1939 February 25

Once-Banned Film Opens; “Near-Adolescent Riot” Ensues


The once-banned film Yes, My Darling Daughter opened in New York City and a “mild state of adolescent riot” occurred as an overflow crowd of mostly teenagers arrived at the Strand Theater for the opening. The state Board of Censors had banned it as a “menace to youthful morals,” but its decision was overruled by the governing Board of Regents. The theater raised the price of admission from 25 to 40 cents, but a crowd still arrived in time for the 11 a.m. initial showing. It appeared that the publicity surrounding the alleged “menace to youthful morals” was responsible for the huge turnout for an undistinguished movie.

The Supreme Court ruled that movies were a form of expression protected by the First Amendment in the famous “Miracle” decision on May 26, 1952.

Learn more at a timeline of movie censorship: https://www.aclu.org/files/multimedia/censorshiptimeline.html

Read: Frank Walsh, Sin and Censorship: The Catholic Church and the Motion Picture Industry (1996)

Watch clips of pre-Code (that is, pre-1934) Hollywood films: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81DwZgieHmg

Read: Leonard Leff and Jerold Simmons, The Dame in the Kimono: Hollywood, Censorship, and the Production Code from the 1920s to the 1960s (1990)


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