Santa Cruz County History - Films

Full Text Newspaper ArticleSanta Cruz Sentinel-News, Morning Edition. Aug. 23, 1917. p. 4


by Josephine Clifford McCrackin

There are many different motion picture companies. There is one that came to Santa Cruz calmly counting on the good little city to furnish some $60,000 to put boots on it, and enable it to march away. But we have a Chamber of Commerce here.

One other company sent its representatives to Santa Cruz to look over the studio grounds at Laveaga Park, for the use of which it expected to pay, in case the studio conveniences suited their purposes.

This was the Beatriz Michelena Company, a company owning the Michelena Flat (known formerly as Poverty Flat), for outside work amid romantic mountain scenery, and owning the San Rafael studio for elegant interior scenes.

This company was lately spoken of in the columns of this paper, and the progress of the Western play, which Earle Snell has written for her, might be of interest to the many friends Beatriz Michelena has found in Santa Cruz. In the cast of "The Dead Line" we find many of the names familiar to us from the days when Bret Harte's "Lily of Poverty Flat," and "Salomy Jane" were filmed here. "The Dead Line" might have been written by Bret Harte; but then Earle Snell is a Californian born, and has grown up within California. Perhaps in no other play does the interest so center around the heroine, and around the cowboy-hero, William Pike, leading man, as in this play. Cliff Thompson, another worshipper of the heroine, is also a new member of the company.

The plot of the play is the struggle of the cattle king to drive out the homesteaders who, in cultivating the land, destroy the free grazing lands of the cattle owners. The father of "Star Dowell," (Miss Michelena) is killed in a raid, and the daughter to avenge him, plays an outlaw's part, on the road; while in her home she is still Star Dowell.

The cattle king, Mr. Morrison in real life, is a new member; so is Miss A. 'Uerna; but Katherine Angus is of the former company, and so is D. Mitsora, who is so fierce a Mexican with his big mustache. Clarence Arper is again a "wild one," and Jeff Williams plays the homesteader well.

When I speak of Mr. Pike, the leading man, as a new member, I mean that he was not in the cast of the "Lily." From the Dramatic Mirror of New York, August 4th, I see that he has been Miss Michelena's leading man for nearly two years.

The Dramatic Mirror also speaks of Geo. E. Middleton, who was director even in the days of the old California Picture Corporation.

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