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Letter to the Editor: Kirk Douglas

I am astounded at the attack on the current voluntary movie rating system and the attack on Jack Valenti.

When Jack Valenti became the third president of MPAA in 1966, a vacuum existed. The State, City and County Censorship Boards rated movies and enforced the ratings laws and ordinances. Imagine what would happen if that existed today!

Valenti counteracted with a movie industry self-regulation system and a classification ratings design. This enlarged freedom of the screen and made a pledge to parents to enable them to select movies for their children. All these government boards are gone. We don’t want them to return.

Valenti has been the sole defender of the movie industry in Washington. Recently, he fought the concerted efforts in Congress to give the Federal Trade Commission power to design a new ratings system. Do you want that?

I’ve been acting, producing and directing for over half a century and I can testify that thanks to Valenti’s vision, the screen is freer today than it has ever been. I have known Valenti since he first came here. I have admired his wisdom, tenacity, and his energy that has taken him all over the world — many times — to battle piracy and work for the interest of motion pictures and television. We ought to be giving Valenti a medal instead of having to read attacks on him by a few.

Oh yes, there seems to be an absence of criticism by the folks for whom the movie ratings system was intended: parents.

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