Movies Way Back When: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Image: Pancho Villa, courtesy of the Library of Congress title=
Image: Pancho Villa, courtesy of the Library of Congress
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By Betsy J. Green

This was according to a beat poet in 1970, but the Mexican Revolution was shown on the big screen at Santa Barbara’s Mission Theater in April 1914, where the main feature was billed as, “Mexican War Pictures . . . Actual photographs of the present war, the pictures taken on the battle line. Biggest and best pictures ever shown of the great Mexican rebellion.”

The Mexican general Pancho Villa had signed a movie contract with the Mutual Film Company in January, 1914, and battle scenes were seen on Main Streets (and State Streets) everywhere in the United States.


Betsy's Way Back When book -- 1919 -- is now available in local bookstores and at Amazon.com. This is the sixth book in her series of the history of Santa Barbara, one year at a time. Learn more at betsyjgreen.com​.

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GrammaSB Aug 15, 2020 09:01 PM
Movies Way Back When: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

There was El Patio Menswear at some point at Azteca Restaurant on the next block I think. The Mission Theatre had great movies as well as concerts on occasion, I recall hearing stories of
Jose Alfredo Jimenez performing one of Mexicos greatest composers. Good Times when State Street was fun.

doulie Aug 16, 2020 09:00 AM
Movies Way Back When: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

I think El Patio was mid-block on the west side of State Street, may have been in the same block as Al's Western Wear. I have a vague recollection of a restaurant on the east side of the 600 block State but not the name/location. Regarding the shoe shine stand, I now remember "Willy" would have an assistant on weekends, a big young guy & I believe his name was "Sonny." You are 100% correct, "these were the good times when State Street was fun."

doulie Aug 15, 2020 11:10 AM
Movies Way Back When: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

I believe the Mission Theater on/about the 600 block State Street only showed showed Spanish language movies. Walking up towards Ortega Street from the theater there was a barber shop and a pool hall next to the theater. Also on the same side of the street as the theater was "Willy's" shoe shine stand, a small wooden and covered platform enough for two customers. At the time (60's) there may have been an empty lot next to Willy's and next to the lot was a business that I recall was named Al's Western Wear. In addition to western clothing, Al use to supply local police with their uniforms and leather gear. There was a pawn shop close to this area. When it was closed I believe there was a steel accordian style metal "gate" at the sidewalk to block off the entryway to the business.

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