Santa Cruz County History - Films

Full Text Newspaper ArticleSanta Cruz Sentinel-News, Morning Edition. June 10, 1916. p. 3


A score of Santa Cruzans turned movie actors yesterday in helping to film "The Smuggler's Awakening," a thrilling one-reeler which the Santa Cruz Film Producing Company is completing this week, under the direction of Leon D. Kent. These local "first timers" acquitted themselves with great credit in following out the orders of Mr. Kent in putting on the various scenes. We are safe, absolutely, in saying that most of the characters needed no make-up whatsoever. They were the "reel" articles, as for instance, the group of fishermen gathered from the wharf headed by George Ripp, who will show up in giant form in the film. E. V. Moody and others worked in the exciting chapters. There were other local people who took part in the band of smugglers who lived and dwelt in caves and caverns along the rugged cliffs, where the smuggling boats could operate undetected.

The story as written by Mr. Kent is a very interesting one. A bank clerk lives beyond his means and gets into a battle with John Barleycorn, who seems to show superiority in the clinches. Debauches lead to his dismissal from the bank. His wife is neglected, poorly clothed and scantily fed until she is sick and weak. The husband asks her for the watch fob left by her father when he died, so that he can sell it to buy booze. The wife makes a dash to the dresser and grasps the locket. The excitement brings death and she falls to the floor. The bank clerk thinks he has killed her and takes the first train to parts unknown.

The little boy of the family, not realizing the seriousness of the situation, plays by the side of his dead mother, finally picking up the locket. He toddles out into the street and climbs into a taxi. The taxi driver is not aware of his little passenger until he arrives home. The child is adopted.

Twenty years elapse and the father becomes king of the smugglers. The son, grown up, is a U. S. Customs officer who starts out to find the smuggler's den among the cliffs. He becomes infatuated with the daughter of a fisherman. One day he is seeking for the smugglers' den when he is accosted by the law breakers and forcibly taken down into their cave, where lots are drawn to see who will shoot him. By means of the locket the chief of the band discovers the officer to be his son. The execution is stayed.

The fisherman's daughter sees her lover dragged into the den. She tells her father, who in turn notifies the sheriff, and the fishermen are gathered and armed for the raid. There is excitement in every foot of the film. The smugglers are attacked underground. The leader is fatally shot and as he is dying asks his son to forgive him and forget him.

The caves on the Cliff Drive at the end of the car line afford a perfect spot for the spectacular work. The smugglers can be seen going and coming from their cave, which has two outlets, one at the top and the other opening on the water side. An interior was taken showing the officers coming down into the cave. At one of the caves while a scene was being enacted an extra large wave butted in and treated the actors to a bath without cost.

The leading parts are taken by Miss Nan Christy, Mrs. Connolly and Messrs. Kent, Connolly and Unger. Scenes will be taken at the old wharf this morning, when one of the Faraola launches will play a part. A skiff will also be taken to the cave on the cliffs for another scene.

Director Kent rushes the work along with wonderful skill and ability, and with an able corps of leading actors and actresses the work goes smoothly and without a hitch. It was a big day's work yesterday. The intention is to complete this film today, as Mr. Kent does not believe in Sunday work.

Out on the cliffs yesterday there were scores of people who watched the actions as the pictures were being taken, and all showed a great deal of interest. From what was seen yesterday "The Smuggler's Awakening" will be as lively as the best one-reelers that have ever been shown on a screen.

Copyrighted by the Santa Cruz Sentinel-News, Morning Edition. Reproduced by permission.