MOVIES WAY BACK WHEN: The Amazing Big Glass Studio

By Betsy J. Green

In 1919, a reporter from the movie magazine “Camera” visited the “Flying A” studio on the block surrounded by Mission, State, Padre, and Chapala streets. The writer marveled at the studio’s grounds. “One of the largest glass-covered studios in the world. Carried by trussed steel, the ground-glass roofs cover thousands of feet of spacious stages where there are often as many as 10 large sets constructed . . . The sets built on the stages are said by visitors from other film companies to be the equal of those used by any of the producing companies.’

“Truly, Santa Barbara may well feel proud of the beautiful ‘Flying A’ studios, both as an industrial asset to the business life of the city and as a wonderful showplace of interest to its thousands of visitors from every corner of the globe.” – Camera, September 18, 1919

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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