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Movies & Million-Dollar Mansions, Behind the Scenes at the "Flying A," & Silents on the Islands


Image: Film Index, March 19, 1910

Saloon Men vs. Movie Men

Misunderstandings between film folks and Santa Barbara, CA residents started even before the "Flying A" settled here in 1912. The Essanay film company was filming here for several months in 1910, and accidentally caused some trouble.

A couple of local tavern owners mistakenly thought that the Essanay film company was making an anti-liquor documentary here when they were actually making a comedy called Method in His Madness. The movie scene involved a man who fainted outside a saloon and then was given a drink to recover. "Some of the saloon men and their friends thought the motion picture company was trying to bring disgrace to the city by picturing a drunken brawl with a liquor house for the background." – Santa Barbara Morning Press, January 26, 1910

One of the protesting saloon owners then stole a piece of the motion picture camera. Finally, the mayor and the chief of police stepped in and prevented the conflict from escalating into open warfare, and the film company promised to avoid making movies in front of the saloon.

A couple of years later, when the "Flying A" film studio settled in Santa Barbara, the misunderstandings started again. (More about that in future posts.)

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