Saturday, August 24, 2019

Harold Lloyd, Comedian, Injured by Explosion of Property Bomb -- August 24, 2019

Moving Picture World, 06-September-1919
100 years ago today, on 24-August-1919, Harold Lloyd suffered a terrible accident while posing for publicity pictures. A prop bomb turned out to be real.  It took away the thumb and forefinger on his right hand. He went on to make a remarkable recovery and managed to conceal his disability with help from Sam Goldwyn.  

"Harold Lloyd, Comedian, Injured
"by Explosion of Property Bomb

"THE condition of Harold Lloyd, comedy star, who was seriously injured August 24 by the explosion of what was thought to be a harmless comedy bomb, is far better than anticipated and his complete recovery within two months at the most is looked forward to by Pathe Exchange, Inc., and the many friends Lloyd had made in film work.

"President Hal E. Roach, of the Rolin Film Company, has sent the following telegram to Paul Brunet, vice-president and general manager of Pathe in New York:

"'Harold Lloyd's condition greatly improved. He will lose a portion of finger and thumb of right hand. His face is in good condition. There will be only slight scars easily covered with makeup. His right eye, which we feared to be injured, is in good shape and will not be deformed in any way. This is far better than we expected.'

"Was Making Still.

"Lloyd was hurt while taking stills in the Witzel photographic studio, Los Angeles. He was lighting a cigarette from the fuse of a property bomb when it exploded, burning his face and chest, injuring his right hand and apparently injuring one eye. He was rushed to the nearest hospital.

"Neither the photographer nor his assistant, who were in the room at the time, were injured, although both were thrown to the floor by the force of the explosion.

"The bomb, which seemed to be made of harmless paper and of the kind used for producing smoke, was one of two that had been intended for the organization to take on a picnic. The other bomb had exploded at the picnic, knocking over a large table, but this one had been put in the property room in the belief it was harmless.

"After receiving the cheering telegram on August 27, Pathe announced that thanks to Lloyd's industry it had enough films of his to allow him to remain idle for a considerable time, if necessary. It is expected and hoped that Lloyd will have regained complete health within two months, but if his recovery should not be complete before the end of the year Pathe would still have enough of his films to supply exhibitors."

Moving Picture World, 02-August-1919
Harold's leading lady, Bebe Daniels, had left to work for Cecil B Demille, but there were lots of comedies with her in the queue.  We see the word "jazz" and its variants more and more in 1919.

Moving Picture World, 02-August-1919
"The scenes are placed in the Killjoy Café, where 'everything is first class except the food and the service.'"

Moving Picture World, 09-August-1919
Snub's opponent gets the point.

Moving Picture World, 16-August-1919
"Here the audience gets a glimpse of that forbidden land on the far side of the drop curtain."

Moving Picture World, 30-August-1919
"Harold Lloyd does some tall and fancy roller skating..."

Moving Picture World, 30-August-1919
I don't remember ever reading about "Heap Big Chief."


  1. DON'T SHOVE is the first Harold Lloyd comedy I remember seeing. I saw it at a Shakey's Pizza Parlor in Denver circa 1968. I was a bespectacled kid so I took a liking to Harold Lloyd. Oddly, Blackhawk films only offered four of Harold's films for years, DON'T SHOVE being among them

  2. I wear glasses, too and that's a major reason I was drawn to Harold Lloyd, Buddy Holly, Elvis Costello and Michael Caine.


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