Because Charlie Chaplin filmed his Mutual comedy shorts (1916-17) at the same small studio where Buster Keaton later filmed his independent shorts and features (1920-28), many common locations and settings appear in their films (see above). I explain this in great detail in my books, and in other posts, in part by deconstructing vintage aerial photographs looking south towards the studio that once stood at 1025 Lillian Way in Hollywood at the SW corner of Eleanor.
Chaplin’s The Fireman (1916) is particularly interesting, as he filmed a racing fire engine on many streets adjacent to the studio, some identified in my book, while others remained elusive, until now. A 1920 Hollywood publicity manual, Who’s Who On The Screen, ed. by Charles Donald Fox and Milton L. Silver, contains at pages 152-153 a rare eastern (not southern) aerial view of the studio, providing a novel vantage point that confirms not only several locations from The Fireman, but from Keaton’s early short comedies Convict 13 (1920), The Scarecrow (1920), and The Playhouse (1921) as well. The HathiTrust uploaded the 1920 manual, containing hundreds of Hollywood star portraits and profiles, which may be viewed directly HERE. With the above overall aerial view looking east as a guide, this post reveals seven new Chaplin and Keaton locations. Click each image to enlarge it for a closer look.
This same general view above also matches scenes from Keaton’s Convict 13, The Scarecrow, and The Playhouse.
My book Silent Traces shows Chaplin filmed fire engine scenes near the studio on Lillian Way coming north towards Eleanor (see top of post), and going south down Cole from Willoughby, while filming other scenes at former Fire Station No. 29 at 158 S. Western Ave. Thanks to the ‘new’ aerial view looking east, and the clarity of the Blu-ray release of Chaplin’s Mutual Comedies, two further fire engine scenes are now evident.
A final fire engine scene, this time looking east down Willoughby towards Cahuenga.
I first became aware of the 1920 eastern view aerial photo on the Noirish Los Angeles Skyscraper forum, a remarkable resource for finding vintage images of Los Angeles. The forum not only highlights vintage photos from the Los Angeles Public Library, and the USC Digital Library, but also rare photos posted on eBay and other obscure sources. My thanks to Noirish forum posters ‘GaylordWilshire’ and ‘HossC’ for their assistance with this article.
Looking SW towards the corner of Lillian Way and Eleanor, site of the former Chaplin and Keaton Studios. A sidewalk plaque honoring Keaton, but neglecting to mention Chaplin, stands across the street on the near corner.