I’m excited to report that my new Harold Lloyd book Silent Visions is now available. Nearly five years in the making, it is such a relief to finally have the book in hand. As shown below, the book includes nearly 100 pages devoted to the New York locations appearing in Harold Lloyd’s 1928 feature production Speedy.
After staring at a computer monitor throughout the drafting process, I’m thrilled to see how sharp and clear the photos appear in the book. Thumbing through the pages, I noticed right away a fun detail I had overlooked.
During the climatic race home in Speedy, Harold charges a horse-drawn trolley across Manhattan, from Grove Street and 4th Street, past the Christopher Street Sheridan Square subway entrance, towards 7th Avenue. What caught my eye so clearly in the book is that the cigar store that stood there back in 1927 is still a cigar store today. I wonder how many extant cigar stores have more than an eighty-year history? [Update: the cigar store appears again 86 years later in the recent film Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) below].
This setting is one of my favorite discoveries from Speedy. I had spent some time searching vintage maps looking for small traffic islands with subway entrances, when I remembered Lloyd had mentioned filming in Sheridan Square in his biography An American Comedy. Finding a likely candidate nearby, I quickly checked Google Street View and confirmed the match. It is remarkable to me how unchanged the setting appears. The steeple in the background belongs to St. John’s Lutheran Church at 81 Christopher Street, built in 1821.
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.