Santa Cruz County History - Films

Full Text Newspaper ArticleSanta Cruz Evening News. Nov. 7, 1925. p. 1


by J. P. L.

A few days late, due to a last-minute revision of plans in Hollywood, the first contingent of the Irving Cummings unit of the Fox Film Corporation, in charge of Business Manager Benjamin Wurtzel, arrived in Santa Cruz at 7 o'clock this morning and domiciled at Hotel St. George to await the arrival at this hostelry on Wednesday of the main body of the Company. On the latter date actual filming, in Soquel and at other spots in the mountains in Santa Cruz' immediate vicinity, of "The Johnstown Flood," Fox's super-effort for the 1926 season, will commence.

With the exception of Mr. Wurtzel, who is a brother of Sol Wurtzel, General Manager of the Fox Corporation, this morning's arrivals consisted of the technical staff of the Cummings unit.

Within less than an hour after arrival the entire contingent had piled into automobiles of the Santa Cruz Cab Company, which, by the way, has been forced to add to its rolling stock to handle the big film company, and under guidance of Bob Jones, through whose perseverance and assistance the company was prevailed upon to come to Santa Cruz, and John Mowry of the auto company, journeyed forth to the Empire Grade. Here, all day, the film staff is working on the erection of one of the main outdoor sets for the film.

Mr. Wurtzel graciously took enough time from the rush of first day arrangements to explain to The News just what it was all about.

Cummings at Head

Irving Cummings, who will direct the big flood production, is accredited with many of the outstanding film successes of all time. He has only recently completed "The Desert Flower," with Colleen Moore and "Fool's Highway," with Mary Philbin.

Of the principal players who were in Santa Cruz with the Schertzinger Fox unit in the filming of "Thunder Mountain," only one will return with the Cummings company. He is Paul Panzer and he has written his friend, Earl Amos, that he's tickled to death at the prospects of the northern trip.

O'Brien's Sudden Rise

As has been said before in these columns, George O'Brien, son of San Francisco's popular Police Chief, will star in the big production. According to Mr. Wurtzel, O'Brien's meteoric rise in the motion picture game has recently been capped by the unanimous verdict of motion picture magazines that of all stars in the game during the past year, more fan inquiries concern O'Brien than any other player. O'Brien is a kid friend and pal of Pat Connor, former Santa Cruzan whose Dad still lives in Seabright, and the two of them broke into the cinema game as extras in Hollywood.

Ingenue lead will be handled by Jeannette Gaynor, Fox's most recent "find," and of whom unprecedented things are expected. Then there will also be Florence Gilbert, lead of the Van Bibber comedy series, who will handle a big "Johnstown Flood" role. Other principals in the company include Max Davidson, Anders Randolph, Paul Nicholson, Paul Panzer, Walter Perry, Sid Jordan, Georgie Harris and Elmo Billings--as the boy of the story in an important role.

Eighty People Here

The company will make an extended stay in Santa Cruz, after which they will journey to the Moccasin Creek Dam on the Hetch-Hetchy. Eighty people will be located in Santa Cruz, while, according to Mr. Wurtzel, one hundred local extras will be used. C. Woolstenhulme is Assistant Director, while Chief Cameraman is George Schneiderman, cinematographer of "The Iron Horse" and a recent Fox production, yet unnamed, which is expected to prove the greatest thing this Company has yet done.

The Company is carrying three baggage carloads of properties, three truckloads of the same, six electricians and a giant electric generator. Lumber and all necessary building materials will be purchased in Santa Cruz.

Those registering in this morning's arrivals are Fred Signor, H. Hassan, W. G. McNeil, H. J. Baker, Wm. Rosen, H. Otters, W. T. Mashmeyer, R. Howie, M. Stearns, L. Hammond, S. Wehmeir and B. Wurtzel.

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