Movies Way Back When: Goodwill Dance

By Besty J. Green

Perhaps because folks in Santa Barbara were growing weary of unannounced film stunts, such as cars driving in front of trains and “bank robberies” staged without prior notice, the “Flying A” studio held their first goodwill dance in January 1916.

For 50 cents, couples could dance on the studio’s new maple floor under a glass ceiling three stories high. Nearly 1,000 attended “one of the most delightful affairs imaginable.”

(The glass studio is on the left in the photo.)

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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