9/17/18

BEVERLYWOOD: A HAL ROACH CHILD-FRIENDLY COMMUNITY



The Beverlywood section of Los Angeles is a friendly, suburban, hilly and pleasingly landscaped pocket of real estate developed in the post-war era of the 1940s. It runs (roughly) from Robertson Blvd. on the east south of Pico Blvd. and almost reaches Venice Blvd. on the south (thus making it Culver City adjacent). The western end is more mysterious as it's geography is pleasantly meandering and tends to wend its way in and around Motor Avenue (which is directly across from 20th Century Fox studios to the north) and other points due west. I'm only a mile or so from the neighborhood as I write this and somehow never came upon the fact that before it became Beverlywood it was the 'ranch' for the Hal Roach Studios, which were located in nearby Culver City. So, all of the rural and semi-rural locations that you see in Our Gang comedies (and a few in Laurel and Hardy who were more often cast in urban situations) were shot on the then entirely undeveloped land that you see in the clip reel above. A very enterprising Youtuber who calls himself ChrisBungoStudios has taken on the admirable task of painstakingly sorting through old Hal Roach comedies, identifying the locations where they were shot, shooting 'after' footage of the location in the present day, and mashing them up so that the old two-reeler comedy pauses in mid-stream, freeze-frames the old location and dissolves briefly into how it looks today. Pretty hip, in my painfully un-hip point of view. Enjoy...

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