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Films on Sunday

January 15, 2011

100 years ago today was a Sunday. None of the U.S. distributors set their release dates for Sunday because at the time, there was heated debate within many communities about whether movie-going was an appropriate Sunday activity.

Some towns, such as Albia, Iowa passed prohibitive ordinances. The Mayor of Painesville, Ohio, made an exception of his town’s ordinance for a Sunday showing of the Passion Play, which apparently got him in trouble, despite the fact that the film was popular fare for Sunday Schools across the nation.

These snipets, which are all taken from a single issue of the weekly Moving Picture World, bear witness to the debate about Sundays. They are valuable for film history because they give us a sense of the disreputable status that the cinema had for many Americans in 1911.

THE MOVING PICTURE WORLD 8, no. 1 (14 January, 1911): 73

THE MOVING PICTURE WORLD 8, no. 1 (14 January, 1911): 73

THE MOVING PICTURE WORLD 8, no. 1 (14 January, 1911): 79

THE MOVING PICTURE WORLD 8, no. 1 (14 January, 1911): 79

THE MOVING PICTURE WORLD 8, no. 1 (14 January, 1911): 80.

THE MOVING PICTURE WORLD 8, no. 1 (14 January, 1911): 80.

THE MOVING PICTURE WORLD 8, no. 1 (14 January, 1911): 83.

THE MOVING PICTURE WORLD 8, no. 1 (14 January, 1911): 83.

THE MOVING PICTURE WORLD 8, no. 1 (14 January, 1911): 86.

THE MOVING PICTURE WORLD 8, no. 1 (14 January, 1911): 86.

THE MOVING PICTURE WORLD 8, no. 1 (14 January, 1911): 94.

THE MOVING PICTURE WORLD 8, no. 1 (14 January, 1911): 94.

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