Movies Way Back When: Cars and stars at the Flying A

By Besty J. Green

Of course, if you’re a movie star, you can’t just drive any old car. The star ingenue at the “Flying A,” Mary Miles Minter had a peacock blue Packard, for example.

William Russell, the leading actor at the studio, also had a spiffy set of wheels. He poses here in front of the “Flying A” studio.

That building is still here at Mission and Chapala, and still looks pretty much the same today as it did 100 years ago. Not sure what happened to the car.

Betsy’s Way Back When book — 1919 — is now available in local bookstores and at This is the sixth book in her series of the history of Santa Barbara, one year at a time. Learn more at​.


Written by bjgreen

Betsy J. Green is a Santa Barbara historian and author. Her books are available in local bookstores, and at (Shop local if you can.) Learn more at

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