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They're always among us, those arbiters of good taste and morals, but in 1921, at the dawn of the Jazz Age, censors and the rigidly religious were everywhere, crusading against every aspect of our changing culture and trying their darndest to regulate our leisure, if not eliminate it.

Syracuse Journal, January 27
LORAIN, O., Jan. 27 – Policemen will not be assigned to dance halls where the “shimmy” is permitted, Mayor Grail announced. The “shimmy” is destructive to the morals, he holds.

Syracuse Journal, February 5
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Feb. 5 – The New Zealand goverment in a proclamation has ordered that no motion picture film depicting thieving, robbery, murder or suicide shall be permitted to be shown in the Dominion of New Zealand after May 1 next.

The importers of films have been thrown into consternation by the order.

Syracuse Journal, February 21
WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 (United News) – Samuel Gompers, president of the American Federation of Labor, in a plea for freedom of expression through motion pictures, denounces proposed legislation for state censorship in New York.

“There must somewhere be an end to restriction, to censorship, to the exercise of the arbitrary judgment of a few over the doings of the masses,” says Gompers, “or we shall lose our Democratic character entirely and become a nation of subjects. If left free, the public will take care of its own standards. The idea of censorship is not an American idea and cannot with safety be introduced into our life.”

Syracuse Journal, March 19
WASHINGTON, March 19 – Enactment of a Federal law providing for the selection of the “interstate motion picture commission” to purify and keep in a state of purity the movies of the country was advocated by Dr. Wilbur F. Crafts here today.

Dr. Crafts is superintendent of the International Reform Bureau. This commission is to be composed of six members with at least two of them women, Crafts said. The members should be appointed by the United States Bureau of Education, Crafts said.

This commission is to have jurisdiction of movies in all parts of the country and have licensing power over all producers of moving pictures.

Syracuse Journal, March 21
NEW YORK, March 21 – “The Pagan,” a statue of a nude woman in a sitting posture, has been barred from the annual exhibit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art next month.

Captain Charles Rumsey, widely known sculptor, and the son-in-law of Mrs. E. H. Harriman, who made the statue, secured an order in the Supreme Court this morning forcing the directors of the exhibit to give their reasons for barring “The Pagan.”

“It is not lewd to the layman, let alone to artists,” Captain Rumsey claimed.

Syracuse Daily Journal, April 7
DETROIT, April 7 – Theater owners joined the performers in answering an edict by the police censor which put unclothed knees, even in Grecian dances, under the ban.

“Some stagefolk,” the censor declared, “have been going too far and it must stop.”

His only exception was in National costumes, such as the Scotch.

The performers and theater owners, in turn, have asked city officials to clear the streets, particularly those leading from theaters to hotels, of the “Johnny Nuisance.”

The censor also became the target of many quips, such as suggestions that he exercise his powers on the other side of the curtain, expression of fear that ear muffs might yet be required on Detroit stages and reminders that cloth alone was not a mark of decency.

Syracuse Journal, May 6
LORAIN, Ohio,, May 6 – Alleged portrayal by “Six Dainty Dancing Dollies,” according to police report of vulgar dances before an audience of 500 men here, resulted in the arrest of three men charged with giving “a private exhibition of lascivious, indecent, immoral and impure nature and such as to corrupt the morals of those who attended the exhibition.”

The three men, all of whom pleaded not guilty when arraigned, have been held under bond for trial May 11. Police say that the “six dainty dancing dollies” – it says just that on the police blotter – began portrayal of the “lingerie” and “seven veil” dances, but, according to police reports, the veils became cumbersome and hampered the dancing. So, police declare, the girls discarded the veils. The “dancing dollies” who participated in the show were hurried away after the performance, police said.

Syracuse Journal, May 19
By CARL VICTOR LITTLE
United Press
WINONA LAKE, Ind., May 19.—A concerted drive for Sunday laws and a move to check wide-open Sabbath agitation has started here.

The Sunday law question was thrown before the Presbyterian Goneral Assembly when sessions opened today.

"The battleground of the church is on the field of the Christian Sabbath," the Christian Sabbath Committee stated in a report to the conference.

Dr. B. L. Bowlby of Newark, N. J., secretary of the Lord's Day Alliance, is also head of the Presbyterian Committee on Sabbath Observance and wrote the report which for the assembly.

"One of the outstanding features of the campaign." said Dr. Bowlby, "is the nationwide propaganda for a wide-open Sunday, backed by powerful amusement and sporting organizations bent on making the Christian sabbath the big money-gettting day of the week.

''Close up the movie theater, shut the gates of the ball parks, lock the doors of any places of business and this paramount problem of the churches will be well on its way to solution."

Dr. Bowlby expressed the view that the blue Sunday would come. He said those who once predicted prohibition never would come, now say America soon will be as dry as a "sun-kissed chip."

Syracuse Journal, June 16
MARLETTE, Mich., June 16 – Strict observance of the Sabbath has been voted by citizens of this village in a referendum suggested by Harry Hobloth, proprietor of its only motion picture theater. By a vote of 270 to 70, the electors placed the ban on Sunday movies.

The fight for and against Sunday performances had waged for several months until Holboth suggested a referendum, agreeing to abide by the decision.

Syracuse Journal, June 25
MILWAUKEE, June 25 – Women’s moral standards have declined, according to Clarla Burnside of Indianapolis, the only woman police captain in the country. The condition, however, was inevitable, she declared at the social work conference here. She predicted the near future would show an improvement.

“Women have demanded equal rights and privileges with me,” said. “Although indications are that instead of men coming up to women’s standards of morals, women have come down to men’s, but this is only the inevitable swing of the pendulum to extremes which occur before all great equalizations.”

Syracuse Journal, July 8
HARTFORD, Conn., July 8 – The shorter the hair and shorter the skirt, the nearer to hell, according to the Rev. D. J. Jaxheimer of Hartford.

“The levity of man and woman regarding dress and appearance astonishes me,” he said.

“It is evident of the moral laxity of the present age. Bare legs and blondes should be eliminated.”

Syracuse Journal, September 28
LYNDHURST, N.J., Sept. 29 – Who could be “madder” than a teacher who has been ordered by the Board of Education to lower her skirts? All the teachers.

Wednesday night – a joyous night in the lives of most young ladies – was surcharged with rampant anger for the Lyndhurst school teachers. To add insult to injury, the board’s order also prohibits silks and satins because the children of Lyndhurst are in moderate circumstances and must not be encouraged to emulate the well dressed schoolteachers.

Not only are the women bursting with anger over this censorship of their dress, but they are at a loss as to what length is required.

Several of them have declared their intention of resigning.

Syracuse Journal, October 11
NEW BEDFORD, Mass., Oct. 11 – The young folks are deserting the other churches Sunday nights to go to the Trinitarian Church, where they have movies, but it is not movies that draw them, in the opinion of rhe Rev. Henry B. Williams, pastor of a rival Baptist church.

No, sir, they go there to spoon!

The Rev. Williams believes the darkness at the Trinitarian Church during the movies holds out an added attraction to young couples and it ain’t right. The situation has become so serious that on the Baptist church calendar one finds an admonition to its flock to remember their covenant obligations and not to willingly turn from their own services Sunday evenings to the Trinitarian Church.

Other clergymen here express similar sentiments.

Last night a full house at the Trinitarian Church saw Will Rogers in “Just Call Me Jim” at the close of the usual song and prayer service.

Syracuse Journal, November 15
NEW YORK, Nov. 15 – Naughty Broadway is going to be reformed.

An official scrub brush is going to wash out the wicked, wicked street and cleanse the shows that reveal multifariouis laldies in livid lingerie and jokes with a taint of suggestion, according to the word that is being passed along today.

Dr. Royal Copeland, health commissioner, has taken the lead in the fight to make New York pure. His declarations are expected to be followed by an official edict which will place Broadway productions under civil supervision.

The town got all riled up over “The Demi-Virgin,” a play produced by A. H. Wood, patron of the bedroom farce, which Chief City Magistrate McAdoo held was “immoral and unpure.” Wood is being held in $1,000 bail pending final decision. In his decision McAdoo protessted strongly against the bartering of vulgarity on the stage and hinted that he himself might suggest action to clean up the show works.

At the hearing, particular attention was paid the title of the play, “Demi-Virgin.”

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