The image of Harold Lloyd hanging desperately from the hands of a skyscraper clock during Safety Last! (1923) is one of the greatest icons in all of film history. Using maps, aerial views, and vintage photographs, my book Silent Visions shows how Harold filmed each of his five stunt-climbing comedies within the downtown Los Angeles Historic Core, while documenting the burgeoning urban skyline as it appears in the background of his films. I had the honor of introducing Safety Last! in 2016 at the Orpheum Theater as part of the Los Angeles Conservancy’s Last Remaining Seats. Below, from my YouTube Channel, a fully updated video tour, showing Harold’s climb atop 5 buildings in downtown LA, and many other locations.
The slides below from the YouTube video show how the many Safety Last! stunts were created, as well as where Harold filmed near Exposition Park and USC, and many places in Hollywood, including the Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd Alley below. You can access HERE a self-guided walking tour of the downtown locations appearing in Safety Last!, Never Weaken, and Feet First. (In all Lloyd employed 17 downtown buildings during his “thrill” comedies – see a PDF list of descriptions here).
[Note: on the ground, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd filmed scenes from their masterpieces The Kid (1921), Cops (1922) and Safety Last! at the same Hollywood alley you can still visit today. Hollywood Heritage plans to celebrate the Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd Alley with a GoFundMe campaign to install signs, a plaque, and even an honorary mural. https://gofund.me/e712eed1 Cheers to Hollywood Heritage, a California nonprofit public benefit 501(c)(3) corporation. If you want to honor a favorite star, or to recognize Hollywood’s origins and hidden history, please consider making a tax-deductible donation, and please share this campaign.]
I encourage you to watch the Safety Last! YouTube, and to check out the many other silent location videos posted about Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and the Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd Alley on the Silent Locations YouTube Channel.
You can check out my other posts about Safety Last! here.
A short segment from the Locations and Effects 2013 documentary with Academy-Award winning effects supervisor Craig Barron and the author filmed for the Criterion Collection release of the Safety Last! Blu-ray appears below.
To see where Harold filmed his amazing comedies, be sure to check out my book Silent Visions.
If you need a good laugh, or want to raise your spirits, just listen to Michael Mortilla’s audio-only recording of the audience laughing and squealing with delight while watching Safety Last! It’s great to play as background music – the swells and squeals of laughter just grow and grow.
HAROLD LLOYD images and the names of Mr. Lloyd’s films are all trademarks and/or service marks of Harold Lloyd Entertainment Inc. Images and movie frame images reproduced courtesy of The Harold Lloyd Trust and Harold Lloyd Entertainment Inc.
Hollywood Heritage plans to celebrate the Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd Alley and has launched a GoFundMe campaign to install signs, a plaque, and even an honorary mural. https://gofund.me/e712eed1 Cheers to Hollywood Heritage, a California nonprofit public benefit 501(c)(3) corporation. If you want to honor a favorite star, or to recognize Hollywood’s origins and hidden history, please consider making a tax-deductible donation, and please share this campaign. You may also show support by posting a review on Google Maps. Prototype alley sign design by noted Dutch graphic artist – Piet Schreuders. Download a 4-page brochure HERE. This video further explains the alley – if you can, please share with others and leave a thumbs up.
The site of the clock set, built on the roof of 908 S. Broadway on Google Maps.