Santa Cruz County History - Films

Full Text Newspaper ArticleSanta Cruz Evening News. Nov. 11, 1925. p. 3


by J. P. L.

In spite of rain, actual location work on Fox's 1926 "Johnstown Flood" began this morning. The arrival of Irving Cummings, Director-in-Chief, accompanied by his chief cameraman, George Schneiderman, and Jack Smith and Roy Davidson, "miniature men," at the St. George Hotel in the early morning hours signalized the inauguration of production activities.

The main body of the big Cummings unit will roll into Santa Cruz at seven o'clock tomorrow morning in its own special train which leaves the Southern Pacific depot in Los Angeles at 7:30 o'clock this evening. All members of this section, both players and technical staff, will thereupon establish Santa Cruz residence at the St. George Hotel, where this morning all accommodations were announced in readiness.

First for Fox

Director Cummings is accompanied to Santa Cruz by Mrs. Cummings. "The Johnstown Flood," Mr. Cummings informs the writer, marks his first production for Fox. "This picture will be "The Iron Horse" of 1926," he states. Mr. Cummings leaves the banner of First National, for whom he has done great things picturewise, to work under a Fox contract. For the former corporation the famed director has recently completed "The Desert Flower" with Colleen Moore, "Fool's Highway" with Mary Philbin--both decided successes--and "Flirtation" with Corinne Griffith, yet to be released.

Soquel to Figure

Soquelites, Director Cummings assures, can rest easy. Soquel, true, is to be the "Johnstown" of the big film production. The difference between Soquel and Johnstown, however, is to lie in the fact that Soquel is not really going to be flooded. The flood will take place in the Hollywood studio. That's why the miniature men are here today and touring the terrain with Director Cummings. They are photographing both mentally and filmatically, not only Soquel, but Bonny Doon, Empire Grade country and other local wooded spots for reconstruction in miniature in Hollywood preparatory to the final and actual unleashing of the historic devastating flood. All other action in the story will take place in this vicinity, with the exception of dam "shots" at Hetch-Hetchy.

"Picturesque," He Says

Then the interview. Director Cummings says that he is today getting the "feel" of the country--if you know what that means. He was here two weeks ago at the invitation of Bob Jones, through whose efforts the big production was swung to Santa Cruz from a southern location.

"Your surrounding country is the most picturesque I have yet traversed," he tells us. "It is especially ideal for this story, inasmuch as we have to do with the Alleghanies in Pennsylvania."

And then he throws some right-handed bouquets at Bob Jones, artistic hotellier. Bob, of his own volition and expense, recently took Photographer Sherer into mountain locations on a rainy day and registered "storm effects"--and also a tree-framed view of Soquel. These were dispatched to Director Cummings in Hollywood.

"Mr. Jones cannot be thanked too much for what he has done for us," the Director emphasizes. "He has the vital sense of the artistic. His photographs I exhibited widely among picture authorities at the studio. They absolutely thrilled our location men."

The day's tour was made under guidance of Johnny Mowry of the Santa Cruz Cab Company.

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