Tag Archives: Los Angeles Historic Core

How Mabel Normand filmed her Safety Last! Moment (Before Harold Lloyd Did)

Mabel Normand’s wildly popular 1918 feature Mickey climaxes with a thrilling roof-top rescue staged years before Harold Lloyd stunned audiences with his high-rise climb in Safety Last! (1923). Reportedly the highest grossing film of the year, Mickey was the only … Continue reading

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Chaplin on South Central – Making It Work

This image of Charlie Chaplin struggling with a cart load of tools and supplies in a Dickensian warehouse district is one of the most visually arresting of his entire career. Surrounded by horse-drawn wagons and early automobiles, the Little Tramp … Continue reading

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How Roscoe Arbuckle Filmed His Safety Last! Moment (Before Harold Lloyd Did)

Early in Roscoe Arbuckle’s charming feature comedy The Life of the Party (1920), his character, instantly smitten by a female visitor to his high-rise law offices, stumbles backward through an open window, and hangs precipitously several stories in the air. … Continue reading

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Houdini – The Grim Game’s historic LA landmarks

After shooting a 15-part serial The Master Mystery, world famous magician and escape artist Harry Houdini made his feature film debut in 1919 with The Grim Game, screening at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival’s special A Day of Silents … Continue reading

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Houdini – Keaton – The Grim Game – Cops

Buster Keaton writes in his autobiography that famed magician and escape artist Harry Houdini gave him his nickname after witnessing 6-month old Keaton tumble unhurt down a flight of stairs. While likely more myth than fact,* Harry and Bess Houdini … Continue reading

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Charlie Chaplin City Lights Tour – Author Presentation

As part of the Los Angeles Conservancy Last Remaining Seats film series, on June 13, 2015 I will be introducing Charlie Chaplin’s masterpiece City Lights at the spectacular Los Angeles Theater where the film premiered January 30, 1931.  Although the … Continue reading

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The Big Parade – Historic Views of the Home Front

Although most of The Big Parade (1925) is set in the war-torn villages and battlefields of France, the acclaimed World War I drama also provides historic views of early downtown Los Angeles and Orange County. Told from the soldier’s point … Continue reading

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