Tag Archives: Silent Movies

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 – More Hollywood Connections

The climax to Harry Houdini’s debut feature film The Grim Game (1919) involved the real-life mid-air collision of two airplanes captured on film (discussed in my prior post HERE).  The extraordinary footage was worked into the story by filming the … Continue reading

Posted in Cops, Harry Houdini, The Grim Game | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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

Posted in Buster Keaton, Cops, Harry Houdini, The Grim Game | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Keaton – Langdon – Lloyd on Larchmont – Ebell Club Author Talk

Developed along a street car line (always ripe for slapstick antics), Larchmont Boulevard has been a popular movie location for nearly 100 years.  Harold Lloyd filmed there as early as 1917.  During my luncheon talk at the Ebell Club on … Continue reading

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Ginger, Buster, and Groucho, Lon Chaney and Loretta Young, all at the Jewett Estate

As reported in a recent post, Buster Keaton in Cops, Harpo and Groucho Marx in Duck Soup, and the 1947 murder noir classic Born to Kill, and the 1980s soap opera Dynasty (see YouTube at end of post), all filmed … Continue reading

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Groucho, Buster, and Noir – at the Pasadena Jewett Estate

From Buster Keaton and the Marx Brothers, to noir classics and the 1980s soap opera Dynasty, the lavish Jewett estate located at 1145 Arden Road (originally 1201) in Pasadena has portrayed cinematic wealth and grandeur for nearly a century. Designed … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton, Duck Soup, Film Noir, Jewett Estate, Marx Brothers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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 Three Stooges, Birth of a Nation, Forest Lawn Trees

The former Lasky Ranch, bordering Griffith Park near Burbank, and future site of the Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills Memorial Park which opened in 1952, is steeped in movie history.  Once part of the Spanish-era Rancho Providencia, the Lasky Ranch was … Continue reading

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How Laurel & Hardy Filmed Perfect Day – New Discoveries

Built in 1925, this charming bungalow at 3120 Vera Avenue near Culver City appearing in the 1929 comedy Perfect Day is one of the most popular and easily recognizable of all Laurel & Hardy film locations. Author Randy Skretvedt reports … Continue reading

Posted in Hal Roach Studios, Laurel and Hardy, Oliver Hardy, Stan Laurel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

The Artist and its Amazing Ties to Chaplin, Pickford, Keaton and Lloyd

Tonight marks the Turner Classic Movie Channel premiere of the 2011 multi-Oscar-winning Best Picture The Artist. Depicting the silent movie era, and filmed on location in Hollywood, the movie has many amazing connections to early Hollywood history and its biggest … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Mary Pickford, The Artist | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Even More Speedy – New York Locations

Harold Lloyd’s final silent comedy Speedy, filmed on location in New York during the summer of 1927, is a goldmine of vintage Manhattan locations.  While my book Silent Visions devotes 100 pages to the dozens of NYC (and Los Angeles) … 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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How Charlie Chaplin Filmed The Bank

Charlie Chaplin’s Essanay comedy The Bank (1915) marks his final cinematic footsteps in downtown Los Angeles.  While Broadway, and other nearby Historic Core streets appear in several of his early Keystone films, including Making A Living, His Favorite Pastime, The … Continue reading

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How Charlie Chaplin Filmed The Adventurer

Decades before Bugs Bunny delighted audiences by tunneling into madcap predicaments, escaped convict Charlie Chaplin tunneled to freedom in The Adventurer (1917) on a Malibu beach within the shadow of Castle Rock and Haystack Rock, prominent coastal landmarks that stood … Continue reading

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How Buster Keaton Filmed The General

I had the honor of introducing Buster Keaton’s 1926 masterpiece The General at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival’s inaugural A Day of Silents Festival held in 2014.  Preceding the show, these informational slides (below) prepared by the festival’s Artistic … Continue reading

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Keaton’s The General on location in Cottage Grove

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival special one-day “Silent Autumn” event opens Saturday morning, September 20, 2014, with a trio of classic Laurel & Hardy silent shorts, and features a 7:00 p.m. screening of Buster Keaton’s 1926 Civil War masterpiece … Continue reading

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Silent Era Hollywood Tour – Cinecon 50 – Author Presentation

Attached to this post is a self-guided written tour to Hollywood silent film locations and studios that I have prepared in connection with the “Hollywood’s Silent Echoes” presentation I will be giving Friday, August 29, 2014, at 10:55 a.m. at … Continue reading

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Charlie Chaplin’s Echo Park Home – 100 Years Later

As I explain in my book Silent Traces, Charlie Chaplin filmed several early comedies in Echo Park, just a few blocks south of the Keystone Studio where he began his film career 100 years ago. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it turns out … Continue reading

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Chaplin’s First Scene – a Very Busy Place to Film

One of my earliest posts (reprinted below), reports that the site of Chaplin’s first scene, from his initial movie Making a Living (1914), was discovered by Kevin Dale to have been filmed in front of a residential porch adjacent to … Continue reading

Posted in Chaplin Tour, Charlie Chaplin, Keystone Studio | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments