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By Bruce Bennett, Marc Furstenau, Adrian MacKenzie

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On the surface, there should be nothing immediately alarming about this behaviour for established independent theatre owners. But increas­ ingly the concern was that these 16mm operators would begin to set up shop in permanent locations, and in more urbanized settings - where established theatres already were struggling to survive amid the hostil­ ity of monopolies and vertical integration of the industry. Harold Kay, writing in Canadian Independent, revealed an initial suspicion among exhibitors when 16 mm first started making itself noticed.

And conversely, the field of 35 mm theatrical motion pictures is strictly for entertainment. 'We are showmen, not education­ alists Motion pictures (as we produce them) have no place in churches or schools' (Lewis, 29 October 1938). Here she falls back on the classic argument that such buildings are not safe enough and that should accidents occur, the industry as a whole would suffer as a result of the backlash. Her proposed solution to the problem was not to further regulate 16 mm operators, and in the process legitimize them, but instead to delegitimize them.

Unquestionably 16mm had seen a surge in popularity during the 1930s. In Ontario in 1924, the Inspection Branch of the Ontario Treasury Department began to issue licenses for operating 16mm projectors and 16mm film exchanges. In 1938, the activities of the branch merged with the Ontario Board of Censors to form the Motion Picture Censorship and Theatre Inspection Branch. According to available records, during the years 1938-40, the branch had approximately 100 active 16mm licenses in the province, 19 of which were issued for film exchanges.

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