Believe it or not, renting goat carts to travel around the Southern California beach amusement piers was once a popular entertainment.
In this scene from the Roscoe Arbuckle – Buster Keaton comedy The Cook (1918) (Milestone Film & Video), Buster assists Alice Lake from his cart beside the Goatland attraction at the Silver Spray Pier located along the Long Beach Pike.
Above is a full view of the Long Beach Pike, also known as The Walk of a Thousand Lights. Standing off from the Pike, the Long Beach Pine Avenue Pier and Pavilion appear in the water at the center, while the Silver Spray Pier, with its Jackrabbit Racer roller coaster, stands off from the Pike at the right. This coaster plays a major role in The Cook, and in Harold Lloyd’s comedy short Number Please? (1920), as discussed in my book Silent Visions.
This closer view shows mostly the Silver Spray Pier.
In this closer view above, at the back, you can discern the circular arched sign spelling out GOATLAND as it appears during the scene with Buster.
Toward the center of the Pike, the Looff Hippodrome dome tower (below) rises up near the entrance to the Jackrabbit Racer to the far right. The carousel was created by master carver Charles Looff in 1911. Among his other creations are the carousels still in use at the Santa Monica Pier and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in Northern California. The Looff family lived in an apartment above the carousel.
Harold Lloyd filmed several scenes from Number Please? at the Looff carousel (above left), as did Buster Keaton for scenes from The High Sign (released in 1921) (left).
Unlike other local carousels that were either completely indoors, or only open on one side, the Looff Hippodrome was open on three sides, providing sufficient light for filming. This likely explains why Keaton filmed his carousel joke at Long Beach, even while The High Sign movie was otherwise filmed entirely at the Abbot Kinney Pier in Venice. Lloyd also filmed scenes from Number Please? at the Abbot Kinney Pier.
The Hippodrome dome was spared, but no longer sits in the Long Beach parking lot near Pine Avenue and Seaside Way pictured above. Reader Charles Rogers reports that the cupola has been moved to some storage yard between the 710 freeway, 16th, Gaylord, and the Los Angeles River. You can see it behind a fence in Google Street View HERE.
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thank you for your blog. this is great idea from google.com
Nice, I’ve bookmarked the page in Digg under “Meet Buster in Goatland at the Silver Spray Pier | Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)”. Keep up with the good stuff.
Just saw Number, Please? last night and just knew you would have a tidbit or two about the amusement park! I knew Speedy had shots at Coney Island, and was trying to guess which coast these shots used. thank you 🙂 L G in Denver
Thanks Lynn. My book on Lloyd has a chapter about all of the SoCal beach amusement parks where Lloyd filmed. It also has a chapter about Speedy, which shows rides from Luna Park and Steeplechase Park at Coney Island, but the fun house was at Ocean Park in SoCal, and the “park” scenes involving the food and game booths were filmed at the Abbot Kinney Pier in Venice, CA.
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