Way Back When: First X-rated Movie in Santa Barbara?

By Besty J. Green

The Hollywood rating system had not been invented yet, but in July 1914, the Mission Theater on State Street was not allowing unaccompanied minors to view the four-reel movie Sapho. (Among other things, the main character has a child out of wedlock.) 

This restriction was in spite of the fact that the paper noted that “the censorship board has eliminated all objectionable features . . . there is nothing of the objectionable character in the play. Many of Santa Barbara’s leading citizens saw the play last night and no one was heard to criticize it.”

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​.


Written by bjgreen

Betsy J. Green is a Santa Barbara historian and author. Her books are available in local bookstores, and at Amazon.com. (Shop local if you can.) Learn more at betsyjgreen.com.

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