From Jay Moore: ‘Sabbath Sin at the Cinema’

Jay Moore’s newest book, “Abilene Daily: Snapshots of Home,” contains one or more
vignettes from Abilene’s history for each day of the year. Periodically, stories with some connection–however loose–to Abilene’s religious life will be featured in Spirit of Abilene. The book can be purchased at Texas Star Trading Co., 174 Cypress St. or call 325-672-9696. Books are $27.50.

Jay Moore

Following is an excerpt from Jay Moore’s book, Abilene Daily: Snapshots of Home, dated Aug. 4, 1930

Sabbath Sin at the Cinema

Two months after arriving in Abilene to manage the new Paramount Theatre, Al Fourmet decided it was time to test a local Blue Law prohibiting movies from begin shown on a Sunday. Tossing open the doors to the theatre after Sunday lunch, the Paramount drew a large crowd to see a film titled, “Grumpy.” Not long after the reel began to roll, Al Fourmet was arrested in the lobby for violating the 1921 ordinance. A trial held the next day resulted in a $50 fine levied against Al. His response was to announce the movie planned for the following Sunday, “The Silent Enemy,” which prompted a second arrest. On the third Sunday, it was a Buster Keaton movie that propelled Mr. Fourmet on his third trip to jail. In all, he faced charges on seven occasions, was tried three times in city court and twice in county court. Before all charges could be prosecuted, Mr. Fourmet threw in the towel and agreed to shutter the cinema on Sundays. In return, all charges were dropped.

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