MOVIES WAY BACK WHEN: Silent Actor Nabbed for Speeding

By Betsy J. Green

One of the most famous silent movie actors was John Barrymore. (And yes, actress Drew Barrymore is his granddaughter.)

He visited here in 1919 for some R&R, but apparently cut loose on one of our local streets.

“John Barrymore, well-known American actor, and temporary visitor in Santa Barbara, was halted in his joyous flight out on East Haley Street yesterday afternoon. Traffic Officer Williams was stern in his decision that Mr. Barrymore was pushing a bit heavy on the throttle of his machine.” Barrymore was fined $10.

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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