Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

Postby admin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:26 pm

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Samuel Roth.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you swear that the evidence you are about to give before this subcommittee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Mr. ROTH. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. You may be seated. Please state your full name, address, and association for the record.

TESTIMONY OF SAMUEL ROTH, PUBLISHER NEW YORK, N.Y.

Mr. ROTH. My name is Samuel Roth. I live at 11 West 85th Street.

Mr. BEASER. What is the business you are engaged in?

Mr. ROTH. The business is publishing books and magazines and selling them.

Mr. BEASER. Under what names do you publish?

Mr. ROTH. Would you forgive me if I have an important question to ask the Chairman? It is very important.

Mr. Chairman, I am at present accused in New York Counts of a violation of section 1141 of the penal law, relating to alleged obscene publications, and of section 580 of the penal law, relating to conspiracy to effect such a violation. I deny guilt and contest the validity of the process there.

In view of this fact I feel that to answer the questions now to be put by your committee may place me in a position where, contrary to my constitutional guaranties, I may be forced to accuse myself or provide evidence by which I may be accused.

In view of that I must invoke my constitutional rights, protecting me against being made to accuse myself, and decline to answer.

I add that I do so with profound respect for the committee, and that I will comply with any competent order to testify if it is found I am under law obligated to do so, and in doing so, am afforded immunity provided in section 3486 of title 18 of the United States Code.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you invoke the fifth amendment of the Constitution?

Mr. ROTH. I don't like the sound of the fifth amendment.

The CHAIRMAN. You invoke your Constitutional rights?

Mr. ROTH. Yes.

The CHAIRMAN. I want to ask the witness a question. First, did you say that you were presently under indictment?

Mr. ROTH. No. I haven't been charged, but I am a prisoner of New York County.

The CHAIRMAN. Senator Hennings.

Senator HENNINGS. I wanted to ask counsel, Mr. Chairman, what counsel had expected to prove or establish by the testimony of this witness.

Mr. BEASER. I had hoped to ask Mr. Roth the names of his firm, and receive a reply from him that he was doing business under the Gargantuan Books, the Centurion Press, Gargoyle Books, Book Gems, Falldock Books, and Paragon Books, samples of which we have given you, Senator, and to indicate that Mr. Roth does a very, very extensive mail-order business, solicits through the mail for orders for his books, and advertises these books in a very suggestive manner.

Senator HENNINGS. May I ask if council's statement is predicated upon an investigation made by the staff for that committee?

Mr. BEASER. Senator, the counsel's statement is predicated upon an investigation made by the staff and by counsel.

The CHAIRMAN. By counsel personally?

Mr. BEASER. Personally, or shall I say associate counsel.

We would hope to say that since adolescence represents an age, as the psychiatrists say, during which a youngster's normal sexual curiosity reaches a high point, that Mr. Roth's natural bent, as far as advertising is concerned, would lie in the juvenile trade; and that we have, with the assistance of the Post Office Department, gone through a representative sample of complaints received from irate parents of children getting Mr. Roth's materials and advertisements, which I am careful to cover up; and we were going to ask Mr. Roth to give us the sources of his mailing list, and to ask Mr. Roth whether, and from whom, he has purchased or rented mailing lists, and whether he has purchased or rented mailing lists in the past year from any person who, directly or indirectly, advertised in a comic book, or from a comic book publisher himself.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you care to give the answer to that question, Mr. Roth?

Mr. ROTH.. I will be very happy to do so if I am granted the immunity I ask for.

The CHAIRMAN. This committee has no power to grant you immunity. You have every right to ask this committee to protect your constitutional rights.

Mr. ROTH. What I read to you was not a statement of mine. It was a statement made by my attorney, who is not present. I feel that the only way I can put this to you is to ask you whether what is requested in my attorneys statement is granted to me. You would know about that better than I.

The CHAIRMAN. I think in view of the situation that has developed here and the serious nature of the questions; that have been posed, the subcommittee should take your case, under advisement and consider all factors involved, particularly the fact of your recent arrest, and call on you at another time.

Mr. ROTH. Thank you.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Chairman, the witness is under subpoena. It might be advisable; until the committee has decided what it is going to do, that he be kept under the same subpoena.

The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, that will be the order of the Chair.

Mr. ROTH. Thank you, sir. I will consider myself on call.
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

Postby admin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:28 pm

Mr. BEASER. Mrs. Helen Meyer.

Do you mind being sworn? Do you swear that the evidence you are about to give before this subcommittee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Mrs. MEYER. I do.

The CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mrs. Meyer. Do you have someone who is going to assist you?

Mrs. MEYER. Matthew Murphy, the editor of Dell Publications.

The CHAIRMAN. Will you be giving evidence or will you be assisting Mrs. Meyer?

Mrs. MEYER. I don't know whether I will need him.

The CHAIRMAN. We will swear you anyway.

Do you swear that the evidence you are about to give before this subcommittee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Mr. MURPHY. I do.

The CHAIRMAN. Will you both state your home addresses and your associations, with whom you are engaged, or by whom you are engaged?

TESTIMONY OF MRS. HELEN MEYER, VICE PRESIDENT, DELL PUBLICATIONS, ACCOMPANIED BY MATTHEW MURPHY, EDITOR, DELL PUBLICATIONS, NEW YORK, N. Y.

Mrs. MEYER. Mrs. Helen Meyer, 231 Montrose Avenue, South Orange, N. J. I am vice president of the Dell Publishing Co.

Mr. MURPHY. My name is Matthew Murphy, of 294 Bronxville Road, Bronxville, N.Y. I am employed by Western Printing & Lithographic Co., as Dell comics editor.

The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed.

Mrs. MEYER. Although we are not here to defend crime and horror comics, the picture is not as black as Dr. Wertham painted it. We must give our American children proper credit for their good taste in their support of good comics. What better evidence can we give than facts and figures. Here they are:

Dell's average comic sale is 800,000 copies per issue. Most crime and horror comic sales are under 250,000 copies.

Of the first 25 largest selling magazines on newsstands - this includes Ladies Home Journal, Saturday Evening Post, Life, and so forth ─ 11 titles are Dell comics, with Walt Disney's Donald Duck the leading newsstand seller. Some of these titles are: "Walt Disney's Comics"; "Warner Bros. Bugs Bunny"; "Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse"; "Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, Porky Pigs"; "Walter Lantz Woody Woodpecker"; "Margie's Little Lulu"; "Mom's Tom and Jerry."

The newsstand sales range from 950,000 to 1,996,570 on each of the above mentioned titles. I mean newsstands only and I am not including any subscriptions, and we have hundreds of thousands of subscriptions.

With the least amount of titles, or 15 percent of all titles published by the entire industry; Dell can account for a sale of approximately 32 percent, and we don't publish a crime or horror comic.

Dr. Wertham, for some strange reason, is intent on condemning the entire industry. He refuses to acknowledge that other types of comics are not only published, but are better supported by children than crime and horror comics. I hope that his motivation is not a selfish one in his crusade against comics. Yet, in the extensive research he tells us he has made on comics, why does he ignore the good comics? Dell isn't alone in publishing good comics. There are numerous outstanding titles published by other publishers, such as Blondie, Archie, Dennis the Menace, and so forth. Why does he feel that he must condemn the entire industry? Could it be that he feels he has a better case against comics by recognizing the bad and ignoring the good?

Dr. Wertham, I am sure, has a fine reputation as a psychiatrist, but shouldn't the committee hear from other psychiatrists of equal stature? Of all the illustrations presented by Dr. Wertham yesterday, taken from crime and horror comics, needless to say, Dell was nonexistent, but I do take offense to his reading into the record an isolated story that the claims appeared in Tarzan comics. I should like more specific information on this particular story, and when this issue was published. Dr. Wertham has a great habit of using material from comic magazines that were published several years ago, and no longer being published, to help his case against the comics.

Dr. Wertham must have done some extensive examining of the 90 titles published by the Dell Publishing Co., as he went out of his way to point up the one story he didn't like in an isolated issue of Tarzan comics, probably published several years ago. Wasn't it unfair and destructive, rather than constructive, to read his condemnation of Dell Publishing Co.'s comics into the record? Shouldn't the good be given proper recognition, if for no other reason than to set the example?

With regard to Dell's refusal to belong to the Comic Book Association, Dell had no other alternative. When the association was first introduced, we, after thorough examination, saw that Dell would be used as an umbrella for the crime comic publishers. Dell; along with these publishers, would display the same seal. How could the newsdealer afford the time to examine the contents of each comic he handled? The parents and children too would suffer from misrepresentation. Dell didn't need a code set down by an association, with regard to its practices of good taste. We weren't interested in trying to go up to the marginal line in our comic-book operation, as we knew we were appealing, in the main, to children. We have no regrets. In addition to the good feeling we have created among our loyal following, we have profited financially. So you don't have to publish crime and horror comics for financial success. To the contrary, Dell's policy of publishing good comics has served as well.

Mr. Caniff and Mr. Kelly have told you how then syndicate editor as well as each newspaper editor are their censors. Dell has their censors too. World renowned citizens like Walt Disney, Walter Lantz, Mr. Fred Quimby, of MGM, Edward Seizer, of Warner Bros., Marge's creator of Little Lulu, and many, many others, wouldn't for any possible financial gains, allow us to publish their creations if we used their characters badly.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you for that statement, Mrs. Meyer.

Does counsel have any questions?

Mrs. MEYER. May we show you some of our comics?

The CHAIRMAN. Do you have some to leave for the files?

Mrs. MEYER. For one thing, we try to do something too, on the question of horror. We have taken two full-page colored ads in the Saturday Evening Post.

The CHAIRMAN. I am sure you are interested in eliminating horror comics, are you not?

Mrs. MEYER. We certainly are. And we would love to help you do it.

Here is an editorial by Dr. Polling.

Mr. BEASER. Will you please leave those with us?

Mrs. MEYER. Yes.

The CHAIRMAN. Mrs. Meyer is leaving this material for the files, as the Chair understands it. Let that be exhibit No. 25.

(The material was marked "Exhibit No. 25," and is on file with the subcommittee)

Mrs. MEYER. Would you like to see the dramatic story of the largest selling magazines in the world, as compared to any other publishers?

The CHAIRMAN. We will receive those for the record, Mrs. Meyer.

Mrs. MEYER. I refer to this list showing the newsstand sales of all the leading magazines.

Mr. MURPHY. May I say, sir, that our primary purpose in appearing before the committee is to show that by publishing good comics, we not only outsell all other publishers of comics of all kinds, but that we have parental acceptance, which is indicated by subscriptions which run over a million a year, which are a dollar apiece. That is, many dollars a year in subscriptions, and the Dell policy is to publish good comics. Dell comics are good comics.

As an editor I handle approximately a third of these comics. I can say that we publish what we believe to be good comics and not what we know may be doubtful comics.

Mrs. MEYER. If there is any question of doubt I do not want it.

Senator HENNINGS. I was just going to ask the question which your statement embraced. If I may ask you one other thing, do you feel that the competition, if such it be, from the horrors and the crime comics, to any great extent affects your business?

Mrs. MEYER. No. In fact, from time to time we run into periods where we have 100 men out on the road representing us, who would write us and tell us, this love comic is selling and this other one, and why don't we get into it. We just ignore the field.

Senator HENNINGS. You do not feel it is competition?

Mrs. MEYER. We don't.

Senator HENNINGS. It is a different field in a sense?

Mrs. MEYER. It certainly is, and I don't think it is profitable. All these people do is put them out and they have to take them back in again. I think all they do is earn a salary and help the paper man and the printer.

Mr. HANNOCH. What did you say your monthly sales were?

Mrs. MEYER. We print approximately 30 million comics a month. We sell over 25 million.

Mr. HANNOCH. These are the ones that sell for 10 cents?

Mrs. MEYER. For 10 cents, and we have some 25-cent ones, too.

Mr. HANNOCH. None of them have ads, do they?

Mrs. MEYER. We will only take ads in 10 monthly magazines. We will take only cover ads. We censor the ads. We take ads from General Foods and Mars. We are running an ad for Mars chocolates. They are all national advertising. We won't take anything but national advertising no mail-order advertising whatsoever.

Mr. MURPHY. Most of our books appear without any advertising at all. This 25-cent issue has no advertising in it.

The CHAIRMAN. Would you agree with the Chair that we ought to look for some new definition of comics and what field is covered by the word "comics"?

Mrs. MEYER. Yes, I do. In fact I felt that I should really be represented here. First, we didn't even want to be classed with the crime and horror comics. Yet when we more or less did get into it, I felt we should be here to tell you our story.

We abhor horror and crime comics. We would like to see them out of the picture because it taints us.

Mr. MURPHY. We would like to show, too, that although we publish a third of all the comics published, the horror and crime comics which Dr. Wertham yesterday said constituted a majority of the comics are really in a minority, and the percentage of them has to be very small because of the number that we publish alone, and we publish no war, no horror, no crime, no romance.

Mrs. MEYER. We sell 3½ million of Walt Disney's Peter Pan comics. That is a wonderful document, isn't it, against crime comics?

Mr. HANNOCH. Do you ever get complaints from grandfathers who get tired of reading these over and over again to their children?

Mrs. MEYER. We don't get any such complaints. I know when my children were young, I had to read my own comics to them, but of course it was wonderful then. Then I knew everything that was going on in each of our comics.

The CHAIRMAN. Mrs. Meyer, this subcommittee is grateful to you for your appearance here today. You have been very helpful.

Mrs. MEYER. Thank you.

The CHAIRMAN. Now in adjourning these New York hearings on crime and horror comics until further call of the chairman, I wish to state that the subject matter of these hearings will receive further careful study and consideration by the subcommittee.

Certain questions such as tie-in sales, for example, represents one of the several which we will have to resolve. Without attempting at this point to draw any conclusions, I wish to again reassure all interests concerned, that the subcommittee is aware that the evaluation of the total situation, in relation to the production of comics of this type, is a complex one and one which involves many, many facts.

I also wish to repeat that these hearings on horror and crime comics represents but one form of the mass media to which this subcommittee will give attention at a later date. We believe that the public has a right to the facts, the right to know, what the effect of this and other media, is upon children, to know who is setting the standards for the media, and how the industries operate in relation to the observance of any standards.

The subcommittee would also like also to thank the authorities here in New York who have made this room; and other facilities freely available to us. We also wish to express our appreciation for the interest shown and the cooperation given by the press, the radio and the television.

It has been great privilege for us to be here in this great city of New York, trying to solve not only of your problems but a problem which exists throughout the Nation. Thank you very much.

The committee stands in recess, subject to the call of the Chair.

(Whereupon, at 4:15 p.m., the committee was recessed, subject to call.)
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

Postby admin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:57 pm

FRIDAY, JUNE 4, 1954

UNITED STATES SENATE, SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY TO INVESTIGATE JUVENILE DELINQUENCY

New York, N. Y.

The subcommittee met at 10 a.m., pursuant to call, in room 110, United States Court House, New York, N. Y., Hon. Robert C. Hendrickson, (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Present: Senators Hendrickson and Hennings.

Also present: Herbert W. Beaser, chief counsel; 1 Richard Clendenen, staff director; Peter N. Chumbris, assistant counsel-investigator, and Ed Hart, subcommittee consultant.

The CHAIRMAN. The hearing will come to order.

Today's hearing is a continuation of our subcommittee's investigation of that segment of the comic-book industry which deals with lascivious and lustful crime and horror material. The chairman wishes to reiterate what he said during our opening bearing on this subject on April 21, that we are not in the least concerned with about four-fifths of the output of the entire comic-book industry. We are attempting to find out to what extent questionable type comic books affect the mind of American youth.

We began the hearings and have continued them in the spirit of objective exploration. We are not out to get anyone.

Again I must reiterate, we are not a subcommittee of blue-nose censors. We are not, and have never been, a senatorial investigatory body unmindful of the dignity of the United States Senate, or unmindful of our obligation to investigate solely various facets of the problem of juvenile delinquency. We work in fields that we feel are pertinent to our subject. Only if we operate with common sense, decency, and a sincere interest in finding the answers to the complexities of the youth delinquency problems, can our subcommittee hope to make proper recommendations that will reverse the trend, or, at least, retard the rise in our disgraceful juvenile delinquency rate.

The response to our earlier hearings into horror comic books has been extremely gratifying to the chairman and my subcommittee colleagues, and to the staff members who have done a splendid job of preparatory work..

1 Herbert Wilton Beaser succeeded Herbert J. Hannoch as chief counsel to the subcommittee on May 1, 1954.

Our previous hearings dealt primarily with the publication of the comic books with which we were concerned. We heard from publishers, artists, psychologists, teachers, and public officials, many of whom have the same concern with these horror and crime comics that we have.

Today we are going to look into the matter of selling and distribution practices, and into certain proposals which have been advanced as helpful in combatting the detrimental influence upon youth of certain types of publications.

Before we hear our first witness, I want to state that as a result of our 2-day New York hearings there are several hopeful signs that the comic book industry as a whole has become concerned at the revelations brought out thus far. There are signs of movement within the industry in the direction of improving its total product. The responsibility resting upon the industry is very great. My colleagues and myself will watch with mounting interest every step in the right direction, which the industry takes, that will demonstrate its cognizance of its own responsibility to the parents and youth of our country.

I wanted to say here that I regret that my colleagues today are engaged in other matters of great importance in respect to their senatorial duties and they cannot be with me.

Now, it is my great pleasure to introduce to the television audience this morning a very distinguished son of New York, a member of the New York State joint legislative committee, which was designated to study the publication of crime comics.

I don't know where they got the word comics, Assemblyman, but they certainly are not comics. It is a pleasure to have you here. It is a tribute to the subcommittee that we have your distinguished presence.

I will now turn you over to the counsel for the subcommittee who will demonstrate your knowledge of this subject with his own proven ability.

Mr. FITZPATRICK. Thank you, sir.

Mr. BEASER. Would you be sworn, Assemblyman?

The CHAIRMAN. Do you solemnly swear that the evidence you are about to give before this subcommittee of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate, will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Mr. FITZPATRICK. I do.

The CHAIRMAN. I would like to say before you begin that we have been swearing all witnesses as a matter of tradition with this committee.

Mr. BEASER. Will you state your full name, your home address, and occupation.

TESTIMONY OF HON. JAMES A. FITZPATRICK, CHAIRMAN, NEW YORK STATE JOINT LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE TO STUDY THE PUBLICATION OF COMICS

Mr. FITZPATRICK. James A. Fitzpatrick, 88 Beekman Street, Plattsburg, N. Y.; member of the New York State Legislature, assembly man; chairman of the New York State Joint Legislative Committee To Legislate the Publication of Comics, and in private life, an attorney.

Mr. BEASER. How long has the committee for which you are chairman been in existence?

Mr. FITZPATRICK. Since 1949.

Mr. BEASER. Have you made any findings as a result of your investigations and hearings?

Mr. FITZPATRICK. We have.

Mr. BEASER. What are your findings?

Mr. FITZPATRICK. Well, sir and, Senator Hendrickson, if I may be permitted do so I would like to make a statement first.

The CHAIRMAN. You proceed in your own way.

Mr. FITZPATRICK. I also would like to ask that I be afforded slight latitude, in that I was unable to attend the previous hearings, and I would like to place in the record a general summary of the work we have done in the State of New York and particularly, our findings and conclusions with respect thereto.

May I say, as a member and chairman of this New York legislative committee, that I am not only delighted to have this opportunity to appear, but on behalf of my committee I should like to express our gratitude to you for the work you are doing, and to state how pleased we are that this subject is receiving the attention of the United States Congress, because we feel that it is one of the most serious subjects that now faces the people of this country.

I first became interested in this subject in 1949 when I introduced regulatory legislation in the State of New York dealing with comic books.

Shortly thereafter, and in the same year, the New York State joint legislative committee to study this subject was created.

The CHAIRMAN. You understand, Assemblyman that this subcommittee is not trying at all to invade the States or take away any authority of local government. We are trying to furnish some degree of leadership at the national level.

Mr. FITZPATRICK. Yes, sir; and I wish to make it quite clear that we are particularly delighted because we feel that this problem is so large that it must be handled effectively on the Federal level, and that while we feel we can do something in the States, we are hopeful that there will be Federal legislation forthcoming as a result of your studies.

Now, we have concluded after making our studies that the studies have conclusively demonstrated that a substantial percentage of publications, in the crime comic field and particularly in the pocket book and picture magazine field, which I understand you will get into at a later date, contain offensive material primarily concerned with crime, horror, sex, and lust, and that a constant reading of this type of material has been a direct and substantial factor in the sharp increase in juvenile crime and in the lowering of the whole general standards of morality of our youth.

Our most recent report, the report of the New York State joint legislative committee, has been made available to your committee and I am very much pleased to say that, as a result of our efforts this year, Governor Dewey has signed into law three bills dealing with crime comics and with indecent publications. The bills are printed in the appendix to the report. The bills that have been signed include a tie-in-sales a bill that you are very much interested in at the present time, as I understand it.

We have tripled the existing penalty under our penal law for the sale of salacious material, and we have also written into our law a new authority for injunctive relief to be sought by mayors of cities and corporate counsels of cities, or by the chief legal officers of other units of government, that do not actually have corporate counsels because of their small size.

Now, I should like, if I may, to submit a copy of this report in evidence at this time, and to request that it be included as a reference and incorporated as a part of my remarks and part of my testimony, by and on behalf of my committee, as chairman of the committee.

The CHAIRMAN. It will be the order of the subcommittee that this report be made a part of the subcommittee's files.

(The report referred to was submitted earlier by Mr. Richard Clendenen as "Exhibit No. 4c," and is on file with the subcommittee.)

Mr. FITZPATRICK. Thank you, sir.

I should also like at this time to invite your attention, Senator, to the remarks made by the former chairman of this committee, Assemblyman Joseph Carline, who appeared before the Gathings committee, and testified at quite some length during their hearings in Washington.

I should like also to invite your attention to the fact that in this report we have included a summary, not only of our previous work and findings with respect to comic books; but with respect to pocket size picture books, and with respect to television, and I understand you are going to have some television hearings here tomorrow.

I have read with great interest both the report of the Gathings committee and the proceedings of Senator Kefauver's committee studying crime in interstate commerce.

I was particularly interested in a letter written to Senator Kefauver by J. Edgar Hoover in August of 1950, for in it he states that the basic cause of the high rate of juvenile crime is the lack of a sense of moral responsibility among youth.

This seems to me to be the key to the whole problem now being studied by this committee, and I feel sure that you will conclude, beyond any question of doubt, that the horror and crime comic, the obscene pocket book and the so-called girlie magazine are among the principal factors helping to pervert, warp, undermine, and completely destroy all sense of responsibility, moral or otherwise, of today’s youth.

This being the case, it would appear that the time has now come for all agencies of government, local, State and Federal to unite in a concerted effort to rid the newsstands of this country of the current torrent of filth in print.

The CHAIRMAN. May I interrupt your prepared statement.

Which of these two types of magazines or publications do you think have the most serious influence on our young people?

Mr. FITZPATRICK. As I point out later in my statement, I think Dr. Wertham, who has testified before your committee, and who has testified before our committee, and who has recently published a very excellent book entitled "Seduction of the Innocent", has put his finger on it when he says we, in effect, start youngsters on the crime comic and the horror book in their younger years, and then graduate them to the completely salacious type of pocket book that we have here and, therefore, influence them right from the time when they are first interested in comics, right through their earlier years into adulthood.

I think they both have a direct influence in various age groups. I think the whole thing is combined.

The CHAIRMAN. You will treat with that later?

Mr. FITZPATRICK. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. I am sorry I interrupted you.

Mr. FITZPATRICK. That is perfectly all right. I am glad to have you do so at any time.

Now, Mr. Hoover also specifically stated in that same letter to Senator Kefauver, back in 1950, that the availability of salacious literature and presentations of any type making mockery of democratic living and respect for law and order, are important causes leading to an unhealthy crime situation among young people.

If there remains any doubt that comics are offering sex, horror, perversion, disrespect for law and a completely warped sense of values. I should like to refer this committee to our report and to one of the most flagrant examples I have yet seen a so called comic entitled "Panic," and published by "Tiny Tot Comics" and the managing editor is Mr. William M. Gaines, who testified before your committee on a previous hearing.

The CHAIRMAN. I shall never forget his testimony nor his demeanor.

Mr. FITZPATRICK. I believe after you have read this comic book you will never forget this comic book, either, because I have been studying this subject very hard for a long time. I have never yet seen anything which equals this, nor which so well demonstrates the very type of evil that I believe we are trying to reach.

Now, if I may beg your indulgence for just a few moments, I would like first, sir, to submit to you some photostats of sections of this particular book, and I would like to make reference to them very briefly, bearing in mind that this is published by Tiny Tot Comics.

In the first place, sir, you will notice that the very first section - first, the cover, sir, is obvious. Then inside you will note that they say they frankly didn't think this kind of thing would sell; that they had published a predecessor called "Mad," and they didn't think it would sell, but they found it did, and they put out Panic. This is the first issue of Panic.

Image


The first page of the first issue of this new comic book No. 3 of your photostats, is entitled "Sex and Sadism" department. Now, this is for tiny tots. The chief character in the first skit is a man who apparently is a private eye. He comes in a room where a man has been badly mutilated. He says he will get the man and that the man will die, and that he will use dum-dum bullets which will go through his body and leave a very large hole.

His companion says, "You make me sick."

Image


This is what is very important, sir.

The author of this thing then writes, "I make myself sick, but those idiots out there" meaning the people who read the book "buy this stuff; they eat it up; they love it; the gorier the better, this and sex."

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Now, if there ever was a complete and utter demonstration of the reason for the publication of this book, I respectfully submit, Senator; there it is and there it is in print. He is not satisfied with that. He comes up to this girl. He tells her he is a private investigator. She says, "how would you like to investigate me, honey?".

She starts to undress and he shoots her, "She gurgled up at me, spitting blood. She was still alive. I rammed my heel down into her face and did a graceful pirouette on her nose, grinning."

Image


Again his companion says, "You make me sick," and again he repeats and comments, "I told you, Pat, I make myself sick, but I am supposed to be like this. These fiends out there love me like this."

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Then it goes on and, incidentally, as you will note in Mr. Hoover's statement, he particularly, warned about publications that make a mockery of the police.

I show you again, I believe it is on your next photostat, what they are doing to the police, "Dumb highway patrol cop," and then a picture of a policeman that looks much more like a mastiff than a policeman.

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Then this book proceeds and we again find a photostatic sequence in the same plot that is not only fantastic, but which is complete and utter perversion. I am referring now to the sequence where this so-called private eye proceeds to this girl's home ─ and she, incidentally, had been requesting him to come with a statement that if he came he could have everything, including her. She then, and remember this is all for children, or could be for children; it is 10 cents on any stand; she then takes ─

The CHAIRMAN. However, I might comment for the record, that I had a naval officer tell me that he frequently went the rounds on his ship and threw a lot of these things over that the young sailors bring aboard.

Mr. FITZPATRICK. Right, sir; I was a naval officer for 3 years, and I know you are absolutely right. I know that the Navy during the last war banned certain types of comic books from the sailors in Korea, and whether they are for children or adults, this type of thing should not be published.

This is so flagrant that I just want to beg your indulgence for 2 or 3 more minutes.

She then drags this man up to her room and goes through all of the gyrations which are evidenced in the photostats, and finally begins to undress.

After additional invitations he then kills her and she turns out to be a man ─ complete and utter perversion.

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Now, skipping over the rest of this rot ─ and I call it rot without any reservation whatsoever ─ we come to the comic book idea of how the Night Before Christmas should be presented one of the most wonderful poems that we have ever had in our entire history, I believe. It starts out with the presentation of dead carcasses, which is not quite so bad, and then proceeds to stockings hanging before the fireplace, which takes the form of panties and a girl's leg with a garter on it, "Visions of sugar plus," Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell; "Mama in her kerchief" becomes a girl in a bed.

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It ends up by Santa Claus going off with "Just Divorced" on the back. That is the kind of complete and utter rot we are giving to children under the guise of something that originally started out supposedly to be funny.

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Incidentally, they call it Humor in a Varicose Vein.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you know how many of these particular publications go out every month?

Mr. FITZPATRICK. Of this particular one; no, sir, I do not. I don't have the staff to do the kind of detailed investigation that you are doing so expertly with this type of thing. I know that your counsel is doing a fine job of tracing individual publications.

The CHAIRMAN. I might ask our counsel for the record, do we have an account of the number of issues of Panic?

Mr. BEASER. We have minimum and maximum publication figures.

Mr. FITZPATRCK. There are approximately 90 million comic books a month being published and distributed. You have those figures. But how many of this particular issue, I can't tell you.

As I said before, and I pointed out in my statement, Dr. Wertham has told you how we start them on this, and we condition them, and bring them along.

Just briefly I would like to mention this because I think it ties in the direct picture. After we have conditioned them on this type of thing, on sex and horror, which he himself says is the sole purpose of this publication, we then give them this type of thing: She Lived in Sin, Shameful Love, Confessions of a Pick-up Girl, Shameless Play Girl, and Out of Bounds.

I would like to submit these to your committee, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. They will be made a part of the subcommittee's files. Let that be exhibit No. 26.

(The material referred to was marked "Exhibit No. 26," and received for the record.)

Mr. FITZPATRICK. Now, what the publishers of this type of book are presenting to our youth, as acceptable in the field of morals, can be determined from a description of sin, taken from one such publication and included in our committee's report at page 75. It is stated in one such publication that there is no such thing as sin and that "Sin is a label that has been attached to the most daring and enjoyable experiences which those who decry it are either old or too unattractive to enjoy."

That, sir, is their version of sin.

Now, may I say also that we have tried in our report to show very quickly the type of complete and utter filth that can now be found in pocket books, available for children or anyone else, on the newsstands of this State.

On page 77 of our report, sir, you will find that for 35 cents, anyone, child or otherwise ─ I say child, of course, I am talking of the juvenile - anyone 14, 15, 16 years old, who might be interested for 35 cents in 1 book, can read about Lesbianism, call girls, marihuana, switch-blade knives, immorality, prostitution, murder, narcotics, and male prostitution.

This pocket-book material is not fit for adults, and certainly should not be permitted to fall into the hands of juveniles, or to be displayed where youngsters can view the covers, so aptly described by Margaret Culkin Banning as "pictorial prostitution."

Turning to the field of congressional action, I feel that one of the greatest services this committee can render is to seek by publicity to alert the clergy, the press, the officials, the parents, and the educators of this country to a full realization of the type of material that is being sold to young people throughout this land.

I am delighted to see that this hearing is being covered so well by the press and by the newsreel and television cameras. I think that is one of the greatest objectives that we have to obtain, both you, sir, on the Federal level, and we on the State level, in our respective States. Since the publication of this report, I have received innumerable letters from people who are horrified, who are scandalized at the type of thing that is on the stands, and who had no idea that comic books consisted of anything other than Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse. They just have not paid any attention to it.

The CHAIRMAN. Let the Chair assure you that I am one of those who had no idea of this sort of thing.

Mr. FITZPATRICK. I think that is a very common situation and I think, therefore, that one of the best things we can do is to present to the American public in full view the exact type of thing that is going on.

As you yourself said in your opening remarks, there are relatively few people who are responsible for this type of thing. Most of the publishers in this country are decent, honest people. A great percentage of the comic-book industry, as we pointed out in our report, is engaged in publishing decent comics that have a proper place for children.

But there is a small percentage; they are willful, and they will disregard anything and trample on anything to get what they want.

Now, to show you the type of interest that is being created, since the publication of our report, we have had inquiries from your own State of New Jersey ─ which, incidentally, is doing a splendid job and has recently introduced, and assure your familiar with, Mr. Thompson's bill in the New Jersey State Legislature ─ Minnesota, Massachusetts, Texas, California, and, many other States who are requesting copies of the report. They are talking about introducing similar legislation.

Community programs to curb sales are springing up in New York State. People are waking up at last, but there is still much to be done in the field of education.

Now, in the field of legislation, I feel that it is high time for our people, the Congress and the courts, to awaken to a realization that the framers of our Constitution could not have intended, the great guaranties of the freedom of the press as license for irresponsible publishers to contaminate the minds and morals of children for profit.

We need much more effective legislation both on the State and Federal level, and I believe that once we have overcome that hurdle, we will be able to get it, and I think that, the educational process is now setting in.

I think that the courts will eventually come back to the principle that was expressed by Justice Cohn in the appellate division in the Winters case. At that time he said this:

Pursuant to the police power and without abridging freedom of the press, the State may enact reasonable regulations in order to protect the general welfare, public safety, and order and public morals. While the right to publish is sanctioned and secured, the abuse of that right is excepted from the protection of the Constitution, and authority to provide for and punish such abuse is left to the legislature.

The CHAIRMAN. It is really a privilege and not a right.

Mr. FRITZPATRICK. That is right, sir, but I think we have to do a little educational work in that regard.

The punishment of those who publish articles which tend to corrupt morals, induce crime and destroy organized society, is essential to the security of freedom and the stability of the state.

I believe that should be the basic philosophy behind our legislation.

The CHAIRMAN. I do not want to interrupt your chain of thought, but you are commenting on the need for Federal legislation. I know that your mind - I was a member of my own legislature in New Jersey ─ is running mostly to State legislation.

Mr. FITZPATRICK. That is right.

The CHAIRMAN. Have you thought out or spelled out in your own thinking any specific form of legislation that we of the Congress should adopt?

Mr. FITZPATRICK. Yes, sir; I have it in my statement. I am coming to it right now.

May I also say, too, that, of course, my experience is limited to eight years in the state legislature, and that I realize there are many difficulties involved in Congressional legislation, which do not face us, and that you have a great diversity of opinion from various parts of the Country.

The CHAIRMAN. Caused by State lines.

Mr. FITZPATRICK. Yes, sir. It makes it much more difficult, but we have just introduced and successfully passed this bill on tie-in sales. We have introduced also, and I have a copy in the back; in the appendix of our report a bill that I believe your New Jersey bill is patterned on, Senator, if I may be so bold as to say so.

I have had conversations with Mr. Kaplan, who is doing such a fine job, and your people in New Jersey. We have introduced in the State, and have not yet been able to pass ─ I hope with this conditioning process we are going to get to it ─ a bill which makes a distinction between selling literature to the general public and selling literature to juveniles, and to children.

Now, personally, I feel very strongly about that. I think that we forbid now the sale of liquor to children; we forbid the sale of tobacco to children, on the general ground that it affects their health and morals.

To me it is just as important to forbid the sale to children of anything which breaks down standards of morality, which stimulates sexual desire, and which contributes to juvenile delinquency.

I would like to see in the State of New York and on the Federal level, specific legislation banning the sale of horror comic books.

As far as I am concerned, I would like to see all of the horror comic books deleted from sales to children. I am not sure whether we can do that on a constitutional basis, or not, but certainly we have protections in our Constitution against that which is repulsive, if not indecent, and certainly this kind of material is repulsive.

I think we should seek both on the Federal and State level, legislation dealing specifically with thee sale to minors.

Then I feel this: We have heard a great deal about tie-in sales. You are going to find, I believe, sir, if I may be so bold as to say so, that it is a very difficult thing to tie people down on the tie-in sales.

That is probably not the proper way to put it, but that is the net result of it.

We have had a great deal of testimony. We have submitted copies of our written testimony to your council on previous dates, when we have had the same type of hearings in New York the same type that you are now having. We have found as a result of our personal investigation that, without any question at all, there are newsdealers throughout this State who have I been led to believe, that if they do not take these bulk packages that are distributed to them and do not make an effort to sell Panic and Sun Bathing, and that type of thing, along with the legitimate type of publication; they will not obtain the legitimate publications, or that they will lose their franchise.

I have a man in my own community has repeatedly said to any groups coming in attempting to clean up this material, "I would love to cooperate with you, but it is impossible. I can't do it because I would lose my franchise. If I lose my franchise, I can't take care of my wife and children", and so on.

Actually, we have found that two conditions exist. We are firmly convinced from people who have testified before us; one, that there are instances in the State of New York where the tie-in sale has been enforced, where the man has actually been told that he shall either accept A, B, and C, or he shall no longer get D, E, and F, the legitimate publications.

We have also found innumerable instances where in our opinion the dealer, when asked to cooperate by the community, has used as a cloak for continuing to sell for his own profit this type of trash, the cloak that he would lose his franchise, or that he would not be able to get the decent publications in the event he did cooperate with our people.

We have accomplished two things by our bill in New York State, I hope. One, we have banned the tie-in sale. We have made it illegal in the State of New York. There is a copy of my bill in the appendix. It is page 39:

No person, company, partnership, or corporation, shall as a condition to a sale or delivery for resale of any paper, magazine, book, periodical or publication, require that the purchaser or consignee receive for resale any other book or publication, reasonably believed by the purchasers or consignee, to be obscene, lewd, lascivious.

MR. BEASER. Where there is a tie-in sale, is that imposed by the local wholesaler? Does it go higher than that, to the distributor, to the publisher?

Mr. FITZPATRICK. We have instances of both. We have been told by the wholesaler that he must take and distribute to the retailer or he will not receive from either the nationwide distributor or the publisher ─

The CHAIRMAN. You have sworn testimony on this point, do you?

Mr. FITZPATRICK. Senator, those hearings were, 2 years ago. I believe that we have. You have heard similar testimony in the Gathings report, and last weak week whenever you were here before, a man here I believe who represented the newsdealers, gave you sworn testimony along those lines.

May I say this to you, sir: that we have all kinds of legal interpretations of this law and initially a large number of legal objections. What it amounts to simply and solely, I believe, is an exercise of a man's constitutional right to say, "I am in business; I am selling legitimate publications. I shall not be forced by you to take something which I personally think is obscene, indecent, or lewd, as a condition to my selling something else."

In any event, I should like to see that type of legislation on a Federal level.

Furthermore, I feel that we need to strengthen the postal regulations. There was a great deal about that in the Gathings report. My understanding is that under existing law the Postmaster General, if he wants to proceed, has to proceed by hearings and sometimes these hearings take as long as 6 months.

In the meantime, the fly-by-night operator is gone, or he is publishing something else.

I respectfully suggest that consideration be given to a law empowering the Postmaster General to apply to the courts for an injunction on not more than 5-day notice to the individual, company, or corporation involved, in distributing this type of literature.

You will find that we are attempting to use the injunction powers of the State in a bill which becomes effective here on the first of July, and we hope that it is going to be most effective in helping us to rid the stands of this kind of material.

Talking about postal regulations, and as a matter of regulation, I think you will be interested to know that I was recently flabbergasted to find that the most salacious type of material, advertisements for books that can be purchased, such things as "My Sister and I," "Double Exposure," "Homosexual Life" ─ everything of the worst type, has with recent months been mailed through the mails to, of all people, youngsters in preparatory school, unsolicited mailings to a list of youngsters in preparatory school, asking them if they don't want to buy this type of material.

I am pleased to be able to report to your committee, and I believe your counsel is aware of it because he has been after this kind of thing too, that within recent weeks the police department of the city of New York has raided the place from which this material came and has taken away, as I understand it, truckloads of material.

So, fortunately, that has been accomplished.

This is another practice which is going on through the mails. They are mailing to individuals with confidential return blanks with numbers so that you, sir, or I, if we wish to investigate this, could not take the blank and mail it and receive the material. I know, because I tried. The letters are all returned unanswered. This type of material, advertisements for books which I believe are completely sacrilegious for one thing ─ I won't even read the titles in this record. It is interesting to say that on the face of this they start out, "Banned by bigots who can't stand the meaning of the word 'sex'."

The CHAIRMAN. Maybe the titles also should go in the record. May I see them?

Mr. FITZPATRICK. Yes, sir. Some of them I have collected are particularly obnoxious and I believe they are sacrilegious.

The CHAIRMAN. These titles also will go into the record, but they will not be read in the proceedings.

Mr. FITZPATRICK. Thank you, Senator.

May I say that this publication on its face says, "Banned by bigots who can't stand the meaning of the word 'sex', but available to you if you hurry."

It goes on. I don't want to take your time to read it, but it says the bluenoses - and I am sure you are not one as you said in the beginning, and I hope I am not one, either, nor can I be considered a prude - we "must face the fact that certain well-intentioned, but narrow minded reform groups are threatening to choke off the source of this supply." but if you can hurry now you can get it before they are effective.

The CHAIRMAN. The Chair will instruct the recorder to include these advertisements also at this point. Let that be exhibit No. 27.

(The material referred to was marked "Exhibit No. 27," and is on file with the subcommittee.)

Mr. FITZPATRICK. Finally, it is respectfully submitted that consideration be given to providing limited, and closely scrutinized, immunity from antitrust regulation for any group of groups of publishers or distributors, working together for the sole purpose of enforcing industry supervision over the sale of obscene and objectionable literature.

Now, you mentioned and you are right, that the best way of cleaning up this mess is to have the industry clean up itself. We tried that. We had these publishers in; we took their testimony; we issued a report. We said very plainly, "Gentlemen we will give you an entire year to clean your own house. We feel the best regulation is self-regulation. You know this is bad. You clean it up and you will have no trouble from our legislative committee."

We came back in a year Senator. We called the same people before us. They had done nothing. They had attempted to do nothing.

I am speaking now not of the better segment of the industry, but the people who had so flagrantly published this type of material and who continued to do so.

After they said to us they had done nothing, we then proceeded to attempt to enact legislation, and we have finally been successful in passing some of it this past year.

Mr. BEASER. Actually from your experience, do the Federal anti-trust laws prevent them from getting together? They have never tried that; have they?

Mr. FITZPATRICK. I want to get that. I have talked to some of the more responsible people in the publishing, and I know you have. I have found this: in the first instances there have been numerous attempts by segments of the industry to get the renegades to come in and play ball and they won't do it. There have been organizations formed, and you get the people who are not publishing the bad materials anyhow. The other people stay outside.

Now, what is happening is this, and this is what I am told by representatives of the industry: they are reluctant to attempt any kind of coercion within the industry, because they feel that they will be subjecting themselves to prosecution under the antitrust laws.

I have direct evidence of that from this morning's paper. It is very interesting. In the first place, there was a piece in the Herald Tribune this morning about a newspaper's rejection of an ad in Poughkeepsie. The judge held that they could reject the ad. He says the newspaper must not be engaged in fraudulent conspiracy of furthering unlawful monopoly.

I believe the same philosophy is the thing that is acting as a deterrent to groups who are anxious to clean their own house. They have found that they just simply can't go to the fellow publishers and ask, "Won't you play ball?" And whatever means they can use in the industry to force them to play ball they are afraid to utilize because of fear of prosecution under the antitrust laws.

I feel there is a real merit in their contention that we should give serious consideration to opening the door for them to proceed within their own industry, because this type of self-regulation unquestionably in our opinion is the best of all regulations, but we have found it has not worked up to date.

I note again with a great deal of pleasure that William Richter, who appeared and testified before you on this tie-in sale problem, is acting as counsel now for a newsdealers association, which is forming a cooperative to attempt to ban comics. This piece was in the New York Times this morning.

This incidentally, is following the excellent work that is being done in New York by Mr. Kaplon of your own State, sir, along the same general lines. I hope this is the kind of thing of which we will see more and more.

The CHAIRMAN. I am glad you referred to that. announcement by Mr. Richter, because I have before me an article which indicates their effort to clean house within the industry, on the same subject.

Mr. FRITZPATRICK. That is wonderful. I hope they can do it. But I think we have to realize that efforts in the past have not met with great success and it is only because of that ─ and I believe this is very, very important ─ it is only because of that that the State of New York has had to step in, and I think you are going to have to step in on a Federal level.

Just one more thing that might be of interest to you, as an indirect result of the tie-in sale, the kind of thing that can happen with decent distributors. I have in my hand a letter ─ it happens to be from a distributor in my home town, but it is indicative, I believe, of what can be done ─ in which he states to the retailers that the tie-in sales bill of the State of New York has been passed, and that it will be effective on the 1st of July, and while it has not been their practice to purposely disseminate indecent material of any kind, they want it clearly known to their retailers that any material that they have reason personally to believe is indecent or obscene can be returned to them directly without any obligation. I believe that is a step in the right direction.

The CHAIRMAN. It most certainly is a step in the right direction.

Assemblyman, you talked about the industry putting its own house in order. Have you ever made a study of the number of printers engaged in this particular phase of these publications?

Mr. FITZPATRICK. Yes; we went into that quite thoroughly in our printed report in 1951. We found that time that 75 to 80 percent of all comic books sold in the United States were put out by 12 leading companies. The other percentage was put out by the fly-by-nights, which are the one's we are having great trouble in hitting.

Now, no one can sit down today, I believe, and tell you that there are X number of them, because that is the very nature of their business.

The CHAIRMAN. I am not talking about the publishers, but the printers.

Mr. FRITZPATRICK. No, sir; I do not know the answer to that. You mean people who actually print the publications?

The CHAIRMAN. That's right. Would it not be an interesting thing to have that figure, because they must be, I suspect that they would be, members of the printers' union, whatever the official name is, and maybe through the unions you could make an appeal on this subject and clean house that way?

Mr. FITZPATRICK. Well, I am afraid, Senator, that we are going to have to have at least the stick in hand.

In other words, while voluntary controls is the answer, if it will honestly be placed in operation by the industry, I do not think we are going to get it because people who publish this kind, of thing, in my humble opinion, have no morals, and if they have no morals in distributing filth and breaking down the whole moral attitude of our youth, I don't think they care whether or not they have any standing.

I am speaking now, remember; about the few, reserving as you did in your opening statement, for the better segment of the industry all of the praise that they deserve, all of the praise they deserve in attempting to clean their own house.

If they could get these other fellows in, wonderful; let us do it that way, but I think we are going to have to have a big stick to do it.

We went through some of the big comic-book printing plants and we found this with respect to that, at that particular time. They print great quantities of these and the prints are submitted months in advance, at least that is what we were told at that time. They simply do not have an opportunity within the plant to control the content of the material as it comes through.

We went to them at one time. We thought at one time ─ in fact, the first bill I introduced in1949 set up a separate bureau in the educational department, where all of these things would have to be submitted in advance.

Well, that censorship is not desirable; we have come to a realization ourselves that in our opinion that is not the best way to approach the problem.

I do think that the tie-in sales bill, the giving to the Postmaster General some additional authority to go in and get these people before they can get away, some thought to the antitrust ─ elimination of the antitrust restriction in the specific instance ─

The CHAIRMAN. I hope the staff are underscoring these remarks because they do relate to our Federal problem ─

Mr. FRITZPATRICK. I think those are the kinds of things that can be helpful. I think I have undoubtedly taken much time of your committee. I want you to know how appreciative we are of the opportunity to appear before you, how deeply interested we are, and I believe many more and responsible segments of the people of the State of New York are interested in seeing something done about this kind of thing which we think, if it is permitted to go unhampered and unrestricted, will honestly drag down the whole moral tone, not only of our youth, but of our entire country.

I hope, sir, that you will be highly successful. If there is any way in which we in our small way can contribute to the work of your committee, or if we can furnish you anything further from the material we have at our disposal, we will be delighted to do so.

The CHAIRMAN. Assemblyman, I speak for the whole subcommittee. I am sorry my distinguished colleagues are not here with me this morning because you have made a great contribution to this committee effort; I think one of the finest contributions in all of our labors.

I know that my colleagues would have been inspired as I am by your testimony here this morning, your forthright, courageous, and fearless approach to this problem.

Your report of course, will be carefully studied. You have gone into this field; you are ahead of us in this particular field in the area in which we are operating.

I just want to thank you from the bottom of a full and grateful heart for your appearance here this morning.

Mr. FRITZPATRICK. Thank you, sir, it was a real pleasure.
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

Postby admin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:24 pm

The CHAIRMAN. Counsel will call the next witness.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Benjamin Freedman.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you solemnly swear that the evidence you are about to give before this subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee of the United States will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Mr. FREEDMAN. I do.

TESTIMONY OF BENJAMIN FREEDMAN, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD, NEWSDEALERS ASSOCIATION OF GREATER NEW YORK AND AMERICA

The CHAIRMAN. For the record, will you state your full name and address and association?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Benjamin Freedman, 518 Vermont Street, Brooklyn. I am chairman of the board of the Newsdealers Association of Greater New York and America.

The CHAIRMAN. Counsel, you may proceed to examine the witness.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Freedman, you are also a newsdealer here in New York City?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Yes, sir.

Mr. BEASER. Where is your place of business?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Located on the northwest corner of Broadway and 42d Street.

Mr. BEASER. Do you carry on your newsstand crime and horror comics?

Mr. FREEDMAN. I did at one time.

Mr. BEASER. You no longer carry them?

Mr. FREEDMAN. No, sir.

Mr. BEASER. Will you tell us what you know about the problems you run into in carrying them, or not carrying crime and horror comics?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Originally, we carried the regular crime ─ not crime, I mean the comic books, but when these crime and horror comic books came out they were forced upon us by the distributor.

Mr. BEASER. In what way were they forced?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Tie-in sales. I gave you an illustration. Without giving any notice or placing any orders we get a bundle. Most of the time we get a bundle from the deliveryman and it is thrown at us, probably sometime when we are busy.

The first chance we get we open it up and put it out on the stand. Then until our attention we don't even know we have those books sometimes.

The average news dealer is always so busy getting his latest editions and getting through with his work, that half of the time he doesn't know what he gets until he starts checking up to pay the bill. Then he realizes what he gets.

Now, when we protest about some of these books we are told that "Unless you buy these books, you cannot get the other leading books." Many times we have been cut off and threatened and harassed.

The CHAIRMAN. When you refer, Mr. Freedman, to "these books," you are talking about books such as you see before you on exhibit here?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Yes; sir; some of these books and books that are not fit to be on public newsstands. We have no way of fighting this.

Mr. BEASER. You say you no longer carry these, though.

Mr. FREEDMAN. I for one don't. Some of them do. But most of them since that last investigation have done away with it, particularly those members of our association.

The CHAIRMAN. By the last investigation, you mean the last appearance of this committee in the city of New York?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Yes, sir, they are being handled now as we call it "underground;" the second handbook stores get them and these fly-by-night dealers and peddlers. They are sold in automobiles, some of them near high schools and some went out of town. Most of them are secondhand bookstores that are getting most of that stuff.

Mr. BEASER. You say as a result of the hearings we have held here many of the dealers in New York City have notified their wholesalers they will no longer carry those?

Mr. FREEDMAN. That is right.

Mr. BEASER. Have there been any retributions?

Mr. FREEDMAN. There are some threats. We can't tell you exactly how many stopped carrying them, but a small percentage I will say.

Mr. BEASER. Have stopped completely?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. Have they been cut off from any of the other kinds of magazines?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Some of them have been cut off and some of them have been hurt some other ways.

For instance, if a bundle is to come in, let us say, Thursday 6 o'clock in the morning, a certain distributor has a package. Those that have returned their horror comic books, instead of getting theirs at 6, they get theirs at 11 o'clock. He will make that the last stop. Everybody else has his books sold.

Mr. BEASER. When you say bundle, what would appear on a typical bundle?

Mr. FREEDMAN. It is just tied up with a lot of wire. It takes a little time to open up. You just can't open it and check. It is wire all around. When you open, it up, there is your bundle; you don't know what is there until the driver is gone.

Mr. BEASER. That is not all comic books?

Mr. FREEDMAN. No; it is all tied in together.

The CHAIRMAN. How big is this bundle?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Some of them weigh 50 pounds some 40, some 60, some 30. Sometimes you get, 3 bundles, sometimes you get 2, sometimes 1.

There is no such thing as uniform bundles. It all depends on what they feel like sending you.

Mr. BEASER. It will be a mixture of good comics?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Good comics, other books, magazines, and these others.

Mr. BEASER. And the popular magazines?

Mr. FREEDMAN. That is right.

Mr. BEASER. Have any of the dealers found that the deliveries of the good magazines have been cut down rather than cut off?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Some of them have, been cut down and some have been cut off.

Mr. BEASER. They are not getting as many?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Not as many as before.

Mr. BEASER. Now, is there any handling charge you pay for getting the crime and horror comics, or for returning crime and horror comics, or other comics?

Mr. FREEDMAN. There is a service charge on the delivery. Whether it is particularly for the crime comic books or otherwise, we don't know, but there is a service charge for the entire package.

Mr. BEASER. Each time you receive a package ─

Mr. FREEDMAN. There is a service charge, sometimes a dollar, sometimes 50 cents.

We pay it whether we like it or not. It is paid to the distributor on the bill.

Mr. BEASER. If you were to return 100 crime and horror comics, or comics, is there a charge for returning them?

Mr. FRIEDMAN. No, sir; there is no charge for returning them, but you probably won't get your credit for maybe 6 weeks or 2 months.

Mr. BEASER. Are there any instances in which the credit has been delayed deliberately because of the number of returns made?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Yes, sir; there has, many of them.

Mr. BEASER. In other words, if you return too many they will delay on the credit?

Mr. FREEDMAN. That is right.

Mr. BEASER. How often do you have to pay for shipments you receive?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Mostly weekly bills.

Mr. BEASER. On that bill, they give you credit for what you returned the week before?

Mr. FREEDMAN. You are supposed to, but you don't get it all the time. They hold it up a month or 6 weeks. Sometimes they tell you they can't find the bundle. You just keep calling until you get tired of it sometimes.

Mr. BEASER. Have you personally had any retribution because of your not carrying crime and horror comics?

Mr. FREEDMAN. No, sir.

Mr. BEASER. You are still getting the same number of other magazines that you want?

Mr. FREEDMAN. That is right, sir; I am one of the few they know is active in the association. I am one of the few that will just fight them if they do that.

Mr. BEASER. The returns are made directly to the wholesaler?

Mr. FREEDMAN. The driver picks the bundle up when he delivers sometimes, and sometimes the day before, and sometimes we deliver it ourselves.

Mr. BEASER. They are returned by the wholesaler to the publisher; is that right?

Mr. FREEDMAN. I assume that is what they do ─ no, I don't think so ─ I think that these books, if you are talking about the comic books, the crime ones, they are not returned to the publisher or the wholesaler, but they go to other places, sometimes out of town and sometimes to the second-hand bookstores. That is where you will find most of your filthy books now.

Mr. BEASER. You mean they try to keep selling them in as many places as possible?

Mr. FREEDMAN. They keep them on the market as long as they can.

Mr. BEASER. So what you get in the bundle may not necessarily be the most recent publications. They may have come from other news dealers?

Mr. FREEDMAN. That is right; they may have come from other newsdealers or out of town someplace.

Mr. BEASER. Actually, Mr. Freedman, would you be able, if the system were a little different, to select these magazines? How many magazines do you carry?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Sometimes we carry 800, a thousand, 600.

Mr. BEASER. Weeklies, monthlies, bimonthlies?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Yes. It depends on the time of the year when you are doing business.

Mr. BEASER. Would you have an opportunity to sit down each week and go through a checklist of 800 magazines and decide how many you need and how many you do not need?

Mr. FREEDMAN. We do that while standing at the particular stand.

Mr. BEASER. You do it for any of the publications?

Mr. FREEDMAN. We see a book doesn't move any too fast. We just make a note of it and say we will cut down on that one, while we are at the stand.

Mr. BEASER. You tell the driver or distributor?

Mr. FREEDMAN. We either call up the office or we tell the driver we don't want these. If they insist on sending them to you we must put them under the counter and keep them there to return them.

Mr. BEASER. Then you have to wait fort credit?

Mr. FREEDMAN. That is right.

Mr. BEASER. The incentive would be to sell?

Mr. FREEDMAN. We try to push them if we can, to exist.

Mr. BEASER. Otherwise you have a lot of money tied up?

Mr. FREEDMAN. That is right.

Mr. BEASER. Can you give us the names of the wholesalers from whom you have refused to accept crime and horror comics?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Our secretary, Mr. J. Kay, has a list of all the names of the distributors. We will be glad to furnish them to you off the record. We just don't want to get tangled. There may be some legal angle there for a comeback.

If you want the names I think Mr. Kay will give them to you.

The CHAIRMAN. The Chair will order that that list be made a part of the subcommittee's files.

Mr. FREEDMAN. All right, sir, and Mr. Kay will furnish it here.

(The information referred to was received at a later date, marked "Exhibit No. 28," and is on file with the subcommittee)

Mr. BEASER. There is still fear of retribution?

Mr. FREEDMAN. We are continuously being threatened.

Mr. BEASER. With what?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Being cut off, no telling what is going to happen.

A couple of years ago our attorney, Mr. Richter, advised us that if we don't want to carry the Daily Worker ─ and we refused to handle it and most of our members don't, we had threats for lawsuits ─

The CHAIRMAN. This subcommittee can understand that. We are occasionally threatened, ourselves.

Mr. FREEDMAN. We have threats and we are people, most of us out at the newsstand, most of us are disabled veterans, sick people, and we don't look for trouble and we are tickled to death to be left alone. We don't want to put up with any threats. We are a little careful. There are a few of us that are not afraid, but you can't fight all the people all the time.

Mr. BEASER. Have there been threats of physical violence?

Mr. FREEDMAN. There is a way of hurting you. If a distributor cuts off a certain item it means he has to lay some help off. I will give you one little angle.

Let us say he loses a certain amount of magazines that he is not going to deliver. He lays off two men. He tells these two men "Because these newsdealers refuse to handle these books, I have to lay you people off."

You figure out the rest. They have a union; you think what is going to happen to us.

The CHAIRMAN. You do not have to worry if you are right.

Mr. FREEDMAN. I am one of these that is not worried. I would rather die than be afraid, but not all of them feel that way.

Mr. BEASER. You said some time ago there was a cutting off by the newsdealers of receipts of the Daily Worker. Was there any retribution that you know of?

Mr. FREEDMAN. We were threatened our counsel was threatened, but most of us just don't carry it and people just don't ask for it. Some of them do, but the majority don't.

Mr. BEASER. But the distributor did not cut down on magazines, or don't you know?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Well, the distributor that handles the Daily Worker is a newspaper distributor. They don't handle magazines.

Mr. BEASER. Was there cutting off of the newspapers?

Mr. FREEDMAN. No, there was just a little talk and threats, but it went over pretty good.

Mr. BEASER. Was there any delay in deliveries?

Mr. FREEDMAN. No, not in that respect.

Mr. BEASER. I have no further questions Mr. Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Freedman, how many members do you have in your association?

Mr. FREEDMAN. We have about a thousand members.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you have meetings regularly?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. What are the stated periods of your meetings?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Sometimes once a month or if it is a special meeting we call it within the month.

The CHAIRMAN. According to the needs?

Mr. FREEDMAN. That is right. Our board meets every week. We meet at our attorney's office, or at our own office.

The CHAIRMAN. I presume you discuss at these meetings this problem that brings this committee here this morning?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Yes, sir; we did, and we instructed everyone of our board members and every board member comes from a key spot in the five boroughs, and acts as sort of chairman of his vicinity ─ to tell all the dealers there to do away with the horror books.

We have had some very good reports, but we are in trouble with the tie-ins, we are in fear. That is one of the reasons we started at our counsel's suggestion to organize this distributing company which we are about ready to start now. I think that maybe the answer.

The CHAIRMAN. You see your association or its members taking new heart as a result of this inquiry?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Yes, sir; they feel very good about it. Not only the members, but we get customers that come over to the stand and remark about the wonderful job you people have been doing with their children; that they don't ask for those books. They are a little scared, but it is still going on.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you find that the parents have known about these publications?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Yes; some of the parents would go out and buy for the children. They are just as bad as the children, some of them, just bring them right over and ask for them. They both read them.

I would think, that this investigating committee has done a wonderful job with us dealers, too. Some of the distributors are little bit careful how to handle us.

Of course, this may be a temporary condition. They may feel during the investigation while the lights are on, why, they will just take it easy. As soon as it is over, they will start all over again.

The CHAIRMAN. Even members of the bar that are sworn to uphold the law need investigation once in a while.

Mr. FREEDMAN. I know it. I know one thing, Mr. Chairman, that our association has always been ready to cooperate with any agency or any department and help as much as we could. We have the loyalty oath in our association we find anything with any member we are the first ones to go to the front. We are the first ones to call to the attention of our license commissioner, who has done a wonderful job, the violating of any of the rules or the laws of the association.

We welcome this not only because of the comics, but because of the tie-ins and the abuse that we dealers have been getting for the last 50 years.

Mr. Kay, I believe, has been a dealer for 30 years. I have been one for 35 years. Some of them for 35 and 40. We have had nothing but abuse and there is nothing we can do about it.

But in the last few months it took a little bit of a change with the help of your committee, and our counsel are always on top of them.

The CHAIRMAN. Your Joint Legislative Committee of New York has done a very fine job.

Mr. FREEDMAN. They have done a great job, but they are not living up to the laws that have been passed; nobody is enforcing them.

The CHAIRMAN. You mean locally?

Mr. FREEDMAN. That is right. This tie-in law, they should have a certain department to follow it up and go out and check and bring these people to court and see that they do the right thing.

Of course, I think this law has only been passed recently, so we will be patient and give them little time to organize.

The CHAIRMAN. The has to be a period of education after every law is passed.

Mr. FREEDMAN. That is right. There should be some law with teeth in it about these books, and everything else pertaining to these juvenile delinquencies, and get after the printers. They are the ones, if they will be told they can't print, they wouldn't.

It is like counterfeiters. The United States Counterfeiting Department is always after the ones that make the plates and do the printing. That is where you will hit home here. Get after the ones that print it, and they will get after the ones that want them to print it.

Mr. BEASER. You don't think it is the publishers?

Mr. FREEDMAN. Well, the publisher has something to do with it. They are the ones that are ordering it, but if the printer wouldn't want to print it and the publisher won't be able to get one, they won't print it.

The CHAIRMAN. If the publisher couldn't get printers it would be tough.

Mr. FREEDMAN. Yes.

The CHAIRMAN. That is the reason I asked Assemblyman Fitzpatrick the question as to whether the unions could not help in this field.

Mr. FREEDMAN. They could. I believe if you went to the head of the legitimate unions, and I think the printing union is one of our legitimate unions, and explained the situation to them, I think they would cooperate and work with you.

The CHAIRMAN. I understand your local here is called the New York Typographical Union; is that correct?

Mr. FREEDMAN. That is right, sir. I think they would cooperate.

The CHAIRMAN. I think this committee will probably solicit their aid.

Mr. FREEDMAN. I think you will be doing a good thing. They will be a great help to you.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Freedman, we are grateful for your presence here this morning. I commend you for your courage.

Mr. FREEDMAN. Thank you very much.
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

Postby admin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:31 pm

The CHAIRMAN. Counsel will call the next witness.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Harold Chamberlain.

The CHAIRMAN. You do not mind being sworn?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Not at all.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you solemnly swear that the evidence you are about to give before this subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. I do.

The CHAIRMAN. Counsel, you may proceed.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Chamberlain, will you state for the record your full name, your home address, and business association?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Harold Chamberlain, 6 Park View Place, Baldwin, Long Island. Circulation director the Independent News Co., 480 Lexington Avenue New York City.

TESTIMONY OF HAROLD CHAMBERLAIN, CIRCULATION DIRECTOR, INDEPENDENT NEWS CO., NEW YORK, N.Y.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Chamberlain, since you sat down, an exhibit has been put up which is an attempt to show graphically the organizational setup of the National Comic Publications, Inc. It shows the Independent News Co., of which I gather you are the circulation director. Then it shows the Lafayette Color Press, which is wholly owned, and the All American Printing Co., Inc., which is owned pretty much by the same people.

It shows that the Independent News Co. distributes magazines published by the Signal Publishing Co., which issues crime or horror comics; the Signal Publishing Co., being owned by one of the same people who owns the National Comic Publications.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. May. I interrupt, please?

That is not correct. I. Donenfeld is not the same as H. Donenfeld.

Mr. BEASER. There is no relationship?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. There is a relationship, but it is not the same.

Mr. BEASER. You distribute the Prize Comic group material?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. Then the National Comic Publications, Inc., is wholly owned by the National Comics Publications and those are publishers?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That is right.

Mr. BEASER. And then the American Comic group and Beverly Publishing Co., which issue no crime or horror comics?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Correct, sir.

Mr. BEASER. Now, could I ask you a few questions, please, about the National Comics Publishing Co.? They put out what I call the Superman comics?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That is correct. That was the original identifying symbol, the Superman D. C. symbol, and it has now become known as the National Comics group.

Mr. BEASER. They also issue other kinds of magazines?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. No, sir; just comics.

Mr. BEASER. They also issue comics other than Superman?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. Are those representative samples of the names, Detective Comics, Gang Busters?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That is not representative. They have their comics broken down into various groups. I might identify them for you.

Mr. BEASER. Would you, please?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. We have first the animated type comic, which is the Dodo the Frog, Flippity and Flop, Fox and Crow, Nutsie Squirrel, and so forth. They have 12 such comics in that group.

They have the adventure type, such as Superman, Action, Adventure Magazine, and Congo Bill. There are 11 titles in that group. Then we have the detective type, and there are five, and of those are Mr. District Attorney, Big Town, Gangbusters ─ in the National Comics group there are three, Big Town, Gangbusters, and Mr. District Attorney.

Then they have the humor, which is Bob Hope and Martin and Lewis and Mutt and Jeff. They have teen-age comics such as Date With Judy, which is a strip similar to the television and radio program.

Here is Howie, Pinkie, Buzzie.

They have western comics such as Hopalong Cassidy.

They have war type comics; such as All American Men of War, and then science and space fiction, Mystery, and Space and Strange Adventure, and one which you apparently classify in your presentation here as fantasy, is House of Mystery. That is the only one which you might categorize in that group.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Chamberlain, all of the Superman national comic magazines carry a statement about the editorial advisory board, do they not?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That is correct.

Mr. BEASER. Showing that Dr. Lauretta Bender, Josette Frank, Dr. W. W. D. Sones, Dr. S. Harcourt Peppard, are members of the advisory board of the Superman comics group.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That is correct.

Mr. BEASER. They are still members?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Yes, sir.

Mr. BEASER. What actually are their duties insofar as content of your Superman comic group publication is concerned?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. In contrast to our former witness, Mr. Freedman, I am not an authority on all branches of this industry. I am at the national distributing end of it and I do not feel that I am qualified to tell you their exact duties. I do not know.

Mr. BEASER. They act as advisers to the corporation; is that it?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. I understand that they do, sir, but I cannot tell you their exact duties.

The CHAIRMAN. The Chair wishes to interrupt counsel at the moment.

I am happy to announce the arrival of my distinguished colleague, the Senator from Missouri, Mr. Hennings.

Senator HENNINGS. Thank you. I had to come all the way from Danville, Va., for this hearing and I am sorry to be late today.

The CHAIRMAN. All right, Counsel, you may proceed.

Mr. BEASER. Then you do not; know the standards which are followed in deciding what content goes into the Superman group?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. There is a very definite and spelled-out code that is followed by our editors and our artists, in preparing the material for the Superman, D. C., or National Comic group.

Mr. BEASER. How is that code arrived at?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. It was arrived at, I believe, by this board of advisers.

Mr. BEASER. Does this board screen the comics?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Again I am not qualified to answer that positively.

Mr. BEASER. You do not know whether they make suggestions from time to time?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. I believe they do, but again I am not positive.

Mr. BEASER. Now, the type of material I have noticed in the Superman group differs considerably from the type of material in the magazines distributed by the Independent News Co., despite the fact that the three owners are the same. Can you account for the incongruity of setting up an advisory board for one operation, and then distributing material such as is contained in Black Magic or Frankenstein, and so forth?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. We must admit that it is incongruous because of this: We are in the Independent News Co., a national distributing outfit. It is true that we are a subsidiary concern of National Comics, Inc.; we represent a number of publishers other than those that publish comic magazines.

We do have a set of standards by which guide ourselves in the magazines that we distribute to the Independent News Co. We have, and many times in the past, refused to distribute certain magazines that have been presented to us by our present publishers. That has happened in the past 8 or 10 months, as matter of fact.

Mr. BEASER. Which magazines were those, do you know?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Not in the comic-book field. They are outside the comic-book field.

However, when this first investigation came to New York, of your committee, we sat down and discussed the entire matter, and it was decided at that time that we would eliminate through the news company any magazines that we felt bordered on the type that you were investigating. We do not feel that even these magazines are the worst in the field, but they do border on your weird, fantastic group that you are investigating, and we have eliminated them and they are off the market, or will be in the next 30 days. Titles such as "Frankenstein," "Out of the Night," "Forbidden Worlds," and one which you do not have there, "Clutching Hand," have been killed.

Mr. BEASER. Killed in what way?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. They no longer will be published or distributed on the newsstands.

Mr. BEASER. They have gone out of business; is that it?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. The publisher, for example, the American Comics group, has not gone out of business, but they are not going to publish Forbidden Worlds, or Out of the Night any more.

Mr. BEASER. They decided that they would not do it and you decided you would not distribute it?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That is correct.

Mr. BEASER. What others have you decided not to distribute?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. In the case of Adventures Into the Unknown, the editorial content of that is to be changed to bring it entirely out of the realm of the present editorial content. The title will remain the same for the time being. They will gradually try to work the title off.

The same holds true for Black Magic, wherein the editorial content will be changed completely.

Those are the only changes that are being made in the magazines which you have presented before me.

Mr. BEASER. And any of the other magazines that you carry ─ crime and horror comics?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. We don't have any others. In fact, I think you have included a number here, sir, that do not fall in this category.

Mr. BEASER. Now, let me get the process straight. You sat down with Mr. Bleier and Mr. Epstein, of Prize Comics.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Correct.

Mr. BEASER. And you told them you would no longer carry ─ this is since we held our hearing?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That is right.

Mr. BEASER. You would no longer carry Black Magic?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. We would no longer carry Frankenstein, and he must change the editorial content of Black Magic, or we will not distribute it.

Mr. BEASER. Let me get a little bit into the publishing mechanism. Does the editor of Black Magic submit the copy of Black Magic for October to you before it is sent to the printer?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. No, he does not. He submits it to his publisher. His publisher, Bleier & Epstein, knows of the standards by which Independent News Co. operates.

There have been times that material got into a magazine, and we did not know of it until after the magazine had been printed and shipped, and it was then a case of just trying to mend bridges and reprimanding the editor and the artist to see that it would not occur again.

Mr. BEASER. Actually, the first time you see the magazine is after it is printed?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That is right, sir.

Mr. BEASER. You see no draft copy before?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. No.

Mr. BEASER. Now, what kinds of standards then do you set up with respect to Mr. Bleier and Mr. Epstein?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Mr. Bleier and Mr. Epstein have been publishers of comic magazines since 1940, I believe. Their first comic was Prize Comics, which is still being published.

We became their national distributors in 1941 or 1942. I am not sure of the exact date. They have been associated in those 12 or 13 years with our company and have become familiar with the standard or the type of merchandise that we will distribute for them.

I would like to recall that they distributed "Frankenstein" about 1946. We got after them about the type of material in the magazine and they changed it to a humorous type of character, they made "Frankenstein" the goat of children's play.

When they did it, the magazine died, the magazine did not sell, and they discontinued it.

Mr. BEASER. That was when, sir?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That was about 1948. It was revived again just a few years ago and now it has gone again.

Mr. BEASER. Now let me ask you one question about Mr. Bleier and Mr. Epstein. They publish just comics; is that it?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. No, sir; they do publish a romance magazine. They publish a magazine called Man's Life.

Mr. BEASER. They also publish books?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Not to my knowledge, not through our company.

Mr. BEASER. You would not distribute books?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. No, sir.

Mr. BEASER. Let me go through the process which you have done with the American Comics group.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Yes, sir.

Mr. BEASER. There is a relationship there, I gather, between Mr. Iger and one of the owners of the National Comics group?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That is right.

Mr. BEASER. You went through the same process and sat down with Mr. Iger and Mr. Sanger and told them certain magazines would not be carried?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That is correct.

Mr. BEASER. They agreed to kill those magazines?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That is right.

Mr. BEASER. Are they going to substitute others for them?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That very possibly will be done.

Mr. BEASER. Are they going to adopt the code that the Superman group has adopted?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. I can't speak for them on that point. Let me say this, that they publish right now magazines such as Ha Ha and Giggle Comics, which are the animated type of comic, along with some teen-age comics, of which "Cookie" is one.

They do hold a very high standard in that type of comic, but they have had these three comics in their line.

I might say this, that the reason for those comics was not because they are out to frighten children. They were asked by some distributors, Mr. Iger and Mr. Sanger, "'Why don't you put out a comic like this? They are selling."

The reason that that type of material has sold, I believe, is the tremendous amount of publicity that has been given to the weird and horror comics.

The good class, clean comic, has been hurt by the publicity given to these comics.

In other words, there has not been enough complimentary remarks passed on good clean comic reading.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Chamberlain, do you mean to imply that the publicity came from this subcommittee?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. No sir; I don't mean that at all, sir. It has come over the past 3 or 4 years.

The CHAIRMAN. I was sure that that was not your intention.

Senator HENNINGS. In further development of the point which the Senator has raised, from what sources did you expect this comment relating to the clean comics to come, or from what sources had you hoped it might come?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Well, sir, as you probably know, there are many groups across the United States and Canada who have set themselves up as censors, as bodies to determine what is good or bad for the youngsters to read, and too often, is the case, that they say, this is bad, but they make no comment whatsoever as to what is good or where the publishers should be praised for their work in trying to put out good, decent literature.

Senator HENNINGS. The comment is negative, rather than positive as it relates to all of the field?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That is correct, sir.

Senator HENNINGS. Thank you.

The CHAIRMAN. The good is taken for granted.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Or condemned by insinuations that all comics are bad.

The CHAIRMAN. Counsel, you may proceed.

Mr. BEASER. But actually, Mr. Chamberlain, the crime and horror comics would not have been published had there not been a market?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That is correct.

Mr. BEASER. In other words, you would not throw 300,000 copies of a magazine out just on the chance that some remarks would be made that would indicate ─

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. You are absolutely correct in that, sir.

Mr. BEASER. Also, is it not true that the type of material which has appeared in Adventures into the Unknown is quite different from that which you would permit in your House of Mystery?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That is right, sir.

Mr. BEASER. Despite the fact that you distribute both?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That is right.

Mr. BEASER. Despite the fact you have an advisory committee for one and not the other?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. Incidentally, will the same advisory committee work with the American Comic group?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. No, sir; not to my knowledge.

Mr. BEASER. Do you know whether other distributors are doing the same thing with the publishers of crime and horror magazines?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. No, sir; I cannot speak for the other distributors.

Mr. BEASER. Is not that one way of getting the odium off the good and onto the bad?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. It certainly is, very definitely is. We feel we do not want to be subject to any criticism by this committee, or any other committee, for that matter, in the comic magazines that we distribute. The Superman comics, or National Comic as we call them, are one of the biggest groups in the country. We have a lot at stake in this business and we want to do the best thing possible for the comic industry.

That is why we have taken this step with our outside publishers.

Mr. BEASER. Now, Independent News Distributors own no comics?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. No, sir.

Mr. BEASER. Other types of magazines?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Yes, sir.

Mr. BEASER. If I am a wholesaler in New York City and you are supplying me through the Independent News Co. with magazines, what do you do ─ do you send me a list of magazines that will be published and ask me how many I want?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. No, sir. The basic fundamental rules of distribution in the magazine industry is that the national distributor, the Independent News Co., gets together with its publisher and decides upon a national print order, which is a national distribution.

We then lay out, based on sales figures which we maintain in our office, a distribution to all of the various wholesalers around the United States and Canada. We decide upon what quantity we shall send to any given town.

Mr. BEASER. I get no choice as a wholesaler?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. No, sir. That allotment is set up, based on the sales in your own agency of either that particular magazine or similar type magazines. It is done with names, of getting the most sales possible out of the initial print order setup.

You can, however, and it is done many times over by the wholesalers ─ if they feel they have gotten too few or too many of any given number, they write, wire, or refuse to accept their complete allotment.

Mr. BEASER. If I am a wholesaler and return to you some of these magazines you send, crime and horror, do you keep a service charge in any event?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. We have no service charge at all.

Mr. BEASER. Is that a practice in the industry?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That is a practice only as a service between Mr. Wholesaler and Mr. News Dealer.

Mr. BEASER. But not between the distributor and the wholesaler?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That is right.

Mr. BEASER. There is no financial loss to me because you sent me too many magazines?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. No, sir.

Mr. BEASER. Now, how does this come? Does it come in a bundle?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Yes, comics generally are packed in cartons rather than in paper bundles.

Mr. BEASER. I as one of your wholesalers will get a bundle generally mixed up with different ─

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. No, sir.

Mr. BEASER. Each will be separate?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. You will get a shipment of Superman comics, a thousand comics or five hundred.

Mr. BEASER. I can reject those without rejecting others?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That is right, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. You are referring only to the publications that you handle?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. I am speaking for the Independent News Co.; yes, sir. But I can tell you that it is a general practice of the trade, too.

Mr. BEASER. Since you are wholly owned there, it is really difficult to ask about the relationship between you and the publisher. Do the publishers have a service charge?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. No, sir.

Mr. BEASER. There is no breakage that anyone gains on sending too many comics out?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. No, sir.

Mr. BEASER. One further question on the distribution. Actually, then ─ I suppose it would be you, the Independent News Co. ─ who decides what publications will be published?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. What publications we will distribute. We have been offered in the course of the last month some 12 or 14 publications, publishers who have an idea for a magazine, not necessarily a comic, although a couple of them were comics, and they come to us and ask us if we will distribute their publications for them.

Mr. BEASER. As a wholesaler, the first time I find out anything about it is when the magazines arrive on my shelf.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. When we send you an announcement that we are distributing X magazine.

Mr. BEASER. I am not asked whether I want it. I am told I am going to get it.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That is correct, sir.

Mr. BEASER. Do you have any financial arrangements between yourself, the Independent News Co., and the Prize Comics?

In other words, do you advance them funds so that they can publish their magazines?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Not in the sense that you present it. Let me say this: I don't know that this specifically holds true for Prize Comics, but it would hold true perhaps for another company, but on delivery of copies, we may advance to them a percentage of the dollar value of the magazines that they are delivering to us. That percentage can run from zero to 25 percent. If it were as high as 25 percent, that certainly is not going to pay for the cost of production of their magazine.

But that is just a bond between us that we believe we will sell at least that number of copies.

Mr. BEASER. The printing bills are paid by the publisher?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. By the publisher.

Mr. BEASER. You do not guarantee or advance money for printing bills?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. No, sir.

Mr. BEASER. In what countries are your magazines distributed outside the United States?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. We go all over the world pretty much. Of course, Canada is the main country. We are in Mexico; we are in South America. We have some comics that go to South America.

Mr. BEASER. Cuba?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Cuba.

Mr. BEASER. Canal Zone?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Yes, sir.

Mr. BEASER. Puerto Rico?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Yes, sir.

Mr. BEASER. Virgin Islands?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. Turkey?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Yes, sir.

Mr. BEASER. Japan, Germany?

Senator HENNINGS. Are these books you send to the foreign countries done in the foreign language?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. No; the English edition.

Senator HENNINGS. I have seen some of them in foreign languages.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. We do have a foreign department that does sell the right to print Superman or one of the other characters in a foreign-language edition.

Senator HENNINGS. They are printed abroad in those instances?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That is right.

Mr. BEASER. What is sent abroad, the plates, the mats? How does it work?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. In these countries you mentioned to me just now?

Mr. BEASER. Yes.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. We ship the actual copies you can buy here in New York City or any other place in the country.

Mr. BEASER. Your foreign outfit would send what?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. I believe they would ship them mats.

Mr. BEASER. Now, there have been some comments made concerning American comics, crime and horror comics, in other countries. Are you aware of those?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. No, sir.

Mr. BEASER. I bring it up with you, sir, because they mentioned specifically the Superman. And this was in the House of Commons in England about a year and a half ago in which it was said:

That there was a considerable market for the type of horror and sadistic literature, literature which glorifies the brute, literature which undermines the law simply because it suggests that the Superman is the person who should take the law into his own hands and mete out justice in his own way. The most sinister thing about these publications is that they introduce the element of pleasure into violence. They encourage sadism, and they encourage sadism in association with an unhealthy sexual stimulation.

Do you screen in any way the materials you send abroad insofar as they may have an adverse reaction to toward American foreign relations?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. As the Independent News Co., we do not.

I again cannot tell you what they do upstairs. As far as I know they ship the actual mats of the magazines that are sold here in the United States.

Mr. BEASER. They make no attempt to say these do not portray the United States in a favorable position?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That I cannot tell you.

Senator HENNINGS. In other words, I assume the general attitude is that if we are strong enough here to take it in the United States, our friends abroad should be able to take it.

In other words, you would not, sir, say, as counsel has suggested, this is all right to distribute in New York City and San Francisco; we should not have anything like this going to Paris and London?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. No, sir; as far as my knowledge goes of the foreign market, we have a foreign representative that must go over and present this package or this item to the various people in that country, to first of all get a man who will buy it and, secondly, get the Government to allow them to get the dollar exchange for that item.
So I believe there is some sort of censorship or some sort of control exercised on what is distributed in those countries.

Again, I am not familiar with it and I cannot discuss it in detail.

Mr. BEASER. We have just put up on the board examples of some foreign-language comic books. Are any of these distributed by you?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Yes, sir. This Ga Ga. That is Ha Ha Comics. I think that is Romantic Adventure up there, if I am not mistaken.

Mr. BEASER. That is one of your love comics?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Yes, that is put out by American Comics group. I don't recognize any of the others. Yes, down in this corner is Adventures Into the Unknown.

Mr. BEASER. In the left-hand corner?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. That is the one you are not going to publish any more?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That is the one that is being changed editorially.

Mr. BEASER. To meet your new standards?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Correct.

Mr. BEASER. Has it happened in the past, as far as the United States is concerned in the distribution, that you have conditioned the sale of Superman comics on conditions that the wholesaler take a certain specified number of the comics that you also distribute?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Absolutely not.

Mr. BEASER. You have never tied in Superman with the other comics?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That is not known in our industry, believe me.

Mr. BEASER. Have you wholesalers who take just the Superman and do not take the other comics?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. We do not have wholesalers that take just one. We have many wholesalers that do not handle our complete line. They select what they want, but the wholesaler could not stay in business handling one comic.

Mr. BEASER. I meant the Superman line.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Yes, we do have some wholesalers that handle the Superman line.

Mr. BEASER. They still get as many as they want of the Superman book?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Yes, sir.

Mr. BEASER. I have no further questions.

The CHAIRMAN. The Chair has no questions, but on behalf of the committee, I want to thank you for your appearance here this morning.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Might I make one statement, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. You may.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. There has been a great deal of talk at this hearing this morning about tie-in sales from a wholesaler level to a dealer level. I want to very definitely speak out our part in that picture.

There is no such thing as tie-in sales. I would like to demonstrate it to you gentlemen in a very few moments by a trip to any one of the agencies in the New York area, where we can show you that the retailer does not maintain all of the magazines that might be shipped to him by his wholesaler.

I can show you that there are 400 or 500 comic magazines distributed in the United States today. There are, I believe, that many titles and you can verify that.

The CHAIRMAN. Are they distributed monthly; is that correct?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. No, sir; there are 500 active titles, but there are approximately, I believe, 250 distributed a month. The average newsstand in the United States carries about 65 comic titles, and that is a national survey that we continue day in and day out, so that the average dealer could not possibly be forced to hold and display and try to sell the 500 comics that are distributed, no less be forced to try to sell the thousands of magazines, and books that he receives during the course of a month.

We had an experience just yesterday where our Wholesaler in Cleveland, Ohio, called me to tell me that, because of the adverse publicity toward comic magazines that appeared in the paper in Cleveland, he had one of his larger dealers who operates 4 or 5 supermarket outlets, and who is doing a tremendous volume on comics, call him up and discontinue all comics.

He said he would not be bothered trying to disseminate what was good and what was bad.

Our wholesaler could do nothing about it. He had to take out all of the comics that the man was handling, and he was selling vast quantity of them.

Our wholesaler had been very cautious about the type of comics he put into that supermarket, but, you see, his hands were tied. Now, gentlemen, if there is such a thing as tie-in sales, he could say, "You must keep them in there. You must sell those good clean comics," but he can't even do that.

So how in the world can a statement be made that he can force a retailer to handle a specific title or a horror title or anything that you choose. It just is not done; it can't be done in this business. It just is not done from a national newsstand level, and it is not done from a local wholesale level.

The CHAIRMAN. You are speaking for all distributors when you say that?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. I am giving you clear-cut examples; yes, sir, for all distributors.

The CHAIRMAN. Did you hear Mr. Freedman's example?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you dispute that testimony?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you dispute the testimony of a man who actually has daily contact with this problem?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. I dispute it; yes, sir. He cannot be forced and has never been forced to handle and try to sell any or all magazines that he receives from any source, of distribution. That we cannot do that with any retailer in the United States.

As I say, you can have visual evidence of it in any wholesale agency you go into, or newsstand you choose to visit. I think you will find by the courthouse here there are many news dealers that handle 10 titles, and that is all they can accept, because they are open for just a short portion of the day's business and they will only handle a very limited number of titles.

The CHAIRMAN. What do you suppose the legislatures of two great States of this country, the great State of New York ─ I am reminded there are three ─ the great State of New York, my own State of New Jersey, and I am proud to say I think it is a great State, have passed laws to control these tie-in sales, if there have not been tie-in sales?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Because, sir, I say that you have had testimony to the effect that there are definitely tie-in sales, but I do not believe that you can produce factual evidence to prove that there have been tie-in sales in this business.

Senator HENNINGS. Do you mean in any instance whatsoever?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Well, you may find an isolated case where an overzealous routeman, for example, went in and demanded that a dealer handle certain things. However, if you go to that wholesaler who that routeman works for, you will get the clear story of what goes on in our business.

I know I can speak with authority on that sir, because I was a wholesaler myself for a number of years in the State of Massachusetts. I know what went on there. I know what is going on today.

Mr. BEASER. I have one question, sir.

You say that it is not possible for the wholesaler through this method of delaying credits to force a dealer to carry whatever the wholesaler wants him to carry. You heard Mr. Freedman?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. Yes. I am familiar with this delay in credits in New York City. It is not a situation that pertains to Mr. Freedman. It pertains to tie 1,400 news dealers serviced by the Manhattan News Co. and it pertains to the 16 or 17 publishers that supply Manhattan News with magazines. It is not a case of forcing magazines. They are behind in credits, both in getting the magazines to us and in getting the credits to their retailer, just in the process of sorting them, they are behind in that, and that is what has caused this picture.

Mr. BEASER. It puts an incentive on no return?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. No, sir; every magazine is sold, fully returnable.

Mr. BEASER. I mean the delay in getting credit would mean that your money is tied up for a longer period.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN. That is a peculiar situation just as of the moment. The normal process is that a dealer gets credit the following week on his statement. That goes on all over the United States.

You are speaking of a local situation here which is peculiar to the business.

Mr. BEASER. No further questions.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Chamberlain, thank you very much for your appearance here. I commend you for your testimony.
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

Postby admin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:34 pm

Counsel will call the next witness.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Charles Appel.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you solemnly swear that the evidence you are about to give before this subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Mr. APPEL. I do.

TESTIMONY OF CHARLES APPEL, PROPRIETOR OF ANGUS DRUG STORE, ST. PAUL, MINN.

The CHAIRMAN. Will you state your full name, address, and association for the record, please?

Mr. APPEL. My name is Charles Appel, 240 East Butler, St. Paul.

The CHAIRMAN. The subcommittee wants to thank you for coming all the way here this morning to testify and give us the benefit of your experience.

Mr. APPEL. I am a pharmacist, and I own the Angus Drug Store, 380 Selby Street, St. Paul.

Mr. BEASER. How long have you been a pharmacist?

Mr. APPEL. Since 1929.

Mr. BEASER. Do you carry any magazines at your pharmacy?

Mr. APPEL. Yes; we do.

Mr. BEASER. Do you carry the crime and horror type comic books?

Mr. APPEL. No; we do not.

Mr. BEASER. Did you at any time?

Mr. APPEL. We received them, but returned them at all times.

Mr. BEASER. What happened when you returned them?

Mr. APPEL. We were given credit for them.

Mr. BEASER. Was there any retribution?

Mr. APPEL. Not until the 17th of March.

Mr. BEASER. This year, you mean?

Mr. APPEL. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. What happened the 17th of March, this year?

Mr. APPEL. I received a bundle of magazines and one of the titles was missing. The TV Guide for our community was missing.

Mr. BEASER. You did not get any TV Guides at all?

Mr. APPEL. That is right.

Mr. BEASER. What happened?

Mr. APPEL. When the route checker came in I asked him what was the idea. I checked across the street and they had received theirs. He called the office and they said I was not to receive them because I had not paid my bill.

Mr. BEASER. Had you paid your bill?

Mr. APPEL. My bill was current; it was $200.

Mr. BEASER. What happened then, sir.

Mr. APPEL. So I explained to them I was running my business and if they wanted to run a business, buy a drugstore of their own; otherwise I wanted the magazines the way I ordered them, not the way they felt to send them.

Mr. BEASER. Did you get them?

Mr. APPEL. No, I did not. I had them pick up the balance of their distribution and paid them their bill.

Mr. BEASER. What happened subsequent to that?

Mr. APPEL. Subsequent to that the city council took it up, the State took it up, and passed a resolution against the literature.

Now, what they have done is that they have continuously snowed us under with books we do not order. I have invoices here for a number of months, and the percentages of the magazines that we can sell that they send us is so small compared to what we have to count, check, handle, it is not worth while handling.

Mr. BEASER. Do they charge you anything for the handling, or do you get full credit?

Mr. APPEL. They have a weekly service charge for counting magazines on your rack and deciding how many of each you shall get.

Mr. BEASER. Who does that, the route man?

Mr. APPEL. The route man.

Mr. BEASER. He comes in and counts how many magazines you have?

Mr. APPEL. Of certain numbers. He takes spot numbers, how many we have, and we give him the figures of how many we have sold.

Mr. BEASER. Is that service charge based on the number of magazines you carry?

Mr. APPEL. No, I believe each dealer pays the same amount, 50 cents a week.

Mr. BEASER. So at the present moment you are no longer carrying crime and horror comics?

Mr. APPEL. That is right.

Mr. BEASER. You also are not carrying the TV Guide?

Mr. APPEL. Nor Reader's Digest or Saturday Evening Post, or other leading publications which we want.

Mr. BEASER. Because you could not get one without the other; is that it?

Mr. APPEL. That is right.

Mr. BEASER. That was a local wholesaler?

Mr. APPEL. We call them distributor.

Mr. BEASER. In Minneapolis?

Mr. APPEL. In St. Paul.

Mr. BEASER. Now, as a result of this the city council passed what kind of resolution?

Mr. APPEL. Banning sale of obscene and indecent literature. The State passed a resolution.

Mr. BEASER. That is the State Association of Pharmacists?

Mr. APPEL. Yes.

The CHAIRMAN. May the Chair interrupt counsel to announce the arrival of the Honorable E. D. Fulton, member of the House of Commons of our great neighbor to the north, the Dominion of Canada.

Mr. Fulton, we welcome you here, and in due time we will have your story before the subcommittee. It is a great privilege to have you here.

Mr. FULTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I am very glad to be here.

The CHAIRMAN. All right, Counsel, you may proceed.

Mr. BEASER. That is one method of proof, I gather, that tie-in sales with crime and horror comics do exist?

Mr. APPEL. Tie-in sales with what they want to send you is definitely proved, I believe.

Mr. BEASER. Have you any suggestions as to how those tie-in sales can be avoided?

Mr. APPEL. I have made an agreement with the other company who brought in a list. They allowed me to pick up what I would accept. They will send me according to their record as many as I need to cover my sales.

Mr. BEASER. How do you do that? Do you do that once a month or once a week?

Mr. APPEL. This is after a number of years of wrangling; I told them either to do that or I would have to throw out the magazines. So the American News came in with a list of approximately 80 magazines. I accepted all but 17.

The CHAIRMAN. You say the American News?

Mr. APPEL. The American News. The Minnesota News is the local branch.

Mr. BEASER. The other company was what?

Mr. APPEL. The other company never came around. They would not listen to me on that basis. That was the St. Paul News.

Mr. BEASER. You are now ordering magazines, a number of magazines, solely on title rather than content? You know the magazines?

Mr. APPEL. That is right.

Mr. BEASER. I have no other questions.

The CHAIRMAN. Senator Hennings?

Senator HENNINGS. I have no questions, Mr. Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN. I have no questions.

I want to thank you for your presence here this morning.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Chairman, he has some documents which he wants to leave with us, the invoices. May we have those for the record?

The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, the documents will be made part of the record of the subcommittee.

Mr. APPEL. I would like to explain them. I have statements here from the 24th of February to the 3d of March, including the 3d of March. I received about $l40 worth of magazines. Of that group, I had to return $80.87 worth showing that they just snow you under with amounts of magazines.

The CHAIRMAN. Will you have any need for these?

Mr. APPEL. No, I am through business with this fellow.

The CHAIRMAN. They will be made a part of the subcommittee's file. Let that be exhibit No. 29.

(The documents referred to were marked "Exhibit No. 29" and are on file with the subcommittee.)

Mr. BEASER. Have you any other documents you wish to show the subcommittee?

Mr. APPEL. Letters from well wishers and what not.
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

Postby admin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:37 pm

The CHAIRMAN. Counsel call the next witness.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. George B. Davis.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Davis, you do not mind being sworn?

Mr. DAVIS. No, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you solemnly swear that the evidence you are about to give to this subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate, will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Mr. DAVIS. I do, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Davis, will you give your full name and address?

TESTIMONY OF GEORGE B. DAVIS, PRESIDENT, KABLE NEWS CO., NEW YORK, N.Y.

Mr. DAVIS. George B. Davis, 500 Fifth Avenue, Kable News Co.

My home address, Crestwood, N. Y.

The CHAIRMAN. Counsel, you may proceed.

Mr. BEASER. What is your position with Kable?

Mr. DAVIS. President of Kable News Co.

Mr. BEASER. Kable News Co. does what, sir?

Mr. DAVIS. They are national distributors of magazines and comics.

Mr. BEASER. We have put up an exhibit there, sir, of various kinds of magazines which I think, from information furnished, are ones that you distribute; is that right, sir?

Mr. DAVIS. That is correct. I think it is a pretty good representation of what we have.

Mr. BEASER. A very wide variety.

Mr. DAVIS. I recognize that one there.

Mr. BEASER. That is the inside of Frolic Magazine.

Mr. DAVIS. That is right.

Mr. BEASER. How many magazines do you distribute in all?

Mr. DAVIS. I would say about 70, sir.

Mr. BEASER. How many of those are comics?

Mr. DAVIS. About 40.

Mr. BEASER. Of the comics, how many would be crime and horror?

Mr. DAVIS. I have a breakdown, sir. We have 1 adventure, 3 detective, 7 western, 8 juvenile, 6 love, 3 satire, 2 war, and 10 weird.

Now you say horror and something else. I refer to them as weird.

Mr. BEASER. Crime and horror.

Mr. DAVIS. That is right.

Mr. BEASER. In other words, 25 percent of your total comics are of the weird variety?

Mr. DAVIS. Right.

Mr. BEASER. How many are of the crime variety?

Mr. DAVIS. I imagine that would be what we refer to as detective; is that right? Three.

Mr. BEASER. Now, let me ask you a bit about your distribution practices, sir.

Mr. Davis. Yes, sir.

Mr. BEASER. Now, as a wholesaler I get your complete line; is that it, all this?

Mr. DAVIS. No, sir; you do not. If there is anything that we distribute that the wholesaler does not want, he immediately refuses it and sends it back express collect.

Mr. BEASER. Otherwise I get it?

Mr. DAVIS. Otherwise you would get it. My situation is similar to Mr. Chamberlain's, I imagine, that we are national distributors. There were quite a lot of distributors that have selected lists and they order what they please. They tell you if they want it or not.

Mr. BEASER. How do I know as a wholesaler what is coming in the next bundle?

Mr. DAVIS. We have advance billing and promotion pieces on most magazines, which is going out far in advance of the release.

Mr. BEASER. What the content is likely to be?

Mr. DAVIS. Not exactly the content. Sometimes we play up the editorial. We have a promotion department telling what is in there; yes, sir.

Mr. BEASER. I get a notice from you saying on such and such a date Fantastic would be coming in?

Mr. DAVIS. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. Am I asked to notify you by a certain date as to whether I want Tab or Frolic?

Mr. DAVIS. No, sir.

Mr. BEASER. Do I have the option of notifying you?

Mr. DAVIS. You do. You can tell us you are not going to distribute it. You can tell us you are sending it back express collect; you can do anything you please.

We have no restrictions on that, even though I may be honest and admit that we try to get a general distribution on practically everything we distribute.

Mr. BEASER. The burden is put on me as a wholesaler, then, to get notice to you that I don't want your magazine?

Mr. DAVIS. That is right.

Mr. BEASER. How would I know about that if I were a wholesaler and you were distributing a new kind of magazine? Say Tops just came out and you sent me a brochure on Tops. How would I decide what is in it?

Mr. DAVIS. Then you send a letter back, "Do not send Tops."

Mr. BEASER. How would I know what is in Tops?

Mr. DAVIS. You wouldn't know but a lot of wholesalers don't take new titles, regardless; that is the freedom in the business.

Mr. BEASER. If you have a wholesaler, for example, who says to you he does not want Strange, Voo Doo, or your Danger, does he get as many copies of Hunting and Fishing?

Mr. DAVIS. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. Radio Electronics?

Mr. DAVIS. Yes. We have no such powers in our line, anyway. In other words, that power is not used in this business. I think that is a far cry from the truth, about forcing stuff. Believe you me, sometimes I wish I could force a little.

I will give you a little typical example. I just happened to see my friend Sam Black over there, who will probably testify here, and this goes into comics and I think it is a very interesting story. We just took over a line of comics, the St. Johns' line of comics, and there were 40 titles included in this group.

We didn't notify the wholesalers ─ this was long in advance of our distribution, but Mr. Black found it out. He didn't think St. Johns' comics was such a good line. So he says, "Under no conditions send me any of St. Johns' comics."

The thing that Mr. Black didn't know was this, that out of the 40 comics that Mr. St. Johns had, we were only taking 18 which included nothing in the world but children's stuff and good, clean stuff like Adventures of Mighty Mouse and all that Looney Tooney stuff, and Paul Terry's comic.

Mr. BEASER. Where was St. Johns' distributing the others?

Mr. DAVIS. To the American News Co. I mean he was distributing all to them. We did take the line, eliminated 26 titles from the market and I kept the good, clean comics that we could take.

Now, I only cited that as an illustration to show the freedom of action in this business.

Mr. Black says, "Don't send any," so, naturally, I am not going to send any, but when I have a chance to talk to him I will tell him the entire story.

Mr. BEASER. Is there any breakage which inures to you by reason of the fact that you get a handling charge for any of the magazines?

Mr. DAVIS. No, sir; we get no handling charges, sir. We make a profit from our publishers on what is sold.

Mr. BEASER. That is all.

Mr. DAVIS. That is all.

Mr. BEASER. Now, what standards do you utilize in determining what materials you will distribute, if any?

Mr. DAVIS. That is a very important question; a very nice one, a pointed question. There are publishers in this business that, like everybody else, kick their traces at times. I am not holding any brief for these fellows that go overboard.

I think one thing wrong with most of these meetings is the fact that some of them don't seem to be quite honest with the answers. I think to a certain degree all of us at times may be guilty of overstepping our bounds.

Now, in my position at the Kable News Co., I am solely responsible for what we distribute. Quite often I will take on a magazine that has a good title, but I am not too familiar with the editorial content. The publisher will tell me what the contents are, but when it comes time for distribution, it is all printed and gone before I get my advanced copy, and then it is too late for me to do anything about it.

Let me give you a couple of illustrations. A man, one of our publishers, put out a comic last week. When I heard about it ─ I have been immobilized for a couple of months ─ I found out about it and I insisted he kill it immediately. I have had people look through the editorial content and can't find anything too wrong with it, but the title itself.

Mr. BEASER. What is the name of it?

Mr. DAVIS. Tomb Horror. We killed it. I told the fellow not to print another one yesterday, when I heard about it.

Mr. BEASER. How much ability have you to go through 70 magazines a month?

Mr. DAVIS. It is not 70 a month. It is 70 titles. They can be bimonthly. There will probably be a billing of 20 or 30 a month. Some quarterly, some annuals, some few monthlies.

Mr. BEASER. How can you tell whether Haunted Thrills for May or June contains something that may or may not be harmful to children?

Mr. DAVIS. I cannot. I can only go on my experience in the business. Now, as to what is harmful, some people have different definitions. I think I know as much about children as any man that has been in this courtroom yet, or this hearing yet, because I handled 86,000 for a good many years.

Senator HENNINGS. Where was that?

Mr. DAVIS. I had the Liberty boys' organization, the Macfadden Publications, which grew from nothing to 86,000 boys. We had little or no trouble.

Senator HENNINGS. What sort of groups were they?

Mr. DAVIS. They were boy salesmen delivering Liberty to the homes of all the people, like the Saturday Evening Post magazine.

We had a welfare organization. We had to closely supervise these boys, to see that they were home nights and everything else.

I tell you one of our biggest special prizes in those days, strange as it may seem, was a jackknife. In the course of 7 years, we spent a million dollars on jackknives.

Mr. BEASER You think that none of the material in all your crime ─

Mr. DAVIS. No, sir; I wouldn't say that. I said that sometimes they will kick their traces. I will admit very honestly I have no chance to go through all of them. Believe me, I am just as anxious as anyone about this situation. If there are comics or any of them that have any bearing on the youngsters of this Nation, Mr. Campbell, the owner of my company, or myself, want no part in it, regardless of the money involved. This is not a fast dollar for us.

Mr. BEASER. Actually nobody in your organization takes any responsibility for the content of what is distributed?

Mr. DAVIS. I would say this, sir, that when we feel ─ now, I think if we are guilty of anything, we are guilty of the fact that we have not scrutinized them carefully enough, if you do find something wrong with ours, and that depends again on what you consider bad taste.

Senator HENNINGS. You are speaking, sir, of just the comics which you distribute?

Mr. DAVIS. Yes.

Senator HENNINGS. You are not talking about some of the other magazines, the Gala, Scope, Suppressed?

Mr. DAVIS. That type of material has very, very limited distribution, sir.

Senator HENNINGS. By limited distribution, Mr. Davis, what do you mean?

Mr. DAVIS. I mean it would go to three or four hundred towns; stuff like that. Wholesalers don't have to take that stuff.

Senator HENNINGS. How many in numbers would you publish of Frolic?

Mr. DAVIS. Frolic would be about 100,000.

Senator HENNINGS. A month?

Mr. DAVIS. That is right.

Senator HENNINGS. How long has it been in publication?

Mr. DAVIS. It has been out for probably 7 or 8 years.

Senator HENNINGS. It sells about 100,000 a month?

Mr. DAVIS. No; it does not sell 100,000. It sells about 65,000.

Senator HENNINGS. Do you undertake to scrutinize the material that goes into such magazines as Frolic?

Mr. DAVIS. I would not say at all times I do, but we have gone on Mr. Sumner's record here over the years in New York City. I think he made the statement, when this type of book was brought into court, that it was no more than what they are showing on these Broadway shows. In fact, this girl shaking her shimmy there is right out of the Broadway show. l have seen her myself. That is the Tiger Girl in Kiss Me Kate. That is the same picture.

Now, we have gone on that premise. And the beaches, also, for that matter; you can go to the Shoreham Hotel and see just as bad as that any time in Washington with a bunch of little gals around there.

Senator HENNINGS. In other words, you suggest that the mores and general acceptance of what may be seen in Broadway shows or a nightclub or at the Shoreham Hotel, or any other hotel, is the criteria by which you would determine which of these publications should be acceptable?

Mr. DAVIS. That has been my thinking, sir, but I will make one thing very clear here, that I am not the publisher, sir.

Senator HENNINGS. I understand that.

Mr. DAVIS. I may also say that the publisher of Gala also publishes such type books as Movie Spotlight, Movie Play, and Movie Time. It is not just one house of so-called girlie books.

Senator HENNINGS. Now, as the distributor, then, have you ever told any of the publishers, for example, that you would not take for distribution a magazine such as Suppressed?

Mr. DAVIS. No, sir; we would take Suppressed, and be glad to have it.

Senator HENNINGS. Have you ever refused to take any that have been offered?

Mr. DAVIS. Yes, sir; many, sir. For instance, I may point out that in dealing with St. Johns' comics the had some comics there that we didn't care about putting out. We took 18 of what we considered the best.

I don't think there is any better than that line ─ Looney Tooney group, or Paul Terry, or Mighty Mouse group.

Senator HENNINGS. What was you yardstick of judgment as to the comics that you refused to take?

Mr. DAVIS. I will tell you the judgment is this: Probably his were no worse than the rest of them.

It seems to me that it is going just a little too far honestly, this comic business. I am not sitting here trying to tell you I don't think so. Honestly, I believe it is.

They are sticking their necks out a mile and a half. As far as we are concerned, we are going to be very, very careful about this, even more than in the past.


Now, I cannot reconcile several things here. No one has shown me yet ─ I want to be convinced myself ─ wherein a comic has caused any particular crime or has anything to do with this crime business.


Senator HENNINGS. We are not trying to make that case, Mr. Davis, as you know.

Mr. DAVIS. I am asking for my own information.

Senator HENNINGS. May I say for your information, sir, and with the permission of the Chairman, that we have said at the outset of these hearings sir, that this committee has no preconceived views about this. We are not, in other words, presenting the state's case. We are trying to find out if there is any impact in this, and if so, to what extent, and what should be done about it if it exists.

Mr. DAVIS. I will agree that this thing has gone a little too far, but I do agree also that the industry in itself should get together and do a little fine-combing here.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee agrees with that statement.

Mr. DAVIS. Because this industry can be ruined by the other side of the fence also. By having committees review newsstands and pull out good magazines. I published a magazine several years ago called the Ideal woman. The feature story in it was Mary Pickford's Why Not Try God, Christian Science Business. This book of mine was put on the list circulated in the entire country as being indecent literature.

As far as I am concerned it is still on there. That was 10 years ago. The thing has been dead 10 years.

Some of the committees go overboard. Are they capable and do they know the right things? If we had some smart people that knew what it is all about to go out ─ I am not saying they are not smart, but to do some little fine recommendations, I think the industry would be much better off.

Senator HENNINGS. Why is not the industry itself capable of regulating itself?

Mr. DAVIS. I have heard some statements made here that make this industry look ridiculous. You asked a man if something looks horrible, he said, "No; if there is no blood dripping out it is not horrible."

Senator HENNINGS. For example, Mr. Mystery, is that one of your publications, sir?

Mr. DAVIS. Yes, sir.

Senator HENNINGS. Do you think that is a rather pleasant example?

Mr. DAVIS. You mean the cover?

Senator HENNINGS. Human heads boiling in a vat, that amiable gentleman sewing one of them with a needle and thread.

Image


Mr. DAVIS. It is so horrible it is comical. I would not agree that is in good taste; no, sir.

Senator HENNINGS. Here is another, the Weird Chills.

Mr. DAVIS. That is one of mine.

Senator HENNINGS. That apparently lives up to its name. You take a look at that picture.

Image
[EDITORS NOTE: I am unsure of which cover they showed, but it was either one of these two.]


Mr. DAVIS. Pretty bad, pretty bad.

The CHAIRMAN. While you are here, will you take a look at some of those ads? Have you ever read the advertisements in the magazine Gala?

Mr. DAVIS. No, sir; I am afraid I haven't.

The CHAIRMAN. It would seem to the Chair that your industry ought to look into those ads because; they support the magazine apparently.

Mr. DAVIS. I will look into it myself.

The CHAIRMAN. Those ads are pretty horrible to me.

Senator HENNINGS. If the chairman will allow me again, here is Weird Terror. Of course, a lot of these things are in the realm of judgment and taste. Some may be suggested to be no worse than some of the more imaginative illustrators of the tales of Edgar Allen Poe, but some of them seem to go beyond ordinary imaginative artistic representation, even of horror.

Mr. DAVIS. I will give you a little argument as to what these fellows tell me when I holler about those things. Well, kids on Halloween go out here, put on all kinds of funny faces, tombstones around them, and everything.

In my opinion they make those things so ridiculous; they really get to be laughable, they really do.

The CHAIRMAN. You never before have looked at those ads inside the publications you distributed?

Mr. DAVIS. No, sir. I think our publishers could probably give you more information on that, sir, then I could. I could certainly notify them if you would like them to testify here.

The CHAIRMAN. I would like to note for the record that a sample of these ads, there are 2 or 3 samples, will be written into the record. Let that be exhibit No. 30.

(The ads referred to were marked "Exhibit No. 30," and read as follows:)

ILLUSTRATED BOOKLETS

The kind you will enjoy. Each one of these booklets is size 3 ½ by 4 ½ and is illustrated with 8-page cartoon illustrations of comic characters and is full of fun and entertainment. Twenty of these booklets all different sent prepaid in a sealed envelope upon receipt of $1. No checks or C. O. D. orders accepted.

(Name of company)

(Address of company)

_____

ILLUSTRATED COMIC BOOKLETS

Sell our illustrated comic booklets and other novelties. Each booklet size 4 ½ x 2 3/4 and is fully illustrated. We will send 24 assorted booklets. prepaid upon receipt of $1 or 60 assorted booklets sent prepaid upon receipt of $2. Wholesale novelty price list sent with order only. No orders send C. O. D. Send cash or money order.

(Name of company)

(Address of company)

_____

ILLUSTRATED BOOKLETS & NOVELTIES

Our vest pocket series of illustrated comic booklets are the kind that are fully illustrated with comic characters The novelties are the kind you want for excitement and amusement, 16 different booklets, and 4 different novelties sent prepaid in sealed envelope on receipt of $1. No C. O. D. orders or check accepted. Wholesale price list included with orders only.

(Name of company)

(Address of company)

Mr. DAVIS. I don't think it is necessary for that magazine there to survive on that type of ad or any other magazine. If it can't go with on with out that type of ad it should not go at all.

Senator HENNINGS. Where are these mostly sold?

Mr. DAVIS. That would be sold on Broadway here, sir.

Senator HENNINGS. In what kind of establishments in cities outside of New York?

Mr. DAVIS. I would say outside of New York most any time it would be a downtown corner stand ─ traffic, soldiers, sailors, to every working guy.

Senator HENNINGS. This would not go by and large to the drug stores?

Mr. DAVIS. No, sir; By and large it would not go to the neighborhood. It would be a mistake to go in there.

Senator HENNINGS. The chain food stores?

Mr. DAVIS. No, sir.

Senator HENNINGS. You would not distribute it to such outlets?

Mr. DAVIS. That is quite right. That would have a high-spot distribution.

Senator HENNINGS. You would not consider it good business judgment, as a matter of fact, to put these in drugstores?

Mr. DAVIS. You hold up Suppressed and Gala. I put both Suppressed and Gala, in a different category.

Senator HENNINGS. This is Frolic I am holding.

Mr. DAVIS. That is a girlie book. That is around the honky-tonks, in places where they are drinking, you know, just a general downtown section of the town.

It would not go to the suburban section. It would go where the men congregate.

Senator HENNINGS. This, for example, has the Lonely Hearts Club, the names and addresses of 100 beautiful single girls, 18 to 25, list rushed by airmail. Don't delay. Why be lonely? Let America's friendly club introduce you by mail. Social correspondence clubs, and so on.

We do know, of course, that some of these so-called correspondence clubs or matrimonial agencies or lonely hearts organizations have led to pretty serious trouble in cases such as blackmail and extortion.

Mr. DAVIS. We used to have a lonely heart ball in Madison Square Garden some years ago, every year.

Senator HENNINGS. That is not comparable. That has some supervision. But you do not pay any attention to the advertising?

Mr. DAVIS. I am afraid I don't. My job is to distribute magazines. I try to be careful. Some of those magazines have been long established, like the one you have there.

Naturally, I can't get into every ad that goes into there. If I did, the publisher could tell me, "It is none of your business."

Senator HENNINGS. Is it fair to sum it up, Mr. Davis, to say that you try to be careful, but you really do not have an opportunity to be careful?

Mr. DAVIS. I will say this: That we try to be respectable; let us say that.

Senator HENNINGS. Respectable?

Mr. DAVIS. To our knowledge, what a respectable citizen should be.

Senator HENNINGS. But the job is really just beyond you and certainly not entirely within your jurisdiction as you see it; is that it?

Mr. DAVIS. I will say, in my opinion, some of this stuff is overboard. I do say again that the industry should take cognizance of it and work accordingly and clean up whatever they think is right and do the right thing. That is my opinion.

Senator HENNINGS. Thank you, sir.

Mr. DAVIS. But I would like to add something to Mr. Chamberlain's statement, if I could.

The CHAIRMAN. You may, sir.

Mr. DAVIS. That is on this force distribution business. A wholesaler having to accept ─ let me briefly outline this: that there are 850 wholesalers in the United States and Canada. A wholesaler does not have to accept a magazine if he does not want it. A dealer in turn is delivered magazines, probably 25 or maybe 50 a week, 2 deliveries, Wednesday and Friday. If that dealer goes through his bundle and finds that there are types of magazines there he does not want on his stand, he can put them in the return box and the wholesaler will pick them up.

To prove this point, returns on comics, some of them at times run as high as 25 percent, magazines that have never seen daylight, returned from the dealers, proving that the dealers can return them.

The CHAIRMAN. You would not say there are no tie-in sales?

Mr. DAVIS. I would not say, sir, that there has not been some route man somewhere along the line that may have become a little ambitious and said something like that to a dealer, but as far as wholesalers are concerned, they are too smart for that.

The CHAIRMAN. Are there any further questions, Counsel?

Mr. BEASER. Yes, Mr. Chairman.

Picking up Senator Hennings’ question as to where this Gals magazine and Frolic ─ do they go to the same places that carry comics, crime and horror comics?

Mr. DAVIS. That is a general statement I would not like to answer, because I could not tell you.

Mr. BEASER. Have you seen from your own observation?

Mr. DAVIS. From my own observation I would say no. I live in a town where they have six magazine dealers and I don't think you would find one of those books there.

Mr. BEASER. You have not seen it around town?

Mr. DAVIS. No, sir.

Mr. BEASER. Getting back to your standard as to what you will or will not accept─

Mr. DAVIS. Yes, sir.

Mr. BEASER. Do you think your standard would or should be different, depending on whether you thought the material would get into the hands of kids?

Mr. DAVIS. I would say that our standard could stand improvement, being perfectly honest with you, particularly on covers, and on some of the covers I looked at this morning, I would say that could be done.

Mr. BEASER. Would you, sir, be concerned if you knew that Frolic and magazines of that type are getting to kids?

Mr. DAVIS. Are getting on the same stands?

Mr. BEASER. Yes, where the comics are.

Mr. DAVIS. From my observation of Frolic on the newsstand or Gala, or any of those other type girlie books, you usually find them so high up it is hardly possible for a child to see them.

Mr. BEASER. What responsibility do you think it is reasonable for the public to expect a man in your position to assume for the type of material that he is going to distribute in relationship to crime and horror books?

Mr. DAVIS. The public has a perfect right to expect magazines on the stands that would not violate any laws of decency from people, of the type distributors we are, national distributors. I should think they would expect that.

I would not want them to read anything that I would no want my own family to have. That is the story.

The CHAIRMAN. We had one publisher here that told us the last time we were in New York he tried these magazines out on his friend's children. What do you think of a statement like that?

Mr. DAVIS. A lot of those fellows ─ there is such a variety of thinking on this whole business. I tell you one thing, and I still stick to one thing I said, that I think we can improve on our business and I think a lot of publishers can improve.

But I will say I hope we never destroy the imagination of American kids. They are dreamers and they have been used to fantastic things. The more Indians that Buffalo Bill killed when I was a kid ─ I liked it.

Senator HENNINGS. You do not think it is possible to destroy the imagination, do you?

Mr. DAVIS. I don't know. The kids imagine a lot. Kids are dreamers. Take in New York City. I think you could take every comic out of Long Island ─ They would have more juvenile delinquency. You see the poor kids on 10th Avenue under the fire hose ─

Mr. BEASER. You say the crime and horror comics have no effect whatsoever?

Mr. DAVIS. I couldn't make a statement of that nature. I wouldn't know.

Mr. BEASER. But you would not say that the publishers should wait until it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt before you take action?

Mr. DAVIS. I think if there is a doubt you should correct it.

Mr. BEASER. We have on the board an organizational chart of some of the magazine companies that you are distributors for.

Mr. DAVIS. Yes, sir.

Mr. BEASER. Do you regularly make financial advances to those companies?

Mr. DAVIS. Our position is similar to other national distributors. This distributing business is very competitive, sir. There are 7 or 8 within the independent ranks and there is American News Co. There has been an instance possibly of advancing and prepayment on magazines.

Mr. BEASER. In many cases some of these magazines could not be published if it were not for your financial aid?

Mr. DAVIS. I wouldn't say that. A man can print or publish a. magazine. The advance cover is a very small portion of it.

Some publications we settle 60 days after they are off sale. Some 70 days after sale.

Mr. BEASER. Would you in any case advance or guarantee the printing bill?

Mr. DAVIS. No, sir.

Mr. BEASER. Let me ask you one question as to your foreign distribution. Do you have foreign distribution?

Mr. DAVIS. Yes, sir; some. Not a great deal. As far as we are concerned, we go to Panama, South America probably a couple of places down there, Bermuda, Honolulu, Alaska. That is about all. Canada, naturally.

Mr. BEASER. I presume you do no greater screening for the material that is going abroad than you do for the material that is distributed here in the United States.

Mr. DAVIS. Our foreign business is not enough to talk about. That would not amount to 200 a title.

Mr. BEASER. Do you make any attempt to screen the kinds of titles that are getting abroad, that might react in favor of the United States, or against the United States?

Mr. DAVIS. No, sir.

Mr. BEASER. You have no standard there, either?

Mr. DAVIS. No, sir.

Mr. BEASER. No further questions, Mr. Chairman.

Senator HENNINGS. Mr. Davis, you have been good enough to come here. I do not want to seem to be cross-examining you, but I would like to ask you one question in order to clarify in my mind at least ─ I may be so obtuse that I do not quite understand, your meaning ─ I understood you to say that you think the comic book industry and the horror comics are necessary because of other unfortunate conditions relating to the welfare of young people.

As I recall your testimony, you have said, too, that you believe the children need this sort of outlet by way of blowing off steam, because of insufficient playgrounds, overcrowded schools, and other distressing conditions with which we are all familiar.

I thought I understood you to say too, that you were afraid that if the industry went too far in regulating itself, or any other regulation were imposed upon it, that it might destroy the imagination of the American youth.

Mr. DAVIS. I think you must have me all confused with somebody else, Senator.

Senator HENNINGS. I may have. I thought you said something about destroying the imagination of our children. This is not a "please answer yes or no?' business. I was trying to briefly review and sum it up by asking for your observations on what is probably not a question, but more in the nature of a statement, an effort to sum up a portion of your testimony.

Do you or do you not believe that the people of character and a sense of social responsibility, a sense of awareness of their obligations to the communities and to our country, have some sense of guilt about some of these publications?

Mr. DAVIS. Yes, sir.

Senator HENNINGS. As to their character and the nature of them?

Mr. DAVIS. Yes, sir.

Senator HENNINGS. With relation to what they may be doing to the minds of the children?

Mr. DAVIS. Well, I am not qualified about the minds of the children, but I do say in my opinion ─ and that is all I can talk about - I think some of them are overboard; yes, sir. I certainly don't want to leave any impression, the only thing I said ─ I may have confused you slightly making this statement ─ that quite often committees will go around to a newsstand and make a wholesale slaughter of magazines, taking a lot of good ones along with a few of the bad apples.

I say this whole barrel of apples is not rotten. There are a few in there. We must admit that. And anyone who tries to defend things like that is next to crazy, and he is out, for something besides helping America.

We can’t say that the entire industry is rotten due to those few. I think the pressure should be put on them. If we are off base in our own shop, I can assure you one thing, that I can put our people back on base, our publishers. If they are out of line I can put them back. Don't worry about that.

Senator HENNINGS. You have been doing it and intend to continue to do it?

Mr. DAVIS. I have not been too active in the last 3 months, sir. I have been in the hospital and I have been at home with my eye condition here.

The CHAIRMAN. But your purpose is to help the industry clean house within?

Mr. DAVIS. Yes, sir; and I will say this, that no dealer nor any wholesaler in America has to take anything the Kable News Co. distributes if they don't want it. Nobody uses any pressure or any force or nothing, and they can send it back express collect if they get it and find out that the local community don't need it, or they themselves consider it bad taste.

So our position is just that. There are no arguments whatsoever.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Davis, for your forthright testimony.

Mr. DAVIS. Thank you, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. That concludes the witnesses for this morning's hearing.

The subcommittee will now stand in recess until two-thirty this afternoon.

(Thereupon, at 12:30 p. m., the subcommittee was recessed, to reconvene at 2:30 p. m., same day.)
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

Postby admin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:54 pm

AFTERNOON SESSION

(The subcommittee reconvened at 2:30 p. m., upon the expiration of the recess.)

The CHAIRMAN. This session of the subcommittee will be in order.

The subcommittee is highly honored by the presence of a distinguished member of the Canadian Parliament, Mr. Fulton.

Mr. Fulton has had considerable experience with the problem which presently confronts the committee. If Mr. Fulton will come forward, we would like to hear the story as you have experienced it in your great country and our great neighbor, Canada.

You may be seated, Mr. Fulton.

I am going to depart from our usual procedure here in your case. We have been swearing witnesses, but we are not going to swear a member of the Canadian Parliament. You are one of us.

STATEMENT OF HON. E. D. FULTON, MEMBER, HOUSE OF COMMONS, CANADA

Mr. FULTON. I appreciate that very much.

Perhaps for the introductory words, I might stand, because I think it would be appropriate while I express on my behalf the feeling of deep appreciation have for the honor of this invitation. I hope that my presentation may be of some assistance to you as indicating the course which your neighbor, Canada, followed in attempting to deal with this problem.

As a problem of concern in equal measure to both our countries, I assure you that although I am not a member of the government in Canada I am quite certain that I speak for all our representatives in Parliament and for Canada as a whole when I say that they appreciate the honor of the invitation and the opportunity to come down and discuss with you these problems of such great mutual concern.

I think it is proper to suggest that this is one more example of the friendship and good neighborliness between our two countries.

I want to express to you, sir and your colleagues on this subcommittee, my appreciation for the honor of this invitation and the opportunity to come here.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. We are grateful to you and grateful to Canada.

Now, Mr. Fulton, you may proceed to present your case in whatever manner you choose and think best.

Mr. FULTON. Mr. Chairman, I have first; two apologies to make. I was late this morning, owing to weather conditions over the airport here. I trust that my delay did not inconvenience your proceedings.

The second apology I have to make is that while I accept the responsibility for it myself, I should have been able to do it, I found that I didn't have sufficient notice to prepare a text; but I have made fairly extensive notes.

If it meets with your convenience, I would be prepared to make a statement outlining our approach to the problem and at the conclusion of that perhaps we could discuss it by way of any questions you might have.

The CHAIRMAN. The procedure will be entirely satisfactory to the subcommittee.

Mr. FULTON. There is one other matter I should explain. Your counsel Mr. Beaser, asked me if it would possible for me to arrange to have somebody from either our Federal Department of Justice or a provincial attorney general's office to be available, to discuss with you questions of enforcement of the law which we have in Canada.

I regret that again owing to the time factor I was not able to arrange to have any such official with me.

The CHAIRMAN. For the record, the Chair might state that Mr. Fulton refers specifically to the law covering crime comics.

Mr. FULTON. That is correct. But I don’t want the fact that no one else is here with me from any of the branch of government be taken as an indication that they would not have liked to come had they been able to arrange it. The attorney general's department of the Province of Ontario expressed their regrets they could not make available a witness in the time at their disposal.

I thought perhaps at first I might make a few general remarks regarding the similarity of the problem as it appears to exist in our two countries.

But before I do so, there is one other introductory remark I would like to make, and that is as to my own position. I think in fairness it should be stated that I am not a member of the Government of Canada; nor, as a matter of fact, am I a member of the majority party.

I am a member of the opposition party. Therefore, I think I should say that nothing I say should be taken as necessarily indicating the views of the Government of Canada.

I will try, however, to the best of my ability, to summarize what I think to be the views of the Government of Canada with respect to this matter. When I come to subjects or aspects of it in which I feel that it is not to indicate that this might be the general view, I shall try to remember to indicate to you that this is my own personal view. But in everything I say I think I should make it clear I am not here in a position to speak for the Government of Canada, but simply as an individual member of Parliament interested in this problem.

I think it goes probably without saying that we, our two countries, find themselves very much in the same situation with respect to this problem of crime comics and their influence on the matter of juvenile delinquency. Our two civilizations, our standards of living, our method of life, are very similar. Our reading habits are by and large similar to yours. Indeed, speaking generally, probably the majority of the reading material in the form of publication, that is periodicals as distinguished from daily newspapers, have their origin here.

With respect to crime comics, I don't wish to be taken as saying that it is by any means one-way stream of traffic, because I understand some of those published in Canada find their way here and present you with a problem, but I think by and large with respect to the movement across the border of crime comics that is one thing where the balance of trade is somewhat in your favor.

Those features indicate that the problem is similar in both countries.

The CHAIRMAN. It would be safe to say that the balance of trade is largely in our favor in this case, would it not?

Mr. FULTON. That is my impression. You will appreciate that as much as we have enacted legislation which makes it a criminal offense to publish or sell a crime comic there are not official statistics available as to the volume of these things published in Canada or sold in Canada because it is obvious that people trafficking in an illegal matter are not called upon and if they were, would not furnish the statistics they might be asked for.

We have in Canada examples which we feel indicated pretty clearly that crime comics were of similar nature to those circulating here have an adverse effect upon the thinking and in many cases on the actions of young boys and girls. I am not going to weary your committee with a complete catalog of cases. You probably have had many similar cases referred to you here, but there stands out in my mind particular a case which arose in Dawson Creek in the Yukon Territory. One might have thought that that rather remote part of that country might be as insulated as any place might be against crime comics, but there was a case there in which one James M. Watson was murdered by two boys, ages 11 and 13.

At the trial evidence was submitted to show that the boys' minds were saturated with comic book reading. One boy admitted to the judge that he had read as many as 50 books a week; the other boy, 30.

The conclusion which the court came to after careful consideration of the evidence was that the exposure of these children to crime comics had a definite bearing on the murder. There was no other explanation why the boys should have shot and killed the man driving past in his car. They probably didn't intend to kill him. They were imitating what they had seen portrayed day after day in crime comics to which they were exposed.

The other one is a case of more recent occurrence, reported in a local newspaper on March 11 of this year. I would like to read you the newspaper report. It originated at Westville, Nova Scotia:

Stewart Wright, 14, Wednesday told a coroner's jury how he shot his pal to death March 2, while they listened to a shooting radio program and read comic books about the Two-Gun Kid. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death and recommended that comic books of the type found at the scene be banned.

That, you appreciate, Mr. Chairman, is a case that occurred since the passage of our legislation, which indicates that we have not yet found the complete answer to this problem. I would like everything I say be taken subject to that understanding. I am not suggesting that the legislation we have passed is the complete answer.

I do suggest that it is a beginning in the effort to deal with this problem.

If we had the same general situation prevailing in Canada as you have in the United States, that is, a widespread body of opinion to the effect that this type of literature has a harmful influence on the minds of the young, we also had, a similar conflict of opinions to that which I understand exists here. The publishers, particularly those engaged in the trade dealing with engaged in the trade dealing with comics and other periodicals and magazines, as I think might be expected, were bound on the whole to be on the side which held that these things were not a harmful influence on the minds of children.

I think that the explanation for that, sir, is readily available. They have an interest in the continuation of this stream of traffic. I am not saying, I don't wish to suggest, that they are all acting from improper motives. I am suggesting really that there is an obvious explanation as to why the majority of those concerned in the trade should be found on the one side, that is, on the side which says that these are not harmful.

I also have to confess that many experts and impartial experts in the field of psychiatry were found on the side of those who held that crime comics and were not harmful to children, but merely provided a useful outlet for what they called their natural violent instincts and tendencies.

Those generally were on the one side and as against them there were by and large all the community organization the parent-teacher associations, the federations of home and school, and similar organizations of a general community nature and those more particularly dealing with welfare work.

I would like to take this opportunity of paying here my tribute to the work that many of those organizations in Canada in arousing our people to an awareness of the problem, even if they didn't suggest in introducing, as I say, a unanimous opinion as to how it should be dealt with. I say that because I believe that similar organizations here are assisting in that work.

Also on the side of those who came to the conclusion that these things were a harmful influence were the majority of our law-enforcement organizations. I think particularly of our own Federal Department of Justice where back in 1947 and 1948 when the matter was first discussed in Parliament in a concrete form, the Minister himself, speaking for the Government, expressed the view that these crime comics, of which he had been provided with samples, could have no other effect than a harmful one on the minds of young boys and girls.

That was even before we had taken any positive action to deal with the problem.

I also would like to pay my tribute to a noted expert in your own country, and, indeed, in your own city of New York, Dr. Frederic Wertham. I have read extensively from Dr. Wertham's articles and, of course, I read with great interest his latest book, Seduction of the Innocent. I have had considerable correspondence with Dr. Wertham and I think it is fair and accurate to say that insofar as I myself, made any contribution to this matter and to the enactment of our legislation that I used and found Dr. Wertham's opinions, his quotations, of great assistance and I found they were generally accepted as authoritative in our country in a discussion of this matter.

I am not again saying that opinion was unanimous, but I think it is fair to say that Dr. Wertham's views were given great weight in our country.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Fulton, I might interrupt you at this point and, for the record, state that I received this morning upon my arrival here a communication from Dr. Wertham that was hand-delivered and that that communication will be made a part of the subcommittee files.

If at the conclusion of your testimony you would like to examine that letter, you may have that privilege.

Mr. FULTON. I shall be very much be obliged, sir. I am looking forward, I might say, to meeting Dr. Wertham later on today.

That that survey of the general field in Canada, I would like to come to a more particular examination of the background of the present Canadian legislation.

We have had for many years ─ I see I am getting a little ahead of myself. There is another matter which I think I should mention, Mr. Chairman, to give you the full background picture and that is the constitutional position.

Here, I should say that although I am chairman of our own party organization, that is our own caucus committee of the Canadian Parliament dealing with matters having to do with law and law enforcement, I don't wish to pose as an expert lawyer.

The CHAIRMAN. That would compare to our Judiciary Committee, would it not?

Mr. FULTON. Yes, except that this is a committee into which our own party has organized, an opposition party, for the purpose of examining any legislation introduced by the Government having a bearing on those matters. It is because of my interest in that subject, and, to some extent, of my position in my own party, that I have been a spokesman on this matter. I mention that merely to make my position clear. I don't want to be taken as an expert.

I do now want to turn to a consideration of the constitutional position in Canada. I think I stated it correctly but I do so to some extent as an amateur. I mention it because there may be some difference in the constitutional position as between our two countries, particularly when it comes to the subject of law enforcement.

In Canada, broadly speaking, under our Constitution, which is the British-North America Act, all general criminal matters are reserved exclusively to the Federal Parliament, whereas on the other hand, all matters of local law enforcement are left exclusively to the jurisdiction of the provincial government.

When it comes to enacting criminal law, the Federal Parliament alone can act.

When it comes to enforcing that law the responsibility and the authority rests exclusively with the province. No province could enact as part of the criminal law any provision having exclusively application to its own territory.

On the other hand, everything enacted in the realm of general criminal law by the Federal Parliament is equally applicable all across the country.

As to the background of the legislation that we have, there has existed under the criminal code of Canada, which is a statute covering matters of general criminal law, for many years a section dealing with the general problem of literature, obscene literature, indecent objects, indecent exhibitions, and so on. That is found in section 207 of our criminal code.

And I should point out I have here with me a bill which has just this year been passed by the House of Commons, bill 7, which is an act entitled "An Act Respecting the Criminal Law." That is a general revision and recodification of the criminal code for the purpose of consolidating in one fresh statute the original statute, plus all the amending acts which have been passed over a period of some 50 years, since the last general revision. There are only, in a few cases, changes in principle.

Section 207, as it exists in the code now, is reenacted and will be found as section 150 in the bill, which is in the possession of your counsel. This bill has not yet become law because it has not yet passed our Senate, but it is my impression there will not be any changes in the present provisions of section 150 as passed by the House of Commons.

Section 150 incorporates section 207 of the old code, but until 1949 section 207 contained no reference to crime comics as such.

It was concerned exclusively with the matter of obscene objects, or obscene literature, indecent exhibitions, and so on.

I think it was after the last war ─ this is our experience at any rate ─ that the problem of crime comics as such came into existence. It seems to me by and large a postwar development. I am not saying it didn't exist before, but on the scale we now have it seems to be a postwar development which is probably the reason why our criminal law didn't refer to it before.

As a result of the emergency of the crime comics and the factors which I have reviewed already as to the public opinion which grew up about it, there was evidenced a considerable demand that something should be done to deal with this problem created by the crime comic. There was a campaign originated by such organizations as I have already mentioned, the Canadian Federation of Home and Schools, various service clubs organized themselves on a nationwide basis, put on a campaign pressing for some effective action to deal with the problem of crime comics and obscene literature generally.

Parent-teachers' associations joined in this effort. There was in addition considerable work done on it in our House of Commons.

I have already mentioned that in 1947 and 1948, when the matter was drawn to the attention of the Minister of Justice he expressed himself as holding the opinion that it was desirable to do something, although he said up to that time they had not yet been able to figure out any effective measures.

In the course of the discussion as to what should be done, the usual problem arose, and that was to reconcile the conflicting desires to have on the one hand freedom of action, freedom of choice, and on the other hand to prevent the abuse of that very freedom.

The problem is, are you going to have complete freedom of action, or are you going to have a measure of control.

The measure of control, it was generally agreed, divided itself into two alternatives: One, direct censorship; the other, legislative action, legislative action which would lay down the general standards and leave it to the courts to enforce rather than by direct censorship imposed from above by any governmental body.

Just as background, I might say that in Canada there exists no federal censorship as such. There is only in one Province that I am aware of any extensive censorship of literature, and that is in the Province of Quebec.

The majority of our Provinces, if not nearly all, have a form of censorship of movies under the authority of the provincial government. But by and large I think it would be fair to say that the majority opinion in Canada is opposed to the idea of censorship of literature.

I am not saying that that feeling is unanimous, but that seemed to be the feeling that if possible we should avoid bringing in direct censorship. That was my feeling with regard to the matter, not only my individual feeling, but it was my impression of the stated public opinion and, therefore, I felt if we were to get anywhere with it the approach should be by way of legislation to amend the criminal law so as to create an offense on the basis that society regards the continued publication of this material as a danger to society itself, and that society, therefore, through its instrument, its elected representatives, taking cognizance of the problem, is entitled to decide whether it is of sufficient seriousness and danger that the problem is to be dealt with in the usual way under our principle of justice by the elected representatives defining the problem constituting the offense, providing the penalty, and then leaving it to the individual who knows the law, knows what is there, to decide whether he wishes to run the risk, if you like, of continuing in that course of action with the knowledge if he does he may expose himself to the penalty.

In other words, to some extent you might say it is the process of imposing on the individual the obligation of self-censorship instead of imposing it on him by direction from above.

So that was the course that was followed in Canada.

I should perhaps mention one other feature which we have. That is a measure of control at the customs points. I don't know whether you have it, or not. I don't want to go into this in any great detail because I know you have a busy session before you. I will try to summarize it.

In our customs law, and under the tariff items which are approved by Parliament to apply that law there is an item 1201, tariff item 1201, which reads as follows:

It prohibits the entry into Canada of books, printed paper, drawings, prints, photographs, or representations of any kind of a treasonable or seditious or immoral or indecent character, on the grounds that our criminal code makes those an offense in the country; therefore, we are not going to permit them to come into the country while it is an offense under our law.

That tariff item has not been amended with respect to crime comics, but, by and large, I am informed that the officers of the border points, if they are of the opinion that a particular comic magazine would be an offense under the new revision in the criminal code, they will exercise their own discretion in prohibiting its entry, or, if they are in doubt, they will refer it to the department at Ottawa for a ruling as to whether it is admissible or not.

Mr. BEASER. Are the crime comics which go into your country printed in this country, or are the plates sent to Canada for printing?

Mr. FULTON. I am informed it is done in both ways. In some cases the finished article is imported. In other cases the plates are sent over and they are printed in Canada.

Mr. BEASER. You do not know which method predominates, do you?

Mr. FULTON. My impression is that the finished article predominates. Perhaps we could go into that a little more fully later. There is a real problem confronting the customs officials in that we have not had yet very much jurisprudence built up. There have not been many actions in our courts under the new sections with regard to crime comics and the customs officials are loath to set themselves up as censors. They have no hesitation if a particular subject or article has been declared offensive by a court decision in prohibiting its entry, but they find themselves under great difficulty when it comes to saying as to whether or not an article, which has never been the subject of any judicial process, is in fact prohibited under our criminal law.

That is one difficulty.

The other is that the volume of these things moving across the border makes it difficult for them to enforce their own regulations 100 percent, and I think it would be fair to say that customs officers exist mainly for the purpose of collecting duties, customs, and excises, and not for the purpose of indulging in any form of quasi-censoring of literature.

It is an obligation under the tariff item which they willingly undertake, but it is not their main task.

Senator HENNINGS. It may be of interest, perhaps Mr. Fulton is very well aware of this, but Assemblyman James A. Fitzpatrick told me during the recess today that many people come over the border from Canada to Plattsburg, N. Y., which happens to be his home for the purpose of procuring some of the American published comic or horror books and that they take them back across the border, smuggling them or bootlegging them across, as it were.

Mr. FULTON. That may be so, Senator. The only comment I could make on that is that I regret to say that these things circulate with sufficient freedom in Canada that I am surprised that they find it necessary to come down here for that.

Senator HENNINGS. Like carrying coals to Newcastle.

Mr. FULTON. I think it must be a very incidental purpose of their visit. I am not in any way questioning that it does take place.

What I want to avoid is giving the impression of saying that we have dealt with this effectively in Canada and it is only you that have the problem.

My attitude toward it is that it is still a mutual problem although we have made a beginning.

Senator HENNINGS. You are certainly eminently fair, and I am sure want to be very careful in having made that statement not to cause any misunderstanding on that point.

Thank you, sir.

Mr. FULTON. That, then, in brief, is the background of the situation with respect to the nature of the problem and the actual legislation, or lack of it, up to 1949.

In the fall session of our Parliament in 1949, I introduced a bill, of which I regret I have no longer copies left in my file. There is only one copy left in the file of the Department of Justice. There are plenty of copies of the statute in the annual volume of statutes, but of the bill itself, an individual bill, there is only one copy left readily available. So I had our Department of Justice prepare typewritten facsimiles of the bill as introduced.

I shall be glad to give them to your counsel or your clerk for filing at the end of my presentation. This is as best as can be done, a reproduction of the bill with the front page. This was the inside page, explanatory notes and the back page was blank. It was a short bill. It was introduced by way of an amendment to section 207 of the code.

I think it is short enough that I can read it to you and you can understand then our approach to the problem of trying to find the method of dealing with this subject.

I won't read the introductory words, except as follows:

BILL 10

AN ACT To amend the Criminal Code (Portrayal of Crimes)

His Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

Subsection 1 of section 207 of the Criminal Code, chapter 36 of the Revised Statutes of Canada, 1927, is amended by adding thereto the following:

"(d) prints, publishes, sells, or distributes any magazine, periodical, or book which exclusively or substantially comprises matter depicting pictorially the commission of crimes, real or fictitious, thereby tending or likely to induce or influence youthful persons to violate the law or to corrupt the morals of such persons."

Section 207 in its introductory sections provided that:

Every person shall be guilty of an offense who

and then the introductory sections (a), (b), (c), cover obscene literature, obscene exhibitions and I was adding section (d) to make it a violation to print, sell, distribute a crime comic as a crime.

I would like to read an explanatory note which was submitted at the same time and forms part of the printed material with the bill:

This act is designed to amend the Criminal Code to cover the case of those magazines and periodicals commonly called crime comics, the publication of which is presently legal, but which it is widely felt tend to the lowering of morals and to induce the commission of crimes by juveniles.

The purpose is to deal with these publications not by imposing a direct censorship or by blanket prohibition, but rather by providing in general terms that the publication and distribution as defined in the act shall be illegal and thus leaving it for decision by the court and/or jury, in accordance with the normal principles prevailing at a criminal trial to determine whether or not the publication in question falls within the definition.

That bill was introduced as a private member's bill and given first reading on September 28, 1949. In the debate which followed, after I had outlined my argument in support of the legislation, the Minister of Justice, speaking for the Government, stated that the Government was anxious to take effective action to deal with this problem, they welcomed the introduction of the bill.

However, it raised certain questions with respect to enforcement and, therefore, they asked if it might be stood for the time being while they communicated its contents to the provincial attorneys general to get the benefit of their views as to whether it was necessary; if so, whether it was enforcible in its present suggested form, or whether they themselves would like to see some amendments to make it more workable.

That was done. As a result of the views and opinions offered by provincial attorneys general when the debate was brought on again in committee the bill as introduced was quite extensively amended and in effect given the form of a complete revision and reenactment of the whole of section 207.

In other words, instead of just adding a new clause they incorporated the suggestion into the clause and made it a more workable whole.

It had one more effect which I would like to mention. The amendment to the bill, in that under section 207 in its previous form it was a defence to anyone accused of committing the crime of printing or publishing any obscene literature or crime comic after the amendment carried. It was a defense to the accused person to show that he did not have any knowledge of the indecent content or nature of the publication complained of.

It was felt, particularly with respect to crime comics ─ you say the specimens on the board this morning - that it would be really pretty ridiculous for anyone to try to plead "Well, I don't know the nature of this thing." The nature is self-evident. It was felt by the attorneys general if we were going to make this section effective not only with respect to crime comics, but with respect to offensive literature generally, really this defense of lack of knowledge of the contents of the articles complained of should be removed. It would still be on the onus on the Crown to prove intent in the general sense of that onus under the criminal law.

Senator HENNINGS. May I ask Mr. Fulton one question? You may have suggested this earlier in your statement.

Does this relate to the publisher, the distributor, and the newsdealer?

Mr. FULTON. Yes, sir; it includes the whole field.

Senator HENNINGS. I take it it is announced in the statute in the subjunctive; is that correct?

Mr. FULTON. Yes.

Senator HENNINGS. They may be joined, in other words, they may be coindictees, they may be individually indicted?

Mr. FULTON. Or they may be proceeded against separately. One may be proceeded against without the other.

I shall have something to say on that a little later. That is an interesting legal point. I mean with respect to the matter of dealing more effectively with the publisher.

I should like, if time permits and you think it important, to say something on that later. But that defense was removed as a result of this amendment.

I have also a facsimile copy of the bill as it was amended in committee as a result of the Governments own suggestions. I shall be glad to file that.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Fulton, am I wrong in believing that the bill as finally passed was different than the one you introduced in that it made it an offense to print, circulate, and so forth, a crime comic to anyone; whereas, as you read our original bill I got the impression it was aimed at distribution which had as its purpose the influencing of youthful people; is that right?

Mr. FULTON. You are correct. In my initial draft of the bill as first moved the words "thereby tending or likely to induce or influence youthful persons to violate the law or to corrupt the morals of such persons" was included.

Mr. BEASER. Was that for enforcement purposes?

Mr. FULTON. I think so on the basis that the nature of these things and their tendency is self-evident.

Senator HENNINGS. That becomes a jury question.

Mr. FULTON. No; those words are not included in section 207 at the present time. The crime comic as defined in the bill, bill 10, as it eventually passed, was defended as follows:

(7) In this section "crime comic" means a magazine, periodical or book that exclusively or substantially comprises matter depicting pictorially (a) the commission of crimes, real or fictitious -

Now, sir, the only defense as such which is open to an accused under our law, under this bill, is the following:

No one shall be convicted of any offense in this section mentioned if he proves that the public good was served by the acts that are alleged to have, been done and that there was no excess in the acts alleged beyond what the public good required.

If he can prove to the satisfaction of a judge or magistrate or judge and jury that the crime comic in fact served the public good, then there is no conviction.

Senator HENNINGS. That is somewhat then in parallel to your English libel law that you require not only that as defense one need establish not only truth as in the United States, but that it be for the public benefit.

Mr. FULTON. I think that, sir, is in the realm of criminal liability only.

Senator HENNINGS. I meant criminal liability, of course.

Mr. FULTON. Yes.

Senator HENNINGS. It must be for the public benefit under the British law, is it not?

Mr. FULTON. I think it might be going perhaps a little beyond, but it must not go too far beyond. There must be some public interest to be served, yes. I think that would be a fair statement.

Now, when the bill came back in its amended form, as I have indicated it in the summary here, it passed the House unanimously. The House of Commons adopted it without any dissenting vote.

It then went to our Senate and there by that time the periodical publisher or some of those engaged in the trade ─ I shall put it that way ─ perhaps had only just awakened to what was going on; maybe they thought it would never pass the House of Commons.

What the reason was, I don't know, but at any rate, they made no representation to the House. They didn't ask or its reference to a committee. It goes through the Committee of the Whole House, but they didn't ask for reference to a special committee on the bill and they made no formal presentation.

Then it got to the Senate, having passed the House; they asked to be allowed to appear and make representations. So the Senate referred it to one of its standing committees.

There the publishers appeared and they made representations which took the form of some of the submissions which I have read in the newspaper comment, at any rate on your own proceedings from time to time down here, namely, that these things were not harmful to juveniles; in fact, to some extent they formed a harmless outlet for their natural violent instincts.

Senator HENNINGS. I take it, sir, in defining crime you mean felony. That is in section 7, "crime comic" means a periodical or book that exclusively or substantially comprises matter depicting pictorially the commission of crimes.

Mr. FULTON. There is another amendment I was going to come to, Senator, but I will be glad to deal with that point now.

Senator HENNINGS. I do not mean to distract and divert you.

Mr. FULTON. You are concerned with the definition given to the word "crime"?

Senator HENNINGS. Yes, sir; whether you mean felony, misdemeanor; what classification of crime, if any?

Mr. FULTON. I don't think that point has come before our courts.

Senator HENNINGS. For example, if an embezzlement is depicted in a crime comic, a bank teller, let us say, taking money front his employer, or involuntary manslaughter, would, in your judgment, that sort of thing depicted in a comic book constitute a crime within the meaning and purview of your statute?

Mr. FULTON. I would not care to express an opinion on that. I think that would be a matter of individual interpretation by the courts. To my knowledge the point has not arisen.

I think it may be a very important point. I would have to say this, that in my mind in drafting and submitting the original legislation I had in contemplation the crime of violence, what you might call the crime of violence, but taking it over to amend it and amending it, the Government deleted the reference to that type of definition and I had no objection whatever. They had consulted with the law-enforcement officers and the law-enforcement officers felt that a too narrow definition might create obstacles which might create difficulties in the way of its enforcement and no substantial representations against the broadening of the definition were made and so it went through in that form.

I would not care at the moment to express an opinion as to whether the court, looking at it, would say, "Well, the intention of the legislature was to confine it to crimes of violence," or not.

Senator HENNINGS. We would have a most interesting situation, would we not, bearing in mind that the crime of carrying a concealed weapon is a felony in most of our States, having portrayed in a comic a representation indicating that someone was carrying a concealed weapon by verbiage, but the weapon could not be seen.

That would still be carrying it along the line. I certainly do not want to be frivolous or to attempt to make light of part of it but to attempt to present the difficulty this field presents.

Mr. FULTON. I would express this purely as an offhand opinion, that the wording of the statute is wide enough to cover anything which is made a crime by our criminal code. Anything covered in there whether fraud or embezzlement is covered in the criminal code then on the face of it an illustration of a crime of that nature is included in section 207.

It might be an interesting point for defense counsel to raise that as defense the section didn't contemplate that type of crime. Then the court would have to decide what was the intent of the legislature as gathered from the words they used.

So far that point has not come before our courts.

I was mentioning that when it came before our Senate it was referred to a standing committee and the representatives of the trade appeared and made representations against the bill.

Dr. Wertham has an interesting passage in his book in which he records it as having been the opinion expressed that they appeared to be making progress until they made the mistake of producing to the Senators some examples of their wares, that when that was done their case was out of court.

I can't read the minds of our Senators. All I know is that in the result the standing committee reported the bill back to the Senate without amendment and it passed the Senate as a whole by a vote of 92 to 4.

Having passed the senate, it then passed both Houses of our Parliament and was proclaimed and became law.

Now, our subsequent experience has been somewhat as follows - and here I must say I am speaking on the basis of opinion for the reason, as I have said, statistics on this matter are hard to obtain - but it is my impression, and I know this view is shared by the majority of those interested in the problem, the crime comic as such pretty well disappeared from the Canadian newsstands within a year or so following the enactment of this legislation.

But within about the same period of time alternative forms of comic magazines began to appear. Speaking in general terms, these took the form initially of an increase in the number of love and sex and girlie comics which began to hit the newsstands. And that as an interesting comment gave rise to a separate study launched by our Senate on the subject. They set up a committee to look into the sale and distribution of, I think the word they used was salacious literature.

One of the reasons why the demand for that rose so rapidly was the rapid increase in the circulation of that type of pulp magazine following the virtual disappearance of the crime comic.

I mention that merely as an interesting aside.

Then there crept back into circulation in Canada the crime comic again in its original form, but it also began to appear in other alternative forms and there the alternative form I have in mind is what I think you have described generally as the horror comic. I would venture the opinion that the reason the crime comic to a lesser extent and the horror comic to a greater extent reappeared and began to appear respectively, was in part because of the lack of prosecution of any publisher or printer or vendor under the new crime comic section. There were no prosecutions until about a year ago. And partly perhaps due to the fact that the public and myself and other similar interested persons included may have felt, now we have done our job, we can sit back and relax, with the result that there wasn't the same vigilant supervision of the newsstands to pick out offensive publications, bring them to the attention of the authorities and demand prosecution.

Whatever the reasons, anyway, the crime comic in its original form began to reappear and the horror comic in a much exhilarated form ─ I mean it is now circulating to an extent even greater than the present circulation of the crime comic and it is in Canada at any rate relatively newer in form and appearance. It has made its appearance later than crime comics. I think it would be fair to say it made its appearance only after the enactment of legislation in 1949.

But I have to express it again as my personal opinion that even the horror comic was in fact adequately covered by the legislation which we had enacted in 1949 because that legislation refers by definition to the commission of crimes, real or fictitious.

Now, again, it might be an interesting legal point as to whether the courts would say that a fictitious crime means merely a crime committed by a human being, the crime had not taken place in fact, whether they would confine it to that or whether it would be broad enough to cover the case of a crime committed by these fantastic beings, ghoul of the swamp and the Batman, those creatures that can have no existence in reality, but, nevertheless, commit what, if committed by a human being, would be crime.

It is interesting to speculate whether the words "crime, real or fictitious" would apply.

Senator HENNINGS. That would apply perhaps to a crime committed by Mickey Mouse, for example, a more innocuous kind of comic character.

Mr. FULTON. Yes, sir. Again it is a question, of course, whether the courts interpret the intent of the legislature as gathered from the words of the statute.

Mr. BEASER. Assuming you are able to find out how the American crime comics are getting into Canada, are you able under your statute to proceed against the publisher or distributor?

Mr. FULTON. In the United States?

Mr. BEASER. Yes.

Mr. FULTON. No. He is beyond our reach. His crime is not committed in Canada, you see. Unless he were to come and surrender himself voluntarily to the jurisdiction of our courts, I don't think there is any way; I don't think extradition proceedings would lie.

My understanding is that unless he came to Canada and committed the crime and came back here we could not use extradition proceedings.

Mr. BEASER. The question is whether under the Canadian statute Canada is able to proceed against an American publisher who publishes in this country crime and horror comics which then get into Canada, or whether they can proceed against a distributor who sends them into Canada.

Mr. FULTON. I think the first.

Senator HENNINGS. They would have no jurisdiction in the matter in the first place.

Mr. FULTON. Unless he submitted himself voluntarily to the jurisdiction of our courts, which I can't see him doing.

Senator HENNINGS. You would have no venue then?

Mr. FULTON. I think if he voluntarily submitted himself to jurisdiction we would. I think the execution of the sentence might, of course, present some interesting problems, but in effect I don't think it arises. In effect my opinion is ─ and I take it Senator Hennings concurs ─ that the first person we can deal with is the man who first imports it in Canada and there is no suggestion that we should proceed against the American publisher.

If we deal with the man who brings it in we are dealing effectively with it from our point of view. What is done here is a matter entirely for your own determination.

Mr. BEASER. Are you able to get the distributor; is it known or ─

Mr. FULTON. It can be ascertained. I have to say with regret, in my view we are not proceeding sufficiently vigorously in our own country against the distributors, against the man who first puts this offensive material into circulation.

I would like to deal with that at greater length a little later.

I think that is one defect not only in our laws which exist, but in the enforcement of our law.

Now, I just was mentioning that these things have reappeared, although I think again it would be fair to say they don't circulate to the same extent as they did previous to the enactment of the legislation, but they circulate or have been circulating recently to an extent sufficient to give rise to genuine concern.

Then I would like to say a word in consequence of that about the courts and enforcement. I have expressed, I think, already the opinion that our legislation is adequate.

I would say, I think, by that opinion, unless the case comes before the courts in which the prosecution is dismissed then we would know whether or not the law was adequate, but I can see no reason why it should not cover it so I would like to discuss the problems of the courts and enforcement.

I think that first one should state what is probably a general proposition applicable equally in both our countries, that, generally speaking, one of the reasons for what I have called lack of vigorous enforcement may be the inherent dislike of taking measures which appear to be repressive with respect to the written word, with respect to literature.

Our law-enforcement authorities are reluctant, and I think properly reluctant, to launch prosecution against those in the printing and publishing business and in the distribution of literature. It is a reluctance which I think must and should be overcome where the case warrants it, but I used the words "I think it is a proper reluctance" and it is one which I think we must take into account.

In any event, there have been very few prosecutions in Canada, although this material is circulating in certainly greater quantity than I would like to see.

I would like then to refer to one or two specific cases which came before our courts. You will appreciate from your reading of the section as lawyers that there are two alternative methods of proceeding. One is by indictment in which case it comes up before a court with a judge.

The other is by what we call summary procedure or on summary conviction, which means it comes up before a magistrate.

The principle, of course, applicable in both courts are exactly the same as to proof and so on, but the powers of the respective courts within respect to imposition of penalties are quite different. The penalty which the higher court can impose on the more formal indictment procedure is much larger than that which can be imposed by a magistrate on a summary conviction.

The first case I should like to mention came up before a magistrate in the Province of Alberta. Being in a magistrate court, it is not a reported case, but it was the case which gave us the greatest concern because the facts as I understand them were something like this: That the magazine or crime comic complained of illustrated everything right up to the actual moment of the delivery of the death blow, omitted that, and then continued with all the gruesome details immediately following that. That was the presentation at any rate as I understand it, given by the defending attorney.

The legislation refers to the commission of crimes. This does not illustrate the actual commission of the crime and, therefore, the accused is not guilty.

The magistrate dismissed the case on that ground. That looked as though we would have to amend our legislation if we wished it to be effective because you will appreciate so far as the juveniles are concerned if you are going to say everything which falls short of the actual commission of the crime at the moment of death, shall I say, that everything of that sort is all right, then you haven't really got an effective act from the point of view of what we want to accomplish.

So reconsideration was immediately given to introducing the necessary amendment. That has been done. There is a slight modification in bill 7 in the proposed section 150 over and above what there was in bill 10, which I shall come to, but even before we in the House of Commons enacted bill 7, there was another case, Regina v. Rohr.

As you know, in our country all criminal prosecutions are brought in the name of the Queen, or whoever happens to be wearing the Crown at the time being, be it the King or the Queen. Regina v. Rohr, a Manitoba case, in which the same defense was raised before the magistrate. The magistrate, however, convicted in this case.

So as a test case it, was appealed to the Court of Appeals of the Province of Manitoba. The appeal court stated, after looking at the words of the statute, they were clearly of the opinion that the intent of the legislature as clearly to be gathered from those words, was to cover all these incidental arrangements for amid consequence of the crime and that, therefore, the prosecution was properly launched.

I am not going to weary you with it here, but if any member of your committee might be interested in the discussion of the effect of that decision, it may be found in the Canadian Bar review for December 1953 at page 1164, where the case and its implications are discussed by the Deputy Attorney General for British Columbia, Mr. Eric Peppler.

That decision seemed to dispose of the fears which we had that the whole statute might be rendered ineffective, but nevertheless there was this amendment which had been contemplated which was still carried forward for the sake of greater certainty.

It is not a very important or far-reaching amendment, but I think it does substantiate my point that these words are now sufficient to cover even the horror comic because the definition of crime comic as it previously appeared in section 207 was in this form:

Crime comic means in this section any magazine periodical, or book which exclusively or substantially comprises matter depicting pictorially the commission of crimes, real or fictitious.

Now, it reads in this section:

Crime comic means a magazine, periodical, or book that exclusively or substantially comprises matter depicting pictorially:

A. The commission of crimes, real or fictitious, or

B. Events connected with the commissions, on of crimes, real or fictitious, whether occurring before or after the commission of a crime.

Mr. BEASER. You would say, Mr. Fulton, that the statute itself seems to be sufficient. The difficulty lies in the enforcement?

Mr. FULTON. In the enforcement; that is my point.

Mr. BEASER. You think if there were effective enforcement the problem that Canada faces with respect to crime and horror comics would no longer be there?

Mr. FULTON. I don't suppose it will ever disappear entirely, but it would be effectively dealt with; yes.

To conclude in a very few words, I would like to say a word or two with regard to our present experience. Our present experience is, it must be confessed, that printers and publishers still defy the laws because comics are still on our stands, whether publishers in the sense of those who actually print them in Canada, or in the sense of those who put them into circulation after they are imported from your country.

That is the view I know of our Government, that the law is there; what is necessary now is vigorous and complete enforcement.

I did suggest in a recent debate, and it is still my view that there should be a differentiation in the penalty so that a stiffer penalty would be provided for those who, as I see it carry the greater responsibility for putting this offensive material into circulation, what you might call gently at the printer and publisher level; that there should be a stiffer minimum penalty, one that he will really feel, one which will not be, and what so often they are, merely license fees to continue in business.

Mr. BEASER. However, if the majority of these crimes and horror comics are coming in from the United States, that sort of stiffening of penalty would not be effective, would it?

Mr. FULTON. I think it could be made effective because I am convinced an adequate definition could be worked out to cover the case of the initial distributor.

Mr. BEASER. The initial distributor would be included?

Mr. FULTON. Yes. I don't suggest for a moment you can absolve from responsibility the individual news vendor or the retail distributor. I do think they carry a very much lesser degree of responsibility for this thing than the others.

I think, therefore, there should be a lesser penalty for them, that the penalty should be in the discretion of the court and in our jurisdiction it runs an average of anywhere from $5 to $50 for the individual vendor, but I feel there should be heavy penalties for those higher up in the scale.

And that until, in fact, my view in conclusion really is that until you take effective action to deal with those who first put these things into circulation you are not going to deal with the problem.

As I have said, I do not for a moment suggest that the individual vendor and retail distributor can be absolved from responsibility. He is a very minor factor in the chain of responsibility.

I would like to see and have in fact suggested that our own code be amended to make that differentiation, but that suggestion was not accepted by the House of Commons and by the Government.

So that remains at the moment my own opinion and that of certain of my colleagues in the House.

There are a couple of cases I would like to mention, just to finish. There is one case in Canada where a publisher has been prosecuted the Queen against the Peer Publisher Ltd., of Toronto, and William Zimmerman, who is the man who is the principal of that firm, resulted in conviction and fine of a $1,000 and costs against the company and suspended sentence for Zimmerman. No notice of appeal has yet been served.

That was a conviction again by way of summary procedure by magistrate which may account for the relatively low fine.

There was another case against Kitchener News Co., Ltd., distributor again in the magistrate court. They were fined $25. They appealed.

The appeals court quashed the conviction on technical ground that the indictment was incorrectly drawn. The attorney general informs me that he is proceeding with a new trial on a fresh indictment. That is, so far as I have been able to ascertain, the record of court cases dealing with this new law, relatively new law, in Canada.

I believe that the court cases show that the law is workable and effective and the problem is enforcement with, as my personal opinion, a desirability of providing heavier penalty and really effective penalties for those at the top who have the greatest responsibility in the chain of circulation.

One other interesting and encouraging result which has flowed from our legislation is that in a number of cities in Canada, particularly after the last discussion, when the amended criminal code came up before the House and we had extensive and quite interesting debate on that section, as a result of that publicity, at least I think it is partly as a result of that publicity, a number of both wholesale and retail distributors are approaching citizens' committees in some of our cities and saying, "We don't want to break the law in the first place and we certainly don't want to run the risk of prosecution. We would like you to cooperate with us by suggesting to us the offensive titles and if you will do that we would like you to get a representative committee so that it does not just reflect the minority viewpoint. If you will do that we will agree to withdraw those titles from circulation."

I think that springs in some measure from the existence of the legislation.

As I say, I regard it as a quite encouraging indication that this legislation can and will produce beneficial results in Canada, although I am afraid again I must confess that I am not suggesting that it is the complete answer or that it has yet provided a complete elimination of this type of undesirable publication.

That, Mr. Chairman, concludes the statement which I have to make. I appreciate your having listened to me so patiently. I apologize for having taken rather lengthy time. I am very much interested in this subject.


If I have abused your hospitality by going on too long, that is because of my interest in the subject.

The CHAIRMAN. You have been very helpful and you have made a contribution.

Senator HENNINGS. I, too, want to thank you very much and apologize in turn. I was asked by some representatives of the press to get an exhibit of one of the things that was in evidence this morning. I was engaged in that effort during the latter part of your statement. I shall read with great interest the record.

The CHAIRMAN. I might add it was a very able statement, well presented.

Mr. FULTON. Thank you very much.

The CHAIRMAN. I think that Canada is fortunate in having such an able representative in its Parliament.

Counsel, do you have any questions?

Mr. BEASER. Just one, Mr. Chairman.

As you notice, this morning I have been asking a number of witnesses as to the effect on our country's relationships with other countries of these crime and horror comics.
Would you care to comment on what impression and what effect crime and horror comics in Canada are having on the children's ideas of what the United States of America is like?

Mr. FULTON. I would say that their effect in that regard is not very serious in Canada. We live too close to you not to know that our way of life and yours are very much the same.

It would be my opinion, therefore, that a Canadian child reading this type of magazine would not ─ reaction on him would not be what dreadful things go on in the United States of America as distinct from what goes on in Canada.

Rather, the undesirability from our point of view certainly is that it portrays these as natural and everyday occurrences.

In other words, our objection to them is not that it portrays the United States as a country, which has lower standard of moral values than our own. It is merely that they portray human society as having an entirely distorted and unreal sense of value and of moral standards.

Besides that, I would make no, I certainly wouldn't express any opinion that they have a derogatory effect on the opinion of our children toward America as such because as I have pointed out, although to a considerable lesser degree, many publications of the same type are published in Canada, a sufficient number to be alarming and disturbing.

Mr. BEASER. I have no further questions, Mr. Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN. It is your considered judgment that this statute has been extremely helpful, it is not?

Mr. FULTON. Yes, it is, Senator, although I must again repeat that I feel it has not been used to the fullest possible extent.

The CHAIRMAN. Senator Hennings?

Senator HENNINGS. I have nothing further, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you again, Mr. Fulton, very much indeed.

Mr. FULTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

Postby admin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:58 pm

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Samuel Black.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Black, will you be sworn?

Do you solemnly swear that the evidence you are about to give to this subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate, will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Mr. BLACK. I do.

The CHAIRMAN. Will you state your name, address, and association, for the record?

TESTIMONY OF SAMUEL BLACK, VICE PRESIDENT, ATLANTIC COAST INDEPENDENT DISTRIBUTORS ASSOCIATION, SPRINGFIELD, MASS.

Mr. BLACK. My name is Samuel Black. I am a wholesaler and I reside at 3 Elwood Drive in Springfield, Mass., and do business at 31 Winter Street, Springfield, Mass.

Mr. BEASER. You are a wholesaler of what?

Mr. BLACK. Wholesaler of newspapers, magazines, books, and periodicals.

Mr. BEASER. You are also a representative of an organization of wholesalers?

Mr. BLACK. Yes, I am a vice president of the Atlantic Coast Independent Distributors Association and chairman of committee 1, which deals with indecent literature.

Mr. BEASER. How many members would that organization have, sir?

Mr. BLACK. We have approximately 270 members in 21 States, and the District of Columbia.

Mr. BEASER. Now, you testified some time ago before what is known as the Gathings committee on the distribution of materials. We are concerned here with crime and horror comics. I was wondering whether you would not want to make a brief statement in relation to that in addition to what we know already from the testimony before the Gathings committee.

Mr. BLACK. We had a meeting of the board of directors of our association here in New York last week. At that time I was instructed to prepare and deliver to this committee a statement which, with your permission, I would like to deliver now, and insert in the record.

The CHAIRMAN. You may have that permission.

Mr. BLACK. This is the statement of the Atlantic Coast Independent Distributors Association on the matter of pornographic and otherwise objectionable reading matter.

The Atlantic Coast Independent Distributors Association appreciates the invitation to participate in the hearings of the subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency, and submits the following statement with the request that it be made part of the record:

1. The Atlantic Coast Independent Distributors Association is a trade association of approximately 270 independent wholesale distributors, located in 21 States in the eastern part of the country, and in the District of Columbia, who are in the recognized, legitimate business of distributing newspapers, periodicals, magazines, and pocket sized books to retail outlets for sale to the public.

2. There are six other such associations of independent wholesale distributors throughout the country, regional in their membership, all of which have as one of their common objectives the mutual enlightenment of its members, the furtherance of the best interest of the independent publishers, the improvement and standardization of methods and systems, and the development of a closer and more intimate relations hip between in dependent distributors and independent publishers.

3. There are approximately 950 wholesale distributors in the country selling to more than 100,000 retailers and newsstands.

4. There are many hundreds of publishers, both large and small, in many instances doing business under many names and business forms, and in some cases publishing dozens of titles.

5. In general, all the publishers sell their products to the independent wholesale distributor through 16 national distributors, some of which are interlocked with the publishers and others of which are independent sales agencies or outlets for the publications put out by the publishers.

In addition to the 16 national distributors, there is the American News Co, which distributes the publishers’ product through its branches located in most of the principal cities of the United States.

6. The wholesale distributor occupies, therefore, a position between the publisher ─ or the national distributor ─ and the retailer, including the newsstand proprietor. In addition to the daily newspapers he carries in stock at any one given time thousands of different titles of magazines, periodicals, and pocket sized books, which may come to him from all 16 national distributors and which in turn have come to the national distributors from the hundreds of publishers.

7. In this connection, it is particularly important to note two things in connection with the wholesale distributor’s business:

(a) He is in no way consulted about the editorial or reportorial content of the magazines and books he distributes; he simply is the active source of supply through whom the retailer receives the publisher's product.

Mr. BEASER. Has he any method in selecting what he gets?

Mr. BLACK. He can reject.

Mr. BEASER. And send back, you mean?

Mr. BLACK. He can refuse and send back and reject.

(b) The time element in the handling of the publications is such that, not only is it physically impossible for the wholesale distributor to read the books and magazines before shipment to the retailer, but even of no lesser importance is the fact that he may not be qualified to appraise their content from the standpoint of ethics, morals, or the law.

8. The wholesaler recognizes and admits that some publishers publish and some wholesalers distribute magazines, books, and other reading material which may contain immoral and otherwise offensive matter or place improper emphasis on crime, violence, and corruption and does not deny that this may have an impact upon the mind of the juvenile, adolescent, and impressionable, and that harm may result therefrom.

He is unable to state the degree of this harm and submits that this is a matter of scientific study and examination. He has openly stated and agreed that the industry ─ must take heed of these conditions and that concrete and active steps should be taken within the industry to curb the abuses and eliminate the evils.

9. This association, as well as the other regional associations of independent wholesale distributors, deplores the publication and dissemination of offensive and obscene literature. Having taken actual and realistic cognizance of this problem, it has, taken certain steps, both collectively and individually, to curb the issuance and dissemination of reading material deemed objectionable.

Mr. BEASER. How recently were these steps taken?

Mr. BLACK. Right up to the past week. For example:

(a) In the fall of 1951, this association established committee No. 1, so-called, on obscene literature, to deal formally and officially with this problem. This committee has been very active in focussing attention on this problem and alerting the members to doing something about it.

(b) In its conventions and district meetings this problem is No. 1 item on the agenda where, again, the problem is brought forcibly home to the members of the association.

(c) It has circularized bulletins to its members and by word of mouth and personal contact has kept the subject very much alive and urged its members to take an adamant position against the dissemination of any borderline or offensive material.

(d) So-called committee No.29 of the Bureau of Independent Publishers and Distributors, consisting of the presidents of the 7 regional independent wholesale distributors associations, has met with the publishers involved to discuss individually the matter of offensive reading material and the necessity of taking corrective action at once. This bureau has recently established committee No. 32, which is charged with the responsibility of establishing a code of ethics to cover this problem.

(e) It has urged cooperation on the local level with such local groups as Committee on Indecent Literature, the prosecuting officials, parent-teacher associations, and others.

(f) It has gone on record denouncing the publication and dissemination of this kind of literature and offered its cooperation to a congressional committee, the Gathings committee of the House of Representatives (H. Res. 596, 82d Cong.), and incorporates herein by reference the testimony of its then vice president, Mr. Samuel Black.

(See pp. 34─57 of the hearings.)

(g) The individual wholesaler has been prodded and encouraged to refuse to distribute and return the "objectionable" or "borderline" material to the national distributor or the publisher, assuming the wholesaler catches this type of magazine or book before it reaches the retailer, or, having been distributed to the retailer, to recall it from the retail stands and then return it to the national distributor, once the wholesaler becomes aware of this objectionable material.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Black, when X crime comic comes in, it comes in in packages to you, in your warehouse?

Mr. BLACK. That is true.

Mr. BEASER Is it not possible then to just ship all of X magazines back?

Mr. BLACK. It is not only possible, but it is done.

Mr. BEASER. In other words, the only thing that would have to be decided in advance is that you do not want to distribute X magazines?

Mr. BLACK. That is correct.

Mr. BEASER. It does not come in all mixed up as far as you are concerned?

Mr. BLACK. No, sir.

Mr. BEASER It comes in mixed up as far as the dealer is concerned?

Mr. BLACK. That is true.

Mr. BEASER So that he has a greater job than you as a wholesaler as far as sorting them and saying that this magazine I want, this I don't want.

Mr. BLACK. By the same token his responsibility is the same as mine. He has to decide whether he wants to handle what I give him, the same as I have to decide what I want to handle what the publisher gives me.

Of course, his responsibility is lessened because I have already made some of the decisions for him.

Mr. BEASER. Your decision, carrying out your decision, it is a little easier in the sense that the magazines are physically together?

Mr. BLACK. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. Or you can even refuse to accept all of X magazines?

Mr. BLACK. That is not necessarily a point here because the dealer in opening his bundle has to place the copies on his stand. He would not place them as a group as he gets them. He must sort them out and more or less put them in various pockets. So in taking his bundle apart he must take this bundle apart and check the various items to see whether or not he is getting the right count and everything else.

Mr. BEASER. But when the bundle comes in to you it is identified in some way as to what the content is?

Mr. BLACK. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. So that without opening up the bundle you can tell what the title is?

Mr. BLACK. That is right. The outside label indicates what is in the bundle.

Mr. BEASER. So it is not a question of bundling it up again; it is a question of shipping it back?

Mr. BLACK. That is right.

It is difficult to estimate how effective this has been and to what proportions this practice has developed but it is fair to say that the wholesaler has become of recent time increasingly and voluntarily committed to this practice.

10. It reasserts, however, the position, namely, that the responsibility for this objectionable material lies primarily with the publishers who produce it. They cannot escape the charge that they are unaware of what goes into the story, the comic strip, et cetera. They are the very writers and producers who have the firsthand knowledge of the content, title, or the cover of the book. It is on their shoulders that this responsibility lies and it is therefore at this core that the remedy should be.

Certainly, as contrasted with the wholesale distributors or the retailers, the publishers of the material and the 16 national distributors are in a much better position to sort the objectionable from the commendable.

Therefore, it is on the publishers and the 16 national distributors that the onus should fall.

Reference is had to an editorial in the Toronto, Canada, Globe and Mail of March 3, 1954, commenting upon the conviction of three publishers and a wholesale distributor for publishing and distributing objectionable reading material:

With all due respect for the courts, we do not believe Mr. Bryan's [wholesale distributor] conviction was reasonable. What appeared in three crime story magazines was not his responsibility. He could not be expected to have read all the stories and articles in every one of the numerous magazines he distributes, or if he had, to recognize those which were legally offensive. That responsibility, in our view, rested squarely with the people who edited and published them ─ the people who, quite properly, were heavily fined * * *. The full and final responsibility for material appearing in newspapers, magazines, and books surely belongs with the people who edit and publish them. They have time which the people who distribute them have not, knowledge which those people cannot be expected to have, legal advice which is not available to them.

11. This association is opposed to censorship or legislation which permits of censorship as the answer to the problem.

This is the most drastic of all remedies and should be resorted to when all other cures have been given a trial and failed, for it is in this area that our traditional cherished concepts of freedom of the press and speech may necessarily be done violence to by such governmental action.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Black, the Chair assumes from that statement, that phase of your statement, that you would be opposed, your association would be opposed, to the enactment of a law such as was described here today by the member of Parliament from Canada.

Mr. BLACK. I would say, sir, that any law that would infringe on any individual's freedom must necessarily─

The CHAIRMAN. You heard Mr. Fulton's testimony, did you not?

Mr. BLACK. I did.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you consider from his presentation that the enactment of that law in Canada has weighed heavily against the right of freedom of the press?

Mr. BLACK. I would have to study the law and I would have to have it studied for me; I am not a lawyer, sir. But I would be very fearful of any law that would infringe, as I say, on the basic freedoms of the Country. There is a tendency to expand laws that could be most harmful.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.

Proceed.

Mr. BLACK. The Gathings Committee majority report states that:

Censorship definitely is not a practicable or adequate answer to the problems in the field of obscenity.

Mr. Justice Douglas, of the United States Supreme Court, speaking in the case of Hannigan v. Esquire, Inc., said:

But a requirement that literature or art conform to some norm prescribed by an official smacks of an ideology foreign to our system.

12. The entire industry must constantly take steps to clean its own house and continually be alerted to policing itself. While admittedly the independent wholesaler can contribute to some degree to this scheme of things, for the most part it is to the publishers and their immediate outlets, the 16 national distributors in addition to the American News Co., that the public must look in order to stop at its source the objectionable material being issued and sent on its way for reading by the public.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Black, the wholesaler actually does not see the magazines themselves until after they are off the press. You are the first one who gets the magazine. They come in to you from the printing plant at the order of the distributor do they not? He does not see it until an advance copy comes to him.

Mr. BLACK. He certainly sees them before the wholesaler.

Mr. BEASER. But he does not see the actual copy. He sees an advance copy. They are mailed to you, or sent to you from the printing plant?

Mr. BLACK. That is true. They are ordered through us by the national distributor, or the publisher from the printing plant.

But the national distributor or publisher certainly sees them.

Mr. BEASER. Do you think it is possible for the 16 distributors to do a more effective job of reading all the stuff that is coming off the press than the two hundred odd wholesalers or is that not everybody's job?

Mr. BLACK. Isn't it easier to have 16 national distributors police this situation than it is to ask 950 wholesalers or 100,000 retailers if we want to get down to the basic problem, the core of it, if we want to reduce it to the least common denominator?

Mr. BEASER. I am wondering if you would not think that the burden fell all up and down the line rather than just a particular set of individuals.

Mr. BLACK. As I state here, we can contribute to some degree in the scheme of things, but the primary responsibility rests on the publisher and the national distributor.

13. There are already on our statute books, both Federal and State ─ New Mexico stands alone in failing to have any punitive legislation ─ which makes it a crime to publish, distribute, mail, or import obscene or objectionable material.

In conclusion it must be admitted that governmental or legislative action, whether on the National, State, or local level, however stringent and severe, will not solve all these problems, just as any self-policing or self-imposed code of ethics will not bring all members into line.

This utopia is not within practical reach. The isolated case of the "bad" book or the "horror comic strip" will be played up in the press and given wide scale publicity, by the pressure groups, and the attention of the public will necessarily be distracted from all the good and value the publishing industry, the distributors and the retailers offer the adult and the juvenile by the informative, educational, recreational, and otherwise much worthwhile reading material it publishes and sells.

Unfortunate as is this fact, and it is a fact, the hope of the industry and of the public must be to cut down measurably on the degree of the obscene and objectionable material which is finding its way into the hands of the public. Where the line must be drawn is, of course, difficult to say.

On this score reference is again had to the statement of Mr. Justice Douglas in the Esquire case where he says:

Under our system of government there is an accommodation for the widest variety of tastes and ideas. What is good literature, what has educational value, what is refined public information, what is good art, varies with individuals as it does from one generation to another. * * * The basic values implicit in the requirements of the fourth condition can be served only by uncensored distribution of literature. From the multitude of competing offerings the public will pick and choose. What seems to one to be trash may have for others fleeting or even enduring values.

The point is that governmental action of censorship must not be lightly entertained.

On the other hand, it does not follow that there is any room in the industry for the obscene and objectionable book or periodical or comic strip which may be considered to prey upon the mind of the youth or the impressionable.

The publishers and the national distributors must constantly be on the alert and take organized, united and effective action on their own initiative to stop the flow of worthless and degrading material and not simply pay lip service to the problem.

The education of all the members of the publishing industry and the national distributors is not an easy job, for there are hundreds of them in the field and, obviously, the greed for profit from the sale of something "hot" is apparently not easy for some of the members to overcome.

But over the years, with proper guidance, education, and the hammering away at the problem, it can be done. The independent wholesale distributor can be depended upon to exercise all due care and restraint. Despite what some local press or some local pressure groups may have to say invidiously about the wholesale distributor and the retailer, the fact is that these men, in the main, are people of good reputation and character in their respective communities who are jealous of their positions in the communities and are anxious to keep up established standards of decency and morality in the eyes of their neighbors. Too often, they have been the subject of unfair and ignorant attacks.

Holding no brief at all for the offensive or the obscene, they have no desire to protect or further the distribution of this kind of reading material, but are necessarily caught in the kind of business where certain members of the public do not want to or cannot understand their problem.

As one of our members so well said:

Remember no business can prosper unless it is built on foundations of a moral character for this is the principal element of its strength, and the only guaranty of its permanence and prosperity.

That is the end of my statement.

The CHAIRMAN. Senator Hennings, have you any questions?

Senator HENNINGS. I have no questions.

The CHAIRMAN. Counsel, do you have any questions?

Mr. BEASER. I have one question.

In dealing with your dealers, do you permit them to select from your total line the magazines, the crime comics, the crime and horror comics, that they want, or are they sent in your total?

Mr. BLACK. They have the right to reject. They cannot select because that would mean each and every dealer would have to come down to the place to determine what is being prepared for delivery, and that would be impossible.

Mr. BEASER. You send each dealer all the titles you get?

Mr. BLACK. No; there are many dealers with restricted lists, the same as I have restricted lists with my publishers.

Mr. BEASER. The restriction is of your choice or of the dealer's choice?

Mr. BLACK. Which restriction?

Mr. BEASER. The dealer who has a restricted list., is he the one who made the restriction?

Mr. BLACK. He has asked to have certain publications deleted from the lists that are being shipped to him.

Mr. BEASER. No further questions.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Black. We appreciate your being with us here this afternoon.
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

Postby admin » Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:01 am

Counsel will call the next witness.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. William A. Eichhorn.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you swear that the testimony you are about to give before this subcommittee of the Committee of the Judiciary of the United States Senate will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Mr. EICHHORN. I do.

The CHAIRMAN. Now, will you state your full name and address and your association, for the record, please?

TESTIMONY OF WILLIAM A. EICHHORN, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, AMERICAN NEWS CO., NEW YORK, N.Y.

Mr. EICHHORN. William A. Eichhorn, 10 Cambridge Lane, Manhasset, N. Y.; executive vice president and treasurer of the American News Co.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Eichhorn, have you a prepared statement?

Mr. EICHHORN. No, I haven't. I have this here which I would like to read.

The CHAIRMAN. You proceed in your own manner and then counsel will examine you.

Mr. EICHHORN. This is a letter which we sent out in March to all of our branch managers throughout the country. It is over the signature of the president of our company.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Eichhorn, it may help a little bit if I ask you a few questions about the company so that we get straight how your operation goes.

On the board we have put up an organizational chart, so to speak, of the comic groups distributed by the American News Co. May I ask one thing: The American News Co. is a wholly owned operation?

Mr. EICHHORN. It is a corporation.

Mr. BEASER. It operates what otherwise would be called the distributor and wholesaler end of the─

Mr. EICHHORN. The wholesale distributors.

Mr. BEASER. You have branch offices, so to speak, in most of the cities?

Mr. EICHHORN. Approximately 400 around the country.

Mr. BEASER. You also operate the stands at railroad stations and streetcar terminals, too?

Mr. EICHHORN. Only some, through a subsidiary company.

Mr. BEASER. Those are line operations, are they not? Line in the sense those are employees in the wholesale department?

Mr. EICHHORN. No, we have a wholly owned subsidiary company called the Union News Co. The Union News Co. operates newsstands in certain railroad stations, subways, hotels, and so forth.

Mr. BEASER. And the people behind the counter on those stands, are they your employees?

Mr. EICHHORN. Employees of the Union News Co.

Mr. BEASER. And the people who operate your wholesale establishments in the various areas of the country, they are employees, your employees?

Mr. EICHHORN. That is correct.

Mr. BEASER. So you have direct control over them?

Mr. EICHHORN. That is correct.

Mr. BEASER. In other words, when you now read a letter which you sent out, those are, in effect, instructions and not suggestions?

Mr. EICHHORN. That is correct.

Mr. BEASER. You may read the letter and then I will go on.

Mr. EICHHORN. The subject is "Obscene literature":

During the past year or so there has been quite a lot of agitation and publicity in connection with the circulation of obscene literature. It has been discussed in the press and both private groups and public officials have made statements about it. A year ago at this time we sent you a letter stating the policy of our company, but it may be helpful to repeat it at this time. You have our full permission to quote this letter to any dealer, any Government official, any newspaper, any private group, and, in fact, to anybody at all if you should be called upon for a statement of our company's policy.

Ever since its organization 90 years ago it has been the policy of the American News Co. that it will not and does not knowingly distribute any obscene publications. Many of our publications are entered as second-class matter with the United States Post Office. Such material is censored by the Post Office authority and under its regulations obscene material is not acceptable. We ourselves do not censor because it would be impossible to censor the great number of magazines and books which we distribute both in the United States and in foreign countries.

Furthermore, we have no legal authority to censor anything. Nevertheless, our company has a fine record as a distributor of publications which has lived up to all reasonable standards of acceptable literature. We feel that this is due in large part to the fact that the publishers for whom we distribute are reputable concerns who desire to conduct their business in full compliance with the law.

If any particular publication is complained to be obscene by any responsible public authority or private group, we will cooperate to the fullest extent in determining whether it is obscene. If it is determined to be obscene we will not distribute it. We feel, however, that the difficult situation on obscenity would be made by authorized public agencies, otherwise the private standards of particular groups may be imposed on the reading public which would be an unjustified impairment of the liberty and freedom of the public.

We have never required any retailer to accept an objectionable publication as a condition to obtaining any other publication which we distribute. All our publications are fully returnable.

Very truly yours,

P. D. O'CONNELL, President.

Mr. BEASER. Let me inquire for a moment as to your relationship with the publishers.

As is customary I gather among other distributors, you made advances to publishers?

Mr. EICHHORN. I don't know what you mean by that.

Mr. BEASER. When you accept a magazine for distribution, do you give them advance royalty?

Mr. EICHHORN. Money, you mean?

Mr. BEASER. Yes.

Mr. EICHHORN. Only in some cases.

Mr. EICHHORN. Do you finance printing costs?

Mr. EICHHORN. No, sir. We have no financial interest in any publication or any publication concerned.

Mr. BEASER. Strictly distribution?

Mr. EICHHORN. Strictly distribution.

Mr. BEASER. Do you charge a handling charge in any way for handling the magazines of the publishers, any magazines?

Mr. EICHHORN. We have a handling charge on returns, unsold copies that come back. We charge the publisher handling charge for handling the returns.

Mr. BEASER. In other words, the more returns the publisher gets, the more it costs him?

Mr. EICHHORN. Well, it costs him for the returns, yes, it costs us to handle them. All we get is our handling cost.

Mr. BEASER. So that, actually, the incentive there is to get them sold, naturally?

Mr. EICHHORN. Sure.

Mr. BEASER Now, how many publications do you distribute, Mr. Eichhorn?

Mr. EICHHORN. I really couldn't tell you; seven or eight hundred titles.

Mr. BEASER. How is the selection made as to what you will distribute and what you will not distribute? Who does it? How was it done?

Mr. EICHHORN. Various officials of the company. If the publisher wants to distribute through our channels he comes to us and submits his publication and our officials talk it over and decide whether or not we want to handle it.

Mr. BEASER. Is that based on the content of the material, or is it based on salability, or what?

Mr. EICHHORN. Everything.

The reliability of the publisher, his reputation; the content of the magazine, and whether we think it is salable or not.

Mr. BEASER. Now, we have up there some exhibits and horror comics which I gather the American News Co. distributes. We had some testimony today, this morning, about St. Johns' publications.

Mr. EICHHORN. I was not here this morning.

Mr. BEASER. How do you decide which ones of those you will send out, which ones you will not? Have you any criteria?

Mr. EICHHORN. No. As a matter of fact, we no longer distribute St. Johns' publications beginning next week.

Mr. BEASER. Why is that?

Mr. EICHHORN. He is changing his method of distribution to one of the other national distributors.

Mr. BEASER. His total output?

Mr. EICHHORN. Yes, sir.

Mr. BEASER. How about the others? Do you look through their publications before you distribute them?

Mr. EICHHORN. No.

Mr. BEASER. You distribute them by name, naturally?

Mr. EICHHORN. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. What responsibility do you think a distributor should exercise in the realm of screening the type of material which he will carry and send out?

Mr. EICHHORN. When we find a publisher putting out any titles that are objected to by officials or anybody else, then we take it up with the publisher and tell him we don't want him to put any more titles like that out.

Mr. BEASER. Then you actually wait for an official complaint?

Mr. EICHHORN. That is correct, unless we see that he is constantly putting out things like that, then we will warn him and tell him.

Mr. BEASER. Do you get many complaints from parent-teacher groups, parents, about crime and horror comics?

Mr. EICHHORN. I don't know what you mean by many. We get them here and there around there country, in various cities, campaigns are started by parent-teachers and organizations at different times.

Mr. BEASER. As a result of that have you taken any action to look into the content of some of these crime and horror comics?

Mr. EICHHORN. No, we don't look into the content of them at all. If they are found objectionable and the authorities tell us they are objectionable, we won't distribute them.

Mr. BEASER. In other words, you wait for a case under the obscenity statutes?

Mr. EICHHORN. Yes, we don't hold ourselves up as censors.

Mr. BEASER. You will send out anything until the obscenity statutes are violated, then you will go to the publisher and tell him you will no longer carry the obscene publication although you will still carry his material?

Mr. EICHHORN. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. In relationship to your dealer what choice has the dealer got as far as crime and horror comics?

Mr. EICHHORN. He can refuse to take anything we send him. If he gets something that he doesn't want, he can immediately send it back. If he feels he does not want to handle any future copies of that particular title all he has to do is tell us he wants no more of X, Y, or Z magazine in the future and he won't get them.

Mr. BEASER. That is a selected list he has?

Mr. EICHHORN. He can take whatever he wants.

Mr. BEASER. What was the occasion for this letter to your agents? Had there been complaints about the fact that dealers were being forced to take what they did not want?

Mr. EICHHORN. No. It was the fact that these various organizations around the country were putting on campaigns to eliminate comics that they felt were harmful to their children, in of that kind. Not because of dealers refusing to get stuff they didn't want.

Mr. BEASER. Are you concerned at all as to the effects on children which some of the crime and horror comics which you are distributing may have?

Mr. EICHHORN. Naturally we don't want to put out anything that is going to be harmful if we can avoid it. We can't hold ourselves up as censors.

Mr. BEASER. Well, you actually do when you refuse to accept some magazines which you have in the past refused, have you not? You have refused to distribute certain magazines in the past.

Mr. EICHHORN Yes.

Mr. BEASER. At that point you do act as a censor?

Mr. EICHHORN. When we first take it on, yes, but after we take on a line, then we expect that publisher will continue to give us the same type of magazine that we have agreed to distribute.

Mr. BEASER. Have you had in the past complaints about a particular crime and horror comic, a particular one, I mean, rather than generalized?

Mr. EICHHORN. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. Which ones have you had complaints from?

Mr. EICHH0RN. I wouldn't know offhand. It would be in a particular city, somebody would complain about a particular title. It would not be a thing all over the country.

Mr. BEASER. Have you as a result of that dropped the carrying of any crime or horror comics?

Mr. EICHHORN. Yes, we in certain cities won't put out particular magazines that have been complained of.

Mr. BEASER. That is a particular issue, not a particular company's; product; is that it?

Mr. EICHHORN. It might be a particular issue, and it might be a particular title that we will not send in there at all, any future issues.

Mr. BEASER. Take Weird, for example, if you had a complaint about Weird, would you stop handling Weird, or would you stop handling the May issue of Weird?

Mr. EICHHORN. If we had complaints about the May issue of Weird, we would probably call it in from the dealers' stands and send it back to the publisher. If the complaint was that Weird as a title as a continuing future issue was not acceptable we would not send any more Weird magazines into that particular city.

Mr. BEASER. What would you do in order to ascertain whether it is or is not good? Would you, yourself?

Mr. EICHHORN. No, that would be up to the officials, whoever objected to it.

Mr. BEASER. Supposing you had a complaint that Weird was putting out some things, your testimony is that you would wait until there had been a court case?

Mr. EICHHORN. No. If any duly constituted authority, city, State, National, any duly constituted authority tells us they don't want us to distribute Weird magazine, we will not distribute it.

Mr. BEASER. Regardless of the reason they gave you, or do you wait for the reason to be obscenity?

Mr. EICHHORN. No, for any reason at all. If they say it is objection able, we won't distribute it in that place.

Mr. BEASER. Now, you also distribute in foreign countries?

Mr. EICHHORN. No, not very much, outside of Canada.

Mr. BEASER. Canada is the only foreign country you do distribute?

Mr. EICHHORN. Comics, yes.

Mr. BEASER. I am talking about comics.

Mr. EICHHORN. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. None of these I suppose are yours, are they?

Mr. EICHHORN. No.

Mr. BEASER. I was under the impression that you distribute comic books in at least 35 foreign countries. Is that so, or am I wrong?

Mr. EICHHORN. Not to my knowledge.

Mr. BEASER. The American News Co.?

Mr. EICHHORN. Not to my knowledge.

Mr. BEASER. In other words, the Romance group would not be distributed by you in foreign countries?

Mr. EICHHORN. That is right.

Mr. BEASER. You have no branches anywhere except in Canada?

Mr. EICHHORN. We have one in London, England.

Mr. BEASER. Are you concerned at all as to the type of material which you send over there, the impression which it will give about the United States?

Mr. EICHHORN. We don't send any comics to London.

Mr. BEASER. Just Canada?

Mr. EICHHORN. Yes, sir.

Mr. BEASER. I see.

No further questions, Mr. Chairman.

(On June 9, 1954, the subcommittee received the following information which corrects Mr. Eichhorn's statement regarding foreign distribution of comics by the American News Co., Inc.)

THE AMERICAN NEWS Co., INC.,

New York, N. Y., June 8, 1954.

Hon. ROBERT C. HENDRICKSON,

Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C.

DEAR SENATOR HENDRICKSON: On Friday, June 4, I testified before you in the Federal Courthouse here in New York City. At that time, your committee's counsel said that he understood that our company distributed comics in 38 foreign countries. I testified that I did not think this was so, and that distribution of comics of publishers for whom we distributed was made directly to foreign countries by the publisher themselves.

After I returned to the office, I realized that this was not entirely correct. The publishers do sell copies direct but our company also distributes some copies of comics to dealers in foreign countries.

Attached, you will find a list in duplicate, of foreign Countries to which we distribute magazines and on this list we have checked off those countries to which we distribute comic magazines to dealers. We do not distribute all comic magazines that we handle to all of these countries, but we do distribute some copies to each of the countries checked off on the attached list.

I am sending this to you so that the record will be straight and I regret that I did not give you the entire correct picture when I appeared before your committee.

Very truly yours,

W. A. EICHHORN,

Executive Vice President.

FOREIGN COUNTRIES DRAWING COMICS

v Arabia
v Argentine Republic
Austria
v Bolivia
Brazil
British East Africa
Belgian Congo
Belgium
Bermuda
v British Guiana
v British Honduras
v British West Indies
v Burma
v Canal Zone
v Ceylon
v Chile
China
v Colombia
v Costa Rica
v Cuba
Cyprus
Czechoslovakia
v Denmark
v Dominican Republic
v Ecuador
v Egypt
Egyptian Sudan
Eire
v El Salvador
v Ethiopia
Federal Malay State
v Fiji Islands
Finland
v Formosa v France
French Indochina
French West Indies
Germany
v Greece
v Guam
v Guatemala
v Haiti
v Hawaii
v Honduras
Holland
v Hong Kong
Hungary
v Iceland
v India
v Indonesia
v Iran
v Iraq
Israel
v Italy
v Japan
v Kenya Colony
v Lebanon
v Malaya
Malta
Manchuria
Marianas Islands
Mauritius
v Mexico
Morocco
v Netherlands Antilles
Netherlands East Indies
v Netherlands Guiana
Newfoundland
v New Guinea
v Nicaragua
North Rhodesia
Norway
Nyasaland
v Pakistan
Palestine
v Paraguay
Persia
v Persian Gulf
v Peru
v Philippine Islands
Poland
v Portugal
v Portuguese East Africa
v Puerto Rico
v Republic of Panama
Rumania
Sarawak Siam
v South Africa
South Rhodesia
South Siam
v Spain
v Spanish Morocco
Straits Settlements
v Sweden
Switzerland
Syria
v Tanganyika Territory
Thailand
v Transjordan
v Turkey
v Uruguay
v Venezuela
v Virgin Islands
Ships
Direct shipments

The CHAIRMAN. Senator Hennings?

Senator HENNINGS. I have no questions.

The CHAIRMAN. The Chair thanks you very much, Mr. Eichhorn, for your appearance this afternoon. You have been very helpful.
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