Santa Cruz County History - Films

Full Text Newspaper ArticleSanta Cruz Evening News. Oct. 23, 1923. p. 6


Crashing to earth from an 800-foot altitude yesterday, when their engine "went bad," two intrepid flyers, Dick Grace and Norman DeVoe, both of the Tom Mix Company now making movies in the Santa Cruz Mountains, furnished a thriller that did not go down on celluloid.

Dick Grace, the pilot, and DeVoe, a camera man, are alive and uninjured today save for a severe shaking up, while the airplane in which the flyers had been zooming over the mountain and woodland region adjacent to Bonny Doon for the purpose of photographing a second plane, also in the air, is almost a total wreck.

That there were no fatalities is but one of the unexplained "good luck" stories of aviation annals. By cool maneuvering, Grace, an expert stunt man, volplaned and fell with the plane and, just missing a tall tree, landed the plane abruptly on the side in a clearing of sandy soil near Bonny Doon.

An expensive Akley camera, in charge of DeVoe, also escaped damage.

The plane is now minus its propeller. One wing is smashed to a thousand pieces, and the fuselage snapped in two.

The director, star and a horde of actors were filming scenes about four miles away, nearer Bonny Doon, at the time of the accident, and were not apprised of the smash until later.

It is believed that production will not be seriously delayed in spite of the fact that the plane wrecked was to have been employed in a smash-up several days hence. This is the second instance of "fortunate misfortune" since the coming of the troupe, the first being the instance in which Tom Mix and his horse, Tony, were injured, but not seriously, by a premature dynamite blast.

Copyrighted by the Santa Cruz County Sentinel. Reproduced by permission.