The introduction of modern film to a traditional Iran was not without its sociological problems. As mentioned earlier, cinema started as a court entertainment and remained available only to the cultural and political elite for over a decade. When the government began to encourage this industry, it still had to confront the opposition of the ‘olamâ and a public unprepared and unwilling to do away with traditional modes of entertainment. Theaters were declared by the ‘olamâ to be centers for all kinds of vices. They were labeled “houses of Satan” and subjected to mob attack or forced closure. The public perception marked people attending theaters as “immoral people engaged in sinful activity.” In light of these criticisms, theater owners and others involved in this industry, along with government officials, took great pains to promote the theater as a respectable place that the police prevented “loose women, depraved youngsters and hecklers” from entering. On one occasion during Rezâ Shah’s reign, the opposition to the establishment of the first theater in the southern part of Tehran, which was and still is very traditional, was so strong that police had to force people to go to this theater. At a more practical level, in the early years the government had to make special efforts to keep the cost of attending movie theaters low enough to attract nonelite segments of the society. This was a problem for theater owners as well. As the number of movie theaters increased, theater owners had to compete for viewers. They tried to attract viewers by offering free tickets, ice creams, nuts, and other food items. Some owners even hired musicians to play music, interpreters to walk around the hall and explain the scenes in a loud voice, and Armenian female employees with heavy makeup in order to attract viewers. A second problem had to do with the translation and presentation of foreign films. Since films shown in the early days were in their original language, there had to be brief pauses for live translation. Every 10 minutes or so, the film would be interrupted by a Persian caption explaining previous or forthcoming events. Some theaters hired story tellers to convey what was involved in the films so they did not have to stop the show intermittently. It also took a while for the Iranian viewers, unaccustomed to the new technology, to know how to adjust their feelings and behaviors to the realities of this new phenomenon. Some cinemas had to hire policemen to control the viewers’ behavior during the show. On one occasion, when a lion jumped in a scene of a Tarzan film, a policeman attending the theater shot at the screen in an attempt to subdue the lion! The third problem confronting the development of a film culture was the presence of women both in the film and in the theater. By 1920, Iranian film viewers were used to seeing unveiled women in foreign movies. However, showing Iranian women in film was a new challenge for filmmakers and theater owners. Since the first Iranian films involved Armenian women of Iranian origin, there was not much public objection. However, when films with sound were produced, the participation of Muslim women in filmmaking became a major controversial issue. The first actresses were subjected to ridicule, harassment, and social isolation. These were courageous women whose passion for the art and profession surpassed their need for income or a costly fame. The perseverance of these actresses and their film producers paved the way for breaking a social taboo and easing modern media into Iranian society. A related problem was how to allow women to visit the theater because it was not possible to allow men and women to attend the theater at the same time. Theaters experimented with having dedicated hours for each sex. This did not work well. Later, they tried to designate some theaters as exclusively for women. Mo‘tazedi founded two such theaters for women in 1925, and three years later, Vakili created a female-only theater in a Zoroastrian school hall. This did not work well for attracting women to the theater either. Also, it was financially ineffi cient. Then, they tried to allow both sexes in the same theater, but with women seated in the balcony. This did not last long either. Finally, they tried having women and men sit in separate parts of the theater. This worked until 1936, when women were freed from wearing the veil by the order of Rezâ Shah and wives could sit next to their husbands in the theater. A final problem had to do with the spread of cinema beyond the capital, especially in areas with a heavy concentration of ethnic population. Since not all ethnic groups spoke or even understood the Persian language, showing films to non-Persian speaking audiences posed a serious challenge. For instance, Sinemâ Khorshid in the city of Abâdân, then heavily populated by Arabs, could not stay open more than three nights a week because of the lack of an audience, even with free admission.