Record #1293

Record Type:
Dr Arthur H. DeBra
Reel 5
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First National

censorship violations.Negotiations over The Mad Hour gives some insight into the workings of the Studio Relations Committee. When a long series of eliminations is required by State censors, DeBra checks if changes recommended by Joy have been made. They haven't: First National claims that their contract with Robert Kane prevents them from re-editing material. DeBra:'I told [Depinet] how adverse the effect such scenes as the shower bath one would have on our whole progress." Eventually Depinet is persuaded to revise all prints.


Censorship (112), Public relations (61) Show all keywords…


Long Description:

Memo 21 March 1928 by DeBra on changes not made by First National in The Mad Hour. The suggestion from the memo is that they had an agreement with the company either to make the deletions ordered -- in this case by Ohio -- either generally or else in some non-censorship territories. Possibly they were using New York as the standard? The version rejected by Kansas was, according to Joy (24 March) not the one used for Penn and New York."Mr. Depinet explained that he had felt sure the suggested alternative could be made but discovered that their contract with Robert Kane for five pictures provided that First National could not re-edit any of them unless the subject matter was clearly pornographic, salacious or tending to incite to crime. "Mr. Depinet had taken up the matter with their legal department and had been advised against making any alterations unless Mr. Kane's agreement could be had. He showed me two letters and three wires that had been exchanged and Mr. Kane was still holding out that the moral of the picture justified all of the subject matter included in it. "I told him how adverse the effect such scenes as the shower bath one would have on our whole progress. He agreed. I asked him if we could assist him in any way and he suggested that we have some of our folk in California talk with Mr. Kane. Later talking to Mr. McKenzie, he suggested that I call Mr. Depinet back and ask him to make the changes without any intercession from here. He said he was wiring again to the coast -- would be away tomorrow, but if the reply on his return was not satisfactory, he would make the necessary alterations in the picture and run the chance of a law suit."

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