Chaplin – Inside “The Kid” Maternity Hospital

the-kid-blu-ray-31In a prior post, How Charlie Chaplin Filmed The Kid, I explain that the former Occidental College Hall of Letters building, once visited by Presidents Taft and Teddy Roosevelt, portrays the Dickensian maternity hospital where single mother the-kid-blu-ray-35Edna Purviance is cast into the cold, cruel world. Astonishingly this building, trimmed of its upper floor and roof, is still standing, now a modest apartment block in Highland Park. (The original campus building was abandoned when the new, larger Occidental campus opened in nearby Eagle Rock in 1914).

Chaplin scholar Brad Alexander (who is researching the connections between Chaplin and Albert Einstein) visited the site recently, and sent me some remarkable photos from both outside and inside the building. (Having discovered this spot using the Internet, and living in the Bay Area, I have yet to visit the site in person).

The east entrance appearing in the film. Brad Alexander.

Click to enlarge- the east entrance appearing in the film. Brad Alexander.

brad-alexander-east-door-grillNow that The Kid is released on Blu-ray, I continue to be amazed at the striking details apparent in the film. If you click the above then and now image, you can clearly see the interior steps leading down from the main hallway that Edna strode as she departed the building. The stairs are still there, and now you can see them in the movie too. At the left you can see that the upper grill details that once stood above the gate still remain.

Click to enlarge - the grill work above the gate entrance is still in place. Brad reports that the 'pleasant' nurse was portrayed by Chaplin's personal secretary Nellie Bly Baker.

Click to enlarge – three sets of interior doors along the hallway can be seen. Brad reports that the nurse was portrayed by Chaplin’s personal secretary Nellie Bly Baker.

Thanks to Brad’s visit, and the Blu-ray detail, I also now understand the interior layout of the hall. There were three sets of doors. First, an interior pair of glass entrance doors stood just up the stairs from the gate, the reflecting left glass door is closed (see vertical line above). Next, a pair of doors further into the building closed off a section of the hallway (see horizontal line above). All the way down the hall, just above the CHARITY sign, you can see part of the glass entrance doors on the other side of the building. Note that the elegant marble balustrade (see box above) is no longer present.

brad-alexander-east-door-interiorThis view (left) matches Edna’s view as she walked down the stairs to the entrance gate. The glass doors at the top of these stairs are no longer in place. Notice that the carved marble balustrade that once stood to the left has been replaced with metal railings. brad-alexander-east-hall

From the same spot, where the glass entrance doors once stood, this view (below, right) looks in the other direction, west from the top of the stairs, towards the brad-alexander-west-halldeep interior doorway that can close off a section of the hallway. This doorway is highlighted with the blue horizontal line in the detailed view of Edna above.

This view (below left), looks east, from inside the other entrance of the building, down the length of the hallway towards Edna’s exit at the far end of the hall.

Matching views of the east side of the building.

Matching views of the east side of the building.

The south side of the building, where Presidents Taft and Roosevelt once spoke.

The south side of the building, where Presidents Taft and Roosevelt once spoke (see below).

I wonder if the people living here have any idea that two Presidents of the United States, and Charlie Chaplin, all once came here to visit. You can read all about how Charlie filmed The Kid in my Chaplin book Silent Traces. I want to thank once again Brad Alexander for sharing these photos. I would also like to thank my friend Jeffrey Castel De Oro for taking all of the photos of this building originally appearing in my book.

Criterion The Kid - Lustgarten - Bengtson_Page_02

Criterion The Kid - Lustgarten - Bengtson_Page_03

Criterion The Kid - Lustgarten - Bengtson_Page_04

brad-alexander-west-doorAt left, and below, the west entrance to the building (the side not appearing in the movie), partially blocked from view, is reached by walking between the row of bungalows at 121 N. Avenue 50, in Highland Park.

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Where Roscoe Arbuckle Filmed His Brooklyn Vitaphone Shorts

(C) 2017 Google.

Looking south, the recently demolished Vitaphone Studios (yellow outline) in relation to many of Roscoe’s filming sites. The landmark Vitagraph smokestack, for the moment still standing, appears at bottom due right of the “North” marker. (C) 2017 Google.

Starting at page 2 below, this multi-page post reveals more than two dozen Brooklyn movie locations filmed over 85 years ago. Click each image for a larger view.

The Silent Clowns - MoMA

Arbuckle filming Hey Pop at 3rd Ave and 80th in Bay Ridge – see page 7 below.

The recently demolished Vitagraph (Vitaphone) Studio, once standing at E 14th between Chestnut and Locust in the Midwood community of Brooklyn, holds a giant place in cinema history. One of the earliest and most prolific studios, it was acquired by Warner Bros. in 1925, where it became instrumental in the widespread production of talking pictures.

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The Chestnut Ave side of the studio – Brooklyn Public Library

The Vitaphone process, the first commercially viable sound film technology, involved recording audio tracks on 16 inch shellac discs that played synchronously with moving images. The smash Vitaphone presentation of Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer in 1927 spelled the eventual doom for silent pictures. Capitalizing on local talent, the Brooklyn Vitaphone studio produced hundreds of short ‘sound’ films capturing unusual vaudeville acts, and Broadway singing stars and comedians.

Ron Hutchinson

Now demolished – Ron Hutchinson

Vitaphone’s brief triumph ended quickly once optical soundtrack technology became standard. Suddenly obsolete, the surviving Vitaphone audio discs were often misplaced or separated from their films. In 1991 a group of record collectors and film archivists led by Ron Hutchinson founded The Vitaphone Project, dedicated to reuniting orphan Vitaphone discs with their mute films, and restoring them on new 35mm sound-on-film prints for modern projection. Nearly 150 short films and many features have since been restored; two recent triumphs include flapper star Colleen Moore’s Synthetic Sin (1929) and Why Be Good? (1929), both once thought to be lost.

hey-pop-01These charming, quirky, and sometimes downright strange Vitaphone entertainment shorts have become crowd favorites at classic film festivals. When Ron hosted a full evening of Vitaphone shorts recently on TCM, it reminded me to pull out my Vitaphone Comedy Collection: Volume One DVD, which captivated me with the dozens of street scenes depicted on film. Though the studio building itself is now demolished, the films it once produced continue to preserve priceless moments of everyday Brooklyn life from more than 85 years ago. The two films analyzed in this post, Hey Pop (1932) and Buzzin’ Around (1932), were both starring vehicles for pioneering film comedian Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle.

hey-pop-01Arbuckle began his long career in 1913, with Mabel Normand and Charlie Chaplin among his early co-stars. By 1917 Arbuckle led a series of comedy shorts co-starring  Al St. John (his nephew) and Roscoe’s protégé Buster Keaton. When Arbuckle began making a series of feature comedies for Paramount in 1920, earning him millions, Buster took over his small production company, launching Keaton’s solo career.

buzzin-around-01Arbuckle is remembered mostly today for his involvement with the death of actress Virginia Rappe following a booze-filled Labor Day weekend party he hosted at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco in 1921. Charged with manslaughter, after two mistrials Arbuckle was fully acquitted, receiving a rare public apology from the jury for his ordeal. Despite this, the scandal became a lightning rod for pious America’s backlash against “loose” Hollywood morals, ending his onscreen career. With the help of Buster and others, Roscoe spent the next decade writing and directing, often under the pseudonym “William Goodrich,” while also touring in live shows.

buzzin-around-49Roscoe never lost his public appeal. By 1932 Warner Bros. correctly decided audiences would welcome his return to the screen, signing Arbuckle to shoot six two-reel comedies at the Vitaphone Studio in Brooklyn, two of which are studied here. In a tragic confluence of events, on June 29, 1933, his first-year wedding anniversary with actress Addie McPhail, and the day after completing the sixth short, Roscoe signed a long-term contract with Warners sealing his comeback, only to die that evening of a heart attack in his sleep. He was 46.

(C) 2017 Google.

Roscoe used nearly every available corner and apartment. I can’t think of any Hollywood production so densely situated. (C) 2017 Google.

Page 2 covers (1), (2), (3), (4), and (12) above. Page 3 covers (5), (6), (7), and (8), Page 4 covers (9), (10), (11), and (15). Page 5 covers (13), (14), (16), (17), (18), and (19). Page 6 covers Ave M between E 18th and E 19th. Page 7 covers Bay Ridge and Shemp Howard filming at (8) and (9).

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Marc Wanamaker and Bruce Torrence – Hollywood’s Photo History Heroes

Marc Wanamaker of Bison Archives, and Bruce Torrence of HollywoodPhotographs.com, both accomplished authors, photo archivists, and historians, are two behind the scenes giants of Hollywood history. Wanamaker, a foremost authority on all things Hollywood, especially its movie studios, has supplied material for hundreds of books, and has appeared onscreen in numerous documentaries. Marc has written more than a dozen books on topics including Paramount Studios, the Culver City Studios, Beverly Hills, Warner Bros., and Hollywood itself (see more Amazon links HERE).

Marc Wanamaker (left) - Bruce Torrence (right)

Marc Wanamaker (left) – Bruce Torrence (right)

Torrence has Hollywood in his DNA. His grandfather, noted developer C.E. Toberman, built dozens of Hollywood subdivisions and commercial buildings, including the Egyptian and Chinese Theaters, while his other grandfather, towering actor Ernest Torrence, was an early screen star, playing roles such as Captain Hook in Peter Pan (1924) and Buster Keaton’s father in Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928). Bruce’s 1979 groundbreaking account “Hollywood: the First 100 Years” was an instant classic, and his recent “The Hollywood Canteen” documents Hollywood’s morale boosting efforts during WWII. Bruce also writes The Hollywood Photographs blog, with dozens of articles about Hollywood landmarks and history.

Aside from their informative books, Marc and Bruce both manage incredible photo archives that allow us priceless views of Hollywood’s past, and have generously assisted countless other authors and historians. I am personally indebted to Marc and Bruce who have been remarkably kind and supportive to me over the years. This post revisits a few fun location discoveries that would have been impossible to solve without access to their extraordinary photos.

You can easily see the My Wife's Relations stunt set in this aerial view of Buster's studio. Buster used the set later that year for a scene with some police in Day Dreams. These sets appear in other filmed described in my Mr. Keaton's Neighborhood post.

The newly discovered stunt scene from Keaton’s My Wife’s Relations was filmed on this set at Buster’s studio. Buster later used the set for a scene with some police in Day Dreams (inset). Read the full post HERE. HollywoodPhotographs.com.

Click to enlarge. Marc Wanamaker - Bison Archives.

Using several of Marc’s photos I was able to prove that a few trees appearing in the battle scenes from The Birth of a Nation (1915) are still standing at Forest Lawn. They appeared with the Three Stooges too. Read the full post HERE. Marc Wanamaker – Bison Archives.

Click to enlarge. From left to right: the Pickford-Fairbanks Studio (red oval), the Chaplin Studio (yellow oval), the Bernheimer Estate and future Magic Castle (teal oval), the Hollywood Hotel (red box), the Harold Lloyd (Hollywood Metropolitan) Studios (yellow box), the Keaton Studio (teal box), the block of Cahuenga south of Hollywood Boulevard where Keaton and Lloyd frequently filmed (orange box), and the intersection of Hollywood and Vine (purple oval). HollywoodPhotographs.com.

Click to enlarge. In this post I examine the major Hollywood landmarks appearing in a single 1926 photo. From left to right: the Pickford-Fairbanks Studio (red oval), the Chaplin Studio (yellow oval), the Bernheimer Estate and future Magic Castle (teal oval), the Hollywood Hotel (red box), the Harold Lloyd (Hollywood Metropolitan) Studios (yellow box), the Keaton Studio (teal box), the block of Cahuenga south of Hollywood Boulevard where Keaton and Lloyd frequently filmed (orange box), and the intersection of Hollywood and Vine (purple oval). HollywoodPhotographs.com.

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This ‘rural’ barn scene closing the new version of Buster Keaton’s The Blacksmith stood near Melrose and La Brea, in this view looking SW from Harold Lloyd’s Hollywood Studio on Santa Monica Boulevard. You can read several posts about the ‘new’ The Blacksmith HERE. Marc Wanamaker – Bison Archives.

My favorite discovery, made possible only by examining many photos each from both Marc’s and Bruce’s archives, is that Charlie Chaplin filmed The Kid, Buster Keaton filmed Cops, and Harold Lloyd filmed Safety Last! at the same small Hollywood alley you can still visit today.

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Click to enlarge – looking NE at the alley running from Cahuenga (left) to Cosmo (right). You can read the full post HERE and HERE. HollywoodPhotographs.com.

I would like to thank Marc and Bruce for all they have done to preserve, document, and share Hollywood’s rich history.

Bison Archives  –   HollywoodPhotographs.com   –  Hollywood Photographs Blog

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Buster Keaton, Seven Chances, and Warren Beatty?

mv5bmty2ntm5njiyov5bml5banbnxkftztgwmzuwnzc3nje-_v1_sy1000_cr006731000_al_Warren Beatty’s audacious and scarily prescient political satire Bulworth (1998) depicts Beatty as a California Senator seeking reelection who’s become so disillusioned with the ineffectiveness of politics that he hires a hit man to finish him off. Suddenly liberated to speak his mind, Bulworth’s unfiltered remarks spark a media storm and groundswell of popular support (sound familiar?)

Early on Bulworth chastises a black congregation to wake up, confessing that neither party serves their community because politicians only respond to well-funded lobbyists and huge donations. Bulworth’s terrified campaign manager ends the debacle by pulling the fire alarm and hustling Bulworth out of the church.

The Greater Page Temple - 2610 La Salle Avenue

Senator Bulworth arrives at the Greater Page Temple – 2610 S. La Salle Avenue

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The church presented in the film is the same church Buster Keaton used seven decades earlier for his pre-marital comedy Seven Chances (1925). In that film Keaton must marry by 7:00 p.m. in order to inherit a fortune, and after bungling a proposal to his long-time girlfriend, resorts to placing a front page notice in the newspaper, prompting hundreds of would-be brides to appear at the church. Built in 1906, the former West Adams Methodist Church, now the Greater Page Temple, stands proudly as ever at 2610 La Salle Avenue.

USC Digital Library - CHS-41294

USC Digital Library – CHS-41294

20161209_193209While Bulworth staged a lengthy sequence inside the beautiful church, Buster filmed his church interiors on a roofless set draped overhead with muslin cloth to diffuse the bright sunlight.

Buster in a set - it had no roof.

Buster in a specially built church interior set – it had no roof.

The late Mrs. Eleanor Keaton on the steps of the Seven Chances church. She joked that whereas hundreds of women before her had failed, she was the one woman to capture Buster.

The late Mrs. Eleanor Keaton on the steps of the Seven Chances church. She joked that whereas hundreds before her had failed, she was the one woman to actually marry Buster.

I write extensively about the locations appearing in Seven Chances in my book Silent Echoes, and prepared a visual essay about it as a bonus feature to the Kino-Lorber Blu-ray release of the film. This post shows other locations, and this post shows how Buster filmed a scene close to his studio.

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Buster Keaton, The General, and Animal House?

General_Slideshow-1_Page_06As shown in this previous post describing how Buster Keaton filmed The General in Cottage Grove, Oregon, Buster and crew stayed at the Bartell Hotel during the production, staged the summer of 1926. The hotel stands just a block or two west from where most the filming took place.

But the hotel, later re-named the Cottage Grove Hotel, has another claim to classic comedy fame. The hotel appears during the homecoming parade finale to the 1978 comedy Animal House. When “Stork” (played by the film’s co-screenwriter Douglas Kenney) diverts the marching band into a dead-end alley before the Delta House wrecks havoc on the parade, you can clearly see the Cottage Grove Hotel awning in the background.

Looking east down Main Street towards the Cottage Grove Hotel.

Click to enlarge – looking east down Main Street towards the Cottage Grove Hotel.

Click to enlarge - Stork begins to divert the band.

Click to enlarge – Stork begins to divert the band.

Both The General and Animal House have been inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress as works of enduring importance to American culture; Buster in 1989, and The National Lampoon comedy in 2001.

This brief video hosted by A.M.P.A.S. from a talk I gave in 2011 further explains how Buster filmed The General in Cottage Grove.  You can read all about filming The General in my Keaton film locations book Silent Echoes.

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How Chaplin Filmed The Champion – on Location in Niles

the-champion-1915The upcoming San Francisco Silent Film Festival’s Day of Silents winter program this December 3 at the Castro Theater offers something for everyone, from Ernst Lubitsch’s 1926 Jazz Age gem So This is Paris, to the Oscar’s first ever Best Actor performance, Emil Janning’s portrayal of an exiled Russian general turned Hollywood extra in The Last Command (1928). The morning program leads off with three beautifully restored shorts Charlie Chaplin filmed for the Essanay Film Company in 1915, and co-presented by the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum. The films will be introduced by preservationist David Shepard, whose Blackhawk Films Collection was the source for many of the restorations. In addition to His New Job, filmed at the Essanay Studio in Chicago, and A Night in the Show, where Chaplin plays dual roles, we’ll be seeing The Champion, a boxing comedy filmed entirely on location in Niles, the second of five films Chaplin made for Essanay during his brief stay in the Bay Area before returning to Los Angeles to finish out his one-year contract with the studio.

During this early scene, Charlie and his little pal walk south down G Street in Niles towards studio bungalows that still stand today.

During this early scene Charlie and his little pal, a champion bulldog named Quapaw Lord Orry, walk south down G Street in Niles, beside the Essanay Studio fence, towards studio bungalows that still stand today.

champion-11As reported here, The Champion provides charming views of early Niles, including the former Essanay Studio facility that once stood at the corner of Niles Boulevard and G Street. During the film, Charlie’s hungry tramp character signs up to be a boxing sparring partner, only to end up winning the championship and Edna Purviance’s affections. Chaplin was an avid boxing fan, and by the time of filming had started on off-screen romance with Purviance, whom he had only recently hired to be his first leading lady.

Looking south at the Essanay facility, built in 1913, and Charlie's path down G Street.

Looking south at Chaplin’s path down G Street beside the Essanay Studio, built in 1913.

Looking north - Essanay built these bungalows for studio employees. To the far right is the home appearing with Charlie above.

Looking NW at G Street and 2nd – Essanay built these bungalows for studio employees. To the far right is the home appearing with Charlie in the fence scene above.

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A modern fire station with retro design now stands on the corner where the Essanay facility stood from 1913 to 1933 – the bungalows appear to the left. (C) Google Street View.

Looking west at the side of the Essanay studio. The same house appears in the Chaplin image - the gate in the studio fence appears right.

Looking west at the side of the Essanay Studio. The house at left appears in the Chaplin frame. At right, Charlie chases a boxer through the gate in the studio fence. Notice the enclosed glass shooting stage appearing behind Charlie’s head.

Looking north within the glass shooting stage, visible behind Charlie in the prior scene.

Looking north – filming The Champion within the glass shooting stage, visible behind Charlie in the prior scene.

Looking east - when Charlie chases a boxer out of the studio gate, the southern face of the Township Register newspaper building appears at back.

Looking east – when Charlie chases a boxer out of the studio fence gate, the southern face of the Township Register newspaper building appears at back. The inset shows the other side of the building.

Charlie struts and performs calisthenics within the fenced in studio ground. He walked with his dog along the other side of this fence. Looking east, the top of the extant Edison Theater peaks over the fence. The color view shows the side of the theater today, now home to the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum.

Looking east, Charlie struts and performs calisthenics within the fenced-in studio grounds. Above is a similar view east taken in Niles before the studio was built in 1913. The top of the extant Edison Theater (box) peeks over the fence, while the color view shows the side of the theater today, now home to the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum. Charlie walked his dog from left to right along the outside of this fence. (C) Google Street View.

Looking to the SW, this shows Charlie's gate and the corner of the studio at G Street.

Looking SW at the corner of the studio at G Street, and the studio fence gate (arrow). Notice the glass stage behind Charlie.

Charlie captures the attention of a policeman in this view looking west along the front of the studio. The bleachers for the adjacent Sullivan Park baseball field (box) appears in the upper right corner.

Click to enlarge – Charlie captures the attention of a policeman in this view looking west along the front of the studio. The bleachers for the adjacent Sullivan Park baseball field (box) appear in the upper right corner (see below).

Looking north, this frame from Ben Turpin's 1913 comedy shows the Sullivan Park baseball field, due west of the studio. The inset, reversed for comparison, comes from Charlie's scene.

Click to enlarge – looking north, this frame from Ben Turpin’s 1915 comedy Snakeville’s Champion shows the Sullivan Park baseball field, due west of the studio. The inset from Charlie’s scene in The Champion, reversed here for comparison, shows the park’s shaded bleachers. Turpin and Chaplin made two films together for Essanay, His New Job filmed in Chicago, and A Night Out filmed in Niles and Oakland.

Looking north, this panoramic view of the ball park combines frames from Ben Turpin's film. The inset shows the Essanay Studio baseball team in 1913. Second from the right stands Rollie Totheroh, Chaplin's cameraman for 26 years.

Click to enlarge – looking NE, this panoramic view of the ball park combines frames from Ben Turpin’s film. The inset shows the Essanay Studio baseball team in 1913. Second from the right stands Rollie Totheroh, who would become Chaplin’s cameraman in 1916, working with him until Rollie retired in 1954. This ball field stood due west of the studio. Historian David Kiehn writes that Chaplin did not necessarily endear himself to the townspeople during his brief stay. Notorious for his huge salary and signing bonus with Essanay, widely publicized at the time, Chaplin reportedly didn’t tip local waitresses, pay for his rounds at the bar, and mooched walnuts at the general store. “He was a shy person off-camera, and I think he tried to make up for it by pretending to be outgoing,” says Kiehn. “There are stories that at baseball games he would go under the bleachers and pinch the bottoms of women.” Presumably any bottom-pinching in Niles would have taken place here.

tramp-14Chaplin’s boss and Essanay co-founder Gilbert M. “Broncho Billy” Anderson, cinema’s first cowboy star, had been making films at Niles for a couple of years before Charlie arrived there in late January 1915. This recent post explains how Chaplin filmed the iconic shot of his Little Tramp traipsing down a country road, the concluding scene from The Tramp, at the same spot where Anderson had previously filmed action scenes for his cowboy films. The Tramp was Chaplin’s final champion-17production during his 10-week stint in Niles before heading to Los Angeles. Anderson and Chaplin became friends working together in Niles. At the right, Anderson plays a cameo in The Champion, seen here staring into the camera, as an extra watching Charlie’s boxing match. You can purchase a newly released two DVD set containing 16 Anderson Broncho Billy films, shot mostly at Niles, HERE.

All vintage images courtesy of David Kiehn, historian for the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, and author of the wonderful history of the studio, Broncho Billy and the Essanay Film Company. You can read more about Chaplin filming The Champion in my book Silent Traces.

1915-the-champion-2Preservationist Serge Bromberg of Lobster Films, and Cineteca di Bologna, have restored all 15 of Chaplin’s 1915 Essanay short comedies, available as a 5 disc Blu-ray/DVD box set from Flicker Alley. The restoration of The Champion was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum.

All images from Chaplin films made from 1918 onwards, copyright © Roy Export Company Establishment. CHARLES CHAPLIN, CHAPLIN, and the LITTLE TRAMP, photographs from and the names of Mr. Chaplin’s films are trademarks and/or service marks of Bubbles Incorporated SA and/or Roy Export Company Establishment. Used with permission.

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The Chaplin – Keaton – Lloyd Hollywood Alley

the-chaplin-keaton-lloyd-hollywood-alley-blog_page_04Three of the greatest silent comedies of all time, Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid (1921), Buster Keaton’s Cops (1922), and Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last! (1923), were each filmed at a small Hollywood alley you can still visit today. Running east-west between Cahuenga and Cosmo just south of Hollywood Boulevard, the unnamed alley was conveniently located to the studios, providing a secluded spot to shoot. Each film has been inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress as a work of enduring importance to American culture.

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Looking south, Charlie Chaplin in The Kid.

the-kid-blu-ray-41It was here Charlie’s Little Tramp discovers the abandoned infant he will raise as his son (portrayed as a child by Jackie Coogan) during the opening scenes from The Kid. This main view looks south, where a patio dining area blocks some of the view today. A reverse view (right) shows Charlie running north towards the same spot. As posted HERE, Charlie and Jackie Coogan reunite emotionally later in the film at Olvera Street downtown.

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Looking east from Cahuenga, Buster Keaton in Cops.

the-chaplin-keaton-lloyd-hollywood-alley-blog_page_05The west end of the alley on Cahuenga appears in Keaton’s most famous short film Cops. Chased by a mob of angry police, Buster stops in the street and grabs a passing car one-handed that whisks him out of frame to safety (left – click to enlarge). At back appears the extant Palmer Building on Cosmo, still under construction at the time, that would become the future home of the now defunct Hollywood Citizen newspaper.  The art deco building on Cahuenga now standing to the left of the alley was completed in 1935 (designed by noted LA architects Morgan, Walls & Clements), making the alley slightly more narrow today.

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Looking east towards Cosmo, Harold Lloyd in Safety Last!

sl-cropLloyd is best remembered for hanging from a skyscraper clock in the stunt climbing thrill comedy Safety Last! Harold plays a department store salesman in this film, shown above calculating how to sneak in late to work. The east end of the alley portrayed the back of Harold’s store, where Lloyd filmed many scenes, with the Palmer Building on Cosmo forming a backdrop.

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Click to enlarge – looking NE at the alley running from Cahuenga (left) to Cosmo (right). HollywoodPhotographs.com

You can read more details about Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd filming at the alley HERE, how the alley appears in Harry Houdini’s 1919 feature The Grim Game HERE, how the site appears in the 1994 Johnny Depp/Tim Burton movie Ed Wood HERE, and how it appears in the newly discovered closing shot from Keaton’s 1922 short My Wife’s Relations HERE.

the-chaplin-keaton-lloyd-hollywood-alley-blog_page_06All images from Chaplin films made from 1918 onwards, copyright © Roy Export Company Establishment. CHARLES CHAPLIN, CHAPLIN, and the LITTLE TRAMP, photographs from and the names of Mr. Chaplin’s films are trademarks and/or service marks of Bubbles Incorporated SA and/or Roy Export Company Establishment. Used with permission.

Another appearance, in My Wife's Relations.

Another alley appearance, Buster in My Wife’s Relations.

Cops (1922) licensed by Douris UK, Ltd.  HAROLD LLOYD images and the names of Mr. Lloyd’s films are all trademarks and/or service marks of Harold Lloyd Entertainment Inc. Images and movie frame images reproduced courtesy of The Harold Lloyd Trust and Harold Lloyd Entertainment Inc.

Hollywood map detail © 1938 Thomas Bros. – David Rumsey Map Collection. Aerial photos courtesy HollywoodPhotographs.com and Marc Wanamaker – Bison Archives.

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This link provides a comprehensive PDF tour of Hollywood silent movie filming locations.  Hollywood’s Silent Echoes Tour – Cinecon 2016 – John Bengtson.

Posted in Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Cops, Harold Lloyd, Hollywood Tour, Safety Last!, The Kid | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments