In this document, an attorney writes to the owner of a theater in the Boston area on behalf of a couple who took their two young children, ages two and four, to a showing of "Snow White." An ad prior to the movie exhorted moviegoers to purchase KOOL cigarettes:
The commercial contained some suggestive materials and exhorted to children in the audience to 'do their own thing.'...
Further, we have been advised by people in the motion pictgure industry, that the manufacturers of 'Kool' cigarettes pay a certain price for each person who views their advertisements in a theater. We question whether you have informed your advertisers that the majority of the audience to which you have directed their ad are minors."
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• P .
Mr. Edward Lider
iAcademy Amusement Corporation
214 Harvard Avenue "
Ailston, Massachusetts 02134
July 22, 1983
Academy Amusement Corporation-d/b/a Eddy's Theaters-
d/b/a Academy Twin Theater, 792 Beacon Street, Newton
Please be advised that this office and the undersigned
"~"$.~ represents Kanella Sutton of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts for
~ ...... ...,. herself individually, and as parent of her minor children. We
,:., > / -.
• 5,,>-~ ..... are writing this letter on behalf of our clients, as well as
:.<:i~.~i~,' all other minor children which attend the Acedemy Twin Theaters
. ~ in Newton Center, Massachusetts. This letter is written to
/~fel you persuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 93A, Sections
iii!!'~i_~;~:i~",~-; 2 and 9. ' '
"_:'":;"~-. ,. Your attention is respectfully directed to certain events
]'!~*"f;ii~which transpired on or before Saturday, July 16, 1983, which
]:i"d~[.~i(;':.events commenced on information or belief on July 15, 1983.
"~'"'~-'~<•~' On July 16, 1983, our client, together with her husband
. :~:~5 and two minor children, ages two and four, purchased tickets
.... ~ ~' ~-.
" -~--~ ' for the showing at your theater of "Snow White . Our client
was directed to your theater by means of television advertisements
" and various ads which were placed in the Boston Globe and the
Boston Herald. These newspaper advertisements and the
~" advertisements at your theater indicated that the motion
picture "Snow White" would commence at 1:50 P.M. on Saturday
afternoon and warranted to my clients and to the public at large
that said motion picture was suitable for viewing by "general
At the time that our client purchased tickets for herself
and her children, there was no warning either by the ticket
seller or the usher that there would be anything shown to our
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Mr. Edward W. Lider
'.July 22, 1983
client and her children which would be unsuitable for general
audiences and in fact there was no warning that any cigarette
commercials for "Kool" cigarettes or any sex or violent scenes
from the James Bond film "Octopussy" would be shown to our client
or her children.
At approximately 1:50 P.M., our client together with her
husband and her minor children, in complete reliance upon your
advertisements, proceeded to the front rows of your theater with
the expectation that all subjects presented on your screen would
be suitable for minor children. Needless to say, my client was
severely distressed when your theater, without any warning
whatsoever, caused to'be shown two short subjects which were
totally unsuitable for our client's children, both of whom were
under the age of six years old.
The first item which appeared upon your screen at approximately
1:50 P.M. on a Saturday afternoon prior to the showing of "Snow
White" was a commercial advertisement soliciting the members
of the audience to purchase and smoke "Kool" cigarettes. The
commercial contained some suggestive materials and exorted the
children in the audience to "do their own thing".
The second short subject before "Snow White" was a preview
of the James Bond movie, which depicted Mr. Bond engaged in a
romantic escapade, a machine gun fight, almost being decapitated
with the blade of a rotary saw, as well as showing a woman
partially disrobing. Obviously, such a preview has no place
at a Saturday matinee showing of "Snow White"
Further, we have been advised by people in the motion picture
industry, that the manufacturers of "Kool" cigarettes pay a certain
price for each person who views their advertisement in a theater.
We question whether you have informed your advertisers that the
majority of the audience to which you have directed their ad
We believe that your exhibition of the commercial cigarette
advertisement and the James Bond preview at a Saturday matinee
production of "Snow White" without suitable warnings to your
viewers that you intended to "pander" such explicit scenes of
sex, violence, and inducements for cigarette smoking which has
been determined to be dangerous to the health of children,
constitute unfair and deceptive acts or practices pursuant to
Massachusetts General Law Chapter 93A, and a breach of your
warranty that all subjects shown at that matinee would be
suitable for general audiences.
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Mr. Edward W. Li
July 22, 1983
• Page Three
RIE~[ER ~ HRAUN~T~I.~~
Further, we feel that your directing a cigarette commercial
to a audience consisting of a majority of minor children constitutes
an unfair or deceptive practice with respect to your advertisers
pursuant to general law Chapter 93A, which advertisers obviously
must have paid you to direct those advertisements to adults.
Accordingly, demand is specifically made upon you for the
I. That your theather immediately cease and desist from
showing any cigarette commercials at times when it is reasonable
to assume that the audience will consist of minor children;
2. To cease and desist from showing previews which depict
sex and violence at time when it is reasonable to assume that
the audience consists of minor children;
3. That all short subjects which are to be shown at your
theater at anytime in connection with a motion picture be
advertised in a conspicuous place either at the theater or in
a newspaper so that parents of minor children will have the
opportunity of determining whether or not they wish their
children to be subjected to said short subjects;
4. That you notify the manufacturers of "Kool" cigarettes
which is Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation of Louisville,
Kentucky 40232, that you have been directing the advertisement
of their product to minor children; and
5. That you refrain from showing any such short subjects
of any kind during the presentation of any "G" rated motions
pictures without specific warnings posted at your theater as
to the specific type of content of these short subjects.
Pursuant to General Law Chapter 93A, you have 30 days within
which to respond to this letter with a reasonable offer of
compromise. Failure to respond with a reasonable offer or
compromise within 30 days, will subject you to the possibility
of triple damages and attorney's fees.
We sincerely hope that you will recognize the seriousness
of the subliminal effect of showing cigarette commercials to
minor children as well as the subliminal effect of exposing minor
children to the sex and violence of a James Bond film preview.
We would hope that as a motion picture theater president with
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Mr. Edward W. Lider
',July 22, 1983
HIE~IER & ~RAITA'ST~LN"
an obligation to the community, you would voluntarily cease and
desist from attempting to derive additional profit by saturating
our young children with cigarette advertisements.
Larry Amos, Esquire/
Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation
P.O. Box 35090
Louisville, Kentucky 40232
Mr. Carlton Merril
Board of Licensing Commissioners
Newton City Hall
Newton, Massachusetts 02159
Mr. Charles E. Good
Walt Disney Corporation
President and General Sales Manager
350 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, California 91521