MOVIES WAY BACK WHEN: New book about local movies

By Betsy J. Green

“Movies & Million-Dollar Mansions – Silent movies made in Montecito, CA” has just been published by yours truly. (It was one of my Covid-lockdown projects.)

Nineteen movie studios traveled from the Hollywood area (plus two from Santa Barbara) to film more than 60 movies at the estates in Montecito.

The movies began with a religious theme in 1911, then came melodramas and adventure, and ended in 1928 with a jazz-age movie based on a Broadway musical.

The chapter for each movie contains a lively synopsis, behind-the-scenes info, and photos from the movie and the million-dollar mansion where it was filmed.

Just the facts – 65 movies, hardcover, 245 pages, 450 images, $24.95. Signed copies available at Chaucer’s and the Mesa bookstore. Copies also at

(In a way, this book got started way back in 2013 when I first started posting about local history on Edhat. As I looked through the Santa Barbara newspapers 100 years ago, I was amazed at how many silent movies were being filmed in our area .)

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​.

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