Buster Keaton Tours

Buster Keaton Hollywood Tour

Tour silent-era Hollywood with this PDF guide prepared in connection with my August 30, 2013, 10:30 a.m. presentation of Hollywood’s Silent Echoes for the Cinecon 49 Classic Film Festival at the Egyptian Theater, 6712 Hollywood Boulevard.

The tour is annotated with corresponding page numbers (SV) from my Harold Lloyd film location book Silent Visions: Discovering Early Hollywood and New York through the Films of Harold Lloyd, from Santa Monica Press.  Annotations for Charlie Chaplin (ST) and Buster Keaton (SE) refer to page numbers from my Chaplin and Keaton film location books Silent Traces and Silent Echoes.  Locations that are not annotated represent new discoveries not appearing in the books.

The tour takes you to several silent-era locations right in Hollywood, as well as the sites for the Lloyd, Chaplin, and Keaton Studios.

Hollywood’s Silent Echoes – Cinecon 49 Classic Film Festival Tour – 2013

Impromptu Video Tour of Hollywood and Cahuenga – A Keaton and Lloyd Favorite

Freelance UK film journalist Jonathan Melville arranged for me to give him an impromptu tour of Hollywood Boulevard and Cahuenga, a street where Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, and Charlie Chaplin all filmed scenes.  Here is what Jon put together, as posted on YouTube.


Buster Keaton Los Angeles Tour

Here is a PDF tour of Buster Keaton locations throughout Los Angeles and Hollywood that I prepared for a Keaton program I gave at the UCLA Film and Television Archive.  It contains locations from Go West and Spite Marriage that are not in my book.

Tour of Buster Keaton Los Angeles Film Locations

Buster Keaton Newport Beach Tour

Keaton filmed scenes in Newport Beach, in Orange County south of Los Angeles, for The Scarecrow (1920), The Boat (1921), Sherlock Jr. (1924), College (1927), The Cameraman (1928), and the Columbia Studios talking short Pest from the West (1939).

Buster Keaton Newport Beach Locations Tour

Buster Keaton San Francisco Tour

Keaton filmed many scenes from Daydreams (1922) and a key scene from The Navigator (1924) in San Francisco.  Why he chose to film there remains a tantalizing mystery.  Perhaps it was simply a fun way to combine work with pleasure, and take in a free trip to San Francisco.  The last stop on this tour describes a scene from The Navigator; all other scenes are from Daydreams.

Buster Keaton San Francisco Location Tour

Academy Tour of The General Filming Locations

My video locations tour about The General at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 2011 Summer of Silents series is posted here.

Buster Keaton Steamboat Bill, Jr. Sacramento Area Tour

Buster Keaton filmed his final independent production Steamboat Bill, Jr. in Sacramento, California.  By the time Keaton and company came to town, Sacramento had become a popular location for Hollywood films.  Historian Paul Frobose discovered these Sacramento locations, and has written a fascinating account for the Sacramento County Historical Society (Golden Notes, Summer 1992) recounting Sacramento’s heady days as a remote location during silent-era Hollywood.  Aside from such scenic wonders as its rivers, farmlands, and proximity to the Sierras, at the time Sacramento was also an “open” town, with a booming underground economy of bootleg liquor, gambling, and prostitution.  San Francisco was also a leisurely ferry ride away for weekend adventures.  No doubt these pastimes attracted Hollywood’s visiting film company members.

The final scenes from the movie were filmed at Keaton’s small studio, some shown here, and represent the end of Keaton’s remarkable eight-year run of independent production before joining MGM.

This modified slide show is not animated.

2 Responses to Buster Keaton Tours

  1. Pete Golden says:

    I believe I have found a Buster Keaton/Go West location out here by the old Valley Ranch/Red Lake Az. If you’re interested let me know.

    • Sean Spratt says:

      Have you tried looking at San Bernardino? The mountain range seems very similar as looking South as viewed from the freeway on the way to Las Vegas. (Box Spring Mountains??)

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