Monday, May 16, 2011

MOVIE FANS: Silent Film Exhibit Opens at Old Orange County Courthouse

"On Location: Silent Films in Orange County," has opened at the old Orange County Courthouse in Santa Ana, CA. Presented by the Orange County Archives and OC Parks, the exhibit opened May 6 and runs through Aug. 5 at the 3rd Floor Museum Gallery at the Old County Courthouse, 211 W. Santa Ana Blvd., in downtown Santa Ana.

Between 1910 and 1928, the county says, OC might well have been called Hollywood's back lot, home to the production of hundreds of films, ranging from comic shorts and newsreels to full-length silent movies.

"The county's silent film history is vast, thanks to the proximity to Hollywood, its sweeping natural vista and pristine beaches. 'The Two Brothers,' filmed in 1910 at Mission San Juan Capistrano under the direction of legend D.W. Griffith, was the first motion picture filmed in Orange County. Movie greats Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, and native Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle all appeared in movies in OC, as well as Gilbert Roland, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Lon Chaney and Rudolph Valentino," the release says.

The exhibit includes photos, artifacts, props, movie posters, and replica costumes from Theda Bara's epic 'Cleopatra' and Douglas Fairbanks' 'The Mark of Zorro.'

Exhibit hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. The courthouse and the exhibit will be open for a special Saturday open house on June 4, from 1 to 4 p.m. A special screening of Buster Keaton's 'College,' beginning at 2 p.m., will be presented with accompaniment by Bill Campbell of the Orange County Theater Organ Society.

The OC Archives are overseen by the Orange County Clerk-Recorder Department. Jean Pasco is Director, Archives and Outreach. Questions, her e-mail is

As many of you know, I wrote the Foreword to Manny Pacheco's excellent book, "Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History" and it led to the "Forgotten Hollywood" radio show 3 p.m. Saturdays on KSPA/1510 AM and streamed at

Pacheco is a well-respected broadcaster who lives in Cypress. Lycan is the radio columnist for the Orange County Register and lives in Santa Ana. Both teach and advise at the Academy of Radio & Television Broadcasting in Huntington Beach. So our Orange County roots are familiar to those who know us, and we both share a passionate interest in film history.

To learn more about the book, the radio show, and local appearances, please visit Manny's site at

The making of films in Orange County is still a vibrant activity, many locations attracting top directors, producers and actors. Janice Arrington is our Orange County Film Commissioner who works tirelessly to create opportunities and supply location recommendations for films, commercials, TV shows. If you have an interest in filming in OC, contact her at



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