Movies Way Back When – Mermaids Uncovered and Unashamed

Motion Picture News, February 12, 1916 (Courtesy)
Dateline – March 1916
“The shores of Catalina Island furnished the settings of sandy beaches, rugged and jagged rocks.” – News Pilot (San Pedro, California), March 13, 1916
Mermaid movies were popular in the early silent movie years when ladies rarely showed their ankles on the streets, so movies about mermaids wearing just a few wisps of seaweed were considered hot stuff. Scenes for the mermaid movie “Undine” were filmed on Santa Cruz Island (seen here) and Santa Catalina Island.

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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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