MOVIES WAY BACK WHEN: The First Movie Kid in Santa Barbara?

By Betsy J. Green

Possibly the earliest made-in-Santa-Barbara movie with a child was the 1910 silent film “The Fence on ‘Bar Z’ Ranch.” This was one of the dozen or so movies created by the Essanay Film Company during their three-month stay here. (The “Flying A” did not arrive here until 1912.)

The story involves a dispute between two landowners about the position of a fence along the property line. A young girl is shot and gravely injured. In the end, she survives, and the tragedy brings about a romance between the two property owners.

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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