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Movies & Million-Dollar Mansions, and Silents on the Islands


Image: from "Way Back When: Santa Barbara in 1917," photo courtesy of Motion Picture News, January 12, 1918

Mermaids on Santa Cruz Island


In June 1917, out on Santa Cruz Island off the coast of Santa Barbara, a cast of 66 actors and actresses was filming Sirens of the Sea, featuring a bevy of beau­ties adorned with shreds of seaweed and not much else (remember, we were still in the days before movie cen­sorship).


In the words of one movie poster advertising this film, "As long as men love women, the posters of Sirens of the Sea will crowd your theatre. The female form in all its divinity enhanced by marvelous natural scenery." Another ad gushed, "Sirens of the Sea is the most allur­ing, seductive, eye-feasting picture of beautiful women ever put on any screen."

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