Seeing Stars: Where the Movies Were Shot (on Location)
The Marx Brothers
classic 1937 comedy, "A DAY AT THE RACES,"
was filmed at Santa Anita Race Track
(285 W. Huntington Drive) in Arcadia,
So were several other vintage films with race track themes, including 1936's
"Charlie Chan at the Race Track," and 1938's "Hollywood Handicap"
and 1936's "The Ex-Mrs. Bradford"
(with William Powell & Jean Arthur),
and the 1937 version of "A Star Is Born" (starring
Janet Gaynor), plus more recent
films like 1995's "Nixon," starring Anthony Hopkins,
and 2005's "Seabiscuit".
More than seventy years later, the Santa Anita track is still going strong,
and you can watch the thoroughbreds run there in the Spring.
the famous scene where Laurel & Hardy
tried to lug a heavy piano up a really long outdoor staircase to "1127
Well, that scene (from 1932's "THE MUSIC
BOX") was shot at a stairway between
923 and 935 Vendome Street (actually, the stairs start on Vendome
Street and end on Descanso Drive, at Del Monte Drive), in the Silver
Lake district (northwest of downtown, just south of Sunset Boulevard).
In November of 1994, they put up a plaque there honoring
the famous spot. *
piano-moving gag may have inspired another classic comic routine nine years
later, in the 1941 Three Stooges
comedy short "AN ACHE IN EVERY STAKE."
In the scene, the Stooges attempt to deliver ice to a lady at the
top of the stairs, only to find that by the time they reach the top, the
block of ice has melted to the size of an ice cube.
The 147 "Stooge Steps" are located
about two miles northeast of the Laurel & Hardy stairs, between
2257 & 2258 Fair Oak View Terrace (a
steep cul-de-sac in the Silver Lake district.)
In 1933's original "KING
KONG," the big ape is on stage when he is frightened
by photographers' flashbulbs, and breaks loose of his chains.
That was shot at the Shrine Auditorium
(665 W. Jefferson Blvd.), near Exposition Park.
Most of the classic horror movies of the 1930's
(the original "FRANKENSTEIN"
with Boris Karloff, "THE
WOLF MAN" with Lon Chaney Jr.,
"DRACULA" with Bela Lugosi,
etc.) were filmed amidst the cobblestone streets and alpine architecture
of the "European Street" set on
the back lot of Universal Studios Hollywood.
On the same tour, you'll also see the original "PSYCHO"
house, the courthouse from "BACK TO THE FUTURE,"
and countless other original location sets.
In the classic 1921 film, "The Kid,"
Charlie Chaplin rescues a suicidal
heroine trying to throw herself from a bridge. That bridge is still there.
It's the Colorado Street Bridge in
The bridge is located on Colorado Blvd (the street where the annual Rose
Parade takes place) just west of Orange Grove Blvd.
Everyone familiar with classic silent comedies remembers
that afmous scene where Harold Lloyd
hung from a huge clock , dangling high above the city.
That scene was from the 1923 silent movie "Safety Last,"
and it was filmed at the Brockman Building,
located in downtown Los Angeles, in
the 530 W. 7th Street,
between Grand Avenue and Olive Street (a block south of the Biltmore Hotel.)
While it looked like Lloyd was risking life & limb, in fact the scene
was shot on a part of the building which was quite safe (and close to the
ground), but which allowed a view of the city in the background which gave
the illusion of being up high.
The 1917 building fell into a sad state of disrepair and sat vacant for
decades, but in 2004 it was purchased and has now been rehabilitated into
upscale lofts / condos.
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