Billy Bevan’s “Lizzies of the Field” before Griffith Observatory

This post is dedicated with heartfelt appreciation to Dave Glass and Dave Wyatt, who join the growing ranks of silent film superheroes preserving and restoring classic films, and making them available on home video to grateful fans. Having released compilations of Lloyd Hamilton shorts in 2017, and Lupino Lane comedies on Kickstarter in 2020, their latest 2022 Kickstarter release is a striking two-disc Blu-ray release of nearly 20 comedies starring Billy Bevan, well over 5 hours of fun. One film that immediately caught my attention is the 1924 Keystone release Lizzies of the Field, featuring a spectacular auto race from which brief clips have appeared in vintage compilations previously hosted by Robert Youngson and Paul Killiam. The two reel film, discovered in the Eye Filmmuseum archive, scanned by Lobster Films, and restored by Lobster and Dave Glass, is presented here complete in stunning detail for the first time.

I’ve always been fascinated by Lizzies as it contains a rare traveling shot heading toward the north portal of the Hill Street Tunnel running beneath Court Hill. The first bore to the right was built in 1908 for the trolleys from Hollywood, before anyone owned cars. The wide bore to the left, for two-way auto traffic, was built in 1913. The landmark tunnel and the hill were obliterated decades ago – read more HERE. Photo LAPL.

Lizzies is especially remembered for its wild auto race snaking along the twisted roads carved into the once barren hills looking down on Hollywood. A century later, with massive development and home landscaping blocking the views, would any clues be discernible? Above, click to enlarge – looking south from the stairway beside 2763 Glendower Ave.

Click to enlarge. The open expanse below – looking south from the stairway, reveals a massive home still standing at 4848 Los Feliz Ave.

Above, zooming past 2814 Glendower Ave. followed by mild bends in the road and then a sharp hairpin turn.

Click to enlarge – view SE at 2814 Glendower Ave (movie frame left). California State Library.

Above, a vintage aerial view of Glendower Ave – with matching modern insets confirming the site. The movie frame at left is looking to the NW while the main photo looks SE.

Click to enlarge – view south from Glendower stairway to 4848 Los Feliz – the Griffith Observatory lower left.

Both views above look south. Marked in red, Glendower makes a sharp right turn west, then another sharp right turn north, followed by a mild bend beside 2814 Glendower, leading to a hairpin turn prominent in the film. When making that second right turn today, the Griffith Observatory, completed in 1935, now looms overhead in the background (left). FrameFinder c-113_228.

Click to enlarge – matching SE views before and after the Griffith Observatory was built. The boxes mark the same homes, the arrows mark the second right hand turn north on Glendower. The first right hand turn beside the top of the stairs is blocked from view. California State Library.

Above, two more views of the spectacular race along Glendower.

For more vintage hilltop views of early Hollywood, above, check out The Roaring Road (1926).

Thanks again to Dave Glass and Dave Wyatt for their heroic work. Here’s the link to the Dave Glass YouTube channel, loaded with dozens of rare silent comedies.

Speaking of YouTube, check out “Case Closed – How Buster Keaton made Sherlock Jr.” accompanied by renowned pianist and composer Michael D. Mortilla.

Below, looking south at the top of the Glendower Stairs. To follow Billy’s path, make the right turn, continue to the next corner, turn right again, and on to where 2814 Glendower still stands tall, then past the bend, continuing to the sharp hairpin turn.

 

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2 Responses to Billy Bevan’s “Lizzies of the Field” before Griffith Observatory

  1. Anne Papineau says:

    Extraordinary, first-rate film and geographical scholarship: Thank you again for your mind-blowing efforts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kevin Dale says:

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

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