The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Youth in Revolt

Movement Organized at YMCA, Leaders Say--Dislike Admission Price
    A picket line composed of junior high school students, in protest of admission prices charged at the Holly Theater, Sixth and Holly streets, broke up about 8 p.m. yesterday when ringleaders agreed to meet with Eino Hemmila, manager of the Leverette Interstate Theaters in Medford, of which the Holly is a part, on Monday.
    It was necessary to call police to keep the sidewalks in front of the theater clear last night, and the group dispersed shortly afterwards. It was previously agreed not to cause any disturbance during a talk with Hemmila, who had already agreed to meet with the youngsters tomorrow.
    Jim Collins and Dean Coverstone, spokesmen for the students, said the group organized at the YMCA recreation rooms yesterday afternoon, where they made signs, and started picketing about 3:30 p.m. About a dozen students were in the picket lines in the afternoon but were too late to catch the afternoon trade.
    Fitz Brewer, Richard Riggs, Ted Rubenstein and Bill Perl were organizers of the scheme, along with Collins and Coverstone, it was stated. The youngsters protested 65¢ admission for all persons over 12 years of age, claiming they could not pay that much. They believed 35¢ admission for persons 12 to 18 years would be a fair amount to charge, the spokesmen said.
    Hemmila said yesterday that no one had approached him regarding a threatened picket line, nor had he been approached regarding the admission policy of the theater.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 24, 1946, page 1

Medford Mail Tribune, October 22, 1944

    Six Medford school students conferred with Eino Hemmila of the Leverette theaters this afternoon concerning the demand of students for a lower student rate at Medford theaters.
    Hemmila is reported to have made an offer which will be discussed by the students. A second meeting will be made at a later date, it was reported.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 25, 1946, page 1

    Eino Hemmila, manager of Leverette Interstate Theaters in Medford, said today there had been no further developments between the junior high school students who picketed the Holly Theater Saturday and himself.
    Students demonstrated against admission prices charged at the Holly Theater, claiming they were unable to pay the price.
    Ben Schmidt, secretary of the Medford Y.M.C.A., stated today that investigation had shown plans for picketing the Holly Theater had not originated at the club and that the signs which the youngsters used in picketing had not been made at the club as was originally claimed by some of the boys interested in the movement.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 26, 1946, page 1

    Student tickets for the Holly, Craterian and Rialto theaters will be priced at 45 cents as soon as new tickets can be secured, according to an announcement this morning by Eino Hemmila, manager of the Leverette Interstate Theaters, Inc., who stated that the agreement had been reached yesterday during a conference with student representatives who in turn agreed to aid the management in checking vandalism at the theaters.
    "In return for a students' price to be placed in effect at the Holly, Craterian and Rialto theaters as soon as new tickets are received, the representatives of the Medford senior and junior high school yesterday agreed that the members of the student bodies would be responsible for the actions of the students while attending the shows," the statement reads. "Vandalism and boisterous conduct, which have been a source of complaint recently, will hereafter receive not only the attention of the management of the theaters, but that of the students as well.
To Present Cards
    "At a meeting with Walter H. Leverette and Eino Hemmila, senior high representatives Bill Rose, Jerry Clark and Richard Riggs and junior high representatives Jerry Sherman and Fitz Brewer agreed to a 45-cent admission to all students presenting student body cards at the box office.
    "It was pointed out that a reduction in admission prices for students will not bring a reduction in the federal tax which the theater must pay on all adult admission prices and that out of a student price of 45 cents the theater will have to pay 11 cents tax for admissions at the Holly Theater and nine cents tax at the Craterian and Rialto theaters, the same as on adult admissions. It was also agreed that it would be impossible to have a student admission on roadshow engagements.
    "Vandalism, particularly, entered into the discussions, and the students wholeheartedly agreed to do everything possible to eliminate this source of trouble as well as maintaining order among themselves."
Medford Mail Tribune, March 28, 1946, page 1

    Junior high students picketed the Holly Theatre, Medford, attempting to enforce a demand for lower admission prices. Theatre manager Eino Hemmila offered to discuss the situation.
Boxoffice magazine, April 6, 1946, page 78-D

Bermuda Shorts Result in Minor Dispute
at High School Today
    About 30 Medford High School boys showed up for school this morning wearing Bermuda shorts.
    At 9 a.m., after some discussion between spokesmen for the boys and school authorities, they were asked to leave to get into more conventional garb.
    Instead, they moved in a group into downtown Medford, enlisting support for their "cause"--that of comfortable dress on a beautiful spring day.
Other Conferences
    As the morning wore on, there were other conferences with school authorities, a decision on policy, and an agreement on an accepted standard of springtime dress. The dispute died down and things got back to normal.
    In the future, boys can wear Bermuda shorts so long as they conform to accepted standards for that type of informal garb, it was agreed between the students and the school authorities. There will be no "extremes," they agreed, either as to the length of the shorts or as to other garments.
    During the morning discussions, the slightly embarrassed school authorities, halfway sympathetic with the boys, pointed out, however, that it is their endeavor to persuade students to avoid the extremes of non-conventional dress, since they are distracting to the educational process. They also explained that they don't want to make any hard-and-fast rules about clothing, but that if the situation had been approached a bit differently, the initial confusion could have been avoided. The boys agreed.
"Legal" Right
    Leonard Mayfield, city school superintendent, who was unaware of the situation until after the boys had left the school campus for downtown, chuckled somewhat ruefully and admitted the boys have a "legal" right to wear what they want as long as it is within the limitations of decency. But he explained the schools' efforts have been to educate youngsters to the commonly accepted proprieties and customs. He said it is the same as their attempts to discourage girls from wearing slacks and shorts to school.
    Four spokesmen for the boys appeared at the Mail Tribune office at mid-morning, protesting the first ruling of the school authorities, but they came back about noon to explain the matter had been settled. They agreed their plan to wear shorts, developed during the week with no word to school authorities, might not have been the way to go about it.
Conform with Standards
    And they said they're willing to go along with the Bermuda shorts suggestion, and to conform other accepted standards of dress otherwise. They said they would be willing to see that this is carried out.
    The spokesmen were Kenneth Taplett, son of Mrs. Lane Taplett, 919 Dakota St.; John Bellack, son of Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Bellack, 1475 Crater Lake Ave.; David Bosworth, son of Mr. and Mrs. H. P. Bosworth, Jr., 2425 East Main St., and Ed Reinking, son of Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Reinking, 1409 Kings Highway.
    Bill Barker, a member of the school board who also runs a men's clothing store, admitted to a biased point of view regarding the situation.
    "I wear them myself, sometimes," he said, "and I like to wear them and to sell them. From a strictly non-school board and biased viewpoint, I vote for 'em."
Medford Mail Tribune, April 6, 1956, page 1

Shorts in Downtown Medford Are Legal
    A rumor among high school students that wearing shorts in downtown Medford is illegal was squelched by Medford police Saturday.
    The city has no ordinance against wearing shorts, or anything else, for that matter, officers said, "unless it could be termed vulgar or indecent," and "that depends on any individual's own ideas."
    Police said the department has received some calls asking if it is illegal to wear bathing suits downtown, but that unless some offended citizen signs a complaint, bathing suits and shorts are in the same legal category.
    Downtown theaters, however, will not admit girls who are wearing "short shorts," or who are barefooted. Boys with unbuttoned shirts also cannot be admitted.
    Officers did report that other areas have ordinances against wearing shorts and bathing suits on the downtown streets.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 18, 1961, page 1

Last revised June 4, 2022