Those Evil Comic Books! 1955 TV Show – Comics and Juvenile Delinquency

I stumbled upon this video, aired on October 9, 1955 in LA, about the impact of comic books on youth. This was all part of the Frederic Wertham “Seduction of the Innocent” scare and subsequent hearings.

At about 5:30 into the video the reporter talks about finding and destroying all the warehoused comic books since they are a lurking threat. It gets even better at the 8:00 minute mark. After all, when he was a kid they only made nasty commments about their teachers on the sidewalk with chalk, they didn’t read comics! Of course, EC comics and stories hold a prime place in this video. The music is great!

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6 Responses to “Those Evil Comic Books! 1955 TV Show – Comics and Juvenile Delinquency”

  1. Dave Gieber says:

    Wow, very enlightning Sean. One thought came to my mind. I collected a lot of comics in the early sixties. But my interests were Superheroes, science fiction, science, etc. Never did have much interest in romance, horror, crime and the like. Makes me wonder how popular these comics really were among boys (and girls), which would have been my age at the time.

    And I sure never participated in or saw groups of kids gather in the woods to read comics. Sure sounds like McCarthyism doesn’t it?? Good find!

    • admin says:

      I love how staged it is. It’s like a “B” horror flick with the music, poor voice over, and acting. It made me laugh.

      Dave, by the time you collected in the 1960s most of these horror and crime comics had disappeared due to the Congressional hearings and the comic industry voluntarily instituting the Comics Code (remember those seals on the comic books?). Sales dropped like a rock and it took the superhero revival of the early 1960’s, hence the name the Silver Age, to really get things going again. I’m going to be posting more about the horror and crime comics, there was some really interesting material out there!

  2. Dave Gieber says:

    Sean, yeah by the early 1960s most of these comics may have disappeared, but they wouldn’t have been my cup of tea anyway. So it still makes me wonder about the inscribed popularity stated in the video. And I am well aware of the code. And didn’t comic publishers in the 1970s, like Marvel, just started saying no and decided not to worry about the code anymore?

    It will be interesting to see what you come up with in these genres.

    You may not be into this, but go search on reefer madness and see if the video is not similar in defining evil!! But then, you may agree with the evil!!!

    • admin says:

      Most of the publishers still used the code in the 1970’s and 80’s, but now it is defunct (Archie Comics was the last to use it and they stopped in December 2010). Marvel did publish a run of Amazing Spider-man, issues #96-#98, without CCA approval. I think I’ll do a post about the CCA and it’s 1954 guidelines, should be fun to read.

      I’ve seen Reefer Madness, yes, it reminds of this a lot!

  3. […] recent post about the link between comic books and juvenile delinquency prompted some discussion about the Comics Code Authority or CCA.  The Comics Magazine Association […]

  4. Dave Gieber says:

    Sean, yeah I did a little research yesterday and what I was remembering about Marvel, was that Stan Lee published a 3 part Spiderman series on the evils of drugs. He published them without the authority stamp and they still sold well. But I am suprised that the CCA lasted until just a few years ago.

    Interesting topic. Wish some of your subscribers would jump in!!

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