Keaton Tours

Overview Tour of Cahuenga, Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd Alley, at Hollywood Blvd.

The great silent stars filmed far more on this one block than at any other spot in town. This brief overview tour includes Normand, Pickford, Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, and the Hollywood Heritage celebration of the Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd Alley.

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd Alley Celebration and Cahuenga Tour.

Buster Keaton Studio Tour

As part of the Buster Keaton Weekend studio plaque dedication on  June 16, 2018, I hosted six walking tours around the studio site. You can download the full tour here. BK Weekend Studio Tour Guide 2018 – Bengtson

Here too is a nicely edited video of the Keaton studio tour, posted by Ken Mitchroney – thanks Ken.

Buster Keaton Hollywood Tour

Tour silent-era Hollywood with this PDF guide listing over 50 locations around town. The tour takes you to several spots right in Hollywood, as well as the sites for the Lloyd, Chaplin, and Keaton Studios.

Hollywood’s Silent Echoes Tour

The tour is annotated with corresponding page numbers (SV) from my Harold Lloyd film location book Silent Visions, (ST) page numbers from my Chaplin film location book Silent Traces, and (SE) page numbers from my Buster Keaton film location book Silent Echoes.  Locations that are not annotated represent the many new discoveries not appearing in the books.

Impromptu Video Tour of Hollywood and Cahuenga – A Keaton and Lloyd Favorite

Freelance UK film journalist Jonathan Melville arranged for me to give him an impromptu tour of Hollywood Boulevard and Cahuenga, a street where Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, and Charlie Chaplin all filmed scenes.  Here is what Jon put together, as posted on YouTube.

Buster Keaton Los Angeles Tour

Here is a PDF tour of Buster Keaton locations throughout Los Angeles and Hollywood that I prepared for a Keaton program I gave at the UCLA Film and Television Archive.  It contains locations from Go West and Spite Marriage that are not in my book.

Tour of Buster Keaton Los Angeles Film Locations

Buster Keaton Spite Marriage Tour

Keaton filmed scenes in Santa Monica and at the LA Harbor.

Buster Keaton Spite Marriage Tour.

Buster Keaton Newport Beach Tour

Keaton filmed scenes in Newport Beach, in Orange County south of Los Angeles, for The Scarecrow (1920), The Boat (1921), Sherlock Jr. (1924), College (1927), The Cameraman (1928), and the Columbia Studios talking short Pest from the West (1939).

Buster Keaton Newport Beach Locations Tour

Buster Keaton San Francisco Tour

Keaton filmed many scenes from Daydreams (1922) and a key scene from The Navigator (1924) in San Francisco.  Why he chose to film there remains a tantalizing mystery.  Perhaps it was simply a fun way to combine work with pleasure, and take in a free trip to San Francisco.  The last stop on this tour describes a scene from The Navigator; all other scenes are from Daydreams.

Buster Keaton San Francisco Location Tour

Academy Tour of The General Filming Locations

My video locations tour about The General at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 2011 Summer of Silents series is posted here.

Buster Keaton Steamboat Bill, Jr. Sacramento Area Tour

Buster Keaton filmed his final independent production Steamboat Bill, Jr. in Sacramento, California.  By the time Keaton and company came to town, Sacramento had become a popular location for Hollywood films.  Historian Paul Frobose discovered these Sacramento locations, and has written a fascinating account for the Sacramento County Historical Society (Golden Notes, Summer 1992) recounting Sacramento’s heady days as a remote location during silent-era Hollywood.  Aside from such scenic wonders as its rivers, farmlands, and proximity to the Sierras, at the time Sacramento was also an “open” town, with a booming underground economy of bootleg liquor, gambling, and prostitution.  San Francisco was also a leisurely ferry ride away for weekend adventures.  No doubt these pastimes attracted Hollywood’s visiting film company members.

The final scenes from the movie were filmed at Keaton’s small studio, some shown here, and represent the end of Keaton’s remarkable eight-year run of independent production before joining MGM.

This modified slide show is not animated.

5 Responses to Keaton Tours

  1. Pete Golden says:

    I believe I have found a Buster Keaton/Go West location out here by the old Valley Ranch/Red Lake Az. If you’re interested let me know.


    • Sean Spratt says:

      Have you tried looking at San Bernardino? The mountain range seems very similar as looking South as viewed from the freeway on the way to Las Vegas. (Box Spring Mountains??)


  2. Dear Mr. Bengtson,
    Thank you so much for your work, and I really mean that. I became a Buster Keaton fan because of your book. I attend Los Angeles City College, and I write for the Collegian newspaper. I have a column called “Birth of Hollywood.” As you know, Keaton shot “College” here, and I want to bring this important bit of history and heritage to the campus population. I would love to have a brief phone phone interview with you if it is al all possible. My concept is sort of a walk to school with Buster, hitting up various film locations along the way. I basically do this drive everyday, and the locations in your book I visit on my way to school, driving right by the old location of the Keaton studios, or visiting Larchmont Blvd., to pay my rent, ect. How would I go about getting permission to publish any screen shots? I think I would at least need the one of the quad.
    I hope you read this. Thanks so much. -Jessica Brecker Reporter Collegian

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jon Reed says:

    Dear Mr. Bengston,

    Do you offer guided tours of these locations? If so, I’d love to set one up.



  4. Hi Jon – I just gave two such tours this weekend at the Cinecon Classic Film Festival (see my current post, with attached PDF tour of many silent era locations). I don’t live in the area, but enjoy giving tours when I have the chance. Best wishes, John


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