Santa Cruz County History - Films

Full Text Newspaper ArticleSanta Cruz Sentinel-News, Morning Edition. May 22, 1928. p. 4


by Preston Sawyer

Santa Cruz turned out en masse on Sunday in response to the picnic invitation of the Art Rosson unit of the Fox Films company, producing "The Farmer's Daughter" here. At Isbel grove, the sylvan setting selected for rural picnic scenes to be incorporated into the photoplay, an expected crowd of 300 was on hand early. By ten o'clock the crowd had grown to 700 and more were pouring in. By three o'clock an estimated assemblage of 2,000 people thronged the grove, making perhaps the greatest gathering ever known on the historic property.

An actual account showed that 542 automobiles were parked at one time within the grove and along the entrance road. Nineteen wagons and horse-drawn conveyances, some of ancient origin, were noted. Countless numbers of people journeyed on foot to the appointed place. It was freely predicted that had the morning dawned bright and clear, the turn-out would have been doubled.

Officials of the company are profuse in their expressions of gratification at the wonderful response of the Santa Cruz public.

Lack of Sun Bested with Aid of Artificial Light

The great generator equipment was early placed in operation and aided by artificial light before the sun broke through, many scenes were filmed of the various activities attendant upon an old-time picnic. Every angle of motion picture direction, photography and action was watched with greatest interest. Director Art Rosson, with his staff of assistants: Joe August, George Meehan, Joe Kealy, cameramen and their aides; Cy Adams and his electricians--all drew their own interested groups of spectators. Hundreds of Santa Cruzans present had never before observed a motion picture in the making.

Assisting the movie makers in all the rural scenes filmed was an abundance of local talent, all garbed in typical farming and old-time costumes.

All the horse-drawn vehicles were used in scenes showing the arrival of many farm groups at the big picnic. Many excellent group and mob scenes were made of those present and many of these scenes will be shown in the finished photoplay as part of the picnic sequence.

Free Eats Counter Busy Place

The farm bureau took much interest in the program part of the day. Frank Burns was in charge of the "free eats" distributed by the movie people to their guests. Large quantities of hot dogs and buns, popcorn, peanuts, ice cream and soda pop were passed out. It was necessary to replenish the supply several times as the crowds increased beyond expectations, and the effort was made to serve as many of those present as was possible. No attempt was made to police the immense crowd, yet there were no serious accidents to mar the day. Myriads of small boys were on hand, and it is not surprising that they hovered near the pop and ice cream. There were a few minor riots among them, with the result that Frank Burns and his associates were hard put to it to gain the upper hand.

But taking it all in all, it was a wonderful day. An excellent spirit prevailed--a spirit of interest of co-operation, of friendliness and camaraderie.

Film Features

A specially constructed platform was the scene of old-fashioned dancing, which was filmed . An old-timers' orchestra figured here; Ned Geason, fiddle; Al Fisher, cornet, and Dad Seymour, accordion. On this platform in the afternoon, judging was done and prizes awarded.

Henry Zuckerman, business manager of the unit, was in charge of sports and announces prize awards as follows: $15 prize for catching pig, Earl McGee; a special $5 prize to Joe Affonso (this was awarded following first pig contest, when it was decided to film another scene for the photoplay. A group of 12 or 15 boys who assisted were paid for their efforts.)

The prize of $15 for best rural female character was awarded to Mrs. Ada Bastedo of Seabright. Second went to Mrs. E.E. Kirby. Special additional prizes were awarded to L. McDonald, Vern Stansbury, H. Stansbury, L. Jameson, F. Turner and J. Warren.

The best rural male character prize of $10 was awarded to E.E. Kirby. Second went to Col. Dorsey.

Special additional prizes, F.Ferrari, O.E. Hubbard, Frank Ferguson; second, Chas. Batchelder, C.A. Kearns, L.C. Newcomb, G.R. Turner, Martin Horne, G. Fornaro and F. Alexander.

Cutest baby prize went to little Mary Dale Horne.

First prize for the best rural two-horse wagon went to Frank Ferguson; second, Chas. Batchelder. A special prize in this class went to Ada Bastedo. In the one-horse vehicle group C.A. Kearns captured first prize with an antiquated whatchamaykalit. A Stanton gathered in second and M. Engerson a special.

Fox Folk Grateful

In conversation with the writer last night Manager Henry Zuckerman said, "I wish it were possible by means of the press, to convey in the fullest measure the real and sincere gratification we feel at such a wonderful outpouring of people. We were confident we would be lucky if we had 300. But you came in such numbers, it literally took our breath away. I can conscientiously say it was the best-behaved and happiest-spirited large crowd I have ever seen. For the Art Rosson unit of Fox Films as a whole and also personally, I want to thank you."

Mr. Zuckerman spoke gratefully of a dinner invitation from President Rudy Schwarzmann of the local chamber of commerce, which he was unable to accept. He particularly stressed the appreciation felt for the interest and co-operative spirit of the chamber of commerce, and with it the local tradesmen with whom he has had dealings.

Copyrighted by the Santa Cruz Sentinel-News, Morning Edition. Reproduced by permission.