Author Archives: John Bengtson

Buster Keaton’s “Electric House” Home

Buster filmed the graduation scenes from The Electric House (1922) at a commercial site still standing, just blocks away from his once magnificent real-life home (above) appearing later in the film. The film opens with graduating botanist Buster mistakenly receiving … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

New revelations about Safety Last! and The Kid

Two recent YouTube videos revealing new details from Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last!, and Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid, are now uploaded to my YouTube Channel. The channel includes a playlist of other video presentations hosted by museums and other groups. Hang … Continue reading

Posted in Chaplin - Keaton - Lloyd Alley, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Safety Last!, The Kid | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Kid, Cops, Intolerance revealed in a 125 year old photo

When the great silent comedians filmed the streets of LA one hundred or more years ago, many of those settings were already decades old. Focusing on a single vintage photo, let’s explore one of the most fascinating film locations in … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Los Angeles Historic Core | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Harold Lloyd’s “Hot Water” Sherlock turkey troubles

Wrangling a live turkey on a trolley, forced to walk it home, overlapping Buster Keaton’s Sherlock Jr., even more visual history is now revealed from Harold Lloyd’s Hot Water (1924). Newlywed Harold’s day is shattered when his better half calls … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Hot Water, Lyons and Moran, Sherlock Jr. | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Flying “Lizzies of the Field” – Part 2

One of silent comedies’ craziest scenes, race cars zooming down a ramp, flying through the air, landing in a pile atop each other, marks the exciting climax to Lizzies of the Field (1924), the Mack Sennett Comedies Studio production recently … Continue reading

Posted in Billy Bevan, Keystone Studio | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Jackie Coogan’s Charlie Chaplin’s Lost LA Alley – The Rag Man

Jackie Coogan returned twice more to an LA alley where he made The Kid with Charlie Chaplin. Early LA streets, now lost, appear in Jackie’s The Rag Man (1925). Jackie plays an orphan who becomes a successful junk dealer working … Continue reading

Posted in Charlie Chaplin, The Kid | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Harold Lloyd’s “Hot Water” “Happy Days” Home

Harold’s home stands on two different blocks and TV’s Happy Days Cunningham home appears nearby. So many new locales from Hot Water (1924) were found and shared by eagle-eyed reader Zebra 3, a self-described film location hobbyist, who shares what … Continue reading

Posted in Harold Lloyd, Hot Water | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times” Sanitarium Solved

Charlie Chaplin used the former Occidental College Hall of Letters (still standing) to portray the charity hospital where Edna Purviance delivers her baby in The Kid (1921). But “cured of a nervous breakdown but without a job” during Modern Times … Continue reading

Posted in Charlie Chaplin, Modern Times | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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 … Continue reading

Posted in Billy Bevan, Hollywood Tour, Keystone Studio | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

What? Buster Keaton’s Studio Appears in Seven Chances!

Buster Keaton filmed dozens of scenes beside or adjacent to his small studio at Lillian Way and Eleanor. In a surprising new discovery, the corner of his studio actually appears during a scene from Seven Chances (1925) as Buster jogs … Continue reading

Posted in Keaton Studio, Seven Chances | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Case Closed! How Buster Keaton filmed Sherlock Jr.

Hosted by the Catalina Museum for Art and History, earlier this year I had the thrill and honor to introduce their screening of Buster Keaton’s brilliant comedy Sherlock Jr. (1924), accompanied by renowned pianist and composer Michael D. Mortilla. With … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton, Sherlock Jr. | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Soft Shoes – Crossing Paths with Chaplin, Laurel, and Lloyd

Now streaming on the San Francisco Silent Film Festival’s website, Harry Carey’s 1925 action/drama Soft Shoes, in which Carey (right) seeks to rescue a young woman from a life of crime, was purportedly set in San Francisco. Yet the film’s … Continue reading

Posted in Charlie Chaplin, Chinatown, Harold Lloyd, Stan Laurel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Charlie Chaplin’s One A.M. Mystery

Charlie Chaplin’s 1916 Mutual comedy short One A.M. was unique in many ways. Charlie plays a drunken bon-vivant, returning home after a night on the town. Except for a brief exterior scene with his taxi driver Albert Austin, Charlie plays … Continue reading

Posted in Chaplin Studio, Charlie Chaplin, Hollywood History, Lyons and Moran | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

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

Posted in Buster Keaton | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Steamboat Bill, Jr., USC | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Buster Keaton, Seven Chances | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

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

Posted in Buster Keaton, Steamboat Bill, Jr. | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

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

Posted in Charlie Chaplin, City Lights | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Buster Keaton, Keaton Studio, Keaton Tour | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

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

Posted in Court Hill, Los Angeles Historic Core | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments