Name: The Captive, The Virgin Man, and Sex in 20's NYC

Date:  1926 - 1950

Location:  North America

SubjectSexual/Gender Orientation


Artist: Three plays; "The Captive," "The Virgin Man," and "Sex"

Confronting Bodies: New York Police

Date of Action: 1927

Specific Location: New York City

Description of Artwork: The three plays, running at separate theaters, dealt with either homosexuality or lesbianism.

Description of Incident: "Early in 1927 the New York Police stopped three plays: "The Captive," "The Virgin Man," and "Sixth Captive" had been running without interruption for five months, and "Sex," for eleven months. The former was a sensitive study of sexual deviation in women. It would probably have continued to run unmolested if its success had not precipitated a succession of plays about abnormality. "The Hymn to Venus," and "The Drag," dealing with lesbianism and homosexuality, were about to open in New York. The authorities felt they had to stem the tide. The good had to go the way of the bad. It is said that one of the people responsible for closing "The Captive" was Walter Lippmann, who had for years, ostensibly at least, espoused the cause for free speech."

Results of Incident: "The defendants in Virgin Man were tried, and all but one found guilty. 'The Captive' was voluntarily withdrawn after the issue of the warrants. The defendants of 'Sex' were tried and convicted. There were no appeals."

Source: The Censor Marches On, Pg.64

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