Curves, cussing and beer: Ontario film censorship in the 1940s

Curves, cussing and beer: Ontario film censorship in the 1940s

Many of the obituaries published in the wake of Hollywood star Jane Russell’s death in February mentioned the heated censorship debate over her sultry appearance in The Outlaw. Produced in 1943, the film began a two-week run at Toronto’s Loew’s Yonge St. Theatre on December 5, 1946. It was also among the first films in Ontario to receive the new “Adult Entertainment” designation, restricting admittance to anyone under the age of 16. O.J. Silverthorne, Ontario’s…

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Loew’s Yonge St. Theatre signage

This week, I’m looking at vintage and iconic signs for OpenFile Toronto. Discussed are the neon spinning records at the former Sam the Record Man (including comments from its designer, Sam Markle), the Vesta Lunch, the former Suspect Video on Queen St. West, as well as the radioactive palm tree that is the El Mocambo at Spadina and College. But there are plenty more. Toronto’s cinemas — whether still active, downtrodden or re-purposed — also…

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Elizabeth Taylor on the Loew’s marquee

With the passing of Elizabeth Taylor last month, here’s her name on the marquee of the Loew’s Yonge St. Theatre on October 3, 1952, opening day of the MGM Technicolor epic Ivanhoe, which also starred Robert Taylor and Joan Fontaine. When was the last time horses showed up to a Toronto film premiere? The Loew’s, located steps north of Queen on Yonge, opened on December 13, 1913 and was joined by the upstairs Winter Garden…

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Tales from the Downtown Theatre

With the awful blaze that decimated the former Empress Hotel at 335 Yonge St. over the weekend, I’ve been thinking about the evolution of the Yonge and Dundas area — the former Yonge Street Strip. One of the most noticeable changes over the past decades is the disappearance of store-front movie theatres and their sky-jutting, neon-lit pylons. In the above day-and-night photos taken by John Wallington in March of 1972, behold the long-forgotten Downtown Theatre,…

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