Berth Marks (1929) Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Directed by Lewis Foster
DOUBLE FEATURE: It's been pointed out how Downtown's role as a film location dates back to the slient era, and includes the Arts District. The long lost Santa Fe station along the Los Angeles River now makes a double bill for Stan and Ollie fans.
As the opening title card for "Berth Marks" reads: “Mr. Hardy told Mr. Laurel to meet him at the Santa Fe Station.“ The film location is the Santa Fe Le Grande Station, the passenger depot once on Santa Fe at 2nd that first opened in 1893 and stayed in operation until Sante Fe moved passenger services to the newly completed Union Station in 1939
Now the site is the Metro rail yard, and the lost depot footprint will be part of the northern section of the Michael Maltzan designed One Sante Fe, the mixed-use development waiting to break ground in fall.
What is interesting about this Hal Roach produced short, director Lewis Foster angles the camera to show the First Street Bridge in the background (where you can see street cars passing by). Since the bridge is on the record as being completed in 1929, and "Berth Marks" was filmed in April of that same year, this may possibly be the screen debut of the iconic Los Angeles bridge, now seen in countless film, television productions, and videos. The other Arts District show business diva, the Fourth Street Bridge and Viaduct, would not be completed until 1931.
The comedy short, one of the first talkies for Stan and Ollie, was also released as a silent film.
A decade earlier, when Stan Laurel was still a solo act, the Santa Fe Grande Depot and the iron arches of the passenger terminal were used in the opening scenes for “Hustling for Health,” filmed in 1918 and released in 1919.
[Berth Marks (Part 1)] (Noted July 17. The link has been disabled by the distributor)
ADD 1.13: A colorized version of the opening is on YouTube. [Berth Marks]
Below: Stan as "The Man" running into the Sante Fe Le Grande Station in the opening frames of "Hustling for Health."
Below: Passenger rail yard behind the Santa Fe Le Grande Depot in 1899, shot from the old First Street bridge.
Below: The Santa Fe "Le Grande" Station on Santa Fe, showing 2nd as the road directly leading to the station, in 1939. The dome, seen in the shot above, was dismantled after the 1933 Long Beach earthquake. Photo via LA Times / Daily Mirror