Court Arraigns Welles Personnel, Plans Screening of 'Oh, Calcutta!'
The Third Middlesex County Court continued until October 21 the trials of nine Orson Welles Cinema officials arrested Monday night for showing a video-tape of the New York performance of "Oh! Calcutta"
On October 21, the court will screen the performance to determine whether or not it is immoral and obscene. The police arrested the nine theatre officials on counts of possessing and showing "immoral and obscene entertainment."
The police also seized the video-tape, equipment, the advertising material, tickets, and $1400.
Robert Payne, manager of the theatre and one of the arrested, said yesterday that the theatre had been given no warning about the film. "We were visited by Mr. Fitzmorris from the Board of Solicitors and someone from the police department who asked to see the advertising and the tickets. We were informed that we should have a uniformed officer at the door to check I. D.s.... Since nothing was said about the film, we took it for granted that nothing was wrong," Payne said.
After the Show
The police did, however, identify themselves before the showing. After viewing the film, the police made the arrests and closed the theatre which had scheduled another showing that night. Cambridge detective sergeant Duncan S. McNeil said that the police waited until the end of the show "purposely." "Not so we could see it, or give them any leeway, but so we would not have to tangle with 300 people."
McNeil said the film was "not very good quality, that's for damned sure."