A long time ago when: “The House of Scandals” had legal problems

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By Betsy J. Green

This provocatively titled silent film was released by Santa Barbara’s “Flying A” studio in 1915. It was filmed in the first million-dollar “Bellosguardo” mansion when it was owned by the Graham family. (The current “Bellosguardo” mansion which is described in the book “Empty Mansions” by Bill Dedmon is the ver. 2.0 edition of the mansion, which was built after the 1925 earthquake.)

Before the internet, when the world wasn’t so connected, I’ve noticed a number of instances where two silent movies with the same or similar title were unknowingly released by two different studios. Often one was shot on the East Coast and the other on the West Coast. Such was the case with this film.

Shortly before “Flying A” released this movie, another studio released a movie called “The House of a Thousand Candles”, and that studio quickly sued the “Flying A”, forcing them to change the name to “House of Scandals”. ” Ultimately, the suit was decided in favor of the “Flying A.”


Betsy’s book Way Back When – Movies & Million-Dollar Mansions – is available now at local bookstores and on Amazon.com. This is the seventh book in his series on the history of Santa Barbara. Learn more at betsyjgreen.com.

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