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