A man walked into the movie theatre and sat down. He noticed
the theatre was almost empty, but thought it was normal because it was only a
matinee. He realized the movie had started but it was a little difficult to
follow the events on the screen.
The movie depicted what seemed to be a soldier, who had returned from the front after the First World War. The soldier had been asked to restore an old painting on the wall in a church in northern England. The film showed the soldier removing layers of paint and grime and gradually uncovered parts of the ancient painting. He found an eye here, part of a foot there, and there was one large section that revealed a table with bread and a flask of wine. The days went by, and the soldier uncovered more and more of the old art work, until it became obvious it was a depiction of The Last Supper.
“Appropriate,” the man in the audience thought.
Then just as the soldier was talking to the wife of the vicar of the church, the light from the projector flickered, the sound died and the film stopped.
The man waited for a while, but the house lights came up and he realized the afternoon performance was over.
"There was supposed to be another film too," he grumbled to himself, but walked out anyway.
"How was the movie?" his wife asked when he got home.
"Bit of a swindle," he said. "The movie ended before I thought it would. Left me with a funny feeling. And there was supposed to be another one after it, but it was cancelled."
"You're forgetting, honey," his wife said. "It's fifty years next month."
"Fifty years?" He scratched his head. "Oh, you mean, that Omnibus Bill? Something about government censorship of works of art, wasn't it? Well, who made the prime minister a critic of the arts?
"Before our time, I know, but the reasoning was that there were too many movies, too many books, too many paintings in the country, and so many of them had no artistic merit." She paused. "Anyway, that's what they said.”
"Well, why couldn't I see the end of my movie? And what about the other movie?"
"It's left up to the manager of the theatre. Maybe he didn't like the show. Maybe he thought he was showing too many of them".
"But that's crazy," her husband snorted "How many is too many?"
"Well, according to what I have read, the number is well over 3 million." There was a long pause. "And that's from 1970 to last year."
"So, way over three million plays and movies never get to be seen by anyone."
"That's about the size of it," his wife answered.
He snatched up a newspaper and began flipping the pages. "Where's the rest of this story?" he demanded. "The headline's here; Parliament Okays Oil Pipeline. Turn to page four, it says. On page four there's nothing about it. Not a word."
"The Omnibus Bill again. Thought you would be used to it by now."
"Never!" he snapped. “Next thing you know the government will be cancelling our lives too!"
"Don't be silly, honey," his wife chuckled. "You know that would never happen."