Monday, July 27, 2015

Motion Picture Politics, Montreal 1927


My grandfather Jules Crepeau, Director of City Services.

Well, I've completed of Milk and Water, my  ebook, a play about Montreal in 1927. Available here on Amazon.

SO I've covered the Laurier Fire and Coderre and the Montreal Water and Power Purchase, which is key to my story, since my story is about WATER... and Power..

But as I re-read the Coderre Report from 1925, where my grandfather, Jules Crepeau was named outright, as someone who interfered with the police chief... I found a interesting point, that I have to stick into the Laurier Theater Fire discussion.

Coderre claims that many pimps are 10 years of age and around.

10?

So, the point I put in Jules' mouth, that many working class mothers, in 1927, feel movie theatres to be the safest places for their sons, gets support here.

It was mostly young boys who went to movie theatres unattended and it was mostly boys who died in the crush during the Laurier Palace Fire in 1927.

The Presbyterians always wanted theatres closed to boys, for they considered the cops-and-robbers type movies (Keystone Cops?)a bad moral influence.

Mothers, as usual, were smarter. They understood that the movies were a good place for boys to 'idle' -maybe even safer than home.

And this safe haven was taken away with this fire and I think it had more to do with 'talkies' coming in than protecting children. There were theatre fires in the US and they didn't ban the movies to children, despite the political clout of the morality types.

And the Catholic Church in Quebec had not railed against movies (the Protestants) in the 1910's and early twenties. Mr. Ouiment of the Ouimetoscope fame says nuns brought their charges to his movie house.

The judge who made the recommendation to ban children from theatres in Quebec, also deemed that they were NOT immoral - therefore they could stay open to adults. After the fire, the Archbishop of Quebec joined with the Presbyterians to claim movies are immoral. (Now that movie houses were being built in towns, they were a real threat to church, stealing their customers.)

This recommendation, which was followed through in the National Assembly, was a compromise of sorts, to the Church and to the Government and to the American owned Theatre Operators.

Anyway, the Coderre Report says the usual about prostitution, the same ole they say today. Coderre describes  rich prostitutes "who flaunt their wealth and get to visit the best parts of Princely Houses", and the low rent prostitutes, the slave cast ones, indentured to their pimps, addicted to drugs.

They are both equally as bad, he seems to think. A woman acting above her station in life is as bad as a woman living below her station (which is already rock bottom, but factory work is not slavery, it's wholesome or something... Of course, many prostitutes were factory workers, supplementing their meagre incomes._)

I have to figure out what my grandfather thinks of all this. He's bourgeois. His uber-religious wife (the uneducated daughter of a master butcher, with connections in high places)  doesn't let his daughters wear makeup or attend movies... She always says "You talk like a girl from de Bullion street." when her daughters do something a little  out of line, like swear or wear fashionably sexy clothes.

I know, because my mother, in turn, said the same thing to me when I swore. (She didn't care about my micro minis.)  Except I had no idea, until lately, what that meant exactly. De Bullion Street was just a slummy area of town. Today, I wouldn't mind being a girl from de Bullion. I'd have an expensive city home.


French Canadian or English Canadian, the middle class were very self righteous. The Upper class were hypocrits in general and the lower classes were people who used common sense and street smarts to survive. That's what G B Shaw mocks  in Pygmalion. Middle Class Morality.

Has it changed?