Where Roscoe Arbuckle Filmed His Brooklyn Vitaphone Shorts

(C) 2017 Google.

(C) 2017 Google.

The page looks at the more ‘remote’ locations, spots (13), (14), (16), (17), (18), and (19) above. Remember to click each image for a larger view.

13 - Buzzin' Around - looking NW at the corner of E 13th and Elm.

(13) – Buzzin’ Around – looking NW at the corner of Elm and E 13th.

Chased by the angry convertible owner, Roscoe gains temporary sanctuary beside another conveniently posted cop. A modern renovation has covered over all of the ground floor windows at this Elm and E 13th corner (13), although one row of the original contrasting brick stripe remains exposed above the new facade. While we can no longer compare the ground floor windows, given the building’s proximity, and its distinctive interior court, upper floor window patterns, and non-rectangular configuration, all matching perfectly with the tracking shots from the movie, I’m confident this is the correct spot.

14 - Buzzin' Around - strolling west along Elm from the corner of E 13th.

(14) – Buzzin’ Around – strolling west along Elm from the corner of E 13th.

Not realizing his savior the cop has turned into the building’s interior court, Roscoe blithely saunters west along Elm (14), unconcerned his nemesis is following him. The building is now home to the Bais Yaakov Academy (BYA). As a further confirming clue, the fireplug (14) in the movie frame above is exactly where the 1930 Sanborn fire insurance maps shows it to be.

16 - Buzzin' Around - view north across Ave M towards the back of homes on Locust west of E 13th.

(16) – Buzzin’ Around – view north across Ave M towards the back of homes on Locust west of E 13th.

buzzin-around-35In 1932 the north side of Ave M between E 13th and E 15th was lined with modest homes and small structures rather than storefronts. When Roscoe parks his car in front of 1306 Ave M (left), this reverse view (16) shows the back of extant homes along Locust between E 13th and E 12th. A large modern building blocks the view today.

17 - Hey Pop - view north past 1259 E 13th, the Biltmore Apartment entrance.

(17) – Hey Pop – view north past 1259 E 13th, the Biltmore Apartment entrance.

The Hey Pop orphanage thugs give chase past the entryway to the Biltmore Apartments (17), 1259 E 13th. Not visible in the film, the name ‘Biltmore’ is carved above this doorway.

18 - Hey Pop - view of the King George entrance on 1256 E 13th.

(18) – Hey Pop – view of the King George entrance on 1256 E 13th.

The thugs also turn the corner of the Biltmore Apartment, from E 13th onto Locust, with the King George apartment entrance (18) behind them. Not visible in the film, the name ‘King George’ is carved in the second floor mantle above the curved entrance.

19 - Buzzin' Around - view north across Ave M, now blocked, towards the side of the Biltmore.

(19) – Buzzin’ Around – view north across Ave M, now blocked, towards the side of the Biltmore.

Looking north, as Roscoe enters Ave M from E 14th, the side of the six-story Biltmore Apartments on Locust (19) looms at back. The foreground buildings were once storage sheds and carpenter shops for the studio. A massive modern building now lines the entire north side of Ave M, blocking a comparable view today.

Below – looking west at the corner of E 13th and Locust. Next, settings on Ave M further east of the studio.

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6 Responses to Where Roscoe Arbuckle Filmed His Brooklyn Vitaphone Shorts

  1. Bill Counter says:

    Thanks, John! Great as always.

  2. Tom Carr says:

    John, your remarkable eye works equally well on both coasts! I really enjoyed this post, because I’m a native New Yorker and I own the Arbuckle-Shemp Howard DVD. I’m not from Brooklyn, though (Manhattan), so I was stumped trying to figure out just where these films were made. Brooklyn or Queens, obviously, but just WHERE? Now I know. Thanks!

    Poor Roscoe, though… he still “had it,” but cruel fate cut him down.

  3. travsd says:

    Reblogged this on Travalanche and commented:
    There’s no way the Travalanche readers won’t LOVE this article and the blog it comes from. Thanks John Bengtson!

    • Thank you Trav – given LA’s dismal preservation record it’s remarkable to see how little in Brooklyn has changed after 85 years. Do you know any local history groups that might appreciate this information? John

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