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Censor of moving pictures records
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- textual record
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- Source of title proper: Title based on contents of the series.
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- British Columbia. Dept. of the Attorney-General. Censor of Moving Pictures
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1 m of textual records
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In March 1913, the legislature passed an Act to Regulate Theatres and Kinematographs [3 Geo. 5, c.72]. This statute, known generally as the Moving Pictures Act, created the office of Censor of Moving Pictures in the Department of the Attorney-General. Under the terms of the legislation, the censor had the authority to permit or prohibit the exhibition of any motion pictures in the province. It was his duty to prevent the depiction of scenes of an immoral or obscene nature, the representation of crime or pictures reproducing any brutalizing spectacle, or which indicate or suggest lewdness or indecency, or the infidelity or unfaithfulness of husband or wife, or any other such pictures which he may consider injurious to morals or against the public welfare or which may offer evil suggestions to the minds of children, or which may be likely to offend the public. (s.6).
Only films which had been approved and certified by the Censor's Office could be shown commercially. The censor was also permitted to review and revoke films which had previously been approved and to revoke the licenses of theatres which screened proscribed movies.
An amendment to the Moving Picture Act in 1929 further empowered the censor to prohibit film advertisements which were deemed to be "injurious to morals or against the public welfare." The amendment of 1929 did, however, provide for an Appeal Board, composed of three members appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council. Decisions of the Appeal Board were binding.
As it applied to the Censor's Office and the censoring of films, the Moving Pictures Act remained virtually unaltered until 1970. In that year it was repealed and superseded by the Motion Pictures Act [18-19 Eliz. 2, c.27]. The position of censor was replaced by a Film Classification Director and a General/Adult/Restricted rating was introduced for films which were to be exhibited in commercial theatres.
The province's first censor, C.L. Gordon, was appointed in April 1913. The Censor's Office, which was located in Vancouver, was enlarged the following year when two Assistant Censors were hired. A third Assistant Censor was taken on in 1915 and in 1917 the position of Moving Pictures Inspector was created. Walter Hepburn succeeded Gordon in 1919 and occupied the post of censor until 1924. His successors were Joseph Walters (1924-1930), James A. Smith (1930-1936), J.B. Hughes (1936-1951) and R.W. MacDonald (1952-1970+).
Scope and content
This series consists of records of the Censor of Moving Pictures from 1914-1963. Records include correspondence between the Censor's Office and film distribution companies. Most of the correspondence, along with carbon copies of the censor's reports, deal with the elimination of objectionable scenes and dialogue from commercial films made in the 1930s. Also included are summary lists of rejected films, ca.1914-1932, and correspondence regarding censored films, ca.1940-1960.
Immediate source of acquisition
Transferred from Censor's Office, Vancouver, in 1970.
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There are no access restrictions.
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- Finding aid: box/file list
Accession number(s): GR-0490