Tag Archives: Silent Comedians

Keaton’s Battling Butler – A Knockout Finish to the SF Silent Film Festival

The 2018 San Francisco Silent Film Festival closes Sunday, June 3 with a screening of Buster Keaton’s self-directed comedy Battling Butler (1926), hosted by Leonard Maltin, and honoring recently deceased festival Board member, beloved television writer and director Frank Buxton, … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton, Film Noir, The Turning Point, Three Stooges | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Keaton’s Seven Chances – On The Clock

Late for church, during Seven Chances (1925) Buster Keaton must marry by 7:00 p.m. that evening in order to inherit a fortune. But what time is it? Having just lost his pocket watch down a sewer drain, Buster stops in … Continue reading

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The Surviving Sherlock Jr. Bungalow

A bungalow that appears in Buster Keaton’s Sherlock Jr. (1924), and in his early short film Convict 13 (1920), is still standing today at 4908 McKinley Avenue, when it was moved 11 miles away from Buster’s studio in 1926, the … Continue reading

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Chaplin’s The Great Dictator – Author Presentation at the Alex

Charlie Chaplin’s brilliant and courageous challenge to tyranny, The Great Dictator (1940), remains sharply relevant today. I will be introducing this classic film at the beautiful Alex Theater in Glendale on Thursday, April 19, 2018, and signing copies of my … Continue reading

Posted in Charlie Chaplin | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

From Roach’s to Roaches – Stan & Ollie Meet Starsky & Hutch

Guest blogger Jim Dallape, creator with Robert Winslow of the remarkable Hal Roach Studios Backlot Tour, reports how TV’s Starsky & Hutch and Charlie’s Angles filmed in the same places as Laurel & Hardy and other Roach stars. Take it … Continue reading

Posted in Charley Chase, Culver City, Hal Roach Studios, Laurel and Hardy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The Surviving Keaton Studio Neighbors

Buster Keaton unwittingly documented the urbanization of the once agricultural Colegrove region of Hollywood in the background of his films. As reported in my book Silent Echoes, the quaint Cahuenga Valley Lemon Growers Exchange warehouse once stood across the street … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton, Keaton Studio, The Goat, The Scarecrow | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

The Surviving Chaplin “The Circus” Tree

Paul Ayers, attorney, SoCal historian, and Altadena hiking trail expert and restorer, has shared many remarkable location discoveries over the years, including the finale from Charlie Chaplin’s The Circus (1928). Stemming from Paul’s discoveries, we now know a tree that … Continue reading

Posted in Charlie Chaplin, Sherlock Jr. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Keaton’s “What No Beer?” Barrel Avalanche

As Jim Kline writes in The Complete Films of Buster Keaton, MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer had already drafted Keaton’s termination letter by the time filming of What No Beer? completed in January 1933. For better or worse, this … Continue reading

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Arbuckle – Keaton at the Bronx Biograph Studio

Noted biographer James Curtis contacted me with an intriguing observation. Did a scene from the 1917 Arbuckle-Keaton short Oh Doctor! (above) reveal the large glass rooftop shooting stage of the former Biograph Studio, located at 807 E 175th St in … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton, Manhattan, New York, Roscoe Arbuckle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Buster’s Manhattan Apartment – The Cameraman Part III

In a prior post, Bob Egan flexed his Manhattan research skills to locate Marceline Day’s now lost apartment in Buster Keaton’s The Cameraman, 20 West 58th Street. Now Bob has located Buster’s midtown apartment as well, 201 East 52nd Street. … Continue reading

Posted in Manhattan, The Cameraman | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Chaplin’s San Jose Day Making A Night Out

Do you know the way to San Jose? It turns out Charlie Chaplin did. Thanks to the Blu-ray clarity of Charlie’s restored Essanay comedies, and the tenacious research by Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum historian David Kiehn, we now know … Continue reading

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Buster Keaton’s Haunted House

My friend architectural writer Steve Vaught made this amazing discovery – the “haunted” mansion appearing in Buster Keaton’s 1921 short film The Haunted House was the former Bonebrake Mansion, once standing on the corner of Adams and Figueroa. Steve noticed … Continue reading

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Chaplin – Pavlova – Lois Weber – at the Castle Sans Souci

One highlight of the recently concluded San Francisco Silent Film Festival was the Library of Congress restored presentation of pioneering director Lois Weber’s powerful historic epic The Dumb Girl of Portici (1916), starring world-acclaimed ballet dancer Anna Pavlova in her … Continue reading

Posted in Charlie Chaplin, Lois Weber, Tillie's Punctured Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Harold Lloyd’s The Freshman leads the San Francisco Silent Film Festival

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival kicks off another exciting season with a June 1 screening of Harold Lloyd’s 1925 campus comedy The Freshman at the Castro Theater, accompanied by the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra. The Freshman was Lloyd’s greatest … Continue reading

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Hollywood’s Silent Echoes – 2017 FIAF/FLC Tour

[Tour download] Late in 1921 a mob of angry police chased Buster Keaton down a narrow Hollywood alley towards Cahuenga Boulevard. Entering the street Buster saw to his right a corner where “America’s Sweetheart” Mary Pickford filmed a scene in … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Hollywood Tour | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Keaton’s The Goat – the geography of a gag

Particular yet pragmatic, Buster Keaton would travel hundreds of miles to find just the right setting for a joke, while also filming dozens of mundane locations within steps of his small studio in Hollywood. This post breaks down the geography … Continue reading

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Buster with a Bullitt – Keaton and Steve McQueen’s SF Stunts

Recent posts show Buster Keaton crossed paths with Orson Welles in Venice, California (The High Sign and Touch of Evil), and with Alfred Hitchcock in San Francisco (Day Dreams and Vertigo). This time Keaton and ‘King of Cool’ actor Steve … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton, San Francisco | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Keaton and Orson Welles – A High Sign Touch of Evil

Prior posts discuss Orson Welles and Chaplin (Citizen Kane – Modern Times), and Keaton and Alfred Hitchcock (Day Dreams and Vertigo), so how about Keaton and Orson Welles? Their paths crossed too, filming in Venice, California. As I explain in … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton, Orson Welles, Venice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Keaton and Hitchcock’s Vertigo Day Dreams

Filmed on location in San Francisco, Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece Vertigo (1958) provides tantalizing mid-century glimpses of the City in sparkling VistaVision color. Remarkably, when Scottie (James Stewart) traces Madeleine (Kim Novak) by car back to his own apartment, they cross … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton, Daydreams, San Francisco | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Keaton’s Cops and Go West – Peeking Over the School Fence

Rebuilt over the years, but pre-dating 1912, the Vine Street (Colgrove) Elementary School still stands between Romaine and Willoughby, kitty-corner from the site of the former Keaton Studio block in Hollywood. The back of the school, with its distinctive series … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton, Cops, Keaton Studio | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments