Turning the Century: Essays in Media and Cultural Studies

By Carol A. Stabile | Go to book overview
tions, is not a sufficient reason for the approval of a picture or portions of a picture.
23. Themes or incidents in picture stories, which are designed to inflame the mind of improper adventures, or to establish false standards of conduct, coming under the foregoing classes, or of other kinds, will be disapproved. Pictures will be judged as a whole, with a view to their final total effect; those portraying evil in any form which may be easily remembered or emulated, will be disapproved.
24. Banners, posters or other advertising matter, concerning motion-pictures, must follow the rules laid down for the pictures themselves. That which may not be used upon the screen, must not be used to announce and direct public attention to the picture, in the lobby, on the street, or in any other form.

Notes
1.
"Bold Fronts, Pittsburgh Moving Picture Bulletin (PMPB) 3, 2 ( October 2, 1916): 4.
2.
"Radical Change in Policy Will Feature the Regent", PMPB 1, 24 ( September 14, 1914): 8.
3.
"Notes," PMPB 4, 3 ( May 23, 1916): 21. The level of wear on the upholstery is conjecture.
4.
"Notes," PMPB 2, 3 ( April 28, 1915): 22. Many of the Selbrig models had the ability to add sound effects to the musical accompaniment, including train whistles, horns, and horses' hooves.
5.
PMPB 2, 4 ( May 5, 1915): 1.
6.
Pennsylvania State Board of Censors of Motion Pictures, ordered eliminations for the week ending May 19, 1917 (Pennsylvania State Archives, Pennsylvania State Board of Censors, Box 2 [hereafter, PSA/PSBC 2]). As discussed later in this chapter, the board released a weekly list of edits required for a film to receive approval. In this case, it seems that the board would have preferred that Luke remain "lonesome." See also Everson 1971.
7.
God's Law was initially entitled The People vs. John Doe, but the title was changed when the film was shown that spring to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, as the state legislators debated whether to abolish capital punishment ("Vital Blow Against the Death Penalty," Moving Picture Weekly, April 28, 1917: 18-19). According to my research, Where Are My Children was condemned by the state after a long struggle between Peerless (the company that owned state's rights to the film) and the board, and would not have been shown in the local commercial theaters. However, it appears that a significant public discourse developed around the film, as it was subsequently shown "privately" to "educational, charitable, fraternal and religious" organizations, including women's clubs throughout the state -- a practice over which the board had no legal jurisdiction (see Peerless v. Pennsylvania State Board of Censors, Common Pleas Court No. 2 of Philadelphia, September 1917 [PSA/PSBC 2]).
8.
The Corner, written by C. Gardner Sullivan, like many of his other works, was a reworking of an earlier D. W Griffith film -- in this case, A Corner in Wheat ( 1909).
9.
The Eagle theater was caught and fined four times in 1916: three times for showing uncensored films, and once for failing to attach the official Pennsylvania state censorship seal (see Report of the Pennsylvania State Board of Censors, 20 Dec. 1916 (PSA/PSBC 2]).

-95-

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