Between the end of September 1975 and mid 1976 there were 16mm screenings at cinemas, festivals and college campuses in several states including California, Oregon, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York (a week run at the Whitney Museum) and in countries around the world. Distribution was run out of my kitchen in San Francisco. Our business records kept in an index card box by my girlfriend. Most shows on the west coast were followed by discussions with speakers from the Network Against Psychiatric Assault. NAPA was a small group of ex-inmates or ex-mental patients operating out of a storefront in San Francisco. NAPA had been responsible for a moratorium on shock treatment in the city and for a well-organized public education campaign throughout the bay area.
The most important screenings as far as creating immediate change took place in Los Angeles in December 1975. Hurry Tomorrow was filmed in Los Angeles. Critics for the Los Angeles Times and Daily Variety were deeply moved by the documentary. They were outspoken in their reviews and in behind the scenes remarks.
“A disturbing indictment of the assaults on human dignity practiced in many
of this country’s mental hospitals.”
Daily Variety, Mack. November 28, 1975 Read more….
“A crucifying indictment of ward conditions, drug companies and the violations of present laws.
The film is an act of courage and a warning about mind control, told with compassion and rage.”
Los Angeles Times, Linda Gross, December 5, 1975 Read more….
Two days after Linda Gross's review appeared in the Times an effort was launched by hospital staff with support of their union to take legal action to ban Hurry Tomorrow. The press covered the story.
“10 Metro Staff Members Ask Ban On Movie
…employees and state health officials are enmeshed in what one state aide
calls “a stupid, stinking internal horror of controversy” following the public
release of a movie…”
Los Angeles Times, Larry Lane – Staff Reporter, December 7, 1975 Read more….
“Filmmaker Defends Disputed Documentary as True Picture
…staff members to ask state health officials to seek legal action to remove
the film from circulation…one reviewer suggested that on the basis of the
film an investigation should be launched into conditions at the Metropolitan
facility and elsewhere in the state hospital system.”
Los Angeles Times, Larry Lane – Staff Reporter, December 11, 1975 Read more….
A lot of things happened. Looking back I realize that one incident was a foreshadow of the threats of violence that would crop up over the next year or two when state authorities under then Governor Jerry Brown investigated conditions in state hospitals and patient deaths. Just days before the Los Angeles premiere of Hurry Tomorrow at the Royal Theater one of the owners Max Laemmle asked me into his office. He told me that he had received a threat that the cinema would be bombed unless he canceled the screenings. "What should we do?" he asked.
I said, "It's up to you Max." These are his exact words: The show must go on