Friday, September 20, 2013

maud allan part two

Maud Allan was the straw that broke the camel's back! After the media smear campaign of Allan's trial made her look like a ''pathological type'' the social purist went into high gear. An organization called The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice began heavy lobbying of the New York state legislator to clean-up the Broadway stage and they focused on Homosexual themes and characters. They had close connections with the district attorney who had New York City police raid some theaters and issue warrants for the arrest of actors and producers. Then, they passed a law that banned shows ''depicting or dealing with the subject of sex degeneracy or sex perversion.'' To top that off, they passed the Wales Padlock law which authorised police to close any theater for a year who's owner was convicted of running a ''degenerate'' or ''perverted'' show. The law was not repealed until 1967, although it had been rarely enforced.
    The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice had powerful support from organized religion and in Albany. The governor, district attorney, the mayor of New York City and the chief of police all had close ties to Roman Catholic and Protestant clergyman. A direct quote from A Queer History of the United States reads ''the New York Morning Telegram reported that 'one thousand Protestant clergyman of the great New York Federation of Churches yesterday passed a resolution to back up the District Attorney in his drive against objectionable plays.' ''
    Another direct quote from A Queer History of the United States says ''while relatively few plays were closed or producers prosecuted, The Society for the Suppression of Vice had a chilling effect in preventing Homosexual images or themes from reaching the stage.'' I normally don't use direct quotes from the book but how could I have said it better than that?
    One point I would like to add is that going through New York City and state authorities was clever because all important shows open on Broadway before they tour the country. So, if they could suppress Broadway, the source, they could suppress the whole country!

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