Historical Photo: Silent Films on the Island

CATALINA ISLAND— Catalina Island’s Hollywood fame is no secret. Many films were shot on the island and many movie stars frequented the island, particularly during the 1930s. “The Love of an Island Maid” was one of the earliest movies filmed on the island, according to a blog post by Betsy Green, an author who specializes in local history. This photo comes from the official theater poster for the movie, a silent film released on May 13, 1912. According to Green, the film is about an island maiden named Catalina who sells seashells down by the seashore and while doing so, is attracted to a visiting yachtsman. He flirts with her and this causes problems with her island boyfriend. The men tussle in the sea, Catalina joins the tussle, and sends the boyfriend to the bottom, and rescues the yachtsman. She learns the yachtsman does not reciprocate her feelings, according to a synopsis by Moving Picture World, and she returns to selling seashells down by the seashore. The film has been lost to history, no copies of this one-reel movie are known to exist according to Green.

Theater poster image

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3 thoughts on “Historical Photo: Silent Films on the Island

  • 1912 was a big year for Bessie Eyton on Catalina. She made three other movies on the island this year: The Price of Art, The Professor’s Wooing, and Bessie’s Dream. (You know you’ve “made it” when they put your name in the title, eh?)
    There were about 200 silent films made on the island.

  • Lee Brown

    Is it legal to charter a boat to the island and sprinkle my loved one’s ashes in the ocean?



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