Movies Way Back When: Courting Disaster

By Betsy J. Green

During the filming of the “Flying A” silent movie, “The Decision,” an actor was playing the part of a drunken judge.

As the actor staggered toward the courthouse, “a crowd gathered, and . . . began to hoot and yell and run at his heels. Then the mob saw the camera, and so many members of it wanted to get their picture taken at once” that they spoiled the take. – Motography, July 3, 1915

(The courthouse in this movie was the one that was replaced by the present courthouse in the late 1920s.)

Betsy’s Way Back When book — Movies & Million-Dollar Mansions — is now available in local bookstores and at This is the seventh book in her series on the history of Santa Barbara. 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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