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Film / La Fiesta de Santa Barbara

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That's Judy on the left, singing about marijuana.

La Fiesta de Santa Barbara is a 1935 short film (18 minutes) directed by Louis Lewyn.

It was produced and narrated by Pete Smith as one of his Pete Smith Specialties. This one is purportedly a film of the annual "Old Spanish Days" festival in Santa Barbara, but in reality it appears to be a purely Hollywood production. Pete Smith, as narrator, introduces several acts. Andy Devine and none other than Buster Keaton have an extended comic sketch in which Devine fights a "bull" that's actually two people in a silly bull costume. Joe Morrison the singing cowboy sings a song, Maria Gambarelli the ballerina dances, and there are other songs and comedy bits.

This short is best remembered for featuring a 13-year-old Judy Garland singing "La Cucaracha" with her two sisters, who at that time performed together as The Garland Sisters. It also features a shocking number of cameos from MGM stars of the day.



  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Smith introduces Edmund Lowe and Gilbert Roland, two of the celebrity cameos, as "a capable couple of kibitzing caballeros."
  • Bandito: Leo Carrillo appears on horseback as a cartoonish parody of a bandito, in brownface, shooting his pistol around.
  • Born in the Theater: In his narration Pete Smith says that "in case somebody was climbing over you during the main title", the film takes place at the Fiesta of Santa Barbara.
  • Brownface: A couple of actors are made up to look like Native Americans during the song "The Last Roundup", and other actors are made up to look more Mexican.
  • The Cameo: Besides Buster Keaton (who had quite a bit of dialogue so this appearance can't really be called a "cameo"), and young Judy Garland singing with her sisters, other stars who pop up in this production include Harpo Marx, Gary Cooper, Robert Taylor, Ida Lupino, and other stars of the day.
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  • Cowboy: The Hollywood "singing cowboy" kind, as a guy named Joe Morrison appears in cowboy get-up singing a song called "The Last Roundup".
  • El Spanish "-o": Pete Smith wonders if the audience knows what the word "fiesta" means (1935, people). So he says "'Fiesta' is taken from the Spanish word fiesta, which means...fiesta."
  • Extra-Long Episode: Almost all of Pete Smith's shorts were only one reel (about 10 minutes) but this one is two.
  • Interactive Narrator: When Andy Devine appears onscreen, Pete Smith's narration introduces him. Devine says "Gosh, that sounds like Pete Smith's voice", and Devine banters with Smith's narration for a little bit.
  • Narrator: Pete Smith, doing his usual droll, sarcastic narration.
  • Toros y Flamenco: It's supposedly a celebration of Mexican culture in Santa Barbara, so naturally there has to be a fake bullfight, and a chorus of dancers doing the flamenco and clicking castanets.

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