Record #775

Date:
30/03/1931
Record Type:
Letter
Reel:
Reel 9
Frame Start:
9-1608
Frame End:
9-1610
Legacy ID:
783
Legacy Year:
1931
Legacy Index:
Meetings - MPPDA Board
Comments:
EDITORIAL COMMENT: Indicative, presumably, of responsible exhibitor opinion.

The MPTO of Ohio complain that industry practices are hindering them in their fight against state legislation. Bathing girls in newsreels cause censorship, as do salacious titles; and publication of stars salaries and inflated box-office receipts encourage introduction of amusement taxes.Ohio censor board rejecting films at the time of the attempted passage of a bill exempting newsreels from censorship -- complaint about moral standards being bad for box-office -- letter used by Hays at Board of Directors meeting. Also complains of trade papers publishing salaries -- encourages pressure for 10% amusement tax

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Long Description:

MPTO of Ohio to Pettijohn, 30 March 1931--review of Ohio legislation situation and complaints:".. . Why the Hell do news reel producers insert bathing scenes anyhow. Such scenes are magazine subjects, not news, and they have no place in a news reel."We want to protest not only the dirty films, but also the suggestive titles that are oft time given perfectly harmless pictures, in most cases, the titles have very little if any box office value. It is certainly high time for a general house-cleaning, and your office, having at heart the general good and the perpetuation of the industry, should do everything within your power to eliminate the filth in pictures, sexy suggestive titles, and last but not least, filth in advertising. ... The Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio State Grange and the Ohio Farm Bureau, and other lesser organizations, have gone on record as favoring an amusement tax, and they have sent their recommendations to that effect to the Finance and Taxation Committee, which Committee is to draft legislation to provide for the present and future needs of Ohio. ... [legislators] call our attention to the box office grosses, salaries of stars, and salaries of film directors and officials published daily [in the trade press]. They call our attention to the enormous business being done by the theatres and while we know that the statements are phoney, we cannot convince the Senators and Representatives. They merely laugh in our face and dismiss the matter with the statement that any business that enjoys such box office receipts and can pay such salaries, can well afford to pay a mere 10% on this admissions. Publishing box office grosses and the tremendous salaries supposed to be drawn by officials and others within the industry, is silly and misleading. It can do no possible good, but on the other hand is positively doing a lot of harm, and the practice should be discontinued immediately.""... We were unfortunate in having the newsreel censorship bill placed in the house Temperance Committee, but even at that it would have been acted upon favorably except for one reason. Just at the time we were fighting the ministers and women's organizations on this measure, your distributors sent in such pictures as "Lonely Wives", "My Past", "Many A Slip", and "Reaching for the Moon". The censor board rejected "Many A Slip" in its entirety, eliminated more than 3000 feet out of "Lonely Wives", cut "My Past" all to pieces, and cut considerable footage out of "Reaching for the Moon". These pictures could not have been sent in at a more inopportune time. The censor, Dr. Clifton, had special showings of all of these subjects for the ministers, women organizations, and others who oppose motion pictures generally, and the result was the defeat of our measure by one vote. If the producers continue to make pictures such as "Many A Slip" and "Lonely Wives", it is only a matter of a short time when you will have censorship in 48 states instead of only 6. In one of the Committee hearings, Dr. Clifton made the statement that only 8 eliminations were made from newsreels during 1930, and all 8 cuts were of bathing girls. Why the Hell do newsreel producers insert bathing scenes anyhow. Such scenes are magazine subjects, not news, and they have no place in a newsreel. We want to protest not only the dirty films, but also the suggestive titles that are oft times given perfectly harmless pictures, in most cases, the titles have very little if any box office value. It is certainly high time for a general house cleaning, and your office, having at heart the general good and the perpetuation of the industry, should do everything within your power to eliminate the filth in pictures, sexy suggestive titles, and last but not least, filth in advertising. ... Let the producers continue as at present and the answer is Federal censorship." Also fearful that a 10% amusement tax will be passed -- Ohio Chamber of Commerce and Farm Bureau are in favour -- complains of practice of publishing stars' and Executives' salaries and box-office grosses in trade press, since it leaders politicians to argue that the industry can afford to pay 10% tax. Practice should be discontinued.

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