Movies Way Back When: Flying A Folks Head South
By Betsy J. Green
In July 1916, Santa Barbara residents saw the following item in the local paper. “Fifty People Leave Santa Barbara Owing to Change at American Film … Changing their policy, ‘Flying A’ releases are five-reel pictures only,” announced the local paper.
I asked UCSB Prof. Dana Driskel for his insight. “The film industry was changing rapidly. Short films were out. Features were in … Unfortunately, this also meant that staff was being let go. Santa Barbara looked on uneasily as actors, directors and other artisans began to leave town in search of work … it was difficult for bit players, day laborers and other support staff to find work in Santa Barbara between jobs at ‘Flying A.’ In Los Angeles, support people could jump from studio to studio as jobs appeared. More and more ‘movie people’ began to leave for the south.”