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The Stairs of Silverlake

One of the Stairs of Silverlake

One of the Stairs of Silverlake

This being Labor Day Weekend, Martine and I attended the Cinecon film restoration show in Hollywood. To me, the highlight of this show was how three comics of the 1930s and 1940s used the stairs of Silverlake, a hilly area just west of today’s Dodger Stadium. The stairways still exist, and I would not be surprised  if hundreds of student films took advantage of their cinematic qualities.

The three films in the so-called “Silverlake Steps Trilogy” were:

  • The Music Box (1932). The best of the three, starring the inimitable Laurel & Hardy, who try to wrestle a player piano up the steps. (See illustration below.)
  • An Ache in Every Stake (1941), with the Three Stooges. Larry, Curly and Moe try to deliver ice blocks on a super-hot day up the steps, only to have them turn into cubes once they get up top. The film ends with the three acting as chefs at a birthday party at the house where they deliver the ice.
  • It’s Your Move (1945), with Edgar Kennedy hefting a wash machine up the steps.
Billy Gilbert with Laurel and Hardy in “The Music Box”

Billy Gilbert with Laurel and Hardy in “The Music Box”

The above films are not only in chronological order, but also in descending order of quality. By the time It’s Your Move was released, the big studios were less interested in short programs, especially as television was looming over the horizon.


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