Author Archives: John Bengtson

Keaton Sherlock Jr. – Valentino Blood and Sand – at Avalon Silent Film Showcase

Buster Keaton’s brilliant comedy Sherlock Jr., and Rudolph Valentino’s smoldering performance as a conflicted bullfighter in Blood and Sand, highlight this year’s Avalon Silent Film Showcase, hosted on Catalina Island at the beautiful Avalon Casino Theatre, on May 13 – … Continue reading

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The San Francisco Silent Film Festival returns to live cinema – Steamboat Bill, Jr. – Penrod and Sam

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival triumphantly celebrates the return of live cinema hosting its 25th anniversary festival at the Castro Theater May 5-11, 2022. Here is the schedule, which runs a full week –  https://silentfilm.org/2022-festival-schedule/ One highlight is the … Continue reading

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Buster Keaton’s Lost and Found “Seven Chances” Homes

During Seven Chances (1925) Buster’s character discovers on his 27th birthday he must marry by seven o’clock that evening in order to inherit a $7M fortune. After ineptly proposing to his longtime girlfriend, he speeds off to a country club … Continue reading

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Buster Keaton’s riverbank footsteps – Steamboat Bill, Jr.

Buster Keaton filmed his final independent production Steamboat Bill, Jr. on location in Sacramento. The movie opens with an elegant scene filmed at the tip of what is now Discovery Park, slowly panning right to left from the American river … Continue reading

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SF Silent Film Festival Returns to Live Cinema with Chaplin’s City Lights

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival returns to presenting live cinema this February 19 at the Paramount Theater with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra accompanying Charlie Chaplin’s masterpiece City Lights (1931), conducted by Timothy Brock. You may order tickets HERE. Along … Continue reading

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Take the Tour – the Buster Keaton Studio

I first read Rudi Blesh’s biography Keaton in junior high, and was immediately hooked by Buster’s magic and the romance of early filmmaking. I grew up watching silent comedies on public television, and collecting 8mm prints of Charlie Chaplin and … Continue reading

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Lady Cops (and Harold Lloyd) Reveal 1914 Lost LA Treasures

What time machines! Thanks to the Eastman Museum, vivid details of downtown LA’s most iconic (and now sadly lost) landmarks fill the background of the 1914 gender reversal comedy Forcing the Force, restored and streaming on the museum site. Harold … Continue reading

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Silent Locations YouTube Channel

After writing three books, and nearly 300 blog posts explaining the visual history hidden in silent movies, I’ve learned how to make YouTube videos that show this history directly. I’ve prepared over 15 Blu-ray/DVD bonus programs, and been invited to … Continue reading

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Ben Model presents Edward Everett Horton: 8 Silent Comedies

With now this third post, let me repeat, musician Ben Model is a silent film SUPER-HERO. Aside from his duties as resident accompanist for MoMA in New York, the Library of Congress, and performing at silent screenings around the country, … Continue reading

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The Roaring Road – rare ‘new’ views of early Hollywood

Above, a rare time capsule glimpse looking east from Cahuenga toward the towering Taft Building at the SE corner of Hollywood and Vine, before the neighboring Broadway (B. H. Dyas) Building was built on the SW corner in 1928. The … Continue reading

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Silent Movie Day celebrates the Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd Alley

On September 29, 2021, the inaugural National Silent Movie Day, Hollywood Heritage celebrated the Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd Alley with this beautiful plaque. This story by the Hollywood Partnership provides a good overview of that special day. https://hollywoodpartnership.com/post/first-ever-national-silent-movie-day-comes-to-hollywood It was crowded by the … Continue reading

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Step by silent footstep – how the Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd Alley was revealed

Step by silent footstep, clues from a dozen silent films collectively reveal a century-old secret, the humble Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd Alley where three timeless comedies were made. This video has been upgraded with a beautiful score composed and performed by Jon C. … Continue reading

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Hollywood Heritage Celebrates the Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd Alley

Hollywood and “the movies” have been synonymous for over 100 years. Handprints in cement and the Walk of Fame honor stars from the past. But only now, with the exciting Hollywood Heritage campaign, will Hollywood celebrate its direct geographic connections … Continue reading

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Solved! Buster Keaton’s Mystery Colegrove Building

Buster Keaton was a pragmatic filmmaker, and it’s been fun discovering how often he would shoot simple scenes nearby, or even across the street from his small Hollywood studio once standing at 1025 Lillian Way. Appearing as both a receiving … Continue reading

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The Kid – Chaplin’s Silent Footsteps tour now on YouTube

The 2021 Chaplin Days online festival hosted by the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum includes my all-new video tour of Charlie’s century-old masterpiece The Kid (1921), revealing locations and the incredible visual history hidden in the background of the film. … Continue reading

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The Kid – Silent Footsteps a Century Ago – Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum Chaplin Days

As part of the 2021 Chaplin Days hosted June 25-27 online by the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, I will be presenting an all-new video tour of the locations and incredible visual history hidden in the background of Charlie Chaplin’s … Continue reading

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Silent Footsteps Now Online – SFSFF Amazing Tales

My Silent Footsteps Zoom webinar hosted by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival is now available for free online viewing at the festival’s online screening room.   An all-new program, my talk covers in part the hidden interplay between movies … Continue reading

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Silent Footsteps – SFSFF Amazing Tales Online

Hosted by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, I will be presenting a Silent Footsteps Zoom webinar on Sunday, June 6 at 12:00 noon PST, as part of its ongoing Amazing Tales Online series. The webinar is free (register HERE), … Continue reading

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Worth a Thousand Words – Patrick Mate’s Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd Alley Cartoon

Award-winning animator and wickedly funny caricaturist Patrick Mate has joined the campaign to name the Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd Alley with this delightful cartoon, capturing the spirit of The Kid, Cops, and Safety Last! with a single image. A French-born DreamWorks Animation veteran … Continue reading

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Chaplin’s Bay Area Footsteps

Hosted by the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, Charlie Chaplin leads us on a YouTube visual tour around the Bay Area, from San Francisco to San Jose, from Oakland to Niles itself. Chaplin’s meteoric career began with Mack Sennett’s Keystone … Continue reading

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