Board of Theatre Supervisors Documents, 1926-1965  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Seattle (Wash.). City Clerk
Title
Board of Theatre Supervisors Documents
Dates
1926-1965 (inclusive)
Quantity
.6 cubic foot, (2 boxes)
Collection Number
1802-E5
Summary
The Board of Theatre Supervisors Documents include annual reports, meeting minutes, petitions, and correspondence regarding theatre licenses and censorship of films and theatrical performances.
Repository
Seattle Municipal Archives
Seattle Municipal Archives
Office of the City Clerk
City of Seattle
PO Box 94728
98124-4728
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-233-7807
Fax: 206-386-9025
archives@seattle.gov
Access Restrictions

Records are open to the public.

Languages
English
Sponsor
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

The Board of Theatre Supervisors was created in 1923 with Ordinance 52969; its purpose was to regulate exhibitions of motion pictures, drama and opera performances, theaters, and other public entertainment. The Board was to enforce the ordinance, which prohibited the production or display of "obscene, indecent, or immoral" entertainments. The nine-member Board, which regulated entertainment and exhibitions "contrary to the public morals and good order," was appointed by the Mayor, with the stipulation that one member be involved in motion picture production or distribution and another be involved with the ownership or management of a motion picture theater. Earlier incarnations of the Board (then known as the Board of Censors) had between five and fifteen members; in many cases, a certain number of Board members were required to be women. Board members were authorized to enter theaters and perform inspections and to view and censor films before they were shown to audiences.

The Board of Theatre Supervisors was dissolved in 1968 through Ordinance 97321.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Included in this set of documents are annual reports; petitions, protests, and other correspondence regarding shows at theatres and panoramas (panorams); and other material related to the Board. Subjects include licensing of theatres and censorship of theatrical performances or motion pictures deemed obscene or offensive by the Board. Of particular interest is a set of files dating from 1950 which deal with the City ban on the motion picture "Stromboli" on the basis of lead actress Ingrid Bergman's extramarital affair with the film's director, Roberto Rossellini. Included are the mayor's directive banning showing of the film as well as letters from citizens both in agreement with and opposition to the City's position.

Annual reports exist from 1956 to 1963, although not for every year. The reports are brief and include discussions of the Board’s activities for the year, information on membership, meetings, and budget, and a list of films previewed, plays checked, and actions taken. Actions include recommendation of deletion of scenes as well as age limits for films. Panorama activities and foreign film screenings were the subjects of separate subcommittees, and reports are included for some years. A special committee was appointed for the "supervision and control" of entertainment at the Seattle World's Fair; this committee's activities are discussed in the 1962 annual report.

Minutes document the Board's meetings, including members present and business discussed. Topics covered are largely the same as in the annual reports. The minutes include members' reports on spot-check visits to theatres and conversations with theatre owners, as well as findings of the Board's various committees, such as the Panorama Committee, the Night Club Committee, and the Foreign Film Committee.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

[Item and date], Board of Theatre Supervisors Documents, Record Series 1802-E5. Box [number], Folder [number]. Seattle Municipal Archives.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Board of Theatre Supervisors Documents, 1926-1961Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/1
Petition for Ordinance to Close All-Night Theatres
1926
1/2
Petition to Close Motion Picture Theatres at 12:30 a.m.; referred to Women's Division of the Police Department
1926
1/3
Protest Against Budget Allowance for Board of Theatre Censors
1930
1/4
Petition for Amendment to Ordinance 59674 re: Films, Slides, and Literature Concerning Sex Subjects
1931
1/5
Report on Operation of State, Rialto, and Palm Theatres
1934
1/6
Report on Operation of Palm, Rialto, and State Theatres
1934
1/7
Report of Notice Served to Owners of State, Palm, and Rialto Theatres
1934
1/8
Petition for Suspension of License of Star Theatre
1934
1/9
Petition for Renewal of Star Theatre License
1935
1/10
Petition that Mayflower Theatre Be Licensed to New Management
1935
1/11
Report Approving License to Oak Theatre
1935
1/12
Petition of Board for Warning to Moore Theatre
1937
1/13
Request by Board for Continuation of Monthly Budget Allowance
1937
1/14
Proposal to License Taverns Presenting Vaudeville Acts
1937
1/15
Report on Operation of State, Rialto, and Palm Theatres
1938
1/16
Protest Against Granting Licenses to Carnivals
1939
1/17
Petition for Notification of Licenses Issued for Carnivals
1939
1/18
Protest of Clean City League Against Proposed "Moulin Rouge" Show at Civic Auditorium
1939
1/19
Protest Against Proposed Closing of Rialto Theatre
1940
1/20
Letter of Appreciation to City Council for Revoking Rialto Theatre License
1940
1/21
Petition for Ordinance Amendment Concerning Films on Sexual Hygiene
1948
1/22
Request by Board for Increased Budget
1948
1/23
Petition for Investigation of Operating Standards for Atlas Theatre
1949
1/24
Protest Against Showing of Film "Stromboli" in Seattle
1950
1/25
Directive from Acting Mayor to Chief of Police Banning Local Showing of "Stromboli"
1950
1/26
Protest Against Banning of Film "Stromboli"
1950
1/27
Reports on Panorama Machines and Peep Shows
1956
1/28
Recommendation to Suspend License of Rivoli Theatre
1956
1/29
Reports on Inspection of Panorama Machines
1956-1957
1/30
Reports on Inspection of Panorama Machines
1960
1/31
Petition for City to Revoke Panorama Movie Show Licenses
1960
1/32
Reports on Inspection of Panorama Machines
1960-1961
1/33
Petition to Keep Movies in Seattle Clean
1961
1/34
Protest Against Banning of the Film "Erotica"
1961
1/35
Recommendation of Mayor to Enlarge Board
1961

Board of Theatre Supervisors Annual Reports, 1956-1963Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2/1
Board of Theatre Supervisors Annual Report
1956
2/2
Board of Theatre Supervisors Annual Report
1957
2/3
Board of Theatre Supervisors Annual Report
1960
2/4
Board of Theatre Supervisors Annual Report
1961
2/5
Board of Theatre Supervisors Annual Report
1962
2/6
Board of Theatre Supervisors Annual Report
1963

Board of Theatre Supervisors Minutes, 1957-1965Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2/7
Board of Theatre Supervisors Minutes
1957
2/8
Board of Theatre Supervisors Minutes and Reports on Panorama Operations
1958
2/9
Board of Theatre Supervisors Minutes
1959
2/10
Board of Theatre Supervisors Minutes
1961
2/11
Board of Theatre Supervisors Minutes
1962
2/12
Board of Theatre Supervisors Minutes
1963
2/13
Board of Theatre Supervisors Minutes
1964-1965

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Arts--Censorship--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Censorship--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Motion picture theaters--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Motion pictures--Censorship--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Music-halls (Variety-theaters, cabarets, etc.)--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Panoramas--Censorship--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Theater--Censorship--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Geographical Names :
  • Seattle (Wash.)--Politics and government
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Annual reports
  • Other Creators :
    • Corporate Names :
    • Seattle (Wash.). Board of Theatre Supervisors (creator)