Appeal, No. 8, Oct. T., 1958, from judgment of Court of Quarter Sessions of Franklin County, Oct. T., 1956, No. 148, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Robert John Grochowiak. Judgment affirmed.
John W. Keller, with him Keller and Keller, for appellant.
George C. Eppinger, District Attorney, with him Frank P. Lawley, Jr., Deputy Attorney General, and Thomas D. McBride, Attorney General, for appellee.
Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ.
[ 184 Pa. Super. Page 523]
The defendant was the manager of State Line Drive-In Theatre located on U.S. Route 11, in Antrim Township, Franklin County. On Sunday, June 24, 1956, he as manager, was responsible for the exhibition in the theatre of certain motion pictures. Following the showing on the above Sunday, defendant was charged with violation of the Act of July 2, 1935, P.L. 599, § 2. Section 2 of the Act, 4 PS § 60, is quoted in the margin.*fn1
[ 184 Pa. Super. Page 524]
After full hearing before a Justice of the Peace he was found guilty and a penalty of a fine and costs was imposed. On defendants petition an appeal to the quarter sessions was allowed. Hearing thereon was had before Judge DEPUY on September 2, 1956. The subject of the showings was not religious in character but the record is clear and it was not contended that the motion pictures as exhibited were obscene or offensive to good morals or that they had any effect on the peace and good order of the community. They were innocuous from every viewpoint. The court found the defendant guilty of violation of the above Act and he was sentenced to pay a fine of $50 and costs. This is defendant's appeal from the judgment of sentence.
Sunday laws, regulating human conduct under the police power of a State, are of ancient origin. A short but interesting history of this kind of Sunday legislation
[ 184 Pa. Super. Page 525]
appears in the brief of Burton R. Laub, now of the common Pleas in Erie County, quoted in Commonwealth v. Pedano, 33 D. & C. 551. Our so-called Blue Laws, beginning with the Act of April 22, 1794, 3 Sm.L. 177, 18 PS § 1991 in general setting aside the first day of the week as a day of rest, are civil legislation (Cf. Specht v. Commonwealth, 8 Pa. 312) although they defer to the religious concept of Sunday as a holy day. And the present act clearly is a civil regulation, although the provision for the lawful showing of motion pictures, only after 2 p.m. on Sundays undoubtedly appears in the Act in deference to the church-wide custom of Sunday morning services.
By the above 1935 Act, whether motion pictures may lawfully be shown on Sunday in any municipality was made a matter of local option. And in accordance with the Act a referendum to determine the question in Antrim Township had been submitted to the electorate, with the result, however, that the majority vote was against Sunday exhibitions of motion pictures. The local option provision of the 1935 Act is valid. Waynesboro Sun. Movie Ref. Case, 383 Pa. 162, 117 A.2d 699; Harrisburg Sunday Movie Petition Case, 352 Pa. 635, 44 A.2d 46. Cf. ...