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T-<ORTY years ago, in the fall of 1887, PATTY
P SMITH HILL, Professor of Education at
Teachers' College, Columbia University and Director
the Department of Kindergarten First Grade

Education, began her career as a teacher in Louisville,
Kentucky. In an interview, page 506, Miss Hill tells
how the kindergartens and primary schools of the
nineties developed into the present scientific study and
education of children from two to eight years of age.
It is the story of a new vision and a new spirit in
education and it is, in part, the story of Patty Hill
herself. Beulah Amidon is education editor of The
Survey and in executive charge of this issue.

BEULAH WELDON served her apprenticeship as
a social worker at the Henry Street Settlement.
As executive secretary of the Intercollegiate Community
Service Association, Miss Weldon has gathered the
material for her article on the hows and whys of train-
ing for social work. Page 510.

ALL the illustrations in this issue are by one artist,
RALPH M. PEARSON, and in one medium, open
line pen-drawing, thus giving in the periodical a unified
decorative scheme and a harmony between pictures and
type more commonly attempted in books. By open line
pen-drawing is meant a technique with white and black
lines or spaces that are definite and considered, as they
are in type. This experiment in unified treatment also
means the emancipation of the picture from the
illustration pigeon-hole. Mr. Pearson would have the
artist thought of as an independent contributor whose
function is two- fold: decoration, including lay-out and
typography, and plastic interpretation of the subject
matter which, instead of merely visualizing facts men-
tioned in the text presents a new and different view-
point the outlook of the artist who expresses himself
through the medium of related lines, spaces, forms,
tones and colors. Thus in this issue of The Survey
the pictures do not confine themselves to the persons
and situations described in the articles, but attempt to
express independently the viewpoints and the implica-
tions of the underlying educational philosophy, so that
their interpretative as well as their decorative qualities
form an integral part of the magazine.


112 East 19 Street, New York







THE SURVEY Twice-a-month $5.00 a year
SURVEY GRAPHIC Monthly $3.00 a year

ARTHUR KELLOGG, Managing Editor

Associate Editors





Contributing Editors



JOHN D. KENDERDINE, Business Manager

MARY R. ANDERSON, Advertising Manager

MOLLIE CONDON, Extension Manager

By Ralph M. Pearson, who has drawn all of the illustrations for this issue



Volume LVIII
No. 11

Opportunity Night


THE Kid Brother was the picture recently shown
on a Saturday afternoon when children by
the hundreds had been attracted to one of Chi-
cago's new movie palaces by the advertisement of
a Kiddies' Barrel of Fun. Every child who
entered the theatre was given a large chocolate cream bar
and a lottery ticket. Each child knew that the ticket gave
him a possible chance to go on the stage at the close of the
performance, thrust his hand into a huge covered barrel
and carry away whatever prize he might grasp. Excitement
ran high, for wonderful prizes had been hinted at, more
numerous and much finer than those at the rival theatre,
two blocks away.

And there was Harold Lloyd in a "funny." The Kid
Brother shows the youngest brother in a family of five,
snubbed and downtrodden by his father and three older
brothers. The terrific events that establish the youngster
as a peer of his burly relatives run like the horrors of a
nightmare. The Kid Brother attempts to recover trust-
money stolen from his father. The criminal and he are
alone on a stranded wreck. Superhuman struggles have
taken place. The money is in the hands of the hero when
the criminal, intent on committing murder to regain it,
creeps up behind the boy. The Kid Brother does not see
or hear the killer. The hideous figure creeps nearer and
nearer. All possible chance of escape seems gone. The
suspense is unbearable. As one, the children respond to the
nightmare of the picture as they would to an actual night-
mare. The tense quiet of the theatre is ripped by pro-
longed and piercing screams.

There are three hundred and ten public schools in
Chicago and three hundred and fifty theatres. With
every means in their power, including brazen defiance
of law, great moving picture theatre corporations are
stimulating the attendance of children at unfit and illegal
performances. Is the school or the movie going to be the
more potent educational influence on the lives of Chi-
cago children? It is a question that increasingly agitates

the teachers and parents of this as of other American

Like other commercial enterprises, theatrical entertain-
ment has become 'highly competitive. The building of the
great new motion picture houses has resolved itself into a
careful calculation not only of present population to be
entertained but of possible future population. At every
important point of traffic intersection, even where the
development has just begun, great new motion picture
palaces have been built or are being built. In the mean-
time, there still exist the small neighborhood theatres which
are driven into unequal and often losing competition with
their magnificent rivals. To make this over-abundance of
theatres pay, seating capacity for thousands upon thousands
of people must be used over and over again, every day of
the week.

The strain of competition has driven the theatres to
devious methods of attracting crowds. Here in Chicago
we have Popularity Contests, Bathing Girl Contests,
Merchants' Gift Nights, Community Lamp Night, Silk
Pillow Night, Purity Cake Night, Newly Wed Night,
Surprise Night, Novelty Prize Night, Black Bottom and
Charleston Contests, Dance Frolics, Non-Professional
Revues, Juvenile Revues, Opportunity Night or Discovery
Night, Super-Discovery Night, Kiddies Parties and Kiddies'
Barrels of Fun.

MOST of these reflect the struggle of the smaller
theatres to succeed, but the entertainment of children
is a common ground upon which the theatres, great and small,
meet in the competitive field. In this vast scheme for enter-
taining the public, children have acquired a double commercial
value : on the stage as entertainers and in the seats as audience.
Among the special "matinees" and "nights" devoted
wholly to the entertainment of children, the most popular
at present are those known as the Barrel of Fun and
Opportunity or Discovery Night. There is, however, one
other method of attracting children which has been only




moderately successful and needs men-
tion because it has aroused bitter
hostility on the part of the community.
This is known as the Merchants'
Ticket Plan by which a child may
obtain a coupon of admission to the
local theatre at any neighborhood store
and enter the theatre at half price
alone, or for nothing if accompanied
by an adult, whom he may never have
seen before. This resulted in so much
truancy and even graver delinquencies
that local groups have forced the
theatres to give up the practice. The
spectacular end of the scheme came
not after appeal to the management,
though this was tried again and again,
but only when a police car drove up
to the theatre and officers escorted to
the police station, there to await their
irate parents, scores of truants and a
number of fourteen and fifteen-year-
old boy and girl petting parties
routed out of the more obscure seats.
Community protest against chil-
dren's contests is not so easy to arouse,
for adults as well as children are
attracted by the child performers. So, under whatever
name the contests may be advertised, the result is the same.
On Contest or Opportunity or Discovery Night the theatre
is crowded and the audience is about equally divided be-
tween adults and children. Frequently the foyer is packed
with people waiting for the second performance.

Inside the theatre the picture comes to a happy end, the
orchestra, or piano, or organ, closes its popular accompani-
ment with a flourish, the silver screen is rolled away and
as the curtains part a short, stout, smug-looking gentleman
makes his appearance amid a general bustle and whispering
among the children who fill the front of the house. Before
he has called a coy and somewhat husky, "Hello, children !
Here I am," the contestants have begun to make their way
down the dark aisles and up the stairs leading from
orchestra to stage. Across the stage they file, a long line of
children ready to compete for the cash prizes that the
contest director is conspicuously counting from one hand to
the other in crisp new one-dollar bills. Then there comes
the pantomime of counting the children and doing some
very obvious mental arithmetic, and finally the director
announces the results: "First prize five dollars, second
prize four dollars . . ."

At this moment another contestant makes his appearance.
He is carried down the aisle and up the steps in the arms
of his mother and set tipsily upon the stage in the glare of
the footlights amid the uproarious laughter of the audience.
He is a boy two and a half years old, his fat legs encased
in the briefest of trousers, his fat little body in the reddest
of sweaters. Abe, the director, senses the amusement of
the audience. He presents a single finger to the baby and
guides his somewhat uncertain steps to the waiting row of
contestants, where he takes his place with a comprehensive
grin that includes the audience and the children with equal

"Four dollars first prize, three dollars second prize, two
dollars third prize, and one dollar for each of the others,"

concludes Abe, "let's go!" And at his signal, the first
child comes forward with a piece of much worn music in
her hand and whispers her act and musical requirements
to Abe. The music is handed to the pianist in the orchestra
with a request for three verses and chorus. The music
starts and the first child is on her way to success or failure
at the judgment of the audience:

She is a dark little child of five, now an old hand at
contests and used to hilarious popularity. She is dressed
in a huge gold picture-hat, a scant black and gold ballet
skirt, scanter trunks and a gold ribbon or two to keep
her baby body from complete exposure. She begins by
crouching down close to the footlights, stretching out
her baby arms and singing in a hard, strained, but telling
voice :

Gim-rne a little kiss, will ya, huh?

What are ya gonna miss, will ya, huh?

Gosh! O Gee! Why do you refuse?

I can't see what you've got to lose;

Aw, gimme a little squeeze, will ya, huh?

Why do you wanna make me blue?

I wouldn't say a word if I were askin' for the world,

But what's a little kiss between a feller and his girl?

Aw, gimme a little kiss, will ya, huh?

And I'll give it right back to you.

Gimme a little kiss, will ya, huh?

Must I go on like this, will ya, huh?

Once again a plea I'm gonna make,

Tell me when do I get a break!

Aw, say that you're givin' in, will ya, huh?

Anything that you ask, I'll do

I'll take you for a buggy ride, where we can be alone,

And once you kiss me, you will never think of walking home;

Aw, gimme a little kiss, will ya, huh?

Or I'll steal about ten from you.

Gimme a little coat, will ya, huh?

Sable or mink or goat, will ya, huh?

My poor hand is bare as anything

I could stand a bracelet or a ring;

Aw, gimme a little car, will ya, huh?

That would be mighty nice to do,

A Packard or a Lincoln or a Cadillac sedan,

I'll even take a Rolls and you can add a chauffeur man,

But don't you give me a Ford, will ya, huh?

Or I'll give it right back to you.

SHE sings with suggestive gestures and winks that set the
audience into roars of laughter. When she has finished
her song she begins an acrobatic dance, well interspersed
with shimmying and shaking of her tiny body. She is a
born performer. She has learned so well how to take her
applause and how to play up any particular trick to
catch applause that she might be twenty-five instead of
five years old. She backs to her place in line, throwing
kisses and making the latest bows, both knees bent till
she almost squats on the stage. The audience greets her
skill with shouts and ap-

The long performance
continues. The baby boy
gets tired, begins to cry
noisily and is carried off
the stage to his disgruntled
mother amid the joyous
demonstration of the audi-
ence; whatever the chil-
dren do is entertainment.

There is great similarity

of effort among the contestants, for each child has to do all
of the stunts, like the regular vaudeville performer. It is
seldom enough to dance, or to sing, only. One must both
dance and sing and even play a musical instrument. And
if one dances, it is absolutely necessary to do some acro-
batic feat. So sometimes two children perform almost
identically, even using the same song. Some of them can
neither sing nor dance, although they make strenuous efforts
to do both.

BUT there are high lights. A little girl, probably eight
years old, has been restlessly standing first on one foot,
then on the other. She holds around her shoulders a
shrouding cape. Suddenly Abe signals her. She lets her cape
slip to the floor, creating an obvious sensation in the audi-
ence. The children gasp with envious admiration. What
little she has on is bright red silk, trimmed half in gold
and half in silver. There is a slender gold cord around
her throat which holds up the waist of her costume. It
begins in a. point at the neck in front and spreads out to
her waist in an inverted V-shaped affair that just covers
her childish bosom. Her back is nude to the waist. Her
trunks are the briefest possible. Her arms and legs are
bare. She wears scarlet slippers. Her hair is bleached to
an unnatural yellow. She
is powdered and rouged
out of all semblance to
childhood. She asks for
the song, My Baby
Knows How, and there
is not a suggestive line in
the song that does not
receive its due gesture or
wink or grimace. As she
sings the chorus she ad-
dresses the line, "My
baby, my baby knows
how!" to Abe, the director, changing the wording to, "My
baby, that baby knows how !" and the pronouns to mascu-
line gender.

Who knows how to say I love you,
How to make 'm jealous of you?

My baby, my baby knows how!
Who has taught me what real bliss is,
Who knows how to feed me kisses,

My baby, my baby knows how!

She's got that way, that certain way, Hey,
You know what I mean.

And am I fond of her, say I love her, and how!
I ask you who turns "nos" right into "yeses"?
You don't even need three guesses,
My baby, my baby knows how!

Abe receives the overture with appropriate asides to the
audience, expressing pleasure and anticipation. The audience
is enthusiastic at the close of the song. Then the little
burlesque performer breaks into a dance. It is Black Bottom.
The dainty white limbs are straddled and bowed, her body
lends itself skillfully to the ugly rhythms of the dance and
with the sudden introduction of muscle vibration of her
whole trunk, she brings down the house in a roar of
laughter and applause. She is a huge success. She will
undoubtedly win first prize.

But Joey is in the line. Joey is a great favorite. He
cannot be over six. He is dressed in long, wide black

trousers and a white satin
shirt like a professional
man dancer. He is a whirl-
wind. Back and forth
across the stage he flashes
in stunt after stunt. He
does them all. Hand-
springs, back somersaults,
Russian dance, the split,
but everything he does has
some little original turn to
it that makes it particu-
larly Joey's. Suddenly, when he seems to have reached the
point of exhaustion, he runs to the side of the stage, stands
on his head and spins like a top, whirling completely around
three times and letting his tiny body fall with a thump on
the stage. When he reaches the opposite side of the stage
for his final spin and fall, he strikes the wing of the scenery
before his body reaches the floor. As he takes his bow amid
the vociferous applause of the audience, he presses a hand-
kerchief to his nose to keep the blood from soiling his pretty
white silk shirt. Abe jokes about the nose-bleed, and like
the rest of the performance, the audience takes it as a part
of the entertainment and laughs and applauds.

There are other performers. There is a little gil dressed
in a blue serge school dress with white underskirt and
panties the most unsophisticated looking child on the stage.
Some one has taught her a vampire dance. She does it
crudely, but in the middle of her dance, clutches her stomach
with both hands and goes through some utterly indecent
shimmying. The audience has been bored by her per-
formance at first. It is not bored now. It explodes into
boisterous laughter in which the voices of men predominate.

Among the contestants is a little girl who dances a clog
dance with great skill. The audience appreciates her work.
There is a boy who sings a delightful song in a clear, well
trained voice. The audience likes his singing and begins a
generous round of applause, but Abe cuts in, taps the boy
on the shoulder and sends him back to line with only a part
of the appreciation that was his due.

After an hour's program, the children have all competed
and step forward to the front of the stage for the awarding
of the prizes.

AJE holds the money for the first prize in his hand over
the head of each child in turn and says, "Now, let's
go!" The audience applauds for its favorites and slowly
the children are selected for first, second and third prizes.
Sometimes it is extremely confusing. Abe does not seem to
hear well. No matter how hard the audience applauds for
one child, the test is made over and over again until the
weight of the applause seems to go to a different child. So
the little bleached burlesque dancer received first prize,
Joey second, Baby Eleanor third, and the clever little clog
dancer took her single dollar with all of the other unsuc-
cessful children. Then Abe announces that the seconc 1 con-
test will take place at 9:30 and that all of the children who
competed at the first performance will be eligible A)r the

There may be ten other theatres on the same night giving
Juvenile Contests or Discovery Nights. Tomorrow night
and on through the week there will be others, and these
same children, and many more, will travel night after night
about the city to compete for the cash prizes. They perform



at least twice a night. Their last performance
is seldom over before 10:30 and they may have
to travel the length of the city before they can
go to bed. The next day, if they are over six,
they must get up in time for school.

Not the least evil of these performances is
the type of song the children sing. One of
the crudest of these songs was heralded by a
certain music house as so indecent as to be
barred from their lists. It is called How Could
Red Riding Hood and involves not only that
heroine of the fairy tale but the beloved Cin-
derella and Goldilocks as well in such lines as :

They say she found a wolf in Granny's bed

A big sunbonnet pulled over his head,

But you know and I know what she found instead.

How could Red Riding Hood have been so very

And still keep the wolf from the door?


They've read of Cinderella and Goldilocks and

Some stories tell them oodles and some don't tell

them much,

They say she had a head full of curls,

She was the nicest of all nice girls,

But you know and I know what girls do for pearls.

Although these children's contests attract adults as well
as children, the latter attend the first performances of the
evening in unusually large numbers. Sometimes in the
smaller theatres the audience will be three-fourths children,
most of them under fourteen years of age. As a fitting
accompaniment to the sophisticated performances given by
the children themselves, the picture that happens to be
running for the week is shown. That it is wholly unfitted
tor children makes no difference. So the youngsters are
enlightened by such pictures as The Marriage Whirl,
Altars of Desire, God Gave Me Twenty Cents, Flaming
Passion, Sin Cargo, The Temptress, and When London
Sleeps. In a review of the last named picture, a popular
Chicago newspaper expressed regret that Rin Tin Tin,
whom the children love, should have been cast in a picture
too frightful for children to see. Yet this very picture was
shown on a contest night with five hundred children in the
audience ; many of them were literally hysterical before that
inexcusable film came to an end. One has only to sit ob-
servant of the reactions of these child audiences to refute the
statement that the unfit pictures of adult crime and delin-
quency go over the heads of children.

COMMERCIAL interest has seized upon childhood as
a source of financial gain in these exploited child
performers and these child audiences. In both instances,
every accepted standard of education and training is
thrown to the winds. If dancing teachers and theatre
managers had the good of the children at heart, they would
confess to parents of child performers that the exhausting
dances and the straining of young voices to fill the the-
atre are much
more likely to
destroy talent
than to prepare
the children for

future "stardom." In place of simple living,
wholesome play, well chosen stories, reasonable
hours of going to bed, the movies give the chil-
dren sophistication, emotional stimulation, false 1
ideals of living, nervous excitement and late>
hours, together with initiation into adult indul-
gences of crime and passion.

So far there has been little scientific check
made on the results to children of such unnat-
ural stimulation. Teachers from every part of
Chicago have testified that it is impossible to
secure the attention of children who have been
to the movies the night before. So clear-cut has
this evidence become that a campaign of edu-
cation for mothers has been carried on through-
out the city with the slogans, "No Movies on
School Nights," "No Movies Unless you Know
the Picture," "No Movies without an Adult."
This is the most successful plan that has so far
been found to oppose the allurement that the
theatres broadcast by advertisement, by handbills
and by screen announcements to attract children.
The child labor law in substance prohibits the
employment of every child under sixteen in a
theatre or place of amusement after six P. M.
But while the inspectors have the power to in-
spect and to file cases they have no power, says
the attorney general, in an unofficial opinion, to remove
the children from their illegal employment. Even when
cases are filed the children may continue to appear for
a week or more, and the theatre management cheerfully
pays a meagre fine for the privilege of having made use of
the children. Nor does this law in any way apply to the
contests. These have been decided by test cases to be out-
side the restrictions of the child labor law, since they are
competitive and the children are not paid a definite sum.
(Nevertheless, the prize money is always divided so that
every child gets at least a dollar.)

The contests do, however, come under the provisions of
a statute of the criminal code which, with the exception of
church and school entertainments, makes it a criminal
offence for any person to allow a child under fourteen to
be employed in a list of prohibited occupations which in-
cludes public dancing, singing, playing on musical instru-
ments, etc. This law may be enforced by any one, so it
is enforced by no one. It has, however, been tested in the
case of the contests. An offending theatre manager who had
been appealed to from every imaginable angle was finally
arrested. The judge found him guilty and imposed a fine
of one hundred dollars. The theatre interests carried the
case to the Supreme Court of the state on a plea of un-

Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesThe Survey (Volume 58) → online text (page 109 of 130)