Movies Way Back When: Vitagraph Corp. Films Here

By Betsy J. Green

Santa Barbara’s “Flying A” studio was not the only company filming in our area. In 1920, the Vitagraph Corporation of Los Angeles traveled to Montecito to film scenes for “A Master Stroke” at the Montecito Club at 920 Summit Road, and some of the million-dollar mansions around there.

In the movie, a socially connected young man, who has more time than money or brains, manages his friend’s stock brokerage business while the friend is out of town. The young man recklessly lends some valuable bonds to his friend’s business rival. Oops! But at the last minute, the savvy office secretary saves the day.

This is one movie that does not end at the altar. Why not? Perhaps because the savvy secretary is smart enough to know that the brainless guy is not a good investment. There are no existing copies of this film.

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​.


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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