Less than two weeks before my trip to California, an Our Gang buff named Brian Fisher contacted me through Facebook and advised me that he had been reading this website and seen my love of the Laurel and Hardy film locations; he himself had located a few locations used in some Little Rascals films by searching street views through Google Earth. Although I had an incredibly busy day ahead, I thought that it would most certainly be worthwhile to check these out during my visit. So Jimmy and I got up extra early and made a stop in Culver City before we headed to Burbank for the Hollywood Show on Saturday, October 9, 2010.
Before we left that morning, we grabbed some screen captures from the three Our Gang films in question. It took about 45 minutes to get from San Pedro to Culver City and I was a little worried about having enough time at the autograph show. But once we got there, we easily found all three locations in rapid-fire succession, all very close to each other. And now I proudly present them to you, as far as I know, for the first time…
In the 1931 short Fly My Kite, the gang flies a kit with valuable bonds attached to its tail in this open field on Overland Avenue.
The same area is now a business district, but three of the houses seen in the film are still standing and are occupied by local businesses. This is the house seen at the left of the Fly My Kite image above.
This is the house seen at the right of the image above and the left of the image below
The gang attacks James Mason as he attempts to steal the bonds in Fly My Kite
This is the house seen at the right in image above
This is what that open field looks like today. Crying shame.
While visiting the aforementioned houses was interesting, they did not feature all that prominently in the film. The next spot however is an immediately recognizable intersection as seen in the 1929 Our Gang film Bouncing Babies. It was at the intersection of Motor Avenue and Tabor Street that Wheezer threw light bulbs into the street to stop traffic so that he could cross the busy road. The drivers would stop their car to see if the ‘pop’ that they heard was their tire blowing.
Wheezer is questioned by the cops in front of the Drug & Safeway Store in Bouncing Babies
The busy intersection that Wheezer had to face
The same building and intersection today
Wheezer in front of the drugstore
Another rascal in the same location
The final Our Gang location was perhaps the best of all. Although not prominently seen in the film, this house was the spot that Rascal Dorothy deBorba was picked up by Breezy’s taxi in the 1932 Our Gang short Free Wheeling.
Breezy’s taxi makes its way down Motor Avenue in Free Wheeling
Both this house and the one next door are nearly identical almost 80 years later
This concludes the three Our Gang locations and I must thank Brian for bringing them to my attention. Coincidentally, this house on Motor Avenue is nearly right across the street from an assumed Laurel and Hardy location. Although it has never been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, it is nearly certain that the seen from L&H’s Should Married Men Go Home where Ollie jumps the fence in front of his house was filmed here.
My friend Bob Satterfield identified this spot by intuitively identifying the building beyond the fence as a school. A shooting ledger for the film indicated on-location filming on Motor Avenue as well, which corroborated this as the location.
Screen capture from Should Married Men Go Home? Not much evidence can be seen in the actual film
However a still photograph taken during the filming reveals more of the building – a probable school
Most likely the same school building today
Although Ollie’s house is never actually shown in the film, this is where it ‘would have’ been in relation to the school
The clock was ticking away, but I decided to make one more stop before heading into Burbank. My friend Jennifer Paisley Barth had requested that I stop by a residential area in Culver City to get a photo of a house once occupied by Laurel and Hardy co-star Noah Young. Jennifer hosts the Noah Young fan page on Facebook. He had starred with Laurel and Hardy in five films, most notably Do Detectives Think? (as seen at right), Sugar Daddies, and Battle of the Century – in addition to many appearances in Stan’s solo films. He was also a staple foil to Harold Lloyd in many of his shorts and features.
Noah lived in this house on Cardiff Avenue for most of his life – during his film career and up until his death in 1958. We were very fortunate that this house is still standing, as it is among the minority of houses that were not touched by the apartment complexes that had been erected around this area.
Noah’s house, almost the last one on the street that hadn’t been razed
And last but not least, since once again we were right there, was one last Laurel and Hardy location that I had never actually seen. At the end of the 1929 film Berth Marks, Stan and Ollie are dropped in the fictional town of Pottsville. The train depot was actually the Palms depot, located at the intersection of National Boulevard and Vinton Avenue in the Palms residential district. The railroad was shut down in 1953, but the depot itself was relocated in 1976 to Heritage Square in Montecito.
I visited the depot in 1997 and in 2007, but had never seen the spot where the actual filming took place. Obviously, there is nothing left to recognize in the area, but it is assumed that the scene of Stan and Ollie running down the train tracks at the end of the film was shot not far from here. Although the remaining tracks do not ‘bend’ as they do in the film, this would be a little bit further down. There are no train tracks remaining on the spot where the Palms depot was located.
Ollie chases Stan at the end of Berth Marks. In the film, the depot would be behind the boys and to their left.
On a portion of what is left of the original train tracks. The depot would be on the left side quite a ways behind me, but this was the most accessible spot to trespass.
Our work was done in Culver City. It was time to make our way to Burbank and meet and greet some celebrities.
The California trip will conclude in the next posting…