Author Archives: John Bengtson

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

In one of my earliest posts (reprinted below), I reported that the site of Chaplin’s first scene, from his initial movie Making a Living (1914), was filmed in front of a residential porch adjacent to the Keystone Studio that is … Continue reading

Posted in Chaplin Tour, Charlie Chaplin, Keystone Studio | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Max Linder Shines Again in Seven Years Bad Luck

Dapper Max Linder, the pioneering French silent film comedian affectionately dubbed “The Professor” by Charlie Chaplin, will be taking the spotlight soon. Max’s 1921 feature comedy Seven Years Bad Luck will be screened at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Keaton’s Heart in San Francisco – The Navigator

The 2014 San Francisco Silent Film Festival concludes Sunday, June 1, with a screening of Buster Keaton’s 1924 classic The Navigator, a personal favorite of Buster, and one of his most successful films. Early on The Navigator features a joke … Continue reading

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

Chaplin – Caught In the Rain 100 Years Ago by the 2nd St Tunnel

Charlie Chaplin’s lucky 13th Keystone Studio movie Caught in the Rain was released May 4, 1914, one hundred years ago today. Although Chaplin credits this film in his autobiography as his first directorial effort, Chaplin biographer David Robinson suggests otherwise, … Continue reading

Posted in Bunker Hill, Charlie Chaplin, Keystone Studio, Los Angeles Historic Core | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Chaplin – 100 Years Ago on Sunset Boulevard

“Sunset Boulevard” – few words evoke the mystique and glamour of Southern California more than the name of this historic street that wends its way west from the heart of downtown Los Angeles to the Pacific Ocean. As discussed here, … Continue reading

Posted in Charlie Chaplin, Cops, Keystone Studio | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Harold Lloyd’s Why Worry? TCM Hollywood Connection

In honor of the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival screening of Harold Lloyd’s 1923 feature comedy Why Worry? at the Egyptian Theater on Friday, April 11 at 7:15 pm, here are a couple of quick views from the conclusion of … Continue reading

Posted in Harold Lloyd, Hollywood Tour | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Chaplin Leads the Gang to the Hollywood Police

As I explain in my book Silent Traces, Charlie Chaplin’s landmark short film Easy Street (1917) contains scenes filmed on extant Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles (see below), where he would return a few years later to film his … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton, Chaplin Tour, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Harold Lloyd, Harry Langdon, Stan Laurel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Perry Mason at the Chaplin Studio – The Case of the Homecoming Kid

One of the most gratifying experiences to come from working on my Charlie Chaplin book Silent Traces was being given a private tour of the Chaplin Studios, at 1416 N. La Brea Avenue in Hollywood, now home to The Jim … Continue reading

Posted in Chaplin Studio, Chaplin Tour, Charlie Chaplin, The Kid | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Mary Pickford and the Silent Stars Meet at One Hollywood Corner

America’s Sweetheart, Canadian-born Mary Pickford, was a staunch supporter of the World War I Liberty Bond campaign.  Aside from selling millions of dollars of bonds at various rallies across the country, she also encouraged bond sales by starring in a … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Harold Lloyd, Mary Pickford, Venice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Laurel & Hardy Hit The Skids

During their ride home from the hospital in County Hospital (1932), Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy (well, their stunt doubles) skid at a wide intersection beside a Gothic-windowed auto garage.  The zig-zag detailing remains on the garage wall. This unusual … Continue reading

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

Buster Keaton and The Three Stooges – Round 6

In his 1926 self-directed feature comedy Battling Butler, Buster plays an effete millionaire who seeks to impress a girl by allowing her to mistakenly believe he is a champion boxer sharing the same name.  As might be guessed, the movie … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton, Film Noir, The Turning Point, Three Stooges | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Harold Lloyd Takes A Chance on Court Hill

The Criterion Collection Blu-ray release of Safety Last! contains many bonus features, including three razor-sharp early Harold Lloyd short films.  One such film, Take A Chance (1918) featured here, provides rare views of the long lost Court Hill neighborhood where … Continue reading

Posted in Court Hill, Hal Roach Studios, Harold Lloyd | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

W.C. Fields in Palm Beach – It’s the Old Army Game

For a complete change of pace, here’s a Florida location highlighting W.C. Fields.  Field’s feature comedy It’s A Gift (1934) is known for many classic sequences, including the sleeping-porch scene where a pushy insurance salesman searching for “Carl La Fong” … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New City Lights Release – Discoveries and Assumptions

Here’s a new location discovery to celebrate the Criterion Collection Blu-ray release of Charlie Chaplin’s 1931 masterpiece City Lights.  The scenes where Charlie reports to work as a street sweeper, and where he also learns there is money to be … Continue reading

Posted in Chaplin Studio, Charlie Chaplin, City Lights | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

LA’s Early Hills, Tunnels Preserved in Noir – Silent Comedies

Once marked with hills and tunnels, the complicated landscape of early Los Angeles has changed so dramatically that it’s difficult to visualize how all of the pieces once fit together.  Massive landmarks such as Court Hill and the Broadway Tunnel … Continue reading

Posted in Court Hill, Film Noir, Lloyd Thrill Pictures, Los Angeles Historic Core | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

More Discoveries From Keaton’s Cops

Buster Keaton’s best-known short film Cops (1922) has always been one of my favorite movies.  I must have been twelve when I first bought an 8mm print of it, and have since watched it dozens of times.  Now that it … Continue reading

Posted in Bunker Hill, Cops, Los Angeles Historic Core | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Johnny Depp and Buster Keaton at the Cops/Ed Wood alley

To go with the Hollywood’s Silent Echoes presentation I gave last month at the Cinecon 49 Classic Film Festival at the Egyptian Theater, I prepared a tour of nearly 50 silent-era Hollywood landmarks and film locations you can access HERE.  … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Cops, Hollywood Tour, The Kid | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Harry Langdon – The Strong Man Part 3

Harry Langdon’s 1926 comedy feature The Strong Man contains many exterior scenes filmed in the Korea Town area of Los Angeles near Wilshire and MacArthur Park.  Harry plays a WWI veteran who returns to the States hoping to meet his … Continue reading

Posted in Harry Langdon, The Strong Man | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A new version of Keaton’s The Blacksmith – part 3, Robin Hood’s castle and more surprises

As first reported in Variety in July (and again in Variety in October), and in my first and second posts, film historian Fernando Pena has discovered that a completely different version of Buster Keaton’s 1922 short The Blacksmith circulated overseas, … Continue reading

Posted in Buster Keaton, The Blacksmith | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Leave it to Santa Monica – Beaver and Harold Lloyd

Although Leave it to Beaver takes place in “Mayfield,” set in an undetermined state, I show in a prior post how Skokie, Illinois stood in for Mayfield during a scene from “Beaver’s Fortune” (Season 3: Episode 10; first broadcast December … Continue reading

Posted in Harold Lloyd, Hot Water, Leave It To Beaver, TV Shows | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments