MOVIES WAY BACK WHEN: “For the Crown” filmed in Montecito

By Betsy J. Green

Some of the earliest silent films that Santa Barbara’s “Flying A” studio filmed in Montecito were costume dramas. One million-dollar mansion in particular was perfect for the 1913 movie “For the Crown,” which was set in France in the 1600s. It was one of about 18 silent movies filmed at the famed Gillespie estate.

In a radio interview with KZSB’s Elizabeth Stewart last month, I mentioned that it was fairly common for Santa Barbara residents to watch movies being filmed, even on the large estates. (These estates had fewer privacy and security issues a century ago.) One movie magazine wrote, “As is usual on outside locations, a crowd gathered to witness the taking of the picture.” – Motography, September 6, 1913.

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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