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In 1956, Cardinal Spellman forbade New York Catholics to see Elia Kazan’s film Baby Doll. Asked whether he himself had seen it, Spellman replied, “Must you have a disease to know what it is? If your water supply is poisoned, there’s no reason for you to drink the water.”

The British Board of Film Censors reported that the 1928 French surrealist film The Seashell and the Clergyman was “so cryptic as to be almost meaningless” … but “if there is a meaning, it is doubtless objectionable.”

“Think for yourselves,” wrote Voltaire, “and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.”


Americans require a restful quiet in the moving picture theater, and for them talking from the lips of the figures on the screen destroys the illusion. Devices for projecting the film actor’s speech can be perfected, but the idea is not practical. The stage is the place for the spoken word. The reactions of the American public up to now indicate the movies will not supersede it.

— Thomas Edison, quoted in the New York Times, May 21, 1926

Deer Prudence

In 1946, while on location shooting The Yearling, Victor Fleming was barraged with interfering telegrams by producer Sidney Franklin. Finally he wired back:


Double Feature

Hollywood has always abbreviated long titles — Gone With the Wind became known as GWTW, and For Whom the Bell Tolls as FWTBT.

One Jane Russell picture was tentatively titled Tall in the Saddle until an RKO publicist pointed out this trend.

The title was dropped.

The Adam Bomb

On Aug. 10, 2004, Cincinnati Reds first baseman Adam Dunn hit a ball entirely out of Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park. It landed on Mehring Way, 535 feet from home plate, hopped another 200 feet or so, and came to rest on a piece of driftwood on the edge of the Ohio River.

That part of the river belongs to Kentucky. This makes Dunn the only player in major league history to hit the ball into another state.

See Pop Fly and Four-Dimensional Basketball.

Post Production

In 1929, aspiring actor Charles Loeb had a friend pack him into a box labeled “Statue–Handle With Care” and ship him from Chicago to the Pathé motion picture studios in Culver City, Calif.

He arrived four days later, nearly dead, but told police he was pleased he’d finally made it through the gates of a major studio.

See Special Delivery.