Classic Movie Travels: The Music Box Steps

Walking in the Steps of Laurel and Hardy!

The Music Box Steps have long been high on my list of must-see classic movie sites. But, even I was surprised by the overwhelming giddiness I felt when my doppelganger film-fan-friends* and I piled into a car and commenced on our quest to find the infamous steps — armed with sheer will, a sense of adventure, and (thankfully) our trusty little GPS! About an hour later, as we tentatively drove around a corner with all eyes peeled, the anticipation was unbearable, and I do not exaggerate when I say that we all let out super-duper squeals of delight, when we realized that, YES indeed, we had actually found the steps!!!

Laurel and Hardy, The Music Box 1932, music box steps

For me, the The Music Box (1932) is an iconic Laurel and Hardy film – and one that is hard to forget. To this day, I still can’t help but gasp and laugh-out-loud as Stan and Ollie meet comical characters and calamities while they attempt to deliver a piano to “1127 Walnut Avenue” – the house “right on top of the stoop” (understatement). Watching Stan and Ollie ‘heave ho’ all the way up to the tippy top of the ‘endless’ stoop, huffing and puffing from exhaustion — and then seeing the piano always somehow manage to roll back down the entire staircase, pinging and panging and plummeting to the ground, never ceases to amuse me.

And, I’m sure I’m not alone in my laughter, because the film won the first Academy Award for Live Action Short Film (Comedy) in 1932, and 65 years later (in 1997), it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

National Film Registry

The steps themselves are located at 923-935 Vendome Street in the Silver Lake district of Los Angeles. They connect Vendome Street (at the bottom of the hill) with Descanso Drive (at the top of the hill). There is a commemorative plaque set into the cement of the 3rd step (from the bottom of the staircase).

That said, I am happy to share some pictures from the film itself, as well as from our giddy and glorious adventure…

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From the 1932 film… (sorry for the poor quality)

The Music Box, Charlie Hall tells Laurel and Hardy, That’s the house up there, right on top of the stoop Pardon me Mr. Postman. -Ollie
Yes Sir. -Postman (Charlie Hall)
Could you tell me where 1127 Walnut Ave is? -Ollie
1127 Walnut Ave? -Postman
Yes Sir. -Ollie
That’s the house up there, right on top of the stoop. –Postman

The music box, laurel and hardy, "That's the house right there. Right on top of the stoop.

That’s the house right there. Right on top of the stoop. -Ollie

The Music Box Steps, Laurel and Hardy, from the movie The Music Box 1932

And what a stoop it is!

the music box steps, laurel and hardy, heave ho, piano

Now, Heave Ho! -Ollie

The Music Box, Laurel and Hardy, He kicked you? says the officer Sam Lufkin to nursemaid Lilyan Irene

And not only that, he kicked me. -Nursemaid (Lilyan Irene)
He kicked you? -Officer (Sam Lufkin)
Yes officer, right in the middle of my daily duties. -Nursemaid
Oh, he kicked you, did he? -Officer

The Music Box, Laurel and Hardy, police officer Sam Lufkin, Let that be a lesson to youNow, let that be a lesson to you! – Officer (Sam Lufkin)

The Music Box, Laurel and Hardy, Billy Gilbert as Professor Theodore Von Schwarzenhoffen

Well, when are you two numbskulls going to take this thing out of the way? -Professor von Schwarzenhoffen (Billy Gilbert)
What’s it to you? -Ollie
Well, I should like to pass. -Professor
Why don’t you walk around? -Ollie
What? Walk around? Me? Professor Theodore Von Schwarzenhoffen! M.D., A.D, D.D.S, F.L.D, F.F.F and F should walk around? Get that thing out of my way! Get it out of my way! Come on! Get it out of the way! Out of the way! -Professor

The Music Box Steps, Laurel and Hardy, from the movie The Music Box 1932, view down the stairs

The inevitable long, hard road down…

The Music Box, Laurel and Hardy, piano falling down steps after Oliver

Whatever goes up must come down! 🙂
…..

And now, fast-forward to 2016…

vendome street, street sign, in los angeles, near the music box steps, photo (c) 2016 Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

Oh, soooo incredibly near the famous film site! [photo: (c) 2016 Classic Movie Hub]

The Music Box Steps, Laurel and Hardy,  Los Angeles, top of hill with street sign, photo: (c) 2016 Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie HubThe Music Box Steps street sign at the top of the staircase (Descanso Drive) [photo: (c) 2016 Classic Movie Hub]…

The Music Box Steps, Laurel and Hardy,  Los Angeles, street sign at top of hill, photo: (c) 2016 Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

and a close-up of that street sign [photo: (c) 2016 Classic Movie Hub]…

The Music Box Steps, Laurel and Hardy,  Los Angeles, top of staircase looking down, photo: (c) 2016 Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie HubThe view from the top of the staircase, down, down, down… And it is quite a long walk 🙂 [photo: (c) 2016 Classic Movie Hub]

The Music Box Steps, Laurel and Hardy,  923-925 Vendome Street, Los Angeles, bottom of the staircase, photo: (c) 2016 Annmarie Gatt for Classic Movie Hub

The Music Box Steps street sign at the bottom of the staircase (923-925 Vendome Street), across from Laurel and Hardy Park [photo: (c) 2016 Classic Movie Hub]

The Music Box Steps, Laurel and Hardy,  923-925 Vendome Street, Los Angeles, street sign at bottom of the staircase, photo: (c) 2016 Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

and a close up of that street sign [photo: (c) 2016 Classic Movie Hub]…

The Music Box Steps, Laurel and Hardy,  923-925 Vendome Street, Los Angeles, bottom of the staircase looking up, photo: (c) 2016 Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie HubA view from the bottom of the staircase, looking up… You can see the plaque set in cement on one of the bottom steps (3rd from the bottom to be exact) [photo: (c) 2016 Classic Movie Hub]…

The Music Box Steps, Laurel and Hardy,  923-925 Vendome Street, Los Angeles, bottom of the staircase looking up, alternate view, photo: (c) 2016 Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

An alternate view of the famous staircase [photo: (c) 2016 Classic Movie Hub]…

The Music Box Steps, Laurel and Hardy,  923-925 Vendome Street, Los Angeles, plaque at the bottom of the staircase, photo: (c) 2016 Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

And the plaque which reads:

“Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy “The Music Box” 1932

This plaque marks the site of the making of “The Music Box,” winner of the 1932 Academy Award for Short Subject – Comedy. The film starred comic legends Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, who also employed this location in their 1927 film “Hats Off.” Both films were produced by the Hal Roach Studio.

Presented by:
Hollywood Heritage, Inc.
The Society of Operating Camermen
The Silent Society
The Hollywood Studio Museum
The Silverlake Improvement Association”

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Now for a short film of our adventures as we ‘walk the walk’ down the legendary steeps..

A big thank you to my fabulous film-fan-friends for such an incredibly fun day: @CitizenScreen, @IrishJayHawk66, @SantaIsThinking and last but certainly not least @NebraskaNellie!

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–Annmarie from Classic Movie Hub

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One Response to Classic Movie Travels: The Music Box Steps

  1. Criss Tester says:

    In the fourth b/w photo you can see somebody looking out of the window.

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