Movies Way Back When: Raining on Cue

Movies Way Back When: Raining on Cue title=
(Image: Motion Picture, September 1918)
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By Betsy J. Green

When Santa Barbara’s “Flying A” film studio wanted to film a movie with rain in May, they had to make their own weather.

“It rained in two places — in front of the San Marcos Building and the First National Bank Building — and so hard that pedestrians … were forced to use their umbrellas. But it wasn’t regular rain … It was movie rain, and a man at the end of a hose controlled the precipitation with a twist of his wrist … it came down in bucketsful drenching the actors … and dampening the gown of the heroine of the piece, but not the interest of the throngs of spectators gathered thereabouts.” – Santa Barbara Daily News & Independent, May 10, 1918

The rain scenes were part of a “Flying A” movie titled “Hobbs in a Hurry” featuring the film studio’s handsome hunk, William Russell. One hopes that they warned the general populace before turning on the hose.

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​.
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