No Shooting

Secret Service

In 1911, Anthony Comstock announced that he would compel theater owners to desist in advertising their motion pictures with posters displaying shooting scenes. That August, New York’s Thalia Theatre put up posters advertising “The Chief of the Secret Service,” which contained much gunplay. But at the last moment they changed the bill out of fear of Comstock’s reaction. As a result, 500 theater-goers left their seats, besieged the box office and demanded their money back. The police were called but could not clear the streets until an arrangement was made to return everyone’s money. In parting, they demanded that the posters be taken down. The film was shown without rioting in other American cities.


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