By Miriam Raftery
February 13, 2011 (La Mesa) – One hundred years ago, the Flying A silent movie studio opened its doors in downtown La Mesa. The studio produced over 150 silent films in 1911 and 1912, including some shot in La Mesa, other East County locations, and San Diego.
Allan Dwan, a writer who got his start in La Mesa by replacing a drunkard director to establish the local studio, later become a famous Hollywood director of such famed talking films as The Sands of Iwo Jima starring John Wayne and Heidi with Shirley Temple. He also directed Ronald Reagan in films such as Cattle Queen of Montana.
Most La Mesa residents are unaware of the colorful tales from their community’s silent movie-making past. Now, Wade Douglas wants to change that.