Santa Cruz County History - Films

Full Text Newspaper ArticleSanta Cruz Evening News. July 7, 1925. p. 3


Members of the Victor Schertzinger troupe of the Fox Film Corporation, now filming "Thunder Mountain" in the vicinity of Santa Cruz, returning to the St. George Hotel late last evening from location in Paradise Park brought thrilling tales of a battle with a stubborn forest blaze which for a time threatened not only their equipment but a big portion of the most heavily wooded section of beautiful Paradise Park.

The exact cause of the blaze is as yet a mystery. Flames were first noticed about twenty-five feet from where a scene was in progress of being photographed. Members of Glen MacWilliams' camera squad were first on the scene to do battle with the blaze. Carl Maus quickly grabbed miscellaneous sacks, pieces of canvas,--anything that was lying loose,--soaked them in water and apportioned them to the technical staff and actors close at hand with instructions to beat the flames incessantly until all fire was out. Anthony Ugrin assisted him. So did Camera Chief Glen MacWilliams.

Leslie Fenton arrived home shirtless saying that his garment was used as a flame weapon. Even Madge Bellamy was using a wet sack in beating the flames. For a time, the fire fighters state, things looked pretty blue,--especially when the blaze hit a pine tree and transfigured the latter into a veritable seething torch. The threatening blaze was only finally controlled by the construction of a fire trail directly in the path of the flames by axes, shovels, other tools in the hands of Director Schertzinger, Billy Tummell, Larry Fisher, Duke Goux and others.

An area of approximately 100 square feet was burned ere the flames were extinguished.

A tired crew later sent a hurried call to the St. George for coffee and sandwiches with the result that ZaSu Pitts and Arthur Housman, who were taking a day off, hopped into the former's car loaded to the gunwale with the needed hot groceries. The rescue trip was made in five minutes.

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