Santa Cruz County History - Films

Full Text Newspaper ArticleSanta Cruz Evening News. Aug. 25, 1923. p. 2


Lightening Comedies.

by Preston Sawyer

Such is the original brand name for a new Santa Cruz product. Tracy Productions, an unassuming yet energetic and progressive, newly-formed moving picture producing company is the source thereof. And they have chosen Santa Cruz as the ideal background for their busy activities.

Little has been said and less written thus far concerning Tracy Productions, but judging from the merits of the first two-reel comedy, just completed and previewed here, this ambitious young company possesses the uncommon ability to "deliver the goods." We find little hesitancy in suggesting that splendid things may be looked for from them, not only in steady growth, but also in an early arrival at a place of prominence in the field of comedy producers. At present the studio is located within the Casino building.

The chief comedian, and for whom the company is named, is Bert Tracy, an inimitable funster. Due strongly to the efforts of Tracy, who knows Santa Cruz and is known here, the company was formed to produce in this field. Scenic advantages, superb climatic conditions, variety in unusual backgrounds--all have worked their spell, and Tracy Productions' "Lightening Comedies" came into being.

Before and since the time he wrote and directed the war-time film, "Cleared For Action," in co-operation with the U. S. Navy, Bert Tracy has worked extensively in comedies, in addition to furnishing comedy relief in special productions. A recent example of his work, as a jockey in "The Kentucky Derby," a super-feature, was exhibited not long ago at the Unique Theater.

Vernon Dent, a popular and well known member of the Hollywood film comedy, was engaged especially for the comedy heavy in the first "Lightening" release. The rotund comedian has appeared in a variety of highly successful comedies as well as in many heavier features. Among the latter, he has been in "Hail The Woman," "Soul Of The Beast," and others. Just previous to coming to Santa Cruz, Dent finished an important engagement with Mack Sennett, having appeared opposite Mabel Normand in "The Extra Girl," not yet released.

Glen Lambert, directing the local comedies, was also recruited from Los Angeles. Prior to a period of important directorial work with the William Fox forces in Hollywood and at the Cosmosart Studio there, Lambert had worked with Bert Tracy on a series of "Sunbeam" comedies made in the East.

The principal feminine role in the initial Lightening Comedy, as yet untitled, is in the hands of Miss Iolanthe, an eccentric comedienne whose most recent work has been in the "Pop Tuttle" comedies featuring Dan Mason. This series was filmed in San Francisco and down the Peninsula.

A bevy of beauties, Gladys McConnell, Beth Mitchell, Bernice Clifford, and Dorothy Knox serve admirably as attractive bathing girls.

The all-important camera is presided over by George Richter, who comes also from Hollywood with a successful record of two years with Billy Franey Comedies, filming 104 subjects there, not to mention engagements with Texas Guinan and Snookee animal comedies.

Bill Holland, assistant director, was loaned to Tracy Productions by the authorities of Universal City, where Holland is under contract.

Charles Taggert is an efficient business manager.

With a personnel of successful, experienced people in all branches of the local unit there is every reason to believe that Tracy Productions Company will become a real business asset.

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