A Pathe Picture
Whilst digging through my Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection (see my previous review of Now or Never 1921), I found another train-related silent in 1924’s Girl Shy. Not only is a steam train journey involved, but a key piece of Lloyd’s final chase scene involves a Pacific Electric streetcar madly wheeling through the streets of Hollywood, California.
Many thanks to John Bengtson and his superb Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations blog.
Harold Lloyd climbs up PE streetcar #234 to put the trolley pole back on the wire. Hilarity ensues.
Harold Lloyd (as Harold Meadows “The Poor Boy”), has completed his great novelette and is taking the train to town to have it published; Nice depot view as Union Pacific (Los Angeles & Salt Lake) #3376 an A-70 class 4-4-2 and train pulls in.
Good detail shot of two wooden passenger cars as conductor waves a “that’ll do” to the engineer; Boy meets Girl for the first time (Jobyna Ralston as Mary Buckingham “The Rich Girl”).
Rich Girl flirts with painfully shy Poor Boy as the train prepares to depart.
Uh-oh! Mary has dropped her pooch who proceeds to climb down the steps and off the train; the conductor tells Mary dogs aren’t allowed aboard anyway.
Good view of a truss rod, wooden observation car; Harold to the rescue! Borrowing a gentleman’s cane, he neatly snags Fido off the cinders and onto the brass railed observation platform.
Nice shot of a (probably Southern Pacific) passenger train rounding a sharp curve.
Interior shot of day coach; Harold discovers the only available seat is next to Mary.
Mary sees Harold’s manuscript and wants to know what it’s all about…(sex!).
Coming and going shot of SP’s Train #76, the southbound (railroad eastbound) “Lark” at Chatsworth tunnel.
View of train “butcher” handing Harold a box of Crackerjack; Harold gives the treat to Mary, then proceeds to tell her all about his life’s passion.
Suddenly, here comes a Santa Fe train at LaGrande Station in Los Angeles; Passengers disembarking.
Meanwhile, Harold is still grandly boasting about his book as Mary munches her snack; Finally detraining (from SP 1444), Harold hands Mary’s canine to the bemused conductor.
A tremendous amount of plot left off HERE
With the train about to leave, Harold frantically tries to buy a ticket from the Stationmaster; The agent watches from his bay window as Harold races after the train.
Lloyd pursues the train, but doesn’t count on it taking a different route!
Lots of chase scene left off HERE
Harold hollers at the streetcar trainmen to no avail — so he STEALS Pacific Electric car #234, leaving the bewildered transit employees in the dust.
Here we see Lloyd urging the elderly car along as fast as it will go; Careening through the streets of Hollywood.
A District Street Cleaner tumbles into his wagon as the car zooms past.
A matron and her package-festooned husband get bumped aside by the speeding #234.
Eventually, the trolley pole bumps off the wire, stopping the streetcar; Harold clambers on top to put it back….
…except he forgot the controller was still on FULL SPEED. Once he put the pole back on the juice, the car began to race along again; You can get a good view of Harold Lloyd’s right hand in this picture. He is wearing a prosthetic glove, due to losing his thumb and index finger in an accident. It’s incredible, but he did his stunts with only one good hand!
Interesting look at a fare counter (10¢) on the streetcar.
Somehow, Harold winds up hanging onto the streetcar pole for dear life as the vehicle hurtles along; He finally drops from the pole into (and through) the canvas top of a flivver. End of streetcar scene.
To sum up: Seeing steam trains on three different railroads (Espee, Uncle Pete & Chico) as well as a Pacific Electric streetcar run amok, is a splendid way to spend an afternoon. BTW, try those 3 links — they’re pretty cool. ;p
Here’s what IMDb has to say about Girl Shy:
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