Comedy fans are cheering the sparkling DVD release of 18 early Charley Chase talkie comedy shorts. Featuring Charley in top form, beautiful prints, and insightful bonus commentary, Charley Chase: At Hal Roach: The Talkies Volume One 1930-31, is simply fantastic. You should buy a copy now to help ensure future volumes will be released.
This post covers Charley in Fast Work (1930), co-starring June Marlowe before she would soon debut in her immortal screen role as Our Gang schoolteacher Miss Crabtree in Teacher’s Pet (1930). June agrees to go out with Charley if he can first get her dad’s permission. Only Charley tries to impress the wrong man, a dapper mental asylum escapee he mistakenly thinks is the father.
The lunatic, played by Dell Henderson, acquires Mr. Marlowe’s identity, portrayed by Charles K. French, when they accidentally knock each other down at a blind corner (above), and exchange business cards as a courtesy (Henderson left, French right, below). The print is so clear you can read Orange Grove Ave. on the street sign. The crash was staged beside the Orange Grove Apartments at 7850 Sunset Boulevard.
Moments later, Charley drops June off at the Guasti Mansion, 3500 West Adams Boulevard (LAPL below right).
The grounds may appear familiar to Laurel and Hardy fans, as it was here the duo filmed Another Fine Mess later that year. The mansion was built in 1910 by Secondo Guasti, and was later owned by film choreographer Busby Berkeley. The mansion is now home to the Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens and is open for tours.
The mansion appears in numerous films, including Stan Laurel’s early solo silent comedy White Wings (1923) (above left), and again in the Charley Chase DVD set during What A Bozo! (1931) (lower right).
Above, matching scenes from Another Fine Mess (Thelma Todd and Charles K. Gerrard upper left and Harry Bernard right) and Fast Work with Charley and June lower left and arriving by taxi, center.
This shot of Charley at the mansion front steps matches Laurel and Hardy fleeing the mansion wearing a wildebeest costume during Another Fine Mess.
Above, overjoyed when June agrees to give him a chance, Charley spies a statue of Venus on the front lawn of the mansion, and runs to caress the lovely figure.
When Charley spies the Venus statue, the historic Wilfandel house at 3425 W. Adams across the street appears in view. Now home to The Wilfandel Club, you can read more about the home at the wonderful Historic Los Angeles Adams Boulevard blogpost for 3425 HERE.
A suspicious cop (Pat Harmon) checks out Charley and then chases after him. Looking NW, these homes at back along 6th Avenue north of Adams are still standing.
Fleeing the cop, Charley and the lunatic also accidentally knock each other down, this time beside the Havenhurst Apartments at the corner of Whitley Avenue and Franklin Avenue. This classic Hollywood apartment stands nearly 12 miles away from the Guasti mansion on Adams appearing in the immediately prior scene.
The escapee offers Mr. Marlowe’s card to Charley as his own. Delighted to meet June’s “father,” Charley takes the lunatic to lunch with hilarious consequences.
Last, a brief traveling shot of Charles French as Mr. Marlowe walking beside the Orange Grove Apartments, on the way to meet his daughter.
You can read all about the Los Angeles hills and tunnels appearing in the concluding scenes from Another Fine Mess (above) at this post HERE.
Fast Work © 1930 Sonar Entertainment, LLC. Produced by Richard M. Roberts and Kit Parker.
Charley Chase: At Hal Roach: The Talkies Volume One 1930-31, titles include The Real McCoy, Whispering Whoopee, All Teed Up, Fifty Million Husbands, Fast Work, Girl Shock, Dollar Dizzy, Looser Than Loose, High C’s, Thundering Tenors, The Pip from Pittsburg, Rough Seas, One of the Smiths, The Panic Is On, Skip the Maloo!, What a Bozo!, and The Hasty Marriage, with bonus comedy “La Señorita de Chicago” (Spanish version of “The Pip from Pittsburg”).
The Gausti Mansion at 3500 West Adams Boulevard today – the formal front lawn and garden is now a parking lot.
Magnificent quality on this new set. I too noticed that you can actually read “Orange Grove” on the street sign, that’s just how clear a transfer this is. Let’s hope that there will be many more volumes to come. Thanks for posting this John. I just finished watching and searching the locations about 10 minutes prior to you posting this. If I had waited another hour, I could have saved myself some work! I’ll credit you in my upcoming “then and now” presentation on this film since I wasn’t able to figure out the Havenhurst Apartments location.
Thank you so much Chris – it really is a treat to see all these “new” films. That Havenhurst was pure hunch. I know there are vintage apartments along Franklin up in the hills a bit north of Hollywood Blvd. on cross streets streets sloping south (left). So I used Google street view traveling west along Franklin, and there it was. Fast Work is that rare film where all of the exteriors are still there – even those on 6th Ave up from Adams. I look forward to your next YouTube presentation. Thanks again – John
This is just great. I know that 7850 Sunset Blvd. building so well! (on the corner with Orange Grove Ave.); but the kicker for me was seeing the Havenhurst Apt. building, on the corner of Whitley Ave. and Franklin Ave. because I LIVED in that building for 1 1/2 years!! Between February 1989 and Summer of 1990 I lived in TWO Apartments there!! These were my first two apartments in Hollwyood, when I had just moved to LA, right in that building!
Cool – thanks for sharing this Javi.
Brilliant, simply brilliant work, Sir John.
Thank you, my lord.
I love the interest being paid now to crystalline transfers of old black and white films, especially location work. I also bought this set in part so I could further pursue my years long obsession with (maybe) seeing my old building, the Lido, in an old movie or TV show. Charles Bronson filmed a movie there at Yucca and Wilcox back in ’75. I’ll be viewing, not only or the joy of seeing the movies themselves, but also in hopes of spying that old residence, or another, the Villa Elaine, on Vine St. (location of “Minnie and Moskowitz,” I think in my actual apartment). Thank you for the amazing detective work you do here. There is something about a building, unchanged or little changed, that brings us back to that time and the past right up to now.
Thank you Bill. Movies, and vintage buildings, are the two closest things we have to time machines. They evoke the past like nothing else. Best wishes, John
Bill: It’s funny — an actress who was in “Minnie and Moskovitz” lives on my street, about 2 blocks north of me. I’ve never seen the film but I’ve spoken with her. Small role, apparently, I don’t know. But, back to the LIDO (I once lived near it!): That was where Clara Blandick (Auntie Em in “Wizard of Oz”) lived, and died in. That was also where Isabel Jewel (Emmy Slattery in “Gone With The Wind) lived and died in, also (Both suicides, unfortunately!); Silent Screen Star Mae Murray lived there during her declining years, also. And Alan Alda stayed there when he and his family came into town from NYC for his father (Robert Alda) to film “Rhapsody in Blue” (1945), which was the elder Alda’s first movie. And the younger Alda remembers looking out the window and seeing a very young Carol Burnett roller skating with friends around their building and onto a then-empty lot which is now occupied by The Princess Grace Apartments (on corner of Yucca Ave. and Grace Ave.). Ms. Burnett was, at the time, living on the Southeast Corner of Wilcox Ave. and Yucca Ave. with her Grandma at the Mayfair Apartments (across Wilcox Ave. from “The Lido”!) And she later worked down at the old Warner Bros. Theater as an usherette, on Wilcox Ave and Hollywood Blvd. Mr. Alda later told Ms. Burnett this; they worked together a few times and Mr. Alda told Ms. Burnett that he used to see these girls roller skating around their building and playing “Soldiers” and “War Games” on that empty lot. And Ms. Burnett laughed delightedly and confirmed that it was she and her friends who were indeed that small group of girls. I can’t believe I told all this info. in this comment. But this was in my head from having read MANY books and Biographies and Memoirs in the last 30 years. LOL!
Javi, I didn’t know about the two actresses (I hurriedly looked them up on IMDB to see if I’d met them); they were before my time in the building, which started in 1979. My mom told me the old people who hung out in the lobby were retired silent movie actors but they sure chattered away when they saw my sister and I (ages 11 and 12). I wish I’d spent more time with them. I have a blog http://www.memoriesofhollywood.com wherein I go on a few posts about both the Lido and the VE. I knew the Carol Burnett stuff but not the roller skating. My sis and I roller skated in the Pacific Theater parking lot, across from the Big Weenie. Nice to hear the Alda family stuff too. My fascination with the Lido extended to my writing a novel loosly based on it and the murder in 1979 of Victor Killian.
fatty arbuckle’s house is next door behind the church
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You have really done some fine work. Thank you for putting this all together.
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