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Lennie Lower, Lennie Lower’s Annual: A Side Splitter (Sydney: National Press, [1942?]), pp. 111-12, as “No More Cowboys and Indians.”

Policing of picture theatres to prevent children seeing horror films is recommended by Central Methodist Mission superintendent, Rev. F.H. Rayward. There should be control higher up which would definitely prohibit children from seeing shows that might be harmful, he declared.

I have observed this evil influence on the child mind.

Practically every kid in our street has a wooden tommy-gun for purposes of robbery and massacre.

One poor child died horribly 12 times in the one day — three times as a bank-teller, four times as a gangster, twice when, leaping from the top of a dirt-box, his parachute failed to open; stabbed in the back twice, and drowned when the raft on which he was drifting sank with all hands in the middle of the street.

The submarine commander responsible for all this was shot between the eyes before he could submerge.

This might explain why all the rubbish-tins are so knocked about in our street.

I mean, it’s a pretty good rubbish tin that can stand up to being a submarine, a bank, Gestapo headquarters, a wild horse, a pill-box, and a depth-charge all in the space of an hour.

Last time I saw our rubbish tin was yesterday morning. A witch-doctor was summoning his evil tribe to attend the burning alive of a victim tied to a telegraph pole in the heart of the jungle.

He was doing it on our rubbish tin with half a brick.

He was just about to be saved by Constance Bennett, or maybe it was Ginger Rogers; anyhow, a woman living on the edge of the jungle came out and demanded her clothes-line and then slapped Ginger Rogers for wearing her best curtains as a train.

Why a Red Cross nurse should be wearing a train is not apparent to me. Maybe it was a left-0ver from his previous act.

All this shows the horrible influence of films as mentioned by the Central Methodist Mission superintendent.

Dracula, who lives a couple of doors from me, has cost me fourpence already this week. He bears a terrible lipstick scar across the throat.

The previous Dracula suffered a fate which should meet with the approval of the Central Methodist Mission superintendent. He was scarred from ear to ear with some kind of stuff that took nearly a fortnight to wear off, and his mother had hysterics; and when his father came home he wanted to know what she was doing to allow their child to run loose like a lunatic hooligan in the street, and all the neighbours were hanging out of their windows pretending to dry their hair.

Rumour got around that the husband could be heard strooping his razor and the whole street waited for the first blood-curdling screams; but it turned out that he was only going to have a shave, which was a great disappointment for everybody.

Unfortunately, the films don’t only affect the children.

I have a strong suspicion that I am a Japanese spy this week. I have not been ambushed so far, but there’s something brewing.

If I may make a suggestion — of course, Mr. Lower — I think that the Central Methodist Mission superintendent might do something constructive about these horror shows.

Why not put on a show of his own?

I’ll bet he’d have ’em packed in the aisles with a squad of laymen controlling the queues.

Say something about the cannibal chief who bursts into tears when presented with a string of pink beads and a bowler hat purchased with subscriptions donated to the Missionary Fund by the local Sunday school pupils.

He could be depicted scornfully spurning a slab of boiled missionary and opening a tin of beans instead.

This would show that he had seen the light or something.

Failing that, I suppose we’ll have to stick to the old bran-tub lucky dip at the church bazaar with a spot of house-housie on the side.

We certainly can’t have our kids going to the dogs by abandoning themselves to the made lure of Saturday matinees once a week.

Definitely, something must be done.

It’s up to the superintendent.