Keaton location to be demolished – photo help?

I just discovered where Keaton filmed a scene from Cops (1922), as Big Joe Roberts retrieves his wallet from Buster (but not its cash contents) by leaning out to grab it from a passing taxi.  The scene was filmed at the corner of Sunset and Detroit, a block diagonally from the Chaplin Studio.

Cops Sunset at Detroit pan

One apartment appearing in the scene is (momentarily) still standing, but I found online that a demolition permit for the building was issued just last week, on May 24, 2013.  [Update: the building site was completely demolished in early September.] The view looks east down Sunset from Detroit. The yellow oval marks the trees along Sunset in front of the mansion, north of the Chaplin Studio on La Brea, where Charlie’s brother Syd resided.

Click to enlarge. The red box and yellow oval match the above movie frame. The Chaplin Studio backlot shows a half-circus tent set built for Chaplin's 1928 feature The Circus     Click to enlarge. The red box and yellow oval match the above movie frame. The Chaplin Studio backlot shows a half-circus tent set built for Chaplin's 1928 feature The Circus

Click to enlarge. The red box and yellow oval match the above movie frame. The blue oval is a small real estate office, see below.  The Chaplin Studio backlot shows a tent built for Chaplin’s 1928 feature The Circus

Notice the little girl watching, sitting on the corner, and the telephone lineman above her.

Buster rides off with Joe’s taxi and cash.  Notice the little girl watching, sitting on the corner, and the telephone lineman above her. The corner real estate office (blue oval) appears in the aerial view above.

The apartment at 7130 W. Sunset Blvd. will not be standing much longer, but perhaps some Keaton fan in the Hollywood area could dash over and take some photos before it disappears.

This is the first time in 15 years that I have become aware of a location at the same time its demolition was imminent.

Thank you for any help –
John Bengtson

PS – no matter what, I love the fact that Buster filmed this scene around the corner from the Chaplin Studio!  Some how knowing this makes me appreciate Cops, Charlie, and Buster all the more.

UPDATE: As shown below, these two scenes with Joe’s wallet were filmed miles apart, here at Sunset and Detroit, and at the Bergstrom estate at 590 N. Vermont, where Harry Houdini filmed The Grim Game in 1919.

Cops pan 02

Sunset at Detroit (left) and 590 N. Vermont (right).

M. David Mullen ASC

A last view before the wrecking ball. Photo – M. David Mullen ASC

Cops licensed by Douris UK, Ltd.

Google Street View of the new construction.

This entry was posted in Buster Keaton, Chaplin Studio, Cops, Hollywood Tour and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Keaton location to be demolished – photo help?

  1. kellykilmer says:

    I know exactly where that is. It’s next to the library. Been there numerous times and had no idea about the Keaton connection. I’m reading this at 8:30 p.m. will go up there in the daylight tomorrow morning and take some pictures. My son is named after Keaton.


  2. kellykilmer says:

    It’s still here. The truck that is in your photo is still here too. 😛 We’re taking night shots.


  3. geogan says:

    I tried to get up there at lunch today but we had to many events going on today and I couldn’t peel myself away long enough to get up there. I attempted but ran into traffic so instead I came back down Alvarado and was able to take a couple quick pic’s of 914 from The Goat, which has undergone some cosmetic changes since your book was published. I could get back up to get some shots as soon as this Tuesday if you still have the need! Just let me know.


    • Hi David – thank you so much for considering this. A friend took some photos today with his phone, but I’m hoping some one with a camera will be able to grab some shots. I don’t want this to be a burden to any one, which is why I inquired of people living in the Hollywood area. If doing this some time fits in with your schedule that would be great, but at least I have the Google and phone photos. Thanks again, John


      • kellykilmer says:

        Hi John,
        My husband and I spent about an hour last night with our camera and tripod taking photos. I can send you some if you’d like. We weren’t going to go up there at night but after what happened with the Fairbanks/Douglas studios on The Lot, we figured we’d better go now. Like I said in the previous note, there is a truck that is in your photo parked in front. We’re going to keep an eye on it and see if it gets moved so we can get better shots.


      • Hi Kelly – I really appreciate you and David doing this. As I said to another volunteer, I don’t want this to be a burden to any one, but if you can grab some day time shots without crushing your schedule, I would really appreciate it. I enjoyed reading David’s comments about the new Star Trek movie – he articulated some things that were nagging at me. Best wishes, John


  4. Gregg says:

    I happen to be by the building this weekend (sorry I didn’t have a camera with me) but there was no scaffolding up yet so it’s not clear how eminent demolition is. I also noticed that the building next to looks vacant and is probably part of the new project. It has a sign saying “Art Laboe Original Sound Studio” so it may be historic as well though not directly related. If I’m back in the neighborhood this week I’ll take some photos for you.


  5. Hello all – I have received some wonderful “today” photos – thank you all very much. The demolition permit was applied for in late May, but it has not yet been issued. No matter, the building’s days are numbered. There seems to be an unsightly trailer parked in front of the place most of the time, although it does not show up in one of the images on Bing Street View. If you’d like to visit the place to pay your respects, or to try to catch a photo of your own without the trailer there, I would gladly receive further photographs. In any case, thank you all for your help – I truly appreciate it. Best to all, John


  6. so, i was up there on Sunset Blvd today and happened by this place. it’s being stripped down and ready for the bulldozer. i actually walked into the both buildings and the garage back there. in boxes, there are thousands of vinyl records, CDs… there Art Loboe’s full studio up there. there’s tons of original DAT recordings of famous classic songs. there’s even tons and tons of files just laying around waiting to get thrown away… files showing residuals paid for different well-known classic songs. ledgers. everything you can imagine. it’s like Art Loboe just picked up and walked out one day and left everything behind. it was spooking but really interesting.

    i didn’t know who Art Loboe was until i got home and looked up him and those buildings. apparently all three (the garage too) are of the same owner … which apparently was Art… who lived there and had the studio/record company next door.

    then looking around more online i found that there’s some film history with these buildings as well. wow. surprised they’re tearing them down.


    • Thank you for the update Sandy. Time does not stand still. I saw on his website that he owned the land on which the Durant Branch Library (on the other corner of Sunset and Detroit) was built. Thanks again, John


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