Tag Archives: Silent Comedies

Time Travel to 1919 Hollywood

Imagine when Hollywood was still a town, with stately homes, dirt roads, orchards, and scores of vacant lots. Vintage photos are compelling, but silent films are true time machines, placing you at the spot to see and breathe a slice … Continue reading

Posted in Chaplin - Keaton - Lloyd Alley, Hollywood History, Lyons and Moran | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

CHASE! A Tribute to the Keystone Cops

CHASE! A Tribute to the Keystone Cops, honors these still universally recognized icons of silent comedy with an anthology of entertaining and informative essays assembled and edited by Lon & Debra Davis. Historian Sam Gill provides the foreword, joined by … Continue reading

Posted in Keystone Studio | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Caught on Camera – Buster Keaton’s The Cameraman in New York

The Criterion Collection’s stunning new Blu-ray release of Buster Keaton’s The Cameraman and Spite Marriage is loaded with bonus special features, including a new documentary Time Travelers I had the privilege of making with historian Marc Wanamaker and Oscar-nominated director … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton, Manhattan, The Cameraman | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Arbuckle and Keaton Filmed in Culver City Years Before Laurel and Hardy

Harold Lloyd and Snub Pollard filmed comedies for producer Hal Roach at the Bradbury Mansion Rolin Studio, on Court Hill in downtown Los Angeles, for years before Roach opened his new studio in Culver City in 1920. (Read how they … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton, Culver City, Laurel and Hardy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Buster Keaton – More Backlot Scenes From Our Hospitality

Buster Keaton’s modest studio made it necessary for him to film many famous scenes at other studios with larger backlots. His pursuit through an archway by an army of police at the climax of Cops (1922) was filmed at the … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton, Our Hospitality | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Keaton’s The Cameraman on the Santa Monica Pier

For their first date in The Cameraman (1928) Buster Keaton and Marceline Day strip down and go swimming in a public pool, because, why not? As reported in my book Silent Echoes, their natatorium adventure was filmed inside the Venice … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton, The Cameraman, Venice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Buster, Harold, and Stymie at the Venice Pier

A prior post explains Buster Keaton and Orson Welles crossed paths filming in Venice, California. But what about Buster and Our Gang superstar Stymie Beard? Above Buster in The High Sign (1920) and Orson directing A Touch of Evil (1958). … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton, Venice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Mary Pickford, the Talmadge Sisters, and Buster Keaton at the Brunton Studio

The Hoodlum (1919), Mary Pickford’s second independent production, followed her triumphant debut self-production Daddy Long Legs (1919). DDL brims with so much Los Angeles history and locations it took two lengthy posts to cover them all, HERE and HERE, and … Continue reading

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Keaton’s Missing Scene and Cameraman Tricks

Early in The Cameraman (1928) neophyte newsreel photographer Buster Keaton submits his double-exposed mistake-filled audition movie footage to the M-G-M Newsreel General Offices in ‘New York,’ resulting in a complete disaster. At left, Buster watches in horror as his double-exposed … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton, The Cameraman | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Silent Comedy’s Crazy Corner

Quick – what are some essential elements for a silent comedy? A park bench? An angry cop? A banana peel? If you think about it, one absolutely essential geographic element is the humble street corner. It doesn’t matter what the … Continue reading

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Early Thrill Comedies – Who Was First?

Thrill comedies featuring a star hanging from the side of a tall building have long been a staple of silent films. The photo at left from Play Ball (1925) eloquently explains the brilliant technique with a single image. Starting with … Continue reading

Posted in Los Angeles Historic Core | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Office – Film Noir – and Harold Lloyd

What do the television show The Office, the 1950 film noir drama Edge of Doom, and Harold Lloyd’s final silent comedy Speedy (1928) have in common?  They all filmed scenes looking southwest down Witmer Street towards the front of the … Continue reading

Posted in Film Noir, Harold Lloyd, Speedy, The Office, TV Shows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Alice Howell Early Hollywood Views

We all owe Ben Model a huge debt of gratitude for releasing his fantastic new Alice Howell Collection DVD, featuring 12 shorts starring the delightful (and mostly forgotten) comedienne, sourced from archival materials from the Library of Congress, BFI, DFI, … Continue reading

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Harold Lloyd’s The Kid Brother Was Close to Home

It’s time to celebrate the wonderful new Blu-ray release of Harold Lloyd’s classic comedy The Kid Brother by the Criterion Collection. Considered by many to be Lloyd’s masterpiece, this release is simply stunning, a beautiful clear crisp print, a choice … Continue reading

Posted in Harold Lloyd | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Buster’s Paramount Backlot Plunge

I’m pleased to update this post to announce that the 2019 San Francisco Silent Film Festival will conclude Sunday May 5, with a 8:00 pm screening of Buster Keaton’s second feature comedy Our Hospitality (1923), to be accompanied by the … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Buster Keaton’s The Cameraman

I’m pleased to update this post to announce the 2019 San Francisco Silent Film Festival kicks off this year on Wednesday, May 1, with a 7:00 pm screening of Buster Keaton’s 1928 comedy triumph The Cameraman, in a beautiful new … Continue reading

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

Chaplin falls for The Kid – every scene now identified

Charlie Chaplin’s masterpiece The Kid (1921) tells the story of the Little Tramp discovering, trying to avoid, and eventually falling in love with an abandoned infant, played out scene by scene at the end of this post. As I write … Continue reading

Posted in Chaplin - Keaton - Lloyd Alley, Charlie Chaplin, For Heaven's Sake, Harold Lloyd, The Kid | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Oliver Hardy at the Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd Alley

The block of Cahuenga south of Hollywood Boulevard was the most popular spot in town to film silent movies. As I’ve written in numerous tours and posts, everyone filmed there, from Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, to Charlie Chaplin, Buster … Continue reading

Posted in Laurel and Hardy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Buster Keaton and W.C. Fields in Astoria

Buster Keaton and W.C. Fields filmed alongside the same Astoria apartment building, nine years apart. Who knew? While working on a post connecting Fields’ It’s The Old Army Game with Keaton’s The Cameraman (1928) and Harold Lloyd’s Speedy (1928) (all … Continue reading

Posted in Astoria, Buster Keaton, New York, W.C. Fields | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

It’s The Old Army Game – W.C. Fields in New York with Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd

The wonderful new Kino Lorber Blu-ray release of W. C Fields and Louise Brooks in It’s The Old Army Game (1926) is a must-have for any Fields, Brooks, or silent comedy fan. As I’ve reported at length in several prior … Continue reading

Posted in It's The Old Army Game, Manhattan, New York, W.C. Fields | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments