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"Fatty" Arbuckle Trials: 1921-22

"until Hell Freezes Over"

The jury was out for 44 hours before Judge Harold Louderback dismissed it as hopelessly deadlocked. Members later revealed that one juror, Helen Hubbard, had announced at the start that she would vote guilty "until hell freezes over" and that she refused to discuss the evidence, look at the exhibits, or read the trial transcript. All others voted acquittal until the end, when one other joined her.

Hubbard's mother-in-law was the first California Regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Her husband, a lawyer, did business with the D.A.'s office. Why defense attorney Gavin McNab let Hubbard, who was clearly biased, get onto the jury remains a mystery.

Four days later, 12 of Hollywood's top leaders, including Samuel Goldwyn, Lewis J. Selznick, and Adolph Zukor, asked William Hays, chairman of the Republican National Committee and President Warren G. Harding's postmaster general, to become the czar of the film industry. His assignment, at $100,000 a year for three years, was "to have the industry accorded the consideration and dignity to which it is justly entitled." The assignment stretched into thirty years, and thus began "the Hays office" and, ultimately, the self-regulation provided by the Motion Picture Production Code.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940"Fatty" Arbuckle Trials: 1921-22 - Tabloids Conjure Up Lurid Details, "a General Lowering Of The Moral Standards", "until Hell Freezes Over"