.

The CHAIRMAN. Does the Chair understand correctly that Marvel Comic Book Co. publishes 60 different titles?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Approximately, Mr. Chairman Marvel Comics group is a nonentity, so to speak. Marvel Comics group is a name applied to our magazines for advertising-space purposes. It is historic in our business to sell the advertising space in our magazines, whether they be comic or conventional style, on a group basis if you have two or more magazines as a publisher.

Mr. BEASER. Let me get the organizational structure a little clearer. How many corporations constitute Magazine Management. Co.?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Magazine Management Co. owns stock in approximately 35 corporations.

Mr. BEASER. Those corporations are in charge of the publication of the comic books, the other book similar to this?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Yes, sir; we publish a wide variety of conventional magazines, hunting and fishing magazines. We have a book devoted to the automobile, a magazine called Auto Age, with styling features, and so on. In addition we have television magazines as well as a half dozen of the conventional motion-picture fan-type magazines.

Mr. BEASER. Do you distribute, yourself, these magazines you publish?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Yes, sir. We have a wholly owned distributing company called Atlas Magazines, Inc. The stock in that corporation is held by the publishing corporations, and we distribute no magazines other than those we publish ourselves. We are a publisher-distributor.

Mr. BEASER. Both?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Yes, sir.

Mr. BEASER. What you would call an independent distributor?

Mr. FROEHLICH. We distribute through the independent wholesalers in the United States.

Mr. BEASER. Do you distribute any comic-book magazines other than those which you publish?

Mr. FROEHLICH. No, sir, no magazines published by other publishers. We distribute only our magazines through Atlas, our wholly owned subsidiary distributing company.

Mr. BEASER. You distribute to independent wholesalers in various cities?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Yes, sir; exactly as Curtis, McCall Co.

Mr. BEASER. Can you give us the approximate size, as far as the comic books are concerned, of the monthly distribution?

Mr. FROEHLICH. I believe I can give you an average, based on the last 6 months of the printed orders. I would say approximately 10 million.

Mr. BEASER. A month?

Mr. FROEHLICH. A month, divided into roughly 30 to 35 titles per month.

Mr. BEASER. And of what variety are they, what kind of comics?

Mr. FROEHLICH. If I may have a moment I can give you the exact information on that. I understood you were interested primarily in the weird and so-called crime comics.

Mr. BEASER. Crime and horror comics.

Mr. FROEHLICH. I would like to have the right, if I may, to expand on that, because that is a very small segment of our total comic output. We publish approximately 4 to 5 ─ it varies because of the frequency variations from time to time ─ so-called weird or fantastic or science fiction type of comics per month. That is out of a total average production per month of 35 comics approximately per month. It breaks down as follows:

We have no crime books. We have two anticrime comics. One is called Justice and the other is called Police in Action. Justice is an old title; we published it for many years and it is based primarily on true cases, and so on, and in both of those anticrime comics we carefully adhere to what we think is the correct pattern, that forces of law and order are never held up to ridicule, government agencies as well as agents representing government are respected, and in the end the criminal a ways has a disastrous disappearance or experience. We have never had any adverse comment concerning those, to the best of my knowledge. I can't recall any correspondence, nor even one letter, about those two anticrime comics. We publish approximately 9 western comics per month, about 9 of the so-called war-type comics per month. I just saw a few up there, Combat Casey, Combat Kelly, and so on.

We have a large number in this so-called teen-age field, including some comics which again are very old, Miss America, Patsy Walker. They have a large sale and have gone on for years.

That is roughly 15 teen-age books, 9 in the war-type field, 9 in the westerns, 2 books which we call anticrime, Justice and Police in Action, and 8 so-called weird or science fiction or fantastic field.

Mr. BEASER. Now we had one that was put in as an exhibit yesterday, or rather we were shown a picture of it. I will have it brought on.

It is from your Marvel comic group, Strange Tales, May 1954, which is a story of roughly a doctor committing hari-kari, letting his patient die early in the story, and ultimately it winds up with the scene showing the wife dead, the doctor with a knife in him beside her.


Now, you are a member of the Comic Publishing Association?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Yes, sir. We are just as disappointed and unhappy about the way the association has progressed as Mr. Shultz who testified yesterday. Incidentally he is our attorney, and I and the other members of our firm have been very vocal in the last year trying to get a real association. As Mr. Shultz testified, it has been difficult. We feel the association hast lost a great deal rather than gained.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Shultz said something about the fact that the seal of the association, which is on your publication Strange Tales, is there but it is a self-policing business, that you yourself are the conscience of the enforcement.

Mr. FROEHLICH. That is the way it is now. Up to 3 years ago there was a real active self-censorship program in effect. Now I believe there are only three publishing companies that belong to the association.

Mr. BEASER. Would you say that a seal such as that, with the doctor lying there thrusting a knife in his stomach, and lying there dying, would you say that would conform to the code?

Mr. FROEHLICH. I would say this, Mr. Beaser. From what story that?

Mr. BEASER. Strange Tales, that one right there.

Mr. FROEHLICH. It is very difficult for me to answer that properly because what we are doing here is taking four panels and trying to interpret a story from those four panels. I have read through these books. I can't say I scanned them extremely objectively but I do go through every one of our titles. I don't believe I can answer that. I think I would like to go through the whole thing and answer your question.

Mr. BEASER. I am trying to ask how effective is the self-policing of the code?

Mr. FROEHLICH. I think it is very effective so far as we are concerned. I can't speak for all the companies in the business. As I say, there are only three publishers, including ourselves, who belong to the association. We try at all time to abide by the code.

Mr. BEASER. This you say would abide by it; is that right?

Mr. FROEHLICH. I think it is impossible for me to properly answer the question because illustrated here are 4 panels out of a story that may contain as many as 30 panels. That is the same thing as taking a still from a conventional motion picture, let us say, and using a still which by itself may be sensational to advertise the motion picture and therefore either condemn the picture as a whole ─ I am not trying to duck your question, I don't feel I can properly answer that.

Mr. BEASER. Let me ask you another question that might help me. Am I to understand that the code only means that if justice triumphs in the end, anything goes before that?

Mr. FROEHLICH. No, sir, far from that.

Mr. BEASER. Then I thought you could not depict scenes of crime such as that, and we have a few more.

Mr. FROEHLICH. I would believe that the code obviates the depiction of crime, but I think that segment must be considered as a whole rather than as a small part of the whole.

Mr. BEASER. This is from Adventures Into Weird Worlds, the May issue. It is the scene of a man being crushed to death by some sort of vise.


Mr. FROEHLICH. That is quite reminiscent of a very well-known story called The Pit and the Pendulum, which has been a classic in American literature for many decades. I don't know if the artist had that in mind at the time. Again I am not trying to justify it or say it is wrong. I feel that we are in the area of weird comics and only a very small portion of our business ─ it is all part of our concept of a merchandising program of publishing. I do have some notes on that, if I may refer to them.

Mr. BEASER. Go ahead.

Mr. FROEHLICH. This is on weird comics, on weird comics and reference to comics in general. I have a copy of the code. We have many copies in our comic department.

The CHAIRMAN. Will you furnish the subcommittee with a copy?

Mr. FROEHLICH. I will be happy to.

This is the code of the Comic Magazine Publishers Association. This supplants the code which was originally set up for us.

The CHAIRMAN. Counsel advises us that the code is already in the record.

Mr. FROEHLICR. Yes, sir.

(The code appears on p. 70, as "Exhibit No. 9.")

Mr. FROEHLICH. We welcome the opportunity to express our opinion concerning comic books and controversies pertaining to them. It is our considered opinion that in the main the public interest is best served through enlightened self-regulation resulting from full public discussion and resulting open competition. Invariably undesirable publications and those put out hastily by marginal publishers fall by the wayside and worthy publications produced by conscientious publishers endure to entertain young and old.

We publish many old comic magazines and we fully realize our responsibility to the demands of youthful and adult readers of comics. I am referring now specifically to our line.

It is and always has been our aim to avoid production of such comic magazines as may be considered in any way conducive to lowering the moral and ethical standards of those who read them. With this in mind we sometime back retained the services of Dr. Thompson as a consultant. Dr. Thompson was a psychiatrist employed at the time by the Board of Education of the City of New York and after a year and a half the board of education decided that they would not permit an employee to continue as a consultant in an outside field and for that reason Dr. Thompson gave up her consulting position with our firm. Obviously at that time we stopped using Dr. Thompson's name.

Dr. Thompson consulted with the editor and prepared for us a code which we followed religiously. Since that date the code has been supplanted by the code drawn up by the Association of Comic Book Publishers which I believe was acknowledged to be a carefully planned, well thought out, and objective code yesterday by the members of the committee.

Under our arrangement with Dr. Thompson every comic book we published was submitted to her for reading and criticism. Changes were made in accordance with her criticisms.

In the main I can truthfully say during the time that Dr. Thompson acted as our consultant she had no adverse criticism for the great majority of our comic titles and when there was criticism we changed it in accordance with her recommendations.

Mr. BEASER. When was this?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Back in 1948 and 1949, for a period of a year and a half.

Mr. BEASER. She is no longer with you?

Mr. FROEHLICH. No, sir; because the board of education ruled that an employee of the board could not hold an outside position as a consultant, and for that reason she was supposed to sever her connection with us.

As a result of the framework within which we operate we have developed a well-organized, intelligent, regulatory procedure and continue to strive to maintain the high standard of our comic books. Our editorial and artist department have been taught to understand the reactions of readers to the publications so produced. There is no question that a serious and directed effort with constant improvement at self-regulation has been successful as has been evidenced in the past by the favorable comment of many of those who have matched our work and effort and particularly by the fact that our sales of our entire comic line are consistently good as compared to our competition.

All of our comic book magazines, approximately 60 titles, are carefully edited with regard to the editorial as well as the art work contained therein. We avoid the publication of material which can be considered offensive or salacious. Obviously we try to stay within the code. We feel that we not only observe the code in the spirit but in fact as well.

Mr. BEASER. Is there not one provision in the code, as I recall from yesterday, relating to the depiction of scenes of crime and sadism?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Paragraph 2 of the code reads:

Crime should not be presented in such a way as to throw sympathy against the law and justice or to inspire others with a desire for imitation. No comic shall show the details and method of a crime committed by a youth. Policemen, judges, government officials, and respected institutions should not be portrayed as stupid and ineffective or represented in such a way as to weaken respect for established authority.

That bears on the point I was making to take a panel or two panels out of a story requiring 30 to 40 panels is not, I believe sufficient to judge the entire content of that particular story or the book.

Mr. BEASER. That panel of the person being squeezed does not come within your definition of sadism?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Well, I question if I am qualified to answer that particularly, as that is a point which is in great dispute, as you know, otherwise you would not be having this hearing.

Mr. BEASER. What I am trying to get at is, that what it comes down to now is, that that is each individual publisher's definition or interpretation of the provisions of the code.

Mr. FROEHLICH. I think I will get to that in just a moment.

Mr. BEASER. I am sorry.

Mr. FROEHLICH. We have no so-called crime comics, but we do have the two anticrime comics I mentioned, Justice and Police Action, both of which are based on true stories, primarily. They are essentially no different than the conventional detective magazine. The stories in these magazines are presented to depict nothing but respect for order and justice. Our code policy precludes other than presenting of crime or criminals in a favorable light. Nor do we show the representatives of our government in ridicule or contempt. We at all times in these two books handle an endless story in a manner which contributes to the prestige of the individual and the organizations enforcing law and order. Now with regard to weird comics specifically in our concept within our own line, we wish to be realistic. We are a private company engaged in the publishing business and the profit motive is what compels us to publish magazines in certain fields. We, are in the publishing business and cannot change the reading taste of the public. We are in the publishing business just as any adult works in the normal course of his life for his living. That does not mean that we are not mindful of our obligations to the potential reader of our obligations to the potential reader of all of our magazines. We are parents and fathers ─

The CHAIRMAN. Let me get this straight, Mr. Froehlich. You say you cannot change the reading habits of your public?

Mr. FROEHLICH. I believe that basically would apply.
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

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The CHAIRMAN. You are in the business for the profit motive?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Now by the same token a saloon keeper is in the business for a profit motive but he does not have to selling to a man until he is dead drunk, does he?

Mr. FROEHLICH.. I agree. But I think the circumstances are far different because the saloon keeper knows quite well what the effect is going to be if he keeps plying his customer.

The CHAIRMAN. Do all publishers today know what the effect will be on each individual?

Mr. FROEHLICH. No, Mr. Senator. I don't believe there has been any conclusive evidence to date. In here you will see if there is any evidence at all, however small, and it is agreed upon by a reputable substantial group of persons so that there is no divergence of opinion by experts, we would be the first company to give them up because at best it is a minute part of our total business. I think if those magazines were carefully read for the weirdness, you will find that in every case the cover may be much more attention getting ─ not maybe but it is definitely more attention getting ─ than the editorial content contained therein.

The CHAIRMAN. I am sorry I interrupted you. I mean there is an area here that requires thorough exploration.

Mr. FROEHLICH. I certainly agree.

I can't overemphasize the point ─ well, from the point of our billing to the wholesalers in the United States those comics represent possibly 5 to 6 percent of our business. Certainly we are not going to hang on to something because of the profit motive involved which represents only 5 to 6 percent.

Incidentally the weird comics do not sell as well as the national average of all of our other books.

I believe I left off at the point which is that we are parents and fathers just as many of us here in this room. We watch sales trends, just as manufacturers do in many industries. Merchants and manufacturers of all types watch trends, and frequently change their products to meet the demands. Generally speaking, the stronger companies are those that are most alert and the most sensitive to sales patterns and in many cases those patterns are set by the consumer first and the manufacturer, the merchandiser involved, produces to conform to those patterns.

Mr. BEASER. Is it possible, then, that assuming that these are getting into the hands of kids in large numbers that they want them; therefore they are creating demand?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Yes; I really feel that most of the folks way as to with whom we have talked. One of the best proofs possibly of the point as to the readership is that I believes ─ I am not certain of this, but I think you will find that almost all the advertising in those books advertises adult items. Now the greatest majority of the advertisers are so-called mail order advertisers. They are interested in just one thing, results.

The CHAIRMAN. You are referring to the books on the board there?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Yes which would indicate there is a substantial percentage of percentage of adult readership in our total sales figure.

Mr. BEASER. Also a large number of ads for kid stuff?

Mr. FROEHLICH. That is correct; but if you go through those books I think you will find most of the inside ads are aimed primarily at the adult market. The mere fact that those advertisers come back month after month would indicate that they are reaching for their customers the adult market.

Mr: HANNOCK. "Wash away ugly pimples"; do you think that goes to adults?

Mr. FROEHLICK. Yes, because I think the book itself is bought to a substantial degree by adults. Incidentally, as we all know, pimples very often come with puberty. So I don't think it is unreasonable to carry an ad which might do something for a youngster 12 to 14 years old.

Mr. BEASER. You mean adults to include teen-agers?

Mr. FROEHLICH. I am saying it is quite difficult to evaluate your readership on these books, but I think there is a very substantial percentage in a true adult area.

Mr. HANNOCH. "Bed wetting, how to stop bed wetting."

Mr. FROEHLICH. That is an adult problem. Certainly not to the degree of a 2-month-old child, but certainly it is prevalent enough. You will find that in colleges, a person of college age, such as that. The Armed Forces know that.

Now may I continue?

Mr. BEASER. Yes.

Mr. FROEHLICH. I say we watch sales trends. We frequently change our product to meet the demand. When the demand was created for so-called weird or fantastic comics we felt that it was wise for our company to have a relatively few comics in the field provided they met the standards.

Now hanging over this part of our operation I can't overemphasize the fact that dollarwise it is 5 to 6 percent tops, but the Sword of Damocles criticism is directed by many in the direction of weird comics and this faces us with the problem of producing them or withdrawing from that phase of the comic market. We are in the comic business and we want to stay in it. It is a good business. There is no reason for it to be sullied by marginal operators.

If we are convinced that any comic magazine or any conventional magazine we publish causes harm to any reader, we would immediately discontinue such a publication. We are not so crass as to be unmindful of the effects on the reader, but to the best of our knowledge nobody yet has proven that our weird comics are harmful.

Now we are still in an area of mixed opinion on that point in general and additionally we get into an area of degree with regard to the art and editorial work in weird comics. We have many times spoken to our editors and we through the editors' supervision believe we adhere to the letter and the spirit of the code.

Mr. BEASER. Would you also say that nobody has proven to your satisfaction that any of these crime and horror comics can do harm?

Mr. FROEHLICH. I wouldn't say that. I have maintained a large file over the years on opinions as to the value and merit of comics, and within the comic field generally of specific types, for and against them. I have tried to do as much reading as I could as a layman on this subject, because I feel so strongly about the business. It is a good business. It serves a purpose just as a magazine of many fields and newspapers serve a purpose. The youngsters love them. The mere fact that we sell 7 or 8 or 6 million copies per month without advertising or without any conscious effort to create a demand other than a superior product would indicate that.

Certainly I know that the Gluecks testified before your committee; they certainly are highly respected as authorities in the field, and I was very much struck in their book Task of Prevention, which I believe is the layman's book, of the tremendous work they put together, with the following quotation:

Children have to live in a world as it is. Fundamental changes cannot be effectuated in a short space of time. Too many special interests, prejudices, values are concerned. Nor can children be made good by removing evil out of their experience. Character is not built that way. One does not correct the basic problems presented an energetic lad by taking movies and comics away from him. If he has need for such outlets he will get to them and deprivation is no cure.

Mr. BEASER. Do you believe then that anything could be put into a comic that would be detrimental to a child?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Certainly not. As publishers, and I am speaking only of our own line, I do not feel that we would at any time consciously put anything in any one of our magazines which might be detrimental to the reader. Now we can't evaluate fully obviously something that a reader might say of our magazines, how he would react to that. We don't know, but there is such a tremendous divergence of opinion among experts in the field I hardly think we are qualified to prejudge on that point. We would like to know.

Mr. BEASER. In your concern who does the examination for compliance with the code? Do you do it?

Mr. FROEHLICH. It is done, I would say, before and after the magazine is produced. I believe I made the point that our editor, assistant editors, and the artists with whom we work, as well as most of our writers, are familiar with the code, the fact that we have tried to adhere very, very closely to it, and after the magazine is ultimately printed I see them. Others in our organization see them. And I cannot honestly say to you that we read every word in them. It is a physical impossibility with the volume that goes through, but we do watch them.

Mr. BEASER. Where is the responsibility, on the artist or editor?

Mr. FROEHLICH. I hasten to add that occasionally a mistake may be made but ours is a hurried business, a business of deadlines. There are divisions of responsibilities and such factors that make for errors, but basically we believe that 95 percent of our total comic production is acceptable by any standard. We publish westerns, teen-age, romance, adventure, as well as comics, and occasionally comics in other fields. I have a sad story to tell you about Bible comics, if I may touch on that point. Weird comics are apparently wanted by the reading public. There is a demand for them. We did not create the demand. We still don't create the demand. We do not advertise or promote, but we do want our share of the market if there are no deleterious effects. Nothing would please us more than to produce the technically finest possible comic, wonderful artwork, fine worthwhile editorial matter etc. But I have news for you, nobody would buy such comics.

Mr. BEASER. Is the sole theory whether there is a demand?

Mr. FROEHLICH. No, sir; but we are in the publishing business, and if there is a demand for a certain type of published material and there is no reason to feel on a conclusive basis that there can be any harmful effects from the reading of any one of our publications, hardly see why we should not fill the demand. I can hardly see it is any different from an automobile manufacturer stopping the manufacture of automobiles just because people get killed in automobiles.

Mr. BEASER. They do put brakes on them.

Mr. FROEHLICH. And so do we. We certainly do.

May I tell you about Bible tales? I mentioned 5 to 6 percent in dollar volume in our business is in the weird field. We have no crime comics.

Mr. BEASER. You have no crime under your definition of crime comics.

Mr. FROEHLICH. I think if a crime book is one which will depict a conventional crime story, the story of John Dillinger, then a the mass media are guilty of the same thing we are guilty of.

We published a comic magazine called Bible Tales. The sixth issue is out now. We were very anxious to move into this field if we could. There are no competitive books of this type on the market. We feel that it is a fine worthwhile type of publication and there may be a real market in the United States and Canada. Our editor went up to Yale Divinity School for guidance as to the sort of subject material that should go into this book. Each issue is a combination of better stories, better incidents, from the Old Testament and the New Testament.

We normally print 350,000 copies of a conventional magazine in the western field or in the teen-age field. We started with only 265,000 copies for the first issue. If there is a real market for this sort of thing we felt that because the print order, was one-third less than we would normally print, that the sales percentage would be abnormally high. We went right ahead with the second and the third issues. The artwork is far superior. It is the finest artwork we could buy. The editorial is most carefully handled. The book cost us better than 40 percent more than the conventional comic, not including the income from advertising, which of course was lost in this thing. Unfortunately our final print order on the last issue is down, to 230,000 copies. The book came in with a 34 percent sale, meaning we had sold only about 80,000 copies, and on that issue we lost over $6,000. To date we have lost over $29,000.

Mr. BEASER. What did you sell that for?

Mr. FROELICH. Ten cents. That magazine also enjoyed the finest display we could ever hope to get from the wholesalers of the United States. We previously communicated with them and told them what we wanted to do and what the purpose was. They went all out in giving the magazine a break saleswise, and in spite of that there are only 80,000 people in the United States who are willing to lay down a thin dime for a book of that caliber.

Mr. BEASER. Do all these magazines come under the editorship of a single person?

Mr. FROEHLICH. No, sir, we are departmentalized to a certain extent. We have some men's books, heavy on adventure. Those books have an editor. The motion picture magazines have an editor. The TV book operates under the same, but the associate editor charged with them.

Mr. BEASER. You have one for comic books?

Mr. FROEHLICH. For comic books and two assistant editors, and so on.

Mr. BEASER. Does the editor have time to see the material before it is printed? I just want to get the mechanics first.

Mr. FROEHLICH. Does he ever see it?

Mr. BEASER. Does the editor in charge see the material before it is printed?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Absolutely. He buys it.

Mr. BEASER. Then he is the one who does the enforcement of the code if anyone does it?

Mr. FROEHLICH. In the next to the final analysis.

Mr. BEASER. Or is it his assistant who does it?

Mr. FROEHLICH. That is a "toughy." Our buying is handled only by our editors. Many of the revisions of the editorials submitted to them are handled by the assistant editors.

Mr. BEASER. How many people have their own interpretation of this code in this application?

Mr. FROEHLICH. There may be a half dozen. So far as the comics are concerned; only a few. There is no problem on the conventional magazine.

Mr. BEASER. You distribute these by mail or by truck or how?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Our magazines go mail, freight and express. In the case of the comics about 35 percent go by mail, the balance by freight, express, truck.

Mr. BEASER. Are all these entered as second-class mail?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Yes, sir. We don't publish a single magazine excepting an occasional so-called one shot which would not qualify for second-class mailing privileges and for which we don't apply for second-class entry.

Mr. BEASER. All those have been accepted for mailing and are mailable?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Yes. There is no reason why they shouldn't be. There are many magazines ─

Mr. BEASER. We couldn't get them on one board.

Mr. FROEHLICH. I think I mentioned we have this magazine Auto Age and All the World's Cars one shot, baseball, boxing, and so on.

Mr. BEASER. We have heard a few words about a possible practice called tie-in sales in the distribution of crime and horror comics. You are a publisher and a distributor?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Yes, sir.

Mr. BEASER. You deal then with the wholesaler who in turn deals with the dealer?

Mr. FROELICH. That is correct.

Mr. BEASER. Does your concern apply pressure upon the wholesaler to carry a complete line? Must he?

Mr. FROELICH. We wish he would. There are roughly 800-odd wholesalers in the United States. We operate our distributing company in the identical pattern that those other distributing companies follow, such as Curtis and Science, McCall Co. I believe we have 14 roadmen who would normally be considered the equivalent of salesmen who contact the wholesalers in their territories. We have many so-called open spots, an open spot being a ─ I would like to change that ─ there are wholesalers who do not carry our entire line for various reasons. They may carry only 20 of the 35 comic title releases per month. They may claim that the pressure is too great or the retailers in their area cannot absorb them. But we wish the wholesalers would carry our entire line. Most wholesalers in the United States do carry it. There are many open spots, however.

The CHAIRMAN. You were going to tell the committee what an open spot is, what you call an open spot.

Mr. FROEHLICH. For example, we publish 35 comic titles on an average per month. There are wholesalers in the United States who will say "We will take 20 of your comic titles," at which point we have our roadman in there and he says, "Come on, this is the best selling comic line in the business, and there is no reason why you shouldn't take our other 15 and drop 15 distributed by our competitors." It is a constant pressure to keep your magazines going in there, but nothing like a tie-in, because we are not strong enough and the retailer through the wholesaler brings terrific pressure to bear on you. He will draw his copies from the wholesaler and drop them on the counter and never expose them for the sale, which is rough to take if you are a publisher, because you pay for that in the final analysis.

The CHAIRMAN. Can the retailer send them back at the end of the month?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Yes. Ours is a consignment business and they can send them back.

The CHAIRMAN. Within what period?

Mr. FROEHLICH. We try to have all the returns in within 60 to 90 days of the off-sale period, but you must honor your commitment to the wholesaler. We would do it under any circumstances, and if he should happen to find the copies of a magazine long after that period he can return them to his ─ referring to the retailer ─ if he happens to find them in the store and returns them to the wholesaler, the wholesaler will return such copies to us and we will grant credit for them.

I can honestly say that at no time do we lower the boom so far as return date is concerned.

Mr. BEASER. If a particular retailer or wholesaler sends back month after month one of your Mystery Tales, he would still continue to get whatever he wanted on some other of your products?


Mr. BEASER. What happens in the wholesale end? If I am a wholesaler will you send me a copy of next month's Mystic and say "how many comics do you get?"

Mr. FROEHLICH. No, sir. Your allotments to the various wholesalers in the United States are generally set on the basis of experience. You know approximately what your other books ─ in the case of a new title you know approximately what your other hooks are doing in that field by that specific wholesaler. Go to your records and you set your allotment on that basis. We watch our allotments very, very carefully. We don't want to waste copies. We are more interested in a high percentage of sales than we are in total number of copies sold. So that we try to use every possible device to properly allocate the quantity per wholesaler. We check competitive records constantly. Through our roadmen we can get the figures on competitive books going into the various wholesale agencies just as the other companies can get the figures on our books.

Mr. BEASER. As a wholesaler, the first time I see next month's Mystic is when the bundle comes in?

Mr. FROEHLICH. That is right; but you know what you are going to get because you get a card from our distributing company's office advising as to the allotment. That is done so that the wholesaler in the area can break down the quantity for the retailers he serves.

Mr. BEASER. Now, you say there is no opportunity for you to bring pressure to bear upon the wholesaler?

Mr. FROEHLICH. We try to sell the wholesaler through our roadmen the same way as the manufacturer of cigarettes tries to sell more cigarettes to the wholesaler or the jobber handling them.

Mr. BEASER. Have you heard that pressure is being brought by the wholesalers upon the dealers?

Mr. FROEHLICH. No, sir. It may be. I can't answer that. I am too far removed from that end of the business.

Mr. BEASER. There have been, you know, some statutes passed in some of the States outlawing tie-in sales?


Mr. BEASER. You still say that all these publications of yours are mailable in the post office?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Yes, sir. If the magazine is ─ if we know they are going to publish, rather, if we anticipate publishing four issues or more of a title we always apply for a second-class entry privilege. We can't get it on a so-called one shot. The magazine must be published at least four times a year.

Mr. BEASER. Is Focus mailable?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Yes, sir.

Mr. BEASER. Is I Confess also mailable?

Mr. FROEHLICH. To the best of my knowledge, they are. We have had very little difficulty with the post office. From time to time we have had some dispute in the N. and P. section because of the change in frequencies. There may be errors in the office pulling out the proper kinds of forms which might be nonmailable. It is very seldom.

Mr. BEASER. You think some of these may have been held nonmailable?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Occasionally, it can happen. But invariably, we could go down there and straighten it out. That applies to one issue. It does not affect the magazines over the continuity of time.

Senator HENNINGS. In those instances where the material has been held to be nonmailable, have they been in terms of the advertisements or reading content, or both?

Mr. FROEHLICH. It is generally considered as a package, Senator. That happens occasionally, and as soon as we find out the cause for that we immediately eliminate it. Again when that does happen you are working in an area of opinion. It certainly happens. A picture which may be accepted in a newspaper may become so prosaic, and you put the thing in a book and somebody will write in and say, "Gentlemen, that shouldn't happen," and the Post Office might take a stand one way or the other.

Senator HENNINGS. Is there some variation, too, in the postal districts?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Not that I know of. I think the procedure is quite standardized. I think the Post Office has always been extremely fair and reasonable in their attitudes. On the few occasions we have had difficulty concerning the entire scope of the production per year we have always adjusted it satisfactorily.

The CHAIRMAN. What was the nature of those difficulties?

Mr. FROEHLICH. We have run into an occasional problem such as this. We publish a comic book, My Friend Irma. Some time ago the Post Office ruled that such ─ I want to be very careful, I am not an attorney ─ but generally, if I remember properly, it was ruled to the effect that the comic book, My Friend Irma, so-called royalty-type book, was in practice an advertising device featuring a central character. You see, My Friend Irma is a title on it by Cy Howard who, I believe, at that time was under contract with. CBS and there was a series of My Friend Irma motion pictures as well as radio and television shows. In any event, the Post Office considered that our comic book, for which we paid a royalty to CBS on a per copy sold basis, was an advertising device featuring building up and enhancing the value of My Friend Irma, and they cracked down on it and said we were not entitled to second-class privileges. There was quite a hassle about it. Unfortunately we lost.

That set a pattern for the industry generally. It did not affect titles to which second-class entry had been granted prior to that decision, but since that time it is not possible to obtain second-class mailing privileges on so-called royalty-type books. I wish we had a lot more of them.

I have a few more comments. We were talking about the fact that we certainly know that we cannot change people's taste. Unfortunately this was very upsetting, to try to put out something that has a great deal of moral, esthetic value, and have it backfire like that. That does not mean that we should cater to every literary demand that will sell, but the lines in a few fields are not clearly defined.

If the gentlemen on your committee would tell us what we should produce in a comic technique such books probably would not sell. We have discussed this problem with many decent, intelligent persons, educators, psychiatrists, clear-thinking members of PTA groups, ministers, and so on. Inevitably such persons, if they do have criticisms, recommend a type of comic book which would appeal only to the small intellectual minority in the United States, and which would be basically uneconomic and inconsistent with the pattern followed by the other vast media.

Senator HENNINGS. That applies somewhat to television, so-called educational, documentary films, radio programs?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Yes, sir.

Senator HENNINGS. The word "educational" sometimes causes people ─

Mr. FROEHLICH. It has to be sugar-coated and made palatable. That is what we tried to do here.

If something were to happen to change the demand of our reading public so that the only comic that would sell would be simple, animated comics ─ and we have made books in that field ─ we would be all right.

I can assure you that we would definitely get our share of such business, but while the rules of the game are as they are, we wish to maintain a foothold in all areas of comic fields, however tenuous that hold may be, with one tremendous provision, and that is that there is no proven evidence of harm to the reader. It is just as wrong to take motion picture selected stills and show bare legs and so forth and use the picture as representative of the entire industry - as it is to take a relatively small number of comic books and brand a line or the industry.

At least 95 percent of our production is completely defensible and our remaining 5 percent may be in the area of mixed opinion. But in our opinion, it is injurious to none.

Now I think I should qualify that because in the last couple days, while I have not been here, I have read some of the testimony. If there is sufficient evidence to prove that anything that we might publish might be injurious to a child who is in the pattern of becoming delinquent, we would stop, we would be the first ones to stop. This industry is highly competitive, and one of the vicious things that has happened to comics generally is that; because of the fanatical pressure and exaggerated claims made some without being definitive in their statements, some publishers have been forced to give up comic publishing. As is Gresham’s law, the bad drives out the good, and a few hard skinned, marginal publishers we know, have provided most of what the public demand in weird and so-called crime comics.

The relatively few weird comics we publish cannot be considered in the category of those books, and our low sales figures for such books prove it.

Speaking generally, if the criticism leveled against the content of crime and weird comic books were to be carried to other literature, if all written material pertaining to violence, crime, savagery would come under scrutiny, then the very heart and sinew of literature might suffer.

If an era of moral stigma concerning specific acts, words or individual intention in written word were to surround all the literature, then how explain the value of the story of Cain and Abel or the slaying of the firstborn Egyptian children in the Old Testament? If violence per se had been outlawed from all literature, if the weird and savage in Taboo, would Mary Shelly have written Frankenstein, would Shakespeare have written Macbeth, would the legend of Billy the Kid, the homicidal gunmen known to present-day Americans of all ages, been written, would the stage be barren of the thrilling tragedies of Greek playwrights?

Would not this Nation have suffered had Harriett Beecher Stowe not written Uncle Tom's Cabin? It, too, was replete with action, torture scenes, violence, and death. It was a period of unrest, tension, and violence.

To then say to these kids you must not read about terror and occasional savagery, would be hypocrisy. Were these stories published by themselves with no other reason than to horrify, then criticism might be justified.

There is known to be present a period of calm, of relaxation, after witnessing or participating through reading of a violent fact. We have had plenty of information gleaned from newspapers and quotations from men of principle, psychiatrist and child guidance counselors and soon, to feel that way.

Obviously, there are many who feel opposite.

Mr. BEASER. You are talking about your own comics, or are you talking about all crime comics?

Mr. FROEHLICH. I am referring only to our own books. You ask me why we should have some weird books, which is a small part of our business.

For the reasons I have mentioned here.

Mr. BEASER. Some of your statements do not apply to other comics you have heard about?

Mr. FROEHLICH. I am not concerned with what the other people do.

Mr. HANNOCH. Which of your books would you say is like Cain and Abel and Shakespeare's Macbeth, and some of these other names you have given us?

Mr. FROEHLICH. I think the story of Cain and Abel is in some of the issues of Bible stories.

Mr. HANNOCH. Which of the horror comic magazines would you say compares to Cain and Abel?

Mr. FROEHLICH. I cannot, offhand say but I would be very happy, Mr. Hannoch, to have anybody from your committee, or all of the committee, come up to our office, and go through every book we published for a long time and try to assist you in every way possible.

I am sure we can find the answer there. I am making the point that occasional tales of violence, savagery, even crime, has stemmed from the year 1 in literature.

Crime comics, weird comics, gangster movies, western and science fiction might give the otherwise passive child an opportunity at least to repress violence. It may be true that such entertainment is an act of deterrent to the criminal impulse.

I believe we have heard some testimony from reputable people to that effect.

This is not an argument for or against a few weird comics. I merely wish to show that such comics generally are a modern adaptation of age-old themes in literature.

Mr. BEASER. I have no questions.

The CHAIRMAN. Senator Hennings?

Senator HENNINGS. I have no questions, Mr. Chairman. I do think that Mr. Froehlich has expressed some very important parallels or analogies in terms of the great literature of the world and great plays.

Hamlet has a number of assorted felonies. Macbeth, the Rape of Lucretia, and so on.

Certainly Huck Finn was a juvenile delinquent himself by the standards of that day, if not of this. And the saga of Billy the Kid and the Jesse James stories.

I know I read all of those. Maybe I would be a lot better than I am if I had not read them, but I read them with great interest and delight, and certainly the Shakespearean plays are playing on Broadway now.

It is difficult to single out which one of these things may have an adverse impact and to what extent.

Mr. FROEHLICH. May I add just one more thing. I think there have been some misstatements made to date which might unfairly brand the entire comic industry.

No. 1, the volume of sales. We figure, and I believe that we have a fairly accurate yardstick to use because we are publishers, distributors ─ we have our own men out to evaluate these things properly ─ that the sale is not anything like 70 or 80 or 100 million a year.

At the present time I would guess ─ not guess, but a real good estimate, would be in the area of 40 to 45 million per month.

Mr. BEASER. Sales?


Mr. BEASER. How many printed each month?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Possibly double that at the present time. Normally you might figure there is a 60 to 62 or 63 percent sale.

Mr. BEASER. How many titles?

Mr. FROEHLICH. Possibly 415 to 420. That is very hard to measure.

Mr. BEASER. What is your minimum print order for distribution?


Mr. BEASER. The normal.

Mr. FROEHLICH. Let us say it averages around 350,000. The total impact on all the factors affecting delinquency, juvenile delinquency, that can possibly be contributed by crime or weird type comics, can itself be only infinitesimally small or the sheer statistics of the operation.

The CHAIRMAN. The Chair has no questions, Mr. Froehlich.

I do want to thank you for your appearance here today and say you have been helpful to the subcommittee. We know that we confront a real problem in this field.

Mr. FROEHLICH. Mr. Chairman, if we can be of any assistance in any way, we are only too happy to do so. Our records are open to anyone on your committee. We shall be glad to help.

The CHAIRMAN. We appreciate your cooperation and your complete honesty.

Mr. FROEHLICH. Thank you, sir.

May I produce something as exhibits?

The CHAIRMAN. Yes, indeed.

Mr. FROEHLICH. I have copies of our comic stories thrown out.

The CHAIRMAN. These will be made part of the permanent files. Let those be exhibit No. 23.

(The comic books were marked "Exhibit No. 23," and are on file with the subcommittee)
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

Postby admin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:20 pm

Mr. BEASER. Mr. William Richter.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you solemnly swear that the evidence you are about to give before this subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Mr. RICHTER. I do, sir.


The CHAIRMAN. Will you state your full name, address, and association, for the record, please?

Mr. RICHTER. William Richter. My law office is at 150 Broadway. I live at 2600 Henry Hudson Parkway in Riverdale.

The CHAIRMAN. You represent the News Dealers Association of Greater New York?

Mr. RICHTER. That is right. I also represent the News Dealers Association of America. The News Dealers Association of Greater New York is the official association, the organization of the newsdealers of this city, particularly the licensed newsdealers.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you have a prepared statement?

Mr. RICHTER. No, sir. I have some notes here which I should like to call to the committee's attention, but I will be glad to begin my discussion by answering some of the statements that have been made by previous witnesses, if I may.

The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed in your own manner.

Mr. RICHTER. I am quoting from the newspaper reports. I did not hear the direct testimony, but I question one particular statement made by Henry E. Schultz, supposedly counsel to the Comic Magazine Publishers, wherein he stated yesterday, I believe, that there were no so-called tie-in sales to the newsdealers.

That I dispute and contradict and state that there are definitely tie-in sales to the newsdealers of this city. By tie-in sales I mean that the newsdealer has no choice. These magazines are foisted and thrust upon him. They come in a package with standard magazines, the so-called everyday reputable type of magazines.

They come in 1 package, in 1 bundle, tied together either with wire or rope, so securely that the newsdealer cannot in any manner or in any form inspect these magazines.

The CHAIRMAN. You mean, sir, with such publications as Collier's, Saturday Evening Post?

Mr. RICHTER. Yes, sir; Life, Vogue, House and Garden. They come in one package. They are thrown at him and in turn he is thrown a bill.

When I say thrown, I say literally thrown. He is given a bull, and incidentally, these magazines have not been previously ordered. These are the choices of the distributors.

The newsdealer cannot sit down as any ordinary merchant and pick his merchandise. There is no list presented to him of magazines which he may choose and which he may reject. He takes what is given to him.

As I say, it all comes on a take-it-or-leave-it basis.

The CHAIRMAN. Does this situation which you describe apply to all newsdealers?

Mr. RICHTER. Yes, sir; throughout greater New York, both the licensed newsdealers and the storekeepers. I say the licensed newsdealers number about 2,000, licensed by the city of New York. That is the type of dealer on the street corner, at subway stations, and so forth.

The CHAIRMAN. That condition must exist in other large cities, then?

Mr. RICHTER. I understand it is so. We do have contacts in other cities throughout the country. I understand it is prevalent throughout the country. The newsdealer does not select the magazines, and I speak for a great majority.

I think if the newsdealers had a choice they would reject these so-called horror magazines.

Senator HENNINGS. Why do you think they would?

Mr. RICHTER. I say I am quoting people that are out in the field. There is Mr. Ben Friedman in the hearing room with me today. He is a chairman of the board of the News Dealers Association. He himself is a newsdealer. He is at Times Square, the cross-roads of the world.

If you don't hear it in Times Square you won't hear it any where in the country.

I also have Mr. Jay Kay, the secretary and treasury. He is at the entrance to the George Washington Bridge.

They have gone through the field. By the field I mean going through and visiting the newsdealers as part of their job as officers of the association.

I know I have personally talked with many newsdealers and I know if they had a choice they wouldn't want to deal with this trash.

Senator HENNINGS, I do not question your statement, but I was interested in their reasons.

Mr. RICHTER. The reasons are that they themselves have children; they won't bring that trash and junk in their own homes, and I dare say the publishers wouldn't do so.

I won't mention names, but I know in particular one publisher has stated, that put some of these horror magazines, that he himself does not bring it into his own home for his children to read. I think that is argument enough as to how they feel about it.

I have here a bill. As I say, they are not returnable. These newsdealers must accept this entire package. Of course, the newsdealer cannot in limited circumstances be a censor of these magazines, the good and the bad kind.

I say in all fairness to the publishers and distributors not all comic magazines are bad. There are some good ones. I have some good ones here.

I mean the Walt Disney type of comic books are good for children.

I know that the newsdealers would only be too happy to sell that type of magazines. There are westerns that cannot be classified as bad, but I daresay that the majority of the comic books or magazines on the stand today are outright trash.

I know that the newsdealers would not like to deal with them if they had a choice.

Now, this is a bill given to the newsdealer and the Saturday Evening Post was brought with these other types of horror magazines. Now the choice to the newsdealer is either store them away or display and sell them.

Now, a newsdealer, particularly a city newsdealer, operates in limited space. He has a news booth 6 by 5 by 3, 6 feet wide, 5 feet high, and 3 feet Wide. If he stores things in his newsstand, he must necessarily stand on the outside in all kinds of weather and they are out in good weather, bed, night and day. They are little people. They deal in pennies.

They cannot possibly sit down, they don't have the time or the inclination or the judgment or the facilities to sit down and censor these magazines.

The newsdealers cannot possibly censor these magazines. They are taken as they are brought to them. They are flooded with them; they are swamped with them.

In most cases, I daresay in all cases, they display and sell them.

Now; this is April and magazines are coming out now for July. They are not returnable.

MR. BEASER. You said that if he does not sell them he has to pay for them.

Mr. RICHTER. He pays for them before he returns them. He is billed for them and he pays for them.

Mr. BEASER. If he does not sell them?

Mr. RICHTER. They are returnable, but they, are not returnable until outdated. The bill says no credit allowed for premature returns.

If a magazine is dated July, he cannot receive them in April and return them the next day. He will hold them until July.

I daresay that if he returns them they don't go back to the publisher, they go to another newsdealer. It is a roundrobin. It is a vicious circle. They are never returned to the publisher until all means of selling these magazines are exhausted.

Mr. BEASER. You mentioned the Saturday Evening Post a while ago. Would the number of Saturday Evening Posts he receives be cut in his next shipment?

Mr. RICHTER. Possibly, yes. He is under the threat of being cut. In other words, if he should return what the distributor may think is an unreasonable amount of magazines he would be cut off completely.

Mr. BEASER. Have there been instances when that has happened?

Mr. RICHTER. Yes. So the newsdealer takes the line of least resistance. He accepts them as he gets them and does what he can with them.

Here is one magazine. The publisher appeared here yesterday, this Mr. Gaines, and how he could possibly sit here and justify his magazine is beyond comprehension. Have you gentlemen seen this thing called Panic?

The CHAIRMAN. We have seen many of them. I do not recall seeing that one.

Mr. RICHTER. This has a grotesque head. It is with apologies to Benjamin Franklin, incidentally. This fellow looks like Mr. Hyde of Jekyll and Hyde. This magazine to my mind is worse than one of the horror magazines. It is a demoralizing type of magazine. It satirizes, it ridicules the better comics.

The CHAIRMAN. May the Chair see that, Mr. Richter?

Mr. RICHTER. Yes, sir.

Comic books like Joe Palooka and Lil Abner are ridiculed.

Senator HENNINGS. Li'l Abner himself ridiculed Dick Tracy, did he not?

Mr. RICHTER. Yes, but this is done in not a critical manner, but in a gruesome manner, in a vicious manner.

You will note in this magazine beyond the middle cover what they call Pan Mail. This
magazine was banned in Boston and Mr. Gaines as the publisher seems to delight in that fact. He says, “Panic is a success. It has been banned in Boston.”

Then he goes on to quote from the newspaper reports of that city. He says:

And what were we banned for? Horror? No. Sex? No. We were banned for lampooning the poem The Night Before Christmas.

Panic in the words of the Massachusetts attorney general, Finegold, depicts The Night Before Christmas in a pagan manner. That was taken from the Springfield Daily News editorial of December 23 and also quotes the Massachusetts attorney general, Finegold, threatened criminal proceedings last week against Gaines unless the comic book Panic containing the satire of the poem was withdrawn voluntarily.

He says his original intention was to defend that, but he says when I say "he," Gaines, the publisher; the best way for him to do this is to quote from letters received from people to the magazine.

It does not identify who those people are, whether they be children, teen-agers, or grownups.

But let me, if I may, read to you two of the excerpts of letters that he publishes as justifying this type of demoralizing magazine. This is letter:

Just finished Panic. Great magazine. And I think you should be boiled in oil, stretched on a stretch rack, whipped with a cat-o-nine-tails, shot, knifed, and hanged, gassed, electrocuted, and buried alive for holding a great magazine like Panic from the public for a full year. Man it is a great comic, crazy, cool, and real dappy. This magazine will go hotter than hotcakes. When I got to the stand I bought the last one.

It was signed by someone from New York.

Here is another:

Have just finished reading the first issue of Panic. Really great. The best story was My Gun Is the Jury. As I was reading it, my mother came in and told me to put the book away. This got me mad. So I did it. I sawed the nose off of an .88 and fired low, a little below the bellybutton it went in clean and came out like a flying saucer, leaving a hole big enough to put my fist through and without further interruption finished the magazine.

Now, how any man can come here and publish rot like this and justify it is beyond comprehension.

Now, upon its face it may appear innocent. Can this poor little fellow on the street corner ─ I took it home the first time last night to read it. It appears innocent enough on the cover except for this grotesque figure of Benjamin Franklin.

But when I thumbed through it I saw what was confronting us. A newsdealer cannot possibly do this. So he just displays it and sells it.

Many times if the child appears to be of tender years the newsdealer will not sell him any horror magazine. He will say, "You had better come with your parents." Oftentimes parents come and oftentimes parents buy the magazine, and oftentimes they would rather see the children buy a Walt Disney or other such type of animated cartoons.

Mr. HANNOCH. Would you refer me to the place where he apologized to Benjamin Franklin?

Mr. RICHTER. Yes, sir.

Mr. HANNOCH. I have it.

Mr. RICHTER. Do you have it now?

Mr. HANNOCH. I have it.

Mr. RICHTER. I might also say this as to the advertisement on the back of this magazine. I will find the same advertisement in a better type comic book which is not offensive. Here is an advertisement on the back of this magazine soliciting children, boys and girls, and men an women, to buy certain religious wall mottoes for which they will receive prizes and money. It says here, "The world is on fire. Serve the Lord an you can have these prizes," giving these children the idea that by selling these religious wall mottoes they would be serving the Lord.

Now in the better-type magazine the serving the Lord had been omitted.

Mr HANNOCH. They would get an ax, a knife, it says here.

Mr. RICHTER. Yes. You can see there is a clenched fist going down.

And by doing that they will be helping to stamp out crime, graft, dope, war, and drink.

We as an association have caused to be introduced a bill the city council a copy of which I should like to show you, the purpose being to do away with many abuses of the newsdealers. Included in the bill is a provision that the publishers and distributors shall not distribute or sell to any licensed newsdealer, any publication that is lewd or indecent or any such publication that the city license commission or license department considers lewd or indecent or considers improper or unlawful for display or resale to the public.

We hope if this bill is passed it may serve its purpose.

Mr. HANNOCH. Do you think so, as a lawyer?

Mr. RICHTER. It maybe considered improper. I was going to mention that it is too vague. There are no standards and there are no guides and I, as an attorney, cannot define to you what is lewd, obscene, and indecent. Our courts have differed. Our Supreme Court, as you may know, has upset section 1141 of the penal law which would have been a weapon to combat this.

I don't criticize the Court. I daresay that the law wasn't written properly. They should have guides and standards so that a layman ─ not a court or judge, but a layman ─ should be able to understand what is indecent and what is lewd and what is improper and what is offensive, so that a newsdealer himself could know.

I should not have to go around interpreting for these newsdealers. I think they should be able to see for themselves what is bad.

Our license commissioner for the city of New York has been trying to do a laudable job, but even his hands are tied. The courts are confused, the law is confused.

To my mind I think the solution to this entire problem perhaps would be a properly worded, properly coded, properly standardized Federal legislation with censorship of distribution.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Richter, where does this pressure come from? You said Federal legislation. Is it the local wholesaler who is bundling these up and sending them in?

Mr. RICHTER. The distributor. The newsdealer has no contact with the publisher as such. His contact is with the distributor like Manhattan News, American News. He has no contact with the publishers. He takes what he does from the distributor.
You call them wholesalers. The wholesalers operate though distributors.

Senator HENNINGS. You are aware, of course, as an able lawyer, as to the difficulty of drafting such a statute?

Mr. RICHTER. I most assuredly am, sir.

Senator HENNINGS. If you as an expert in this field have, any suggestions and would care to submit a draft to the subcommittee, I am sure we would be glad to have it.

Mr. RICHTER. I think you have felt the pulse when you said there are no standards, no guides, no proper definitions of what is lewd or indecent.

Mr. HANNOCH. Give some thought as to whether these impair the morals of children.

Mr. RICHTER. I cannot say. I am not an expert in that field. It would seem to me that it is a logical sequence that would follow from reading stuff of that kind.

I wouldn’t allow it in my house. Fortunately my child is not of sufficient age to read, but when he can read he won't want trash of this and, I can ensure this committee of that.

Now, they are not all bad. We have all these horror things. You have seen some of these love comic books. To my mind, they are as bad as the horror books. Children buy them.

As I say, newsdealers have their magazines set up on a magazine rack. They cannot oversee them. They are not an ordinary storekeeper. The children come and buy them; they pay him, and off they go. He cannot censor it and he has no choice in what he can sell.

They would love to cooperate. As I said before, I think the fault lies with the publishers, lies with the distributor, and not the poor newsdealer who is at the tail end of this line, so to speak.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Richter, did you tell the subcommittee how many members you have? I have forgotten whether you did or not.

Mr. RICHTER. Yes, sir; we have a fluctuating membership of over a thousand. We also have an affiliate association of newsdealers representing storekeepers throughout Long Island, the Long Island Stationery Owners Association. They pay monthly dues. The dues are nominal, $2 a month.

So it is not a money making association by any means. It is an association of newsdealers banded together to aid each other and to serve the public. That is their motto. That they attempt to do.

The CHAIRMAN. For the privilege of membership they pay $24 a year?

Mr. RICHTER. That is right.

The CHAIRMAN. Per dealer?

Mr. RICHTER. That is right, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Richter. You have been very helpful.

Mr. RICHTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

Postby admin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:24 pm

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Alex Segal.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you solemnly swear that the evidence you will give before this subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate, will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you God?

Mr. SEGAL. I do.


The CHAIRMAN. Will you state your full name, address, and association, for the record?

Mr. SEGAL. Alex Segal, 113 West 67th Street, New York City, partner, Stravon Publications.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Segal, you will have to speak up because the acoustics are not all that it should be in a courtroom of this character.

Mr. SEGAL. Well, I don't publish comic books, so I have no prepared statement. But we are in the process of publishing a book on juvenile delinquency by a person that I consider probably one of the most outstanding authorities on juvenile delinquency, since he lived 5 years with boys' gangs here in New York and wrote a book which the Reader's Digest digested. He lived with them and they accepted him, although he is the son of a distinguished university professor.

Mr. BEASER. The reason you were asked to come here today was not because you published comic books, but because you are a publisher and you do advertise in comic books.

Mr. SEGAL. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. What kind or material do you publish and under what names?

Mr. SEGAL. Only one name, Stravon.

Here is a children’s book we publish. We do advertise it in the comics. It is Birdman. It is the story of Leonardo da Vinci.

In view of the discussion that went on regarding comics, it is interesting to note some of the remarks made that the children do not buy the better grade comics, because here is an example of a very high-grade children's book on Da Vinci, in beautiful color, which we have advertised in the comics, and they have not responded to it in the manner you think. No this is just one.

Mr. BEASER. What are the other publications?

Mr. SEGAL. I will show you all of them.

Here is a book called Mike and the Giant, the story of Michelangelo.

Mr. BEASER. Children's and adults' books?

Mr. SEGAL. No, these are children's books.

Senator HENNINGS. Mr. Segal, I notice in the first book you had that there are a number of reproductions is of Leonardo's works.

Mr. SEGAL. Yes.

Senator HENNINGS. Now what does that book sell for?

Mr. SEGAL. This book sells for a dollar. We advertise it. We selected the name of "The Birdman" because Leonardo was known as a birdman at the time and this is a drawing, a drawing of his flying machine. That is after his own sketch. We deliberately selected it, hoping that the children who buy "The Batman" and buy the others would buy this. They do buy it in quantities of a few thousand a year, not 20 million a year.

Senator HENNINGS. You suggested in the advertising I presume that was educational?

Mr. SEGAL. Yes, we did. We said they would enjoy it.

Now we have different kinds of ads on this book. I will got through all of the titles. Here is a title Mike and the Giant, the story of Michelangelo. Here is the story of the man who painted the sun, which is a children's story of Vincent van Gogh.

Here is a book, The Magic painter, the story of Rembrandt. These are all for children between the ages of 8 and 14.

If I may, I should like to divert, before continuing show all the other books. Here is an issue of the Library Journal. This is out just now, 2 days ago. You will notice an advertisement of Dr. Wertham's book, and I take no exception to the book as I did not read it, but in view of many things said here, it is interesting how the publisher or somebody, selected that title, “The Seduction of the Innocent.” Half the people will buy this book not because they think it is an expose of comics. I don’t know what they will buy it for.

Senator HENNINGS. You do not, Mr. Segal?

Mr. SEGAL. Mind you I am not taking sides in this issue; really, I am not.

By the way, in the same issue is an ad which was placed 2 months ago. There was an ad, here for these four books, which is addressed to libraries. There it is right here.

On these four books, may I have permission to quote from the Washington Post:

Imagination and humor have been graphically employed. The books have high style, striking use of color and unconventional layout, and enhance the texts written in lively conversational fashion.

The Library Journal:

Ethic biography planned to entertain with clever design, thrilling narrative, and colorful sketches.

Mr. BEASER. For adults you also publish things called Mademoiselle Fifi?

Mr. SEGAL. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. In other words, you have the Sexcapades, the Home Life of Homo Sapiens, in addition to, How To Hypnotize, which you advertise in comics like this; is that correct?

Mr. SEGAL. That is correct. Here is the book. I would like to hold up the book so you can see what the book is like. This is a book on hypnotism by a practicing hypnotist who unfortunately last year died. Anyone who applies himself, and this is stage hypnotism; anybody who applies himself to this book will master the technique of hypnotism in a short time. Many have used this book to get into the entertainment field.

We even have testimonials from people who use it. Hypnotism has been used in various auditoriums, hospitals, to entertain.

I am not discussing the therapeutic value, because we have a book on four professionals on hypnotism, too.

Mr. BEASER. You also sell the advertise gadgets like airplanes for kids?

Mr. SEGAL. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. You do advertise in comics and you get a response, I presume?

Mr. SEGAL. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. You send out also some mail orders, some direct solicitations by mail?

Mr. SEGAL. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. Is this an example of the kind of advertising literature which you would be sending out. I am referring to a six-page pamphlet.

Mr. SEGAL. May I make a correction?

Mr. BEASER. Yes.

Mr. SEGAL. There is a front page missing. The front and back pages are missing there, which list the title of all the books on there, and on the book there is an order form on the back of it. In other words, there are two pages missing. Apparently, you do not have the complete folder there. The first page lists all the books that are in that catalog. On the second page is an advertisement for this particular book, which, by the way, is considered the finest book on cartooning, I think, in America today. I would like you to see the type of book this is.

Mr. BEASER. But this six-page pamphlet you have lists all the books you have for children?

Mr. SEGAL. No, it does not.

Mr. BEASER. The one that is complete would list books for children and books for adults?

Mr. SEGAL. That is right.

Mr. BEASER. It has your books for children and juveniles in it?

Mr. SEGAL. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. I would like to introduce that.

Senator HENNINGS. That will become part of the record at this point. Let it be exhibit No. 24.

(The document-referred to was marked, Exhibit No. 24, and is on file with the subcommittee.)

Mr. SEGAL. That does not go to children. It goes to adults.

Mr. BEASER. When you get your response to advertisements since as this, and your Birdman and comic books, do you utilize the names you receive that way for direct mail advertising your total books?

Mr. SEGAL. As of some time last year ─ that is perhaps early last year, we discontinued the renting of names to anybody on our books, regardless on what subject it is, and we have no longer rented those books for any type of publications.

Mr. BEASER. Those names.

Mr. SEGAL. Those names, for any type of publication or product that is at all objectionable.

Mr. BEASER. Theretofore, you did rent them?

Mr. SEGAL. Heretofore we were not as discerning, or not as alert to check the type of mailing of books on this list. But as of March of 1953, I think, we discontinued as such. If we do rent a name, it may be for subscription to Life or Time. There are not many rentals of that kind. We ourselves do not mail to our own juveniles the names of any products; we do not mail to them.

Mr. BEASER. Theretofore, you rented to persons who, you say, sent out objectionable material?

Mr. SEGAL. I didn't say that. I say in the province of this committee, it might be considered controversial in the sense that is this good stuff, or is it bad stuff? I don't say we did, but I say we discontinued any rental. We ourselves never did.

Mr. BEASER. What kind of material was it?

Mr. SEGAL. I don't know. It may have been a book ─ a sex book for another company who rented our list. This is about the only type of publication.

Mr. BEASER. That list would been secured through a comic book; is that it?

Mr. SEGAL. That is right. Our comic books we did not rent. I am talking about the general list, These names are on stencils. There are metal stencils which are held in a letter shop. We rented some names to a company, I think it was on a book, and accidentally the letter shop ─ these are in trays, there are 400 names in a tray ─ accidentally one of the letter shops employees picked a tray of 400 children and they must have gotten some kind ─ I don't recall have been a sex book, an honest to goodness ─ nothing objectionable per se in the book itself. They may have gotten it, and we got some inquiries about it, and we decided we would no longer rent these names to anybody, mistake or no mistake. The revenue is very small. The total annual revenue may come to $2,000 or $3,000. It is insignificant revenue.

Mr. BEASER. Whom have you rented it to the last year?

Mr. SEGAL. As I told you, I don’t think I rented it to anybody. If we did rent it ─ I don’t want to be held, because I didn’t anticipate this type of questioning ─ but I don’t think we rented it to anybody. We may have. If we did, it was someone without question of material.

Senator HENNINGS. How is that list compiled?

Mr. SEGAL. If you notice on the coupon, they send the coupon in, and that is the list. There are four pages missing in that folder; the front page which says a complete list of books, and on the second page is an ad for this book. On the next to the last page is another list, which is a coupon list. On the pack is an address, and I think there is an advertising message. The second page is an ad for this book. The front page only lists the book, no advertising. On the back page is an advertising message and a report of the address. Apparently, you did not get the full booklet there. I can send one.

The CHAIRMAN. If you had rented it, there would have been nothing illegal about that; would there?

Mr. SEGAL. No, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. This material was all yours?

Mr. SEGAL. Yes; it is all our material. But, if a child accidentally gets a circular for a book describing a sex book or manual, and the parents see it, the parents become annoyed and complain about it.

Mr. BEASER.. Have you received any complaints?

Mr. SEGAL. We have received no complaints in the last year. We didn't get the complaint directly. The publisher, or whoever it was, got the complaint and forwarded the names to us, "Please remove these names from your list, because we got a complaint about the receipt of this circular."

Mr. BEASER. It was your own circular?

Mr. SEGAL. No. When the person on the list received the circular, and the parent complained ─ there were only a handful ─ they complained to the advertiser who bought the list. So, the advertiser, in turn, said "these people do not want to receive literature of any kind, and they have instructed us to remove the name from the list." So we removed it, and since it gave us this nuisance, we said, "no more; we are discontinuing this," and we have no longer rented these names to anybody.

Mr. BEASER. Your coupon, here, does not indicate that the person who is buying the book must state the name; does it? The name need not be stated on the coupon? There is no room for the person buying one of your books such as "The Art of Love."

Mr. SEGAL. What name? His name?

Mr. BEASER. He does not have to state his age.

Mr. SEGAL. I think in this one it may not be. I am not sure. But we don’t send that to adults. I think, at one time, on one book ─ a drawing instruction book ─ we used to carry on it, "Not sent to anyone over 21."

We hardly ever advertise this book any more.

Mr. BEASER. Not sent to anyone over 21?

Mr. SEGAL. No; under 21; I am sorry.

Mr, BEASER. You do not use your mailing lists compiled from comic book advertisements for sending this out?

Mr. SEGAL. No.

Mr. BEASER. Then how do you account for the number of complaints to the Post Office Department from irate parents that their children, 15 years, 10 years, 9 years of age, have received your circular advertising your books?

Mr. SEGAL. Which circular?

Mr. BEASER. A circular from you, advertising "The Art of Love," for example.

Mr. SEGAL. We don't send these to children.

Mr. BEASER. How did the child's name get on the mailing list?

Mr. SEGAL. The child's name originally gets on a mailing list when they fill out the coupon, but we don't mail circulars to those children. They become inactive. We neither sell it or rent it, nor use it ourselves.

Now it is possible, as I said, that occasionally a tray, like a year ago, will get mixed up; but we are not mailing to children at all of any kind even though we have the best children's books in the field. I say that, barring none, there is nothing that has ever been published of nature for children ─ even the titles here were selected with a view to getting the child interested in this type of subject. We were going to put out a whole list of these, by the way, but in view of the fact that the response has not been as great as we thought, we stopped at these four titles.

Mr. BEASER. I have no further questions, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. HANNOCH. As to this one book that I have here, "The Art of Love," the cover refers to some article, "What Every Boy and Girl Should Know."

Mr. SEGAL. That is not our book, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. It is published in London.

Mr. BEASER. It is advertised by you, though, is it not?

Mr. SEGAL. We don't have that. We don't advertise it for children. The majority of the places that book is advertised is in adult books, like women's romance books and male adult books.

By the way, that particular book, but not that particular issue, was given out as a premium about a year ago by a large soap company. It was given out as a premium with a certain purchase. Apparently it was not considered objectionable enough, because nine-tenths or eight-tenths of that book is Greek mythology, and certainly no juvenile delinquent could ever conceivably delve through that Greek mythology, to come to the 10 or 15 percent love counsel, that is given in that book.

By the way, talking of comics, Mr. Chambers has found in 5 years of work, that the gang boys do not read comics at all. He lived with them day to day and found they do not read the comics at all. There is a statement here which is so different from the usual conception, because very few people really know anything about juvenile delinquents. They know from reading other books. He lived with them for 5 years, and he says they never read the comics ─ the gang boys. Actually at one time he had to engage ─ go in with them on some of their, let us say, semiquestionable activities in order to maintain their confidence, because he was making a study of juvenile delinquents.

Mr. HANNOCH. We were talking about your ad. How do you know, when you get an answer back on one of these coupons, whether it is a child or is not a child?

Mr. SEGAL. All answers received from comics are automatically considered children. First of all, that book on hypnotism ─

Mr. HANNOCH. I did not ask you about it. I asked you how you knew whether it was a child.

Mr. SEGAL. Any coupon coming from a comic is automatically considered a child, and we do not mail to it.

Mr. HANNOCH. It is put on a different list?

Mr. SEGAL. Yes.

The CHAIRMAN. Are there any further questions? If not, Mr. Segal, the Chair thanks you very much. You have been very helpful.

Mr. SEGAL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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