During the Our Gang comedy Bouncing Babies (1929), Wheezer seeks to return his annoying baby brother to the hospital, unaware that the bundle snuggled in the crib is only a doll. In order to cross a busy intersection, Wheezer throws a handy light bulb onto the ground, tricking the drivers into stopping to check their tires long enough for him to push the crib across the street. Wheezer repeats this trick several times until he’s finally chased off by the cops (right). This scene was staged beside the Bacon Pharmacy, at the NE corner of Tabor and Motor Avenue in Palms, one of the most clearly recognizable film locations in the Our Gang canon. I was shocked to learn that as of a few days ago, this place is no more, another victim to “progress.”
The drug store was built sometime between 1910 and 1924, as it appears in Harold Lloyd’s Girl Shy released that year. Harold (well his stunt double, see above), races past the corner store as he struggles with an unspooling fire hose while attempting to remain on the back of a fire engine. The corner appears too in the 1926 Our Gang comedy Monkey Business (also above), and plays a prominent role in Dog Heaven, another silent Our Gang comedy from 1927, which includes scenes of the store’s interior. Below, from Dog Heaven, Wheezer, two years younger, exits the same store, while Joe Cobb purchases candy inside.
Below, from my Harold Lloyd book, a 1924 map by Dutch graphic artist Piet Schreuders showing Harold’s fire engine racing past the corner store on Tabor, and a photo from Hal Roach movie locations YouTube star Chris Bungo showing the lost store interior.
For over 90 years this modest little building helped time to stand still, where you could visit and imagine what once was. How sad we’ve lost another tangible link to the past.